Frequently Asked Questions

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Purchase Tickets

How can I purchase tickets to visit Alcatraz?

Alcatraz Island tickets can be purchased online, over the phone, or at the Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing ticket booth. The easiest and quickest way to book is through this official and authorized concessioner website by simply choosing the ticket quantity and clicking on the “BUY TICKETS” button above.

You can also book tickets by calling our Contact Center at +1-415-981-7625. The Contact Center is open seven days a week, from 9:00am to 5:00pm Pacific Time (PST).

If you would like to purchase in person, you can visit the ticket booth located at Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing. The ticket booth is open seven days a week from 9:00am to 5:00pm PST. Alcatraz City Cruises encourages the use of credit and debit cards for all purchases and cannot process cash transactions at this time. Please note that same-day tickets may not be available. We strongly recommend booking tickets in advance.

How far in advance should I reserve my tickets?

Alcatraz Island is one of San Francisco’s most popular attractions with tours frequently selling out a week or more in advance. Tickets are rarely available for same-day sailings. Book tickets online or call +1-415-981-7625, between the hours of 9:00am and 5:00pm PST.

Do you accept cash payment?

Alcatraz City Cruises encourages the use of credit and debit cards for all purchases and cannot process cash transactions at this time.

How do I resolve an error when purchasing online?

Here are a couple of things to try when booking on our website:

  • Clear your cookies and your browser cache.
  • Begin a new session (non-incognito mode).
  • Replace or delete any special characters or accents in your name and address.
  • Ensure there is no space after the last character.
  • Enter your phone number without any spaces or dashes or preceding 0’s. You may enter the phone number of your hotel or local accommodation or enter our phone number +1-415-981-7625, then send us an e-mail to [email protected] with your mobile or best contact once in San Francisco so we can change it in our system.
  • For zip codes – enter only letters and numbers omitting any spaces. Ensure there is no space after the last character.

If you are only seeing TICKETS NOT AVAILABLE next to the types of departures that means none of the departures for that particular time are available. You can also book tickets by calling our Contact Center at +1-415-981-7625. The Contact Center is open seven days a week, from 9:00am to 5:00pm PST. Please note that same-day tickets may not be available. We strongly recommend booking tickets in advance.

I am still experiencing problems while trying to book online. Why?

Due to internet security, we protect our visitors with the latest industry standards for credit card authorizations and your issuing bank may have declined the transaction on the basis of not supporting address verification online. We also constantly updating our website and you may have been trying to book during one of these updates. Clearing your cookies and your internet browsing cache might help resolve the problem. If you continue to have problems booking your tickets, please call our reservations department at +1-415-981-7625 to book over the phone.

I want to book dates that are not available. What do I do?

Our ticket availability is updated in real-time. If you are seeing TICKETS NOT AVAILABLE, that means none of the departures for that particular time or date are available.

The Night Tour and the Behind the Scenes Tour do not operate on the following evenings:

  • New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day
  • July 4th
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

In addition, the Behind the Scenes Tour and the Night Tour are not available on Sundays or Mondays. Alcatraz Island is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

I see Alcatraz tickets on other sites. Why are they more expensive?

Alcatraz City Cruises is the official National Park Service concessioner and exclusive provider of ferry services to Alcatraz Island. Tickets purchased directly from us are inclusive of tax and there are no booking or processing fees when booking tickets at alcatrazcruises.com. This means we can guarantee the lowest price on the tickets.

Our tickets include roundtrip ferry transportation, the audio tour inside the Cellhouse, and other programs on Alcatraz.

How do I make sure my tickets are authentic?

The best way to ensure your ticket’s authenticity is to buy them through Alcatraz City Cruises. Not only are we the official National Park Service concessioner and exclusive provider of ferry services to Alcatraz Island, but we offer the lowest rates because we sell the tickets directly. Other companies may claim or offer to sell these tickets as well, but at a lower price, which are not valid. Tickets purchased from individuals who approach visitors are often sold at an inflated price (scalping) and are illegal. These tickets may not be valid tickets for Alcatraz Island tours and may delay your trip to the island since third party tickets require proof of purchase. To avoid inflated prices or invalid tickets, we recommend purchasing tickets through Alcatraz City Cruises directly.

