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TRANSPORT TO/FROM VESSEL


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Posted (edited)

San Francisco has all the qualities of a major port for we who worship deep-water cruising.  All it needs today is a well-managed transport system to and from the port.  If it had a bus line dedicated to moving passengers for a number of cruise lines, this port would rival Seattle, San Diego and Los Angeles in popularity.  Those of us who have always flown to reach our cruise ships want to avoid the flying part in the future.

 

Here's my plan conceived by a travel experienced person who wants to get going right away.  The Port of San Francisco (SF) contract with a bus company to provide transportation for the passengers for all cruise ships departing and returning to SF.  A decision is made where the pickup and delivery sites would be and the hours and days of their operations.  These 2-hour away initial sites might be Chico, Roseville, and Stockton.  A per passenger fee charged and the luggage rides for free.

 

To reduce the expected car and passenger congestion at the Port, a brief scan of immunization documents, passports, et al, and the parking of passenger vehicles, are done at the bus stop.  A member of port security might do the initial passenger review.  To further encourage the use of these transports, passengers would be given a small sweet roll and coffee once underway.  The creature comforts of the cruise begin a few miles from home and 2-hours from the waiting ship.

 

In November 2019, I had a marvelous ride on the Grand Princess out of SF to Hawaii and back.  The Covid-19 hit within days of my return and I feel so very fortunate to have had that satisfying experience.  Now, I want to be bussed to SF from Roseville for a cruise to Mexico and back.  Princess has several headed there this Fall and I want to go!  No bus line yet.  

 

Edited by 2old4this
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I know of a TA who picks up people in various towns and takes them by bus to SF for cruises. We booked through that TA once and were picked up by bus in Sacramento (almost positive they do Roseville as well). They took our luggage and we didn't see it again until it was delivered to our cabin. They also had people on the cruise and had a table setup with daily gifts to their passengers. It was all very simple to do and very well handled. We used this TA for a trip through the Panama Canal. There was a stop in Cabo and they hosted a free gig onshore for their passengers that included lots of food as well as free beer, wine, margaritas, soft drinks, and water. Obviously, I can't give the name of the TA here but you should be able to find it if you search. It's headquartered in Sacramento.

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I don't know the facts around SF but I was always under the impression that it didn't allow for (or didn't have the space) to have much cruising traffic.  There aren't that many cruises that sail from there in any given year so I'm not sure that a transport system for just cruising would make all that much sense.  There are plenty of private shuttle companies, Uber/Lyft, taxis, or just take BART from the airport to a mile or two within the pier and transfer to a taxi if you are traveling solo/pair and with not too much luggage.

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One more thing to consider about why there are so few cruises from SF and why I don't like to cruise out of there (even if I can get there within an hour) is that it adds 3 days to any Alaska or Mexican cruise.  Those are days you have to pay for "cruising" that you don't have to when cruising out of Seattle or LA or San Diego.  So SF's real appeal is for those who like and are willing to pay for extra sea days or like taking 2 week Hawaii cruises and it is more convenient or cheaper to do so from SF than LA.

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13 minutes ago, CarelessAndConfused said:

One more thing to consider about why there are so few cruises from SF and why I don't like to cruise out of there (even if I can get there within an hour) is that it adds 3 days to any Alaska or Mexican cruise.  Those are days you have to pay for "cruising" that you don't have to when cruising out of Seattle or LA or San Diego.  So SF's real appeal is for those who like and are willing to pay for extra sea days or like taking 2 week Hawaii cruises and it is more convenient or cheaper to do so from SF than LA.

 

Love the sea days. 😁  Our favorite cruise to date was the 28 day Hawaii/South Pacific cruise. Lots of sea days but a fantastic cruise. We've only cruised the Caribbean once - 14 day Circle Caribbean - and it was somewhat exhausting with all the port days. SF is close enough for us do drive to the port but, of course, it then costs an arm and a leg for parking. We have gotten a ride from one of our son's and have, as I said above, been transported by a TA. (We left our car at a niece's house in Sacramento.)

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23 minutes ago, CarelessAndConfused said:

SF and why I don't like to cruise out of there (even if I can get there within an hour) is that it adds 3 days to any Alaska or Mexican cruise.

 

4 minutes ago, Thrak said:

Love the sea days. 😁 

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We also love sea days and actually prefer cruises with more sea days relative to port days.

 

So for us, cruising out of San Francisco to get extra sea days is a huge plus.

---

 

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Agree love the sea days   We stay in Oakland (where we used to live) overnight and take the ferry across the bay and just walk to the ship

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Posted (edited)

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I keep wishing there was a 15-night, SF-Sea of Cortez-Mexican Riviera-SF itinerary, with stops in Loreto and La Paz -- in addition to Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta, plus the extra sea days.

