San Francisco Sunset Cruise on the Red and White Fleet Review

By Matthew Bamberg / Jul 16, 2013

Golden Gate Bridge as seen from Red and White Fleet boat

Cruising on San Francisco Bay certainly isn’t a tropical endeavor. The wind-whipped inlet offers marvelous views on a cold sea, so cold, in fact, that shivering is the norm since the boat leaves the pier as the fog comes pouring in.

Foggy weather is typical San Francisco summer fare, as Mark Twain put it, “The coldest winter I’ve ever spent is a summer in San Francisco.” Most tourists keep this fact in mind as they board the boat in zipped-up jackets and arms tucked close to the body just above the cameras dangling from their necks.

You would expect a boat similar to a cruise ship upon entering it, but, instead, gets a dinged up boat from the Red and White fleet, a dependable vessel without an ounce of glamor. Once on-board, a small crew takes care of the basics–navigating the boat around the bay and setting up a buffet of fairly tasty sandwiches, salads and cookies.

As the journey progresses a number of people on deck snap photos with their point-and-shoots, camera phones and a dSLR here and there. The boat heads up and down the Marin coast and under the Golden Gate, permitting sights of the bridge from the side that’s rarely seen, that facing the Pacific Ocean.

That’s it folks. Absent from this cruise was a trip under the Bay Bridge, including the new portion that has just been built. It’s too bad, too, because the area of the bay the ship traversed is precisely the place where the fog blows fiercely enters into the bay (yes, we’re not talking about creeping slowly into the Golden Gate).

As the boat pulls into the dock near Fisherman’s Wharf, you can only wonder why the trip didn’t include the East Bay instead of the North Bay, which would have made for a much sunnier trip and certainly a better batch of pictures.

About the author

Matthew Bamberg

Matthew Bamberg has provided photographs and written articles for various Southern California newspapers and magazines, including The Desert Sun and The Press-Enterprise. More recently, Matt has been teaching at UC Riverside while also authoring several books like the Quick and Easy Secrets book series (Cengage), Killer Photos with Your iPhone (with Kris Krug and Greg Ketchum, Cengage), the 50 Greatest Photo Opportunities in San Francisco (Cengage) and Digital Art Photography For Dummies (Wiley).