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Frequently Asked Questions

Making Reservations

How do I make a reservation?

Reservations can be made online or by phone at 888-467-6256 with a major credit card. Seats are not held without payment. If you would like to pay in cash, reservations must be made in person at these locations:


San Francisco:
Corporate Offices at Pier 3, on the Embarcadero

Old Sacramento:
1206 Front St, Sacramento, CA 95814

Marina del Rey:
13755 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey, CA 90292

Newport Beach:
2431 W Coast Hwy, Newport Beach, CA 92663

San Diego:
970 N. Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101

New York:
353 West St, New York, NY 10014

What payment options do I have

We accept most major credit cards. If necessary, you can pay with a personal check or money order by mail. Please call our reservations department at 888-467-6256 for more information. You may pay cash at all port locations (see “How do I make a reservation?“).

Can I hold a reservation and pay onboard?

We do not hold reservations without payment.

I have a gift certificate/coupon/offer, how do I redeem it?

All gift certificates, coupons and discount offers must be mentioned at the time of booking in order to be honored. Please bring your gift certificate, promotional card or coupon with you on the night of your cruise and present it to the host/hostess on board.
To redeem your Groupon select your event, proceed to checkout and enter your coupon number. Apply one coupon for every ticket that you add to your cart.

What is administrative fee?

An Administrative fee is collected at the time of reservation, related to the cruise and the services included in the ticket. This is not a gratuity and will be used at the discretion of the company. If you wish to purchase additional beverages or food enhancements onboard, we recommend you leave a gratuity onboard based on the quality of service provided to you by your server.

Onboard Experience

What is the dress attire for the cruises?

River, Harbor & Whale Watching Tours: Casual attire, such as shorts and t-shirts are appropriate. We recommend bringing along a light jacket or wrap as it may get breezy on board, especially for those cruises that occur out on the open ocean.

What time do I board the ship?

Boarding time is usually 30 minutes prior to departure for all cruises. Please check your boarding time when making your reservation.

Is smoking allowed?

Smoking is allowed on the outside decks only with the exception of Harbor Tours, Sights & Sips, Barefoot Music Cruises, and Whale Watching Cruises. Please dispose of all refuse in proper receptacles. Do not throw anything into the water. Please help us keep our harbors clean.

Is there pre-assigned seating?

As you board, our captain and marine crew will direct you to your deck. From there the host/hostess will show your party to your assigned table(s). Decks are never guaranteed to non-private groups. We assign seats based on needs and capacity for each cruise.

Will I get my own table?

On the majority of our cruises, we assign private tables to the individual parties. However, on some of our cruises, we do have cruise-style seating, where we will ask you to share a table with other parties. If this is the case, you will be told if this is the case at the time you make your reservation.

What kind of entertainment is on board?

Hornblower offers inviting dance floors and a variety of music, from the dance hits of the 40’s through today as well as a variety of jazz, standards and popular favorites. Depending on the cruise, it may be background music, a DJ or a live band. Please check online or ask one of our reservations agents for more details about the planned entertainment for your specific cruise.

Can we meet the captain and visit the pilot house?

Yes. Guests are welcome to come and meet the Captain and the First Officer. However, for safety and security reasons, we ask that you check with our staff onboard before visiting the pilot house. We want to ensure that all passengers and crew are kept safe and that the captain is not distracted while performing essential duties.

Food & Beverage Options

Do you offer special celebrations for birthdays, anniversaries or special occasions?

We offer a variety of special enhancements to add to your dining experience. Please ask your reservations agent about our celebration packages, food enhancements, balloon or flower bouquets, and our drink passports. These options are also available when booking online.
In addition to purchasing enhancements, we are happy to acknowledge all special occasions onboard. Please let us know what your celebrating and the name(s) of those being honored, and our entertainment will be happy to make an announcement during the cruise.

Can I make a special menu request?

If you have food allergies or other dietary restrictions, please let your reservations agent know at the time of booking. We can also accommodate most other special dietary needs with advance notice.

Are there vegetarian options available?

Yes, for dining cruises, vegetarian meals are available and can be arranged at the time of booking. If you have a group with many vegetarians or if you have vegans, please notify a reservations agent at the time of booking.

When is dinner served?

Dinner service begins immediately upon embarking.

Do we need to pre-select the menu before the day of cruising?

No, you do not need to pre-select your menu. Some of our cruises have multiple entrée options and we have a menu that you will chose from onboard. For our other cruises, we either have a preset menu or offer a buffet with a variety of options available. Please ask your reservations agent for more details about your specific cruise.

Accessibility and Safety

Is there a phone on the boat that receives calls?

Hornblower does not have phones for guests’ use. Most cellular services are available on the water as we do not cruise beyond one mile off shore on most of our cruises.

Will I get seasick?

The vast majority of our guests experience no discomfort at all as we do not leave the calm waters of the harbor. If you tend to have a problem with motion sickness, you may experience seasickness. If you are sailing on one of our whale watching cruises, we do go out into the open ocean and as a result, the chance of getting seasick increases. For these cruises, we recommend that if you are prone to motion sickness that you take advantage of a number of preventative measures that are available to you.

Is the ship handicapped acessible?

Hornblower does have accessible yachts in the fleet. However, not all yachts and decks are accessible. Please call 888-467-6256 to ensure handicap accessibility for the date you are planning to cruise.

Are life preservers on board?

Each vessel is 100% Coast Guard certified with life preservers and all required lifesaving equipment, including child life vests.

Are you regulated by the U.S. Coast Guard?

Our vessels are all subject to inspections by the U.S. Coast Guards and our crew are all properly licensed. We also follow Marsec security guidelines. Should the Marsec security level be elevated, we may opt to increase security measures onboard our vessels to insure everyone’s safety. The U.S. Coast Guard requires all passengers over 18 years of age to have valid photo identification. Please make sure to have your photo ID available at boarding.