Hop aboard one of these cruises from San Francisco and enjoy the ultimate vacation experience. From Pier 27 in SF, you will find trips with destinations to Alaska, Mexico, and Hawaii.
You can also enjoy a longer cruise through the Panama Canal or over to the South Pacific. In addition, you will also find some shorter cruises to the ports on the western coast of the US.
There are several cruises that leave SF each month. Many of them offer round trip service to your destination and back. However, the longer options usually end in a secondary location.
Read on to learn more about the various journeys that start in SF.
Disclaimer: I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.
The most popular cruises from San Francisco take visitors through the Alaska Inside Passage. This journey offers you a chance to see the wild beauty of Alaska up close. Most have three stops in Alaska as well as one in Canada.
The highlight of these cruises is the journey through either Tracy Arms Fjord or Glacier Bay. While you don't dock on these days, you do spend a number of hours cruising around these amazing places.
San Francisco offers two wonderful cruises to the Hawaiian Islands. They both stop at four places among the islands, including Honolulu, Maui, and Hilo. These cruises also make a short evening stop at the waterfront town of Ensenada, Mexico.
Enjoy a 10-night cruise from San Francisco to the Mexican Riviera. This lively trip offers you the chance to visit several ports of call on Mexico's western coast. You will stop in places such as Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán, and Cabo San Lucas.
Learn More: Find details on these fun cruises to Mexico
Head south on the Pacific and through the Panama Canal. These tours stop in several locations on the way, including Mexico, Costa Rica, and Guatemala or Nicaragua. For one full day, you get the chance to enjoy the beauty of the Panama Canal. You will then continue your journey and stop in locations such as Columbia, the Bahamas, or Aruba.
Most of these cruises end their adventure in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
In addition to trips to Alaska, Hawaii, and Mexico, you will find several other cruise options with departures from San Francisco. The most popular is the California Coastal Cruise offered by Princess. During this journey, you will visit ports along the western US and make one stop in Mexico.
You can also hop aboard a ship and head toward the South Pacific and beyond. Cunard offers a cruise that starts in SF, takes you west, and allows you to end your cruise at almost any port before they arrive at their destination in Southampton, U.K. If you decide to go the entire way, it would be a 90+ day trip.
Princess also offers a South Pacific cruise, a 25-day adventure that starts in SF and ends in Sydney, Australia.
This 7-day journey starts and ends in SF. During your trip, you will make three stops in southern California and one stop in Baja, Mexico.
Your tour is on the Grand Princess, which has capacity for around 2,600 passengers. Onboard, you will find three main dining rooms, an Italian restaurant, a pizzeria, a casual grill that serves burgers and hot dogs, and an ice cream parlor. There is also a wine bar, cigar bar, shows every night in the theater, and several other lounges and bars.
Additional amenities on this San Francisco cruise include movies under the stars at the poolside theater, a spa and fitness center, and an internet café. You can also entertain yourself at the casino, shopping at the duty-free boutiques, or at the sports courts.
Your kids will enjoy the kids' and teens' centers and spending time at one of the four pools.
The Circle Pacific San Francisco cruise offers a one way trip from SF to Sydney, Australia. You will make 8 stops before your final one in Sydney.
This trips takes you south from SF for a quick stop in San Diego. You then head west to visit the Hawaiian Islands. From there, you head south to the French Polynesian Islands of Bora Bora and Tahiti. You will then make two stops in New Zealand and disembark in Sydney.
You will have 15 full days at sea without stops.
Your journey is aboard the Sun Princess, which holds around 2,000 passengers. It features two main dining rooms and several restaurants, including a steak house, Italian pizzeria, a sushi & seafood place, an ice cream bar, a grill that serves casual food such as burgers and hot dogs, and balcony dining. You can also order room service 24 hours a day.
During your days at sea, you can enjoy shows every night, movies under the stars near the pool, the spa and fitness center, and the casino. There is also an internet café onboard, kids' and teens' centers, duty free boutiques, and a library and writing room.
The longest and most spectacular San Francisco cruise is the one offered by Cunard. This cruise leaves SF and heads west into the Pacific Ocean. It makes many stops along the way, including Hawaii, New Zealand, and Australia. It then heads north and stops at several places in Japan and two places in China.
The journey continues to Southeast Asia, down the eastern coast of Africa, around the southern tip, and up the western coast of Africa, making a few final stops in European islands off the west coast of Africa and Europe. It ends in Southampton, United Kingdom.
While this might seem like an overwhelming cruise, the good news is you don't have to sign up for the whole thing. You can take it from San Francisco to Singapore, or you can stop earlier on in Australia. You can also pick it up in Hong Kong and stop in South Africa.
Below, I've laid out the entire schedule for this journey. Again, the entire trip is 90+ days and is quite pricey. Take a look and think about where you would like to start and stop.
The best place to start the booking process is by checking out the deals being offered. You will find some deals directly on the cruise companies' websites as well as through third party booking agencies. Here are links to a few of the sites where you can discover the best deals for cruises from San Francisco (and beyond!):
Do you need to store your luggage for a few hours or all day in SF? Here are a few places that allow you to store your luggage.
