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What Cruise Ships Leave From San Francisco


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Elyn Wallace



Welcome to the vibrant city of San Francisco, where the land meets the sea and adventure awaits on the open waters. San Francisco, known for its iconic landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island, is not only a bustling city but also a major hub for cruise ship departures.


Departing from the scenic port of San Francisco allows cruise travelers to experience the perfect blend of city life and ocean exploration. Whether you’re a seasoned cruiser or embarking on your first voyage, setting sail from San Francisco offers a unique and unforgettable experience.


San Francisco’s convenient location on the west coast of the United States makes it an ideal starting point for exploring the beautiful destinations along the Pacific Coast, from the awe-inspiring wonders of Alaska to the laid-back beaches of Mexico. With numerous cruise lines and a variety of itineraries to choose from, there is something for everyone seeking adventure on the high seas.


Embarking on a cruise from San Francisco gives you the opportunity to discover diverse destinations, indulge in world-class amenities, and create lasting memories. So, let’s explore some of the popular cruise lines that depart from San Francisco and the exciting destinations you can visit from this vibrant port city.


Cruise Lines Departing from San Francisco

When it comes to cruising from San Francisco, you have a wide array of options from some of the most reputable cruise lines in the industry. Each cruise line offers its own unique itineraries, amenities, and onboard experiences, ensuring that there is a perfect fit for every type of traveler.


One popular cruise line departing from San Francisco is Princess Cruises. Known for their elegant and sophisticated ships, Princess Cruises offers a range of itineraries that span both short coastal getaways and longer voyages to exotic destinations. Whether you want to explore the rugged beauty of Alaska or soak up the sun in the tropics, Princess Cruises has a cruise for you.


Another excellent choice is Holland America Line. With its rich maritime heritage and carefully curated itineraries, Holland America Line offers a more refined and relaxed cruising experience. From cultural immersion in historic cities to breathtaking scenic cruising through fjords, Holland America Line delivers unforgettable journeys from San Francisco.


If you’re seeking a more contemporary and casual atmosphere, consider Carnival Cruise Line. Known for their fun-filled onboard activities and vibrant entertainment, Carnival Cruise Line offers a range of itineraries from San Francisco that cater to families, couples, and solo travelers alike. Navigating the Mexican Riviera or venturing to Hawaii, Carnival Cruise Line provides a lively and enjoyable cruise experience.


For those seeking a luxury escape, Crystal Cruises offers an unparalleled experience from San Francisco. With their fleet of luxurious ships and world-class service, Crystal Cruises takes you to the most exotic and captivating destinations around the world. Whether you’re exploring the wonders of the Mediterranean or embarking on a grand voyage to the South Pacific, Crystal Cruises delivers a truly upscale and indulgent cruising experience.


In addition to these cruise lines, other popular options include Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Oceania Cruises. Each cruise line offers its own unique features, itineraries, and onboard amenities, giving you the opportunity to find the perfect match for your cruising desires.


So whether you’re looking for a family-friendly adventure, a luxurious escape, or a cultural exploration, the variety of cruise lines departing from San Francisco ensures that you can find the perfect fit for your dream vacation.


Popular Destinations from San Francisco

Embarking on a cruise from San Francisco opens up a world of exciting destinations waiting to be explored. From the rugged beauty of Alaska to the sun-soaked beaches of Mexico, there are boundless possibilities for unforgettable experiences.


One of the most sought-after destinations from San Francisco is Alaska. Cruising to Alaska allows you to witness the awe-inspiring glaciers, towering mountains, and unique wildlife that define this breathtaking region. From spotting whales in the pristine waters of the Inside Passage to exploring charming coastal towns like Juneau and Ketchikan, an Alaskan cruise offers a true wilderness adventure.


For those seeking a tropical getaway, cruising to Mexico from San Francisco is a popular choice. Cruise lines offer itineraries that visit vibrant Mexican ports like Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán, and Puerto Vallarta. Indulge in the laid-back lifestyle, savor authentic cuisine, explore ancient ruins, or simply relax on the sun-kissed beaches.


Another enticing destination from San Francisco is Hawaii. Embark on a Hawaiian cruise and immerse yourself in the Aloha spirit as you visit the enchanting islands of Maui, Oahu, Kauai, and the Big Island. Experience the stunning beauty of volcanic landscapes, lush rainforests, and world-class beaches. Delve into the rich Polynesian culture and enjoy activities such as snorkeling, hiking to breathtaking waterfalls, or attending traditional luaus.


For those looking for a shorter getaway, coastal cruises from San Francisco are a fantastic option. Experience the beauty of the California coastline as you sail along the Pacific Coast, visiting vibrant cities like Los Angeles and San Diego. Immerse yourself in the charm of the Pacific Northwest with stops in Seattle and Vancouver, exploring their iconic sights and natural wonders.


If you’re in the mood for a longer voyage, consider a Panama Canal cruise from San Francisco. Sail through this engineering marvel, traversing locks and experiencing the diverse cultures of the countries along the way, from the Caribbean to the Pacific coast of Central America.


Whether you’re yearning for the icy wilderness of Alaska, the vibrant culture of Mexico, the tropical paradise of Hawaii, or the scenic beauty of a coastal or Panama Canal cruise, the variety of destinations from San Francisco ensures that you can find a cruise that fulfills your travel dreams.


Types of Cruise Ships Departing from San Francisco

When it comes to cruise ships departing from San Francisco, you’ll find a range of vessels designed to cater to different preferences and budgets. From small and intimate ships to large and luxurious ones, there is a ship for every type of traveler.


One type of cruise ship that departs from San Francisco is the mid-sized vessel. These ships typically accommodate a moderate number of passengers, allowing for a more intimate and personalized cruising experience. They often offer a variety of amenities, including multiple dining options, entertainment venues, and onboard activities. Mid-sized ships are perfect for those who enjoy a balance of onboard facilities and the ability to navigate into smaller ports.


Another type of cruise ship that departs from San Francisco is the mega-ship. These floating cities offer an abundance of features and activities to keep passengers entertained throughout their voyage. With a wide range of restaurants, bars, theaters, shopping venues, and recreational facilities, mega-ships provide a resort-like experience on the open seas. They are well-suited for those who seek a lively and bustling atmosphere with a plethora of options for onboard entertainment.


For a more upscale and luxurious experience, there are also premium and luxury cruise ships departing from San Francisco. These ships offer a higher level of service, spacious accommodations, and exquisite dining options. With elegant decor, top-notch amenities, and attention to detail, premium and luxury ships provide a sophisticated and refined cruising experience.


Some cruise lines also offer expedition ships from San Francisco. These smaller vessels are designed to navigate through remote and adventurous destinations, such as Alaska and the Galapagos Islands. They often feature expert naturalists and expedition teams who lead educational and immersive experiences, making them ideal for travelers craving a closer connection to nature and unique wildlife encounters.


Whether you prefer a mid-sized ship for a more intimate experience, a mega-ship for a lively atmosphere, a premium or luxury ship for a refined voyage, or an expedition ship for an adventurous expedition, there are a variety of cruise ship types departing from San Francisco to suit your preferences.


Amenities and Activities on San Francisco Cruise Ships

Embarking on a cruise ship from San Francisco not only allows you to explore exciting destinations but also offers a plethora of amenities and activities to enhance your onboard experience. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, entertainment, or enrichment, you’ll find a wide range of options to cater to your preferences.


One of the highlights of cruise ships departing from San Francisco is the exceptional dining experiences available onboard. From casual buffets to elegant specialty restaurants, there are a variety of culinary options to satisfy every palate. Indulge in mouthwatering cuisine prepared by talented chefs, with menus showcasing global flavors and local delicacies.


For those seeking relaxation and rejuvenation, cruise ships offer a range of spa and wellness facilities. Unwind with massages, facials, and body treatments, or unwind in tranquil saunas and steam rooms. Many ships also feature fitness centers equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, fitness classes, and even jogging tracks, allowing guests to stay active while at sea.


Entertainment options abound on San Francisco cruise ships, ensuring that you’re captivated throughout your voyage. Enjoy Broadway-style shows, live music performances, comedy acts, and themed parties. For those who enjoy gaming, cruise ships often have casinos where you can try your luck at various games.


Onboard activities cater to all ages and interests. From swimming pools and water slides to sports courts and mini-golf, there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun. Enrichment programs such as art classes, cooking demonstrations, and lectures by guest speakers provide educational and engaging experiences. Kids and teens can enjoy dedicated clubs and activities, keeping them entertained and making new friends while cruising.


Cruise ships from San Francisco often feature expansive deck spaces that allow you to soak up the sun and enjoy panoramic views of the ocean. Relax in comfortable loungers, take a dip in the pool, or sip refreshing cocktails at the poolside bars. Some ships even offer adult-only retreats for those seeking a quiet and serene atmosphere.


For those who enjoy shopping, cruise ships have boutiques and duty-free shops where you can find a variety of items from jewelry and clothing to cosmetics and souvenirs. Take advantage of onboard sales and promotions to snag some great deals.


Overall, the amenities and activities available on San Francisco cruise ships guarantee that there is never a dull moment during your voyage. Whether you’re looking for relaxation, entertainment, or enrichment, these floating resorts provide everything you need to create memorable moments while at sea.


Tips for Booking a Cruise from San Francisco

Booking a cruise from San Francisco can be an exciting experience, but it’s important to keep a few tips in mind to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey. Consider the following factors when planning and booking your cruise:


1. Research Cruise Lines & Itineraries: Start by researching different cruise lines and their itineraries departing from San Francisco. Consider the destinations, duration of the cruise, onboard amenities, and the reputation of the cruise line. This will help you narrow down your options and find the perfect fit for your preferences and budget.


2. Book Early: It’s advisable to book your cruise as early as possible, especially if you have specific travel dates or cabin preferences. Booking in advance allows you to secure the best prices, take advantage of early booking promotions, and have a wider selection of cabin categories to choose from.


3. Consider Off-Peak Times: If you are flexible with your travel dates, consider booking during off-peak times. Prices tend to be lower, and you’ll encounter fewer crowds both on the ship and at the ports of call. Off-peak times can vary depending on the destination, so conduct research to find the best time to cruise and explore your desired itinerary.


4. Choose the Right Cabin: Take some time to consider your cabin options carefully. Deciding between an inside cabin, ocean view cabin, or a balcony cabin is a personal choice based on your preferences and budget. Balcony cabins offer breathtaking views and the opportunity for private outdoor space, but they may come at a higher price. Be sure to also consider the location of the cabin on the ship, taking into account factors such as noise and accessibility to amenities.


5. Explore Package Deals: Many cruise lines offer package deals that include not only the cruise but also accommodations, flights, and pre or post-cruise hotel stays. These packages can provide convenience and potentially save you money. Explore different options and compare prices to find the best package deal that meets your needs.


6. Check Visa Requirements: If your cruise includes ports of call in foreign countries, make sure to check the visa requirements well in advance. Some destinations may require you to obtain a visa or have certain entry restrictions. Be aware of the necessary documents and allow ample time for the application process if needed.


7. Purchase Travel Insurance: It is highly recommended to purchase travel insurance when booking your cruise. Travel insurance provides coverage for unexpected events such as trip cancellations, medical emergencies, or lost baggage. Be sure to review the policy details, coverage limits, and any exclusions before making a purchase.


8. Plan Shore Excursions: Research and plan your shore excursions ahead of time. Look for activities and attractions that interest you and book popular tours in advance to secure your spot. This allows you to make the most of your time at each port of call and ensures you don’t miss out on any must-see experiences.


9. Pack Accordingly: Before your cruise, make a packing list and ensure you have all the essentials. Keep in mind the dress codes onboard, both for casual and formal nights, and any specific requirements for shore excursions or activities. Don’t forget to pack essentials such as sunscreen, medications, travel adapters, and comfortable walking shoes.


10. Arrive Early, Explore San Francisco: If you are not a local resident, consider arriving in San Francisco a day or two before your cruise departure. This allows you to explore the city’s iconic attractions, such as Alcatraz Island or the Golden Gate Bridge, and ensures that you have a buffer in case of any unexpected travel delays.


By following these tips, you can ensure a seamless and enjoyable booking experience for your cruise from San Francisco. With proper planning and preparation, you’ll be ready for an unforgettable adventure on the high seas!



Embarking on a cruise from San Francisco is an incredible way to explore captivating destinations, indulge in luxurious amenities, and create lifelong memories. With a variety of cruise lines, diverse itineraries, and an array of onboard offerings, there is something for every type of traveler.


From the moment you step foot on the ship, you’ll be immersed in a world of comfort and excitement. Whether you prefer a mid-sized vessel for a more intimate experience, a mega-ship for a lively atmosphere, a premium or luxury ship for a refined voyage, or an expedition ship for an adventurous exploration, the cruise ships departing from San Francisco cater to all preferences.


As you set sail from the vibrant port of San Francisco, the possibilities for your adventure are endless. Explore the breathtaking beauty of Alaska, relax on the sun-soaked beaches of Mexico, immerse yourself in the rich culture of Hawaii, or enjoy a coastal journey along the stunning Pacific Coast. Each destination offers a unique and unforgettable experience.


Onboard, you’ll be treated to a wide range of amenities and activities. Indulge in delectable cuisine, pamper yourself with spa treatments, enjoy world-class entertainment, and participate in enriching activities. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, entertainment, or enrichment, the cruise ships departing from San Francisco have you covered.


Before booking your cruise, it’s important to conduct research, book in advance, and consider factors such as cabin selection, package deals, and travel insurance. By planning ahead and being well-prepared, you can set yourself up for the ultimate cruising experience.


So, whether you’re a seasoned cruiser or embarking on your first adventure at sea, a cruise from San Francisco promises to be an extraordinary journey. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the open waters, embrace new cultures and experiences, and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Set sail from San Francisco, and let the waves take you on an incredible voyage of discovery, relaxation, and adventure.