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“Go North Bay” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hornblower Cruises & Events

Hornblower Cruises & Events
970 N Harbor Drive, or 1800 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101
+1 619-686-8715
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Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Attraction details
Owner description: San Diego Dinner Cruises,Champagne Brunch, Blue Whale watching. Sightseeing by boat on Harbor Cruises on San Diego Bay or Gray Whale Watching Cruises (seasonally). Summer Cocktail Cruises, Fireworks dinner cruises and Lobster Dinner Cruises! Private yacht charters, holiday parties and Destination wedding receptions for two or groups under 1000. Special discounts are posted online. Birthday offer: Buy 3 dinner tickets or brunch and get 1 FREE! Use code BDY.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Stairs / elevator, Stroller parking
20 reviews 20 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Go North Bay”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2014

Hornblower Cruises & Events offers cruise tours of North and South San Diego Bay. If you only want to take a one hour tour, take the tour of North Bay. You can take some beautiful photos and get a glimpse of wildlife (sea lions). Although the South Bay tour runs under the Coronado Bridge, it's main focus is the sea vessels. We went on the first tour (10:00am departure, 9:45am boarding) and had a smaller crowd. They also offer a snack bar on board.

Visited August 2014
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413 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
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English first
17 reviews 17 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“More fun than expected”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2014

Had a great time, the dinner was very good! Went around the bay, so we had some beautiful pictures taken. We were with a private party so there was a DJ and a magician, Magic Mike from San Diego.

Visited July 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
89 reviews 89 reviews
22 attraction reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
96 helpful votes 96 helpful votes
“2 hour bay cruise”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2014

On a short trip to San Diego we booked as a family of 4 on to the 3pm bay cruise for 2 hours. The boarding point is North Harbour Drive which is right next to the USS Midway museum.

Our vessel was the Lord Hornblower. This is described as a powerhouse vessel for up to 650 guests. However, for a scenic trip around the bay where you are more likely to sit on the open top deck, there is room for no more than about 40. All seating is unfixed and you can move chairs about as you wish, which can create problems. We managed to secure 4 chairs on the top deck which became cramped really quickly.

It became clear at that point that the 2 hour bay cruise is really the 2 individual 1 hour cruises bolted together. There were people still on the boat from the previous hour who had now jockeyed for the best position while the boat had re-docked.

As the boat leaves dock you get good close-ups of the USS Midway which has become a museum. After that, the boat will head north or south, depending on which 1 hour cruise is next. We headed north up the bayfront from the Midway to Harbor Island and followed the bay round to Point Loma. An important factor to note here is that ALL the views are on the right hand side of the vessel. The boat hugs the shoreline, so if you are facing left, there are distant views of Coronado Island.

Audio commentary on the way round is quite interesting, especially how much of the shoreline and islands are made from the output of dredging the bay. Some great views of the San Diego skyline also. Sea lions were seen on the fishing decks as we approached Point Loma. We then turned about to follow the Coronado shoreline back to port. Again, all views were right facing.

This part of the cruise did last 1 hour. We then docked, while people disembarked - these were the people who had now completed both cruises or people who had paid for just 1 hour. At no point was our ticket checked to see if we had paid for 2 hours. The top deck became free and we moved to a better position so we could face right!

The 2nd cruise took us south, hugging the Coronado shoreline to the right, and then inexplicably deviated before going under the Coronado bridge so all the action was on the left! Most of the south cruise was devoted to all the naval vessels in dock. The commentator was a naval man who had worked on one of the vessels in dock and had intimate knowledge of all other vessel classes along the route. His passion was clear, and even if you are not interested in ships it was an interesting and informative lesson in what the individual ships were used for.

I didn't even notice us turn around to head back, but we had to hustle as someone had got carried away talking about ships! We arrived pack in port after another full hour (and a bit) to complete a pleasant 2 and a quarter hours on the boat.

In hindsight, I'm happy we opted for the 2 hours, as the 2 sides of the bay are quite different. Also, the re-docking after an hour does allow you to gain a better seat and visit an empty bar, so look at it positively!

Visited July 2014
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Las Vegas, Nevada
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Food was really good :)”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2014

The food was much better than I expected. Being buffet style on a boat I was a little skeptical, but I was pleasantly surprised. Service was okay.

Visited July 2014
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Atlanta, Georgia
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
15 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2014

The Hornblower cruise has taken the place of Maid of the Mist in Canada. They have a brand new pavilion and boats and give out green rain ponchos. I stood on the top deck to get a good view and the ride was spectacular! Felt like I was going into heaven.

Visited July 2014
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