I have been lucky enough to experience the Hornblower a few times before, the first time for dinner when my husband and I were still dating, once for brunch when it was part of the SF Dine About Town promotion, and again for an awesome Yelp 10th anniversary event just a couple of years back. Even though the cruise itself is relatively the same route, each experience was different.
So when I was thinking about where to take my dad to celebrate his big milestone birthday, I remembered him asking earlier this year as we were crossing the
and he spotted the boat if I have ever been on the Hornblower. I took that as a hint that he wanted to
experience it for himself. My mom’s and
I am sure many people’s misconception of the Hornblower is “Isn’t that more for
tourists?”. Yes and no. Yes, it is a great way for tourists to view
many SF sights ( Bay Bridge Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Marin
and the SF skyline) from the water but for the same reasons, it is a wonderful
way for locals to celebrate a special occasion, an outing with friends, or a
nice date. Great minds definitely think
alike as practically 3/4 of the tables, on our deck at least were celebrating
something special, many birthdays, anniversaries, retirement, and even a wedding
reception. Bay Bridge
The pricing has definitely increased since I last went over 10 years ago so after a little research, decided the best value would be the Champagne Brunch Buffet Cruise. If you are the type of person that needs to be served, then this would not be the best option for you but if you are there for the view, the company, and good food, I would recommend it for the following reasons.
1. The brunch buffet offers a nice variety of cold, hot, breakfast, and lunch items to choose from. Although not necessarily high end items, the chef does a great job in the flavor and preparation that something as simple as tilapia ended up being so delicious, we went back for seconds, which brings me right into the next point.
2. With the buffet style, you can go back for seconds of your favorite items which for me was the fish and salad so you definitely do not leave hungry. I am not sure if it was because we were on the same deck as a wedding reception but food was available until almost the end. I do want to note that there was a mention from a previous guest during my research that they stopped refilling halfway through so make sure to grab your food before heading out to take pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge just in case.
3. Unlike many buffets, the fruits were sweet and ripe so they do take pride in what they are offering.
4. The drinks included in the ticket price are free flowing champagne, orange juice (plain or to make mimosas), coffee, and tea. Upon request for non-drinkers, they also had sparking apple cider.
5. If the weather is beautiful like for us the day we went, pictures during the day are amazing, perfect for my picture loving dad.
Overall, we and my parents had a great time and I was glad that my dad enjoyed himself to kickoff his birthday month!