Are there other companies that will take me to Alcatraz Island?

No. Alcatraz City Cruises is the only commercial ferry service authorized by the National Park Service to carry passengers back and forth to Alcatraz Island. Several other companies offer narrated cruises around the Island, but they are not allowed to dock at Alcatraz Island.

Several tour companies offer packaged tours that include an Alcatraz tour. Are these tickets valid?

In most cases, yes. There are many great tour operators in San Francisco. The portion of their packaged tour for the Alcatraz ticket must cost the same as if you purchased directly from this site. If the rest of their packaged tour is something you want to do, and it is a good value, then you have a fair choice.

Are my tickets valid?

If you purchased your tickets through Alcatraz City Cruises, your tickets are valid.

Other companies offering authentic Alcatraz tour tickets get the tickets from us and are only included as part of a larger experience ticket – with no mark-up on tickets to Alcatraz Island, with ticket prices clearly broken out.

Outside companies do not have access or any control over our inventory, so they may not always be able to confirm tickets for you. It is also not guaranteed that the tickets are valid unless the company is an approved reseller which will show the same ticket price as Alcatraz City Cruises, although it may be subject to a booking or processing fee, making Alcatraz City Cruises the best value to experience Alcatraz Island.

I have been charged twice. How do I get a refund?

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. One of the duplicate transactions will be refunded back to your credit card. Please call us at +1-415-981-7625 or e-mail [email protected] with your original Booking ID number. Applicable refunds will be processed within fourteen (14) days of the date we receive your request.

What are the taxes and fees I’m seeing on my ticket?

Day Tour Adult – $41.00 Junior – $41.00 Senior – $38.65 Child – $25.00 Family Pack – $119.60
$26.10 vessel transportation
$12.90 audio tour
$2.00 base FLREA expanded amenity fee
$26.10 vessel transportation
$12.90 audio tour
$2.00 base FLREA expanded amenity fee
$23.75 vessel transportation
$12.90 audio tour
$2.00 base FLREA expanded amenity fee
$14.10 vessel transportation
$8.90 audio tour
$2.00 base FLREA expanded amenity fee
(2 adults, 2 children)
$72.35 vessel transportation
$39.25 audio tour
$8.00 base FLREA expanded amenity fee
Night Tour Adult – $48.40 Junior – $47.35 Senior – $45.00 Child – $ 28.60
$26.10 vessel transportation
$18.80 audio tour
$2.00 base FLREA expanded amenity fee
$1.50 after hours FLREA expanded amenity fee
$26.10 vessel transportation
$17.75 audio tour
$2.00 base FLREA expanded amenity fee
$1.50 after hours FLREA expanded amenity fee
$23.75 vessel transportation
$17.75 audio tour
$2.00 base FLREA expanded amenity fee
$1.50 after hours FLREA expanded amenity fee
$14.10 vessel transportation
$11.00 audio tour
$2.00 base FLREA expanded amenity fee
$1.50 after hours FLREA expanded amenity fee
Behind the Scenes Tour Adult – $93.40 Junior – $89.35 Senior – $87.00
$26.10 vessel transportation
$45.00 Behind the Scenes Tour
$18.80 audio tour
$2.00 base FLREA expanded amenity fee
$1.50 after hours FLREA expanded amenity fee
$26.10 vessel transportation
$42.00 Behind the Scenes Tour
$17.75 audio tour
$2.00 base FLREA expanded amenity fee
$1.50 after hours FLREA expanded amenity fee
$23.75 vessel transportation
$42.00 Behind the Scenes Tour
$17.75 audio tour
$2.00 base FLREA expanded amenity fee
$1.50 after hours FLREA expanded amenity fee

Child Tickets

How can I purchase tickets for others?

To purchase tickets for others please contact our Contact Center at +1-415-981-7625 between the hours of 9:00am and 5:00pm PST. We refer to this type of purchase as a gift order. Gift orders (purchasing tickets for others) are available on a case-by-case basis, in order to avoid ticket scalping and inflated pricing. Please know that the name of the Alcatraz Island tour visitor must be provided at the time of the purchase. Please note that no additional changes will be accepted beyond the gift order edit.