Stasher Luggage Storage: The best way to find a spot for your luggage is to head over to the Stasher Luggage Storage website. Here you can find locations for storage and book a spot ahead of time. They charge just $6 per day, which includes insurance up to $1000. Visit their site for details.
Pier 39: Drop your luggage off at the California Welcome Center on the second level of Pier 39. They will hold your luggage between the hours of 9am and 7pm for just $5 a bag. They do not offer lockers, but this is a great option if you plan to just be in the area for a day.
SFO: You can also store your luggage at the Airport Travel Agency in the International Terminal at SFO. They charge by the day. If you only leave it for a few hours, they will still charge the daily rate. They do scan all luggage that is set to be stored before they accept it. They are open daily from 7am to 11pm and you will find them near the Departures/Ticketing area.
Local Hotels: Many of the local hotels will allow you to store your luggage with their concierge. Your best bet is to call them ahead of time, tell them your story, and they will tell you if they allow it or not. I would contact the larger chains such as Marriott or Hyatt as you have a better chance of them offering this service than others. These hotels will often take your name and ask when you will be arriving. Most of the time, you do not need to be a hotel guest to receive this service. However, please be courteous and leave them a nice tip for this service.
With the opening of Pier 27 a couple of years ago, San Francisco now offers several cruise options from eight cruise lines. Some of the most popular that originate trips from SF include Celebrity, Holland America, and Norwegian. In addition, you will find a large number of trips offered by Princess Cruises.
Celebrity Cruises: Celebrity Cruises offers three standard cruises from San Francisco. The first is a west coast cruise with four stops in the US and one in Mexico. The second two cruises take you south through the Panama Canal and end in Fort Lauderdale. Each cruise is offered a few times a year. All tours are onboard the Celebrity Infinity, which has the capacity for 1,270 guests.
Crystal Cruises: Crystal Cruises offers three standard cruises from San Francisco. Two of their cruises head north along the western shoreline and end in Vancouver, Canada. They also offer a 16-day Hawaiian cruise that stops in Hawaii and Mexico. All Crystal Cruises from San Francisco are on the Crystal Serenity, which holds 1,070 passengers.
Cunard Line: Cunard offers luxury cruises all around the world. It's perfect for those who love to dress up each day for their adventures, dining, and other activities. The great thing about this cruise line is that you are allowed to start and stop your cruise at many destinations throughout the world. This offers you the chance to make your cruise as short or as long as you'd like.
The cruise that leaves San Francisco heads toward Hawaii, then on to New Zealand and Australia, up through Southeast Asia, along the eastern African coast down to South Africa, back up the western side of Africa, to the Canary Islands, and then finishes in Southampton, England.
All tours are on the Queen Victoria, which offers room for up to 2,000 passengers.
Holland America Line: The Holland America Line offers two cruise options from San Francisco. The first takes you around the South Pacific in 47 days. The second is a cruise down to and through the Panama Canal.
Norweigian Cruise Line: Norweigian offers two standard cruises that originate in San Francisco. The first is a cruise to Hawaii. The second is a cruise through the Panama Canal.
Oceania Cruises: Oceania has two cruises from San Francisco. The first is called the Norwest Wonders and includes stops along the west coast. The second is their Panama Canal trip which includes stops in Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, and Columbia. Both journies are on their ship called Regatta. It holds up to 684 passengers.
Princess Cruises: Princess Cruises offers the largest number of cruises leaving from SF. They offer 8 cruises with destinations around California, Hawaii, Alaska, Mexico, and the Panama Canal.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises: Regency Seven Seas is the final company that originates cruises from San Francisco. Their options include a 10 night trip north to Alaska and several Panama Canal tours.
Are you planning a visit to SF during your cruise? If so, you will find a wide variety of shore excursions for your stop. You can also check out some of my self-guided tours that will help you quickly and easily get to as many different attractions in one day as possible.
The best way to get to Pier 27 is by public transit. As you can see from the picture above, you will find a streetcar stop right across the street from the pier.
You can take this streetcar south from Fisherman's Wharf or north from Market Street. Your stop is Greenwich. You can also ask the driver to alert you when you arrive at this stop.
If you plan to drive, there are a few parking options nearby. I do have to warn you that parking is VERY expensive (up to $30 or more a day) in San Francisco and I only recommend this if you do not have any other options.
Here are a few parking garage options within walking distance:
Before you leave your car, make sure to review their regulations. These change frequently, as well as the pricing, so confirm that they offer 24-hour parking and what the daily rate is before you leave your car.
Most people taking cruises from San Francisco enjoy staying a night or two before or after their visit. There are quite a few fun activities and attractions here, so, if you can, I recommend extending your visit out a little to explore SF.
Also, it's best to stay in Fisherman's Wharf. It's an easy walk, cab ride, or streetcar ride to Pier 27. Here are a few of the best options: