The Red and White Fleet is a San Francisco-based sightseeing cruise and charter boat tour company. The family-owned company was founded in 1892, by founder Thomas Crowley.
Their award winning audio tour is available in 16 languages including Spanish, German, French, Hindi and Italian.
They sail 7 days a week, in all weather.
Cruises offered by Red and White Fleet
Bridge 2 Bridge Cruise
A 90-minute cruise beginning at the Golden Gate Bridge and ending at the Bay Bridge.
Sights seen on this cruise include Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge Oracle Park, San Francisco Ferry Building, and the iconic San Francisco cityscape.
The company offers an award-winning audio tour (available in 16 languages) that includes interesting details about the two bridges, and the geology of SF Bay and its frequent earthquakes.
This cruise operates daily. Tickets cost $48 for adults and $36 for youth.
California Twilight Cruise
A 90-minute cruise offering twilight views of some of the most incredible sights San Francisco and the Bay have to offer, such as Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the light installations on the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge.
For this cruise, tickets are $50 for adults and $38 for youth.
Golden Gate Bay Cruise
An hour-long daytime cruise that begins at Pier 43.5 and ends at Fisherman’s Wharf, providing views of the San Francisco waterfront, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Alcatraz.
In addition, if weather conditions permit, passengers can see local marine wildlife such as pelicans, whales and more.
Tickets for the Golden Gate Bay Cruise are $38 for adults and $29 for youth aged 5-17.
Children 4 and under can ride for free.
Valentine’s Day Twilight Cruise
A sightseeing cruise specially designed for couples looking for a romantic night.
The tour covers sights like the San Francisco skyline, Coit Tower, Treasure & Yerba Buena Islands, the lights on the Bay Bridge, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Passengers on this cruise will receive one complimentary glass of champagne.
Tickets for the Valentine’s Day Twilight Cruise are $50 for adults and $38 for youth.
For large groups of people or special events, Red and White Fleet offers private cruises that come with design, layout, catering and onboard entertainment included (although optional).
The Red and White fleet’s vessels can accommodate up to 600 guests at a time.
You can choose from between a number of cruise packages, and customize the experience to suit your preferences.
Launched in early September of 2018, Enhydra is currently the largest vessel owned by the Red and White Fleet, with a 600-passenger capacity.
It is also the first 600-passenger lithium-ion battery hybrid vessel operating in the U.S., which makes it quieter and more eco-friendly.
The vessel features an indoor deck and two panoramic outdoor decks on which passengers can enjoy the spectacular views the SF Bay has to offer.
The electric motors operate at a low hum, and thus offer a quieter and better experience.
The Royal Prince is the second-largest vessel on the company’s fleet.
Two spacious interior and two exterior decks allow for capacity of up to 400 passengers for sightseeing or 120 passengers for seated buffet cruises.
The interior decks are beautiful and airy, with large windows surrounding the room, and bench seating.
Both interior decks have cafes, and restrooms are located on the main interior deck.
Ideal for smaller groups of up to 300, the Harbor Princess has two exterior decks and one interior deck.
The vessel has large windows around the interior decks, and comfortable bench seats.
The Harbor Princess and Harbor Queen are sister ships, identical in all respects, including capacity, layout, and experience.
And, like on the Royal Princess, the restrooms and café are located on the main interior deck.
History of Red and White Fleet
In 1892, with his $80 savings, Thomas Crowley purchased an eighteen feet long, used Whitehall boat and with it he entered the boating business.
He rowed it alone through the waters of the bay, transporting goods and people. Soon, he was able to expand his fleet to three Whitehalls.
In 1906, Crowley reinvested his profits and bought gas-powered boat launches which were bigger and faster than their predecessors.
After the earthquake that occurred in the same year, his fleet helped transport some of the deposits from what is now the Bank of America, to the Berkeley Pier.
During WWI, Crowley’s vessels helped carry goods between San Francisco, South America and Australia.
With time, his influence continued to grow, and he gained the title of manager at the Shipowners and Merchants Tugboat Company, which used to be his primary competitor.
In the 1930s, his ships offered beautiful views of the newly constructed bridges from the waterfront, which helped cement their place in the industry further.
In the late 1940s, Crowley added more vessels to his fleet and repainted them to the now iconic colors of red and white – and thus the Red and White Fleet was born.
In 1960, Tom Escher, Crowley’s grandson and the current owner of the company, started working on the vessels as a sweeper and mechanics helper. Little did he know he would one day own the ships he helped sweep.
When Alcatraz was opened to visitors in 1973, Red and White was the first operator of the Alcatraz ferry service.
And, in 1989, in the aftermath of the earthquake that shook San Francisco, Red and White provided ferry service to the thousands of stranded commuters in the East Bay.
In 1997, Tom Escher purchased the company, thus becoming the third generation of the family to own the business.
From 1999 to 2000, Red and White fleet offered commuter ferry service from the Richmond Ferry Terminal to downtown San Francisco.
In present time, the Red and White Fleet continues to offer premier SF Bay cruises to visitors from around the world.