How do I purchase a child ticket?

Toddlers 4 years old and younger are free, do not require tickets and simply board the ferry with your party. You do not need to include any toddlers in your total visitor count to Alcatraz Island. Children 5 years old and up are required to have a ticket to board the ferry. You are welcome to bring strollers, however, there is no stroller storage. Strollers can be boarded onto our vessels and pushed around Alcatraz Island. Unfortunately, strollers are not allowed on the S.E.A.T. Tram. (S.E.A.T. Tram — an electric shuttle that meets each scheduled arrival at the Alcatraz dock and transports visitors requiring mobility assistance from the dock to the prison building.)

National Park Passes

Do you accept National Parks Passes?

Alcatraz Island tour tickets are not included in a National Park Pass – such as America the Beautiful, Senior Pass, and Access Pass – because there is no entrance fee to Alcatraz Island. The cost of the ticket is for the ferry transportation and the audio tour inside the Cellhouse on Alcatraz.

Discounts

Do you offer any discounts for families?

The Family Pack is offered for those booking two (2) Adult tickets and two (2) Child tickets. The Family Pack is available for purchase by phone at +1-415-981-7625 or at the Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing ticket booth. Age Policy Adult: 18-61 / Junior- 12-17 / Senior- 62+ / Child- 5-11 / Toddler 4 and under are free. Guests under the age of 18 are not allowed to tour Alcatraz Island without the accompaniment of an adult.

Do you offer military discounts?

There are no discounts offered for individual tickets to Alcatraz, however there are limited group discounts available. See the Group Bookings section for complete details. Military discounts are not offered at Alcatraz Island.

E-Tickets and Ticket Pick Up

I bought my tickets online. How do I get my e-tickets?

Your e-mail confirmation has a QR code and a booking ID #. Please check your e-mail to review your ticket summary. Note: the QR code is an image. Remember to download all images in your browser in order to view the QR code. If you cannot print or simply forget to print your e-tickets, you can pick up your tickets at our ticket booth at Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing on the day of your cruise. Please be sure to bring the credit card used to purchase the ticket and valid photo identification.

How do I print my e-tickets?

Upon the final step of the checkout process, use the Print button to print your QR code and booking ID #. Alternatively, your QR code can be scanned from your mobile device at the boarding gate at Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing. If you cannot print or simply forget to print your e-tickets, you can pick up your tickets at our ticket booth at Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing on the day of your cruise. Please be sure to bring the credit card used to purchase the ticket and valid photo identification.

Do I need to print my e-tickets on special paper or with specific print settings?

No, e-tickets do not require any special print settings or paper. Plain paper is preferable. In fact, photo or glossy paper may make it difficult for us to scan your tickets.

Where do I pick up my tickets?

If you do not have tickets already when you arrive at Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing, you can check availability and purchase tickets at the ticket booth. If you have already purchased tickets, there is a separate line for visitors to pick up prepaid tickets (Will Call) at the ticket booth. Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing is at the foot of Bay Street on the Embarcadero, between the intersections of Embarcadero & Bay Streets and Embarcadero & Sansome Streets. Please arrive one half hour prior to your departure time to check in. You must present valid government-issued photo identification, along with the credit card used to purchase the tickets. A photocopy of a passport suffices as valid photo identification.

Group Bookings

What is considered a group?

Parties of 20 people or more are considered a group. Any group must fill out a group application request, based on their group type. Groups can book no more than 60 people on any one departure. For more information, visit our Group Reservations page.

Can groups go on Night Tours?

The National Park Service allows one group on each Night Tour departure. The group can range in size up to a maximum of 60 people. Groups on the Night Tour are approved on a first come, first served basis. There is a limited number of visitors who can take the Night Tour each evening. For group reservations on our Night Tours please contact the Group Services Department directly to request an information form. You may call +1-855-964-2282 seven days a week between the hours of 8:00am to 5:00pm PST or e-mail us at [email protected]. The ability to make group reservations requires completing an application. Please allow up to 30 days for review. If approved, you will be authorized to make group reservations.

What is the chaperone policy for youth groups?

