Meh, I've had better.
I went on a boat tour this weekend with some friends that were in town. I had previously taken the Red & White Fleet's tour and enjoyed that one much better.
First, the tour on the Blue and Gold Fleet was broadcast over a loudspeaker. The stories told were ok, but not super interesting or engaging. I wish I would have learned more about all the neighborhoods we were passing and the Easy Bay (like on the Red and White Fleet tour) instead of little tidbits from the lives of people who lived on Alcatraz. Some of the Alcatraz information was interesting, though.
Second, we drove around Alcatraz Island twice. I think this was somewhat unnecessary. If they were looking to stretch the tour another 20 mins they could have driven closer to the East bay. They also drove close to the Bay Bridge, but didn't talk about any of the history.
I was pretty disappointed with this tour.
My friend and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves..
My friend and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves riding the Blue & Gold Fleet. We took a ferry from San Francisco to Sausalito, stayed for a while, and back again later in the afternoon.
The boat rocked a little bit when we were pretty far along, which made my friend a little queezy, but as soon as we got to Sausalito, it was pretty nice.
We paid a fair price, I thought.
Unfriendly ferry staff. My girlfriend and I went on the Alcatraz cruise earlier this month. The ferry had insufficient seating areas for the amount of people on board (we had to sit on the floor) but that wasn't really too bad as the journey was just 15 minutes. The thing that got to us was the HORRIBLY unattentive and unfriendly member of staff serving snacks behind the bar. When we asked for a hot cholcolate he grunted and pointed to a tray on the counter saying, 'its there', well there was only one and we wanted one each and of course when we asked if we could have another he was VERY annoyed because he had to do a bit of work. Terrible service. The actual tour of the prison wasn't very well organised and there were FAR too many people in there and again more unfriendly staff, this time the man working in the gift shop. As a whole this trip was a great disappointment and at over sixteen pounds each for the trip it wasn't worth it.
Good experience. Visited in August'06, and took the "Bay Cruise" included in the Citypass (sightseeing tour, with great views of the bridge and city), and the night Alcatraz tour. The bay cruise was crowded and you couldn't hear the speakers, but the views and ride very nice. The night Alcatraz tour was one of our favorite excursions while in SF. The cruise took you directly to "The Rock", and the park rangers gave excellent, informative tours. The audio tour allowed you to take in all the important aspects of the actual prison, and the extra programs available at no charge were also worth the trip. We took the tour "Sharks, Shipwrecks and Skeletons",which discussed bay conditions, escapees' chances of survival and some history. Very cool!
My husband and I recently took Blue and Gold Fleet's Alcatraz tour while visiting from Arizona. Before the tour, we browsed around the large gift shop and used the restrooms. The gift shop was nice and good-sized. The bathrooms, however, were absolutely disgusting, both the men's and women's. I heard an anxious mother exhorting her young daughter to "hover" while I was using the restroom. I don't know if the bathrooms are the responsibility of the Pier personnel or the Fleet, but they were bad.
We had a hard time figuring out where we turned in our tickets to board the boat, and the gift shop personnel couldn't tell us, either, since they said they were a different company (not to mention I could barely understand their broken English, but that was par for the course while we were in San Fran). We finally realized that we had to get in line by the dock and then turn our tickets in right before we boarded.
The boat ride went fine. The hike up to the cellhouse from the dock was definitely a climb! I recommend bringing some water and snacks with you.
The audio recording we listened to while touring sometimes went too fast, and other times too slow, so my hubby and I went back through after we finished. There were some rude people talking too loudly while we were trying to listen to our headsets, and other rude people who would stand in the open cells much longer than they should have been, but that was no surprise. I was very upset to discover some litter in the cellhouse, such as gum wrappers on the window ledges. This is living history, people, try to respect it! That's America for you nowadays....no respect for history. /grumble grumble/
There was much construction going on when we were there. I recommend waiting until the fall of this year to tour it if you can.
Being on the island itself was amazing. Fog rolled in and really lended to the ambiance. I highly recommend going, and I'll be going back again!
Big time operator satisfies "Escape from Alcatraz" fans with frequent departures bound for the historical island..
Transporting more than four million passengers to Alcatraz annually, Blue & Gold Fleet is the largest ferry and passenger vessel operator serving the San Francisco Bay. While a streamlined booking process keeps the cruises packed--ships can hold up to 300 people--the draw lies in the variety of Bay tours at reasonable prices.
Choose from a number of different tours designed to appeal to the sightseer with an hour to spare and day-tripper alike. The Alcatraz Island day tour lasts around three hours and includes award-winning audio commentary. For those who don't want the journey to end at Alcatraz, an Island Hop package combines a TramTour on Angel Island after your cellhouse experience.
Bad Attitude - Broken Speaker. We arrived 30 seconds late - my fault. Though the confusing signs/directions from staff didn't help. When they closed the gate in front of us - there was NO attempt to accommodate or even be sympathetic. For $62 (4 people) I would expect at least some gratitude. Then when we went back to the will call desk to try for the same Alcatraz tour time next day. I was told that it's "policy" not to do that. They need another $62 if you want to try again. So that would be their "greed" policy. To be fair, they do offer you the option of the "around the bay cruise" - no Alcatraz. And that might have been okay were it not for the banal tourist tape chattering away the whole time, loudly, through a BROKEN speaker. That was a painful one hour torture from which there is no escape.
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