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Edited by RSS from SF
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16 minutes ago, RSS from SF said:

---

I keep wishing there was a 15-night, SF-Sea of Cortez-Mexican Riviera-SF itinerary, with stops in Loreto and La Paz (in addition to Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta, plus the extra sea days).

---

 

I've also wondered the same thing though I would think it might make more sense to be on some 14 day cruise rotation every two weeks sailing on the exact day of the week each time.

 

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55 minutes ago, CarelessAndConfused said:

One more thing to consider about why there are so few cruises from SF and why I don't like to cruise out of there (even if I can get there within an hour) is that it adds 3 days to any Alaska or Mexican cruise.  Those are days you have to pay for "cruising" that you don't have to when cruising out of Seattle or LA or San Diego.  So SF's real appeal is for those who like and are willing to pay for extra sea days or like taking 2 week Hawaii cruises and it is more convenient or cheaper to do so from SF than LA.

Add us to the like the sea days group.  Hawaii from San Francisco is AWESOME.  Five sea days over and five sea days back.

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We are going to hopefully fly into Oakland and Uber ..love the sea days .

The TA that takes people I think its only their escorted cruises ,we would have to get to Sac or Roseville from Reno pay to Park ,in winter this can be challenging .

Love those sea days Christmas Hawaii cruise focus I hope.

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We wish they had a bus from the east bay or south bay.  Uber is a great choice but oftentimes kind of expensive.  BART is a much better deal but only if we have carry on luggage and if the weather is decent.  

I once checked into one of those TAs that give rides along with the booking out of the central valley and they won't pick up those in the east bay.  

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8 minutes ago, Cruise Raider said:

We wish they had a bus from the east bay or south bay.  Uber is a great choice but oftentimes kind of expensive.  BART is a much better deal but only if we have carry on luggage and if the weather is decent.  

I once checked into one of those TAs that give rides along with the booking out of the central valley and they won't pick up those in the east bay.  

I have taken Bart with 4 pieces of luggage to SFO   It can definitely be done

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9 minutes ago, memoak said:

I have taken Bart with 4 pieces of luggage to SFO   It can definitely be done

 

We've done BART with more luggage in the past but I'm now to the point where I just want to walk to the pier from the station.  A couple of times the elevators have been out of order at the BART station we use.... don't want to go through the hassle of that again.  

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16 minutes ago, Cruise Raider said:

 

We've done BART with more luggage in the past but I'm now to the point where I just want to walk to the pier from the station.  A couple of times the elevators have been out of order at the BART station we use.... don't want to go through the hassle of that again.  

That is why we take the ferry if we are sailing from SF. Very short walk also

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12 hours ago, memoak said:

That is why we take the ferry if we are sailing from SF. Very short walk also


Unfortunately, for us, getting to the ferry is quite inconvenient.  May as well just go to the pier via Uber.  

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In SF we just took a cab from the hotel. Very easy. I don't foresee the OP's plan being implemented. There is something similar in Florida. It's a private company that picks up passengers at certain cities/towns around the State and drops them off at several different ships from different cruise lines. SF usually has one cruise ship at a time.  Where we live there are sailings from New Jersey and NYC on Royal Caribbean & NCL. Local T.A.'s offer group fares on certain sailings which include bus to and from the pier. It's a 2+ hour ride one way.

 

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When visiting our family in California pre cruise, we had our son drive us to the ferry terminal in Vallejo  and we did the crossing to SF from there.  It was an easy walk, with our wheeled luggage, to the the cruise ship dock.

 

Barb

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On 6/6/2021 at 2:40 PM, Cruise Raider said:

 

We've done BART with more luggage in the past but I'm now to the point where I just want to walk to the pier from the station.  A couple of times the elevators have been out of order at the BART station we use.... don't want to go through the hassle of that again.  

Hello Cruise Raider and Memoak,

Cruising on Ruby Princess in Nov 27, 2021, my Dad is in a wheelchair and was thinking of taking the BART to the pier.  Does the elevator breaks down often?  We only have 2 carry ons and 2 knapsacks so we travelled light.  I am concern about the broken elevator.  Only one elevator available?  It is so difficult to find a reasonable priced wheelchair accessible shuttle/taxi at SFO. How far a walk is from BART station to pier?  Is it a flat walk?

 

Grace

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, lost4sure said:

Hello Cruise Raider and Memoak,

Cruising on Ruby Princess in Nov 27, 2021, my Dad is in a wheelchair and was thinking of taking the BART to the pier.  Does the elevator breaks down often?  We only have 2 carry ons and 2 knapsacks so we travelled light.  I am concern about the broken elevator.  Only one elevator available?  It is so difficult to find a reasonable priced wheelchair accessible shuttle/taxi at SFO. How far a walk is from BART station to pier?  Is it a flat walk?

 

Grace

Here is some information that should help you. It is a very flat, very nice walk. Of course, like anywhere, the weather might make it a little less pleasant. 