Groups must include one adult leader (over 21 years of age) for every nine guests below the age of 18. Guests under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult chaperone at all times while on the Island. Persons between the ages of 18 and 20 cannot be considered chaperones for youth groups. Youth groups must arrive at Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing with the correct ratio of chaperones to children. Alcatraz City Cruises does not allow youth groups to bring chaperones who do not know the children in the group. Chaperone guidelines are strictly enforced by Alcatraz City Cruises and the National Park Service. Youth groups arriving at Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing without the proper number of chaperones will not be allowed on Alcatraz Island. Please contact the Group Services Department at [email protected] or +1-855-964-2282 to receive complete information on youth groups and chaperones.

I am a travel agent. How can I book and print e-tickets for my clients?

Travel companies and tour operators wishing to book Alcatraz Island tour tickets as part of a package on behalf of clients, please fill out a group application request. Applications are subject to approval, and once approved, you may begin packaging Alcatraz tickets with your tour itineraries. Until then, visitors can still purchase tickets on our website, or by calling our Contact Center at +1-415-981-7625.

I want to take a group on a specially guided tour of the Island. How do I arrange that?

Independently guided tours are NOT allowed on Alcatraz Island. Only National Park Service tours are permitted. Groups are invited to participate in our various tours as well as the regularly scheduled park programs offered on the Island. Organizations ignoring this rule will be escorted from the Island.

Cancellations, Rescheduling & Refunds

How do I cancel/reschedule my tickets?

Alcatraz City Cruises has recently introduced a user portal designed to allow our guests increased abilities regarding their booking. Our new system is active and ready for use. The following functions are available on the portal:

  • Confirm your booking
  • Text your booking ID to your mobile device
  • Print your receipt
  • Reschedule
  • Add or remove individual ticket types
  • Refund and cancel entire booking

Please visit our Manage Your Booking page to begin processing any of the above functions here.

What happens if my tour is cancelled due to weather? Can I reschedule if I’m concerned about weather?

While our tours operate rain or shine, Alcatraz City Cruises will notify guests as soon as possible if their tour is cancelled due to unsafe weather conditions. The notification will advise on next steps regarding rescheduling a tour or receiving a refund. Most likely, guests will be given the option to reschedule their tour to the next available departure, and we will process full refunds if they chose not to reschedule. We do not adhere to the 72-hour cancellation policy in these cases.

I’m running late to my tour. Can I catch the next departure?

If guests are running late, or have already missed their tour, it is best to check-in at the Will Call area of the ticket booth at Pier 33. We will accommodate the guest on the next available departure, even if this means the next day. We do not offer refunds for missed tours and cannot guarantee being able to reschedule tours if guests are running late.

What is the reschedule policy? Can I change my tickets same day?

Up until 72 hours before their cruise, a guest can reschedule their cruise. An Alcatraz City Cruises cruise cannot be rescheduled within 72 hours of the cruise.

With Ticket Assurance: A guest may cancel or reschedule to another available date and departure up to 24 hours prior to their departure. If cancelling, they receive a full refund minus the cost of Assurance.

What is the cancellation policy?

Up until 72 hours before their cruise, a guest can get a full refund for their cruise. There are no refunds for Alcatraz City Cruises within 72 hours of the cruise unless the cruise the guest is scheduled on is sold out.

With Ticket Assurance: A guest may cancel or reschedule to another available date and departure up to 24 hours prior to their departure. If cancelling, they receive a full refund minus the cost of Assurance.

Please review our full cancellation policy here.

Visiting Alcatraz Island - Plan Your Trip

Accessibility

How accessible is Alcatraz Island?

Much of Alcatraz is steep and hilly, so be prepared for walking long distances uphill. The distance from the dock to the prison at the top of the Island is about .25 mile (.4 km) and the elevation change is 130 feet (40 meters). This is equivalent to climbing a thirteen-story building. Visitors unable to make the climb up Alcatraz’s roads may take advantage of the S.E.A.T. (Sustainable Easy Access Transport) Tram — an electric shuttle that meets each scheduled arrival at the Alcatraz dock and transports visitors requiring mobility assistance from the dock to the prison building. S.E.A.T. returns visitors requiring mobility assistance from the prison building back to the dock at regular intervals throughout the day. Visitors requiring mobility assistance may be accompanied by one attendant in their party if space is available. Families with small children and strollers cannot be accommodated on S.E.A.T. Seating is on a first come, first serve basis. The S.E.A.T. schedule is listed on the accessibility page.

