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San Diego Cruises | Boat Tours, Dinner Cruises, Sunset Sails and More

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Updated: September 15, 2023

Located right on the coast, San Diego is well known for its aquatic activities, including a variety of boat tours and cruises.

This post provides details about the best San Diego Harbor Cruise options, including dining options and sunset outings.


San Diego Harbor Cruises

These cruises will take you out on the water in the San Diego Harbor to get a view of the most notable landmarks in the city from a different perspective. 

You can expect most basic San Diego boat tours to last for between 1-2 hours on average, and tickets are usually around $30-$40 per person. 

TIP: Most Downtown San Diego City Passes include admission to at least one harbor cruise at no extra cost!


Flagship Harbor Cruise Tour

This is one of the most popular cruise companies in San Diego, and they offer one of the main harbor cruises around the city.

While cruising around the harbor, you can expect to see landmarks such as the USS Midway, Coronado Bridge, South Harbor Island, Shelter Island, and other notable sites around the downtown area.

While traveling around the city on a modern yacht, you’ll receive a professionally narrated San Diego boat tour with both indoor and outdoor seating. There is also a snack bar onboard which serves soda, beer, wine, and cocktails.

  • $32/Adults (13+) | $24/Children (4-12)
  • Availability: Daily at 10 am, 12:30 pm, and 3 pm
  • Duration: 1-hour
  • A 2-Hour cruise is also available for $37/Adults and $27.75/Children
  • Purchase tickets or learn more.

NOTE: This cruise is included with the Go City San Diego Pass and the San Diego Explorer Pass.


San Diego Harbor Tour

If you’re looking for a good alternative to some of the other San Diego boat tours on our list, this company is well known across the country, and they also offer sightseeing cruises around the city.

Guests can expect to pass by sites such as Seaport Village, Coronado Island, the Cabrillo National Monument, the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier, and many other important landmarks.

This excursion is offered by Hornblower San Diego, a well-respected company that provides similar services all over the country.

  • $36.30/Adults (13+) | $27.23/Children (4-12)
  • Availability: Daily at 11:15 am, 12:30 pm, 1:45 pm, 3 pm, and 4:15 pm
  • Duration: One-hour
  • A 2-Hour cruise is also available for $42.90/Adults and $32.18/Children
  • Purchase tickets or learn more.

NOTE: This cruise is included with the San Diego CityPASS at no extra cost.


San Diego SEAL Tours

Although this isn’t technically a cruise, you will have an opportunity to see San Diego from the harbor while on a San Diego SEAL tour.

This outing takes place on an amphibious vehicle which is designed to both drive on land and float across the water.

Think of this as a hybrid bus and boat tour, as the vehicle is essentially a bus in every other way. A professional tour guide will provide information about San Diego as you travel around the city to see its various landmarks.

  • $49/Adults (13+) | $29/Children (4-12) | $10/Infants (3 and under)
  • Availability: Daily at 10 am, 10:30 am, 12:45 pm, and 1:30 pm
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Purchase tickets or learn more.

San Diego Dinner Cruise Services

If you’re looking to enjoy a dining experience out on the water, there are plenty of San Diego dinner cruise options to consider. 

These outings last for approximately 2-3 hours and include a meal of some sort. While some dining cruises offer a buffet, others provide a 3 course plated dinner and music. Prices run from $100-$150 on average.

On San Diego's dinner cruises, attire tends towards dressy-casual. Men often wear collared shirts with slacks, while women opt for sundresses or chic blouses. A gentle Pacific breeze suggests the wisdom of a light jacket or shawl.


San Diego Harbor Dinner Cruise | City Cruises by Hornblower

In addition to their San Diego harbor outing, Hornbloweer Cruises San Diego also offers dining cruises which include a meal or drinks with the service.

This is a great way to relax while enjoying some time on the water, and it’s also an excellent idea for date night!

Here are the dining cruises currently offered:

San Diego Sightseeing Dinner Cruise w/ DJ Music

San Diego Champagne Brunch Cruise

Sights & Sips: San Diego Sunset Cruise


Flagship San Diego Dinner Cruise

Much like their competitors, this company also offers a dinner cruise on the San Diego Bay.

Although they don’t have any brunch or sunset cruise options, this is an excellent alternative to similar services from other companies.

One nice thing about this dining cruise is that you can actually choose to pay for unlimited access to their bar.

They also provide a complimentary drink for all guests, so you’ll have a chance to enjoy a nice drink either way!