If the elevator is out at the Embarcadero Station, the walk from the Montgomery Station should not be too bad. You can put Montgomery Station into the Google Maps  link below.

 

https://www.bart.gov/stations/embr/accessible

 

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Embarcadero+Station,+San+Francisco,+CA/Pier+27,+27+San+Francisco+Pier+33+-+Alcatraz+Island,+San+Francisco,+CA+94111/@37.7988567,-122.4035884,15z/data=!4m8!4m7!1m2!1m1!1s0x80858063e73c2b61:0x4fe9e3645b883ac9!1m2!1m1!1s0x80858058095c4145:0x1efffe4058f28e9b!3e2

Edited by 2 cruises a year
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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, lost4sure said:

Hello Cruise Raider and Memoak,

Cruising on Ruby Princess in Nov 27, 2021, my Dad is in a wheelchair and was thinking of taking the BART to the pier.  Does the elevator breaks down often?  We only have 2 carry ons and 2 knapsacks so we travelled light.  I am concern about the broken elevator.  Only one elevator available?  It is so difficult to find a reasonable priced wheelchair accessible shuttle/taxi at SFO. How far a walk is from BART station to pier?  Is it a flat walk?

 

Grace


A couple of questions for you:  

are you flying into SFO?  If so, just getting to the BART platforms is a bit of work.  If you are flying into Oakland, that is closer to the train platforms.  
I’ve seen the elevators out of order, though … on more occasions than one, including Oakland and San Francisco.  For the most part, I don’t think it is a usual occurrence.  
There are a few sets of elevators at the Embarcadero platform.  The escalators are almost always working but that won’t help you.  BTW, I haven’t ridden BART since the beginning of the pandemic so don’t know how their maintenance has been handled.  
Anyway, once you get off at the Embarcadero station, it is all flat with sidewalks right along the waterfront … about one mile to the pier.  It’s actually an easy walk.  However, I just can’t imagine trying to do it with luggage as well as a wheelchair. 
I would recommend trying the Princess transfers in your situation.  I’m sure they’ve dealt with a lot of mobility devices.  It might be a bit more but at least you’d have some peace of mind.  
 

PS .. last time we walked to the SF Giants game from Montgomery Station, it was a bit sketchy.  I don’t imagine it has gotten better in that area … only worse.  Albeit, we were walking in a different direction.  However. That’s not the station you’d want to take to the Pier anyway.  You’d want to take the Embarcadero  station if you are going to take BART.  Cross the street and head away from the Bay Bridge.  

Edited by Cruise Raider
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There is an airport service out of Sonoma County that used to (pre-pandemic anyway) schedule an extra bus or two on days there were cruises in San Francisco.  They picked up and dropped off at all the same spots the airport bus did from Santa Rosa and south along 101.  They drove right onto the pier and also took care of your luggage, handing it over to the porters.

 

I took it 2 or 3 times when I lived in the area.  It was so freaking convenient even now when I live further away I would gladly take that bus and leave my car at their parking lot rather than drive into San Francisco and hassle with parking in the city.

 

So glad to hear there is a similar service out of Sacramento as I live only about an hour away.  Gotta check that out.

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15 hours ago, lost4sure said:

Hello Cruise Raider and Memoak,

Cruising on Ruby Princess in Nov 27, 2021, my Dad is in a wheelchair and was thinking of taking the BART to the pier.  Does the elevator breaks down often?  We only have 2 carry ons and 2 knapsacks so we travelled light.  I am concern about the broken elevator.  Only one elevator available?  It is so difficult to find a reasonable priced wheelchair accessible shuttle/taxi at SFO. How far a walk is from BART station to pier?  Is it a flat walk?

 

Grace

You can check on the BART website ahead of time to see which elevators are out of service. The walk is flat, but the pier is not that close (about a mile). An alternative to walking is to take the Muni bus from the Embarcadero BART station to the pier.

 

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21 hours ago, 2 cruises a year said:

Here is some information that should help you. It is a very flat, very nice walk. Of course, like anywhere, the weather might make it a little less pleasant. 

If the elevator is out at the Embarcadero Station, the walk from the Montgomery Station should not be too bad. You can put Montgomery Station into the Google Maps  link below.

 

https://www.bart.gov/stations/embr/accessible

 

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Embarcadero+Station,+San+Francisco,+CA/Pier+27,+27+San+Francisco+Pier+33+-+Alcatraz+Island,+San+Francisco,+CA+94111/@37.7988567,-122.4035884,15z/data=!4m8!4m7!1m2!1m1!1s0x80858063e73c2b61:0x4fe9e3645b883ac9!1m2!1m1!1s0x80858058095c4145:0x1efffe4058f28e9b!3e2

Thank you, 2 cruises a year.  I will look into it.

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