The following areas are completely wheelchair accessible:

  • Alcatraz dock area
  • Prison building main floor
  • All bookstores
  • Museum displays
  • Island theater
  • Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing
  • All Alcatraz City Cruises vessels

The Tours

How are the tours different?

The Alcatraz Island Day Tour includes round-trip ferry transportation to the Island. If you purchase the Alcatraz Day Tour, you can stay on Alcatraz Island as long as you like up until the last Day Tour return ferry. Allow at least 2.5 to 3 hours for sailing to the Island, exploring and returning to Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing. The trip over to Alcatraz Island is 12-15 minutes each way and is factored into the suggested time of 2.5 to 3 hours. Most guests spend approximately 2-3 hours total for the duration of the trip and tour. Alcatraz City Cruises’ return ferries leave Alcatraz Island roughly every half hour from the time of arrival. Please be sure to check the departure schedule to ensure you are viewing the proper season’s departures and returns.

Day Tour
  • 3 hours
  • Includes round-trip ferry to Alcatraz (15 minutes each way)
  • Audio tour of the Cellhouse & on-board narration during ferry
Night Tour
  • 3 hours
  • Includes round-trip ferry to Alcatraz (15 minutes each way)
  • Audio tour of the Cellhouse & on-board narration during ferry
  • Optional programs and exhibits
  • Docent guided tours and talks
Behind the Scenes Tour
  • 2 hours
  • Includes round-trip ferry to Alcatraz (15 minutes each way)
  • Personally guided Behind the Scenes Tour with less than 20 people
  • Access to exclusive areas

Is there more information on the Behind the Scenes Tour?

How long does the tour last?

The Behind the Scenes guided tour lasts two (2) hours. If you choose to stay afterwards for the Night Tour program, the complete experience including round trip boat ride, lasts four to five (4-5) hours. Please refer to the departure schedule for exact departing and returning times as the ferry runs vary based on the Summer or Winter schedule. Visitors can choose from two (2) Behind the Scenes Tours offered departing from Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing. Upon reaching Alcatraz Island, you will be advised of the exact time the two (2) return ferry boats leave Alcatraz Island.

Where does the Behind the Scenes tour go?

The Alcatraz Island Behind the Scenes Tour covers a different route and contains different content than the Alcatraz Cellhouse audio tour or the daily guided tours and programs. It explores a variety of “off the beaten path” areas of the Island. Destinations may include the New Industries Building, the Officers’ Row Gardens, the upper levels of D Block, the Hospital, A Block, Citadel and/or the Chapel, Theatre and other areas as they become available. Specific destinations are not guaranteed. The tour route may vary depending on safety and accessibility concerns, weather, construction, bird habitat, group size, etc.

In what languages is the Behind the Scenes Tour offered?

The two (2) hour guided Behind the Scenes portion of the tour is available only in English. Once you reach the Cellhouse portion of the tour, you may choose the Cellhouse audio tour offered in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese, Russian, Korean, Mandarin, and Portuguese. The other live programs that are part of the Night Tour are offered in English only.

How many people will there be in the group?

The two (2) hour guided Behind the Scenes Tour group size is limited to twenty (20) participants per tour. Actual group size may be smaller.

How do I access/download the audio tour?

The award-winning Alcatraz audio tour, “Doing Time: The Alcatraz Cellhouse Tour,” is offered using traditional audio tour equipment provided onsite.

When available, options to access the audio tour via your mobile device will be provided once you arrive on Alcatraz Island.

The tour occurs in the Alcatraz Cellhouse. Staff there will direct you when and where to start the audio tour.

If you do not wish to visit the Cellhouse, refunds for the Cellhouse audio tour are available on the Island. For more information, please inquire with a Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy supervisor on the Island at the entrance to the Cellhouse. These refunds cannot be requested through the Alcatraz City Cruises ticket booth or the Contact Center.