San Diego Sunset Sails

If you’re worried about the engine being too loud, what better way to avoid noise pollution than by sailing?

In addition to the harbor cruises and dining experiences, there are also several companies offering sunset sails around the city.

San Diego sunset cruise excursions typically last for 2-3 hours and tickets cost approximately $120-$130 per person.


San Diego Sailing Experiences

While traditional San Diego harbor cruises are usually offered on large yachts capable of holding dozens of passengers, this sunset sail is limited to just 6 people at a time, ensuring as private and quiet of an experience as possible.

Guests can also expect free snacks and drinks such as wine, soda, water, and chocolates. Depending on the schedule of year you choose to enjoy this activity, you can expect the outing to start at 3 pm, 3:30 pm, or 4:30 pm.

Sail alongside the setting sun on this wonderful San Diego sunset cruise via yacht.


Sail San Diego

This is another sunset sail you might want to consider, and it’s also limited to groups of 6 people. Guests will have access to complimentary beer, soft drinks, and other snacks.

If you’re hoping for an even more relaxing atmosphere, this company will allow you to plug in your own music and enjoy the tunes while sailing around San Diego Bay.

Depending on what time of year you choose to sail, this excursion will begin at some point between 2 pm - 5 pm.


Fun Cat Sailing

Much like the other companies offering sunset sails in San Diego, this company also offers outings for small groups of up to 6 people. They also include free alcoholic beverages for all adults!

As with other sunset sails in San Diego, the time of departure will depend on the season, with hours between 2 pm - 5 pm.

San Diego Booze Cruises

Experience San Diego's waters uniquely with a three-hour booze cruise. This tour guarantees a memorable time, complete with drinks. 

Enjoy cocktails as you take in the city skyline and Coronado Island views. With live music and a vibrant crowd, these cruises make for an ideal night out with friends.

Note that the minimum booking is for two persons. In private booking, one participant is equivalent to reserving a whole boat accommodating 1-6 people. 

San Diego Boat Rentals

For a personal touch to San Diego boat rides, renting your boat is a great choice. Options are available to fit any budget and group size. 

Cruise around the serene waters of Mission Bay with up to 10 members. You're free to bring your own food. With boat rides in San Diego, you're in control of your own tour.

 It's the perfect way to explore San Diego's waterways just as you like.


San Diego Speedboat Cruises

For visitors who don’t have a lot of time, a speedboat cruise is one of the best alternatives to other services in this post.

Clocking in at around 30 minutes per outing, a speedboat cruise is quick, exciting, and you can expect to see a lot of the most notable attractions.

Tickets are usually around $35-$40, but there are also companies who let you drive your own speedboat for a bit more money!

TIP: These speedboat cruises are included at no extra cost with at least two major San Diego city passes.


Patriot Jet Boat | Flagship Cruises

In addition to their other services, this company also has one of the best speedboat tours in San Diego. With speeds of up to 50 mph, this is more of a thrill ride experience than a cruise.

While you’re traveling around the city at high speeds, you can expect to see landmarks like the USS Midway Museum, North Island Naval Air Station, Coronado Bridge, Star of India, the Maritime Museum, and many other important sites.

There is a high likelihood that you will get sprayed with water on this speedboat tour, and they offer ponchos for anyone who might want them.

NOTE: This speedboat tour is included at no extra cost with the Go City San Diego Explorer Pass.


San Diego Speed Boat Adventures

If you’d rather have more control over the whole experience, this company offers a 2-hour self-driven speedboat tour with live narration.

Each boat seats two people, and you’ll be given life jackets and  instructions on how to drive and stay safe.

This is a great option for anyone who wants to get out on the water and have some fun while learning about the city of San Diego. 

NOTE: This service is included with both the Go City San Diego Pass and the Explorer Pass.


San Diego Whale Watching Cruises

On a whale-watching cruise, the vastness of the Pacific Ocean unveils majestic whales and dolphins in their natural dance, a sight that captivates both first-time visitors and seasoned sailors.

Guided by experts, passengers gain insights into the intricate oceanic ecosystem while aboard a two-story sailing yacht, offering panoramic views of the San Diego Bay's wonders.

Memories are forged with every splash and leap, making this adventure an unmissable chapter of the San Diego experience.

About The Author

Justin Stoud

Justin is a travel content writer and editor with over a decade of experience in the field. He graduated from Portland State University in 2012. He has lived in the Pacific Northwest his whole life and knows the American West Coast very well. Read More...
Updated: September 15th, 2023
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