What languages are offered for audio tours?

The award-winning Alcatraz audio tour, “Doing Time: The Alcatraz Cellhouse Tour,” is offered using traditional audio tour equipment provided onsite.

The Cellhouse audio tour is available in Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

Travel Times

How much time should I allow for my visit?

You can stay on Alcatraz Island as long as you like if you choose the Day Tour. Allow at least 2.5 to 3 hours for sailing to the Island, exploring the Island and returning to Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing. The trip over to Alcatraz Island is 12-15 minutes each way and is factored into the suggested time of 2.5 to 3 hours.

What time do we come back from the Island?

The return trips are listed on the Departure Schedule page and also posted at the Island dock. You can stay on Alcatraz Island as long as you like if you take the Day Tour because multiple ferries depart the Island each day. The ride from Alcatraz Island to Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing is approximately 12-15 minutes. Boats are loaded on a first come, first served basis.

Parking and Transportation

Where can I park?

There is no parking at Pier 33.

Street parking in the Fisherman’s Wharf area can be hard to find and nearly every space has a parking meter. Parking meters take nickels, dimes, quarters, and credit cards. Rates range from $.25 to $6.00 per hour (subject to change since these are not operated by Alcatraz City Cruises). Parking meters in the area operate seven days a week.

There are fifteen commercial lots within a five-block radius of Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing with a total of more than 3,000 parking spaces. The closest and most convenient lots are located at 55 Francisco Street and 80 Francisco Street. Rates can range from as $40-$60 per day for parking.

Automobile break-ins are frequent in the area, so please do not leave any valuables in your car.

For more information on parking in the Fisherman’s Wharf area visit Plan Your Trip: Parking.

Do you validate parking?

Unfortunately, there are no parking validation services offered.

I’m taking public transportation. How do I get to Pier 33?

For the best public transportation route, please visit 511.org’s website to map out the best public transportation routes.

Seasonality

What is the best time of year to visit the Island?

What is the best time of year to visit the Island?

To avoid crowds, schedule your visit during the first two weeks of November, the first two weeks of December and anytime during the winter months of January through March. To experience the nicest weather, plan your Alcatraz visit for April through May or September through October. (Surprisingly, summer can bring cold and foggy weather to San Francisco and the Island.)

What months are best for viewing nesting seabirds?

The best time to view nesting seabirds is February through August. Nest building and egg laying occur in April and May, and chicks begin to hatch in mid-June. Visit the National Park Service’s Birds of Alcatraz web page for more information.

How should I dress when visiting the island?

The weather on Alcatraz is unpredictable and liable to change unexpectedly, so be prepared by bringing along a light jacket or sweater no matter how nice the day starts out. The best advice is always to dress in layers. Wear rain gear during wet winter months. (Rain gear is available for purchase at the Island’s bookstores.) Wear comfortable walking shoes with grip-type soles. Avoid wearing sandals, leather-soled shoes, high heels, and open-toe shoes. Visit our What to Wear page for more information.

Visiting Alcatraz - On the Island

What can I see or do on Alcatraz?

Accessible areas on the Island and Alcatraz Day Tour include:

  • The historic Alcatraz Cellhouse as well as the Cellhouse audio tour
  • Eagle Plaza, Recreation Yard, the Sallyport, and the Rose Garden
  • Iconic views of the Cellhouse, Building 64, Water Tower, Warden’s House, Officer’s Club, and Model Industries Building
  • Native American Occupation era political messaging on the exterior of many Island buildings
  • Special access to “Red Power on Alcatraz: Perspective 50 Years Later” – an extensive exhibit telling the story of the 19-month Native American occupation of the Island on display in the New Industries Building

What Waterbirds can I see on the Island?

Western Gulls are seen all over the Island. Along the West Road, Brandt’s Cormorants can easily be viewed. Snowy Egrets and Black Crowned Night Herons can also be seen from the West Road. Pelagic Cormorants and Pigeon Guillemots are also seen on the Island. Visit the National Park Service’s Birds of Alcatraz web page for more information.

Are guests under the age of 18 allowed to tour Alcatraz Island without the accompaniment of an adult?

No. Guests under the age of 18 are not allowed to tour Alcatraz Island without the accompaniment of an adult. An adult must be with a person under 18 years of age at all times while on Alcatraz Island. Guests under the age of 18 who are visiting Alcatraz Island unaccompanied by an adult will be sent back to Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing and no refunds will be given.

Can I bring luggage/coolers/oversized backpacks or packages to Alcatraz Island?

No. Luggage, coolers, oversized backpacks and packages are not allowed on Alcatraz Island due to safety concerns. The National Park Service and Alcatraz City Cruises comply with Department of Homeland Security guidelines. Ferry departure and arrival points receive a great deal of scrutiny from the United States Coast Guard and are regulated as closely as airports. For this reason, luggage, coolers, oversized backpacks and large packages are not allowed on Alcatraz Island. The maximum acceptable size for a backpack is 16” x 20”. There are no storage facilities in the Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing area. Alcatraz City Cruises does not store luggage for ticketed passengers. There is luggage storage at the California Welcome Center at Pier 39, located approximately .33 miles north of Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing. Please make arrangements for the storage of luggage and oversized items prior to arriving at Alcatraz Landing. Ticketed passengers arriving at Alcatraz Landing with luggage, coolers, oversized backpacks and packages may not be able to visit Alcatraz Island. Please note that we cannot offer refunds to visitors who miss their ferry because of their luggage or any oversized bags. Thank you for your cooperation in this regard.

Can I bring food onto the island? Are there dining options on the island?

There are no dining options on the Island.

Guests may bring bottled water throughout the experience. Please plan accordingly and enjoy your meals prior to your arrival. We do not currently allow food or drinks to be consumed on Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing or onboard our vessels.

How often does Alcatraz Island get cleaned?

For the most up-to-date information regarding cleaning and safety, please visit our SafeCruise page.

Do I need to be vaccinated to visit Alcatraz Island? Do I need to bring proof?

Alcatraz City Cruises does not require proof of vaccination to visit Alcatraz Island. Face coverings are required in boarding queues, onboard our vessels, and in all indoor spaces on the Island. For updates to these policies, please visit our SafeCruise page.

What is the weapons policy on Alcatraz Island?

For more information on the park laws and policies, please visit the National Parks Service Laws & Policies page.

Alcatraz History & Folklore

How long did the penitentiary on Alcatraz operate?

28 years and eight months. Officially titled, “U.S. Penitentiary, Alcatraz,” the institution opened on July 1, 1934 and closed on March 21, 1963.

How many cells were there?

There are 336 “main line” cells and 42 “solitary confinement” cells in the Cellhouse. The prison was never filled, though, and the average population was about 260 men. The highest occupancy was 302 convicts.

What was the average convict’s length of stay?

About eight years. Men were never sentenced directly to Alcatraz, but rather had to earn their way onto the Island through bad behavior at another federal institution. Alcatraz was sometimes called “the prison within the prison system.” Good behavior could earn a convict a transfer to another federal institution, but almost never a direct release from prison.

Is Alcatraz haunted?

Spiritualists and people who want to believe in ghosts often claim to pick up haunted auras and ghostly feelings when visiting Alcatraz. However, there are no authenticated cases of ghost sightings by any of Alcatraz’s residents over the years, whether they were soldiers, prisoners, correctional officers, family members or park rangers.

How many prisoners were executed at Alcatraz?

None. Alcatraz had no facilities for capital punishment, and no one was ever sent to the Island with a death sentence. Alcatraz inmates who committed capital offenses while on the Island were tried in federal court, sentenced to death, and transferred to San Quentin State Penitentiary.

Are there man-eating sharks in the bay?

Although San Francisco Bay is teeming with sharks, the majority are small species such as Brown Smooth-hound sharks and Leopard sharks that average only a few feet in length and have no interest in attacking people. Great white sharks (unfairly made infamous by the movie “Jaws”) rarely venture inside the bay, even though they are numerous in Pacific Ocean waters just outside the Golden Gate. It should be noted, however, that in October of 2015, a great white shark breached to catch and ate a sea lion, approximately 20’ off the Alcatraz Island dock.

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