The Port of San Francisco hosts more than 100 cruise ship calls and 400,000 passengers every year. The main terminal is located at Pier 27, while the nearby Pier 35 building is used at busy times, but typically only for transit ships, not embarkation. The San Francisco cruise port offers easy access to popular attractions including Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf and the Ferry Building.
Read on for our breakdown of the Port of San Francisco, including address information, cruise line terminals, directions, services and more. Also, be sure to check out Cruise Critic's ranked cruise deals from the Port of San Francisco and see what tips, tricks and secret advice our Cruise Critic members have to say about cruises from the Port of San Francisco.
James R. Herman Cruise Terminal Pier 27, The Embarcadero San Francisco, CA 94133 (415) 274-0400
Both of the Port of San Francisco's terminals (Pier 27 and 35) have the following cruise lines:
If you’re planning to take your car, below are directions for the San Francisco cruise port:
**From the North (via the Golden Gate Bridge) **
Cross the bridge on US-101, then take Exit 437 and turn left onto Girard Road, which will become Marina Boulevard. Keep following as the street makes a 90-degree turn and becomes Laguna Street.
After two blocks, turn left onto Bay Street, which will eventually dead-end at the Embarcadero. Turn right onto the Embarcadero. You will pass the terminals and make a left U-turn at the next point where you can cross the median, then proceed to the San Francisco cruise port where you'll turn right to enter.
**From the South & Airport (north on US-101) **
Take US-101 North, following it until the two right lanes split off to become I-280 North (Downtown direction). Stay on I-280 until the freeway ends at King Street. Continue straight onto King Street, which will become the Embarcadero. Follow the Embarcadero until you reach Pier 27, and make a right turn to enter the Port of San Francisco.
**From the East (via the Bay Bridge) **
Cross the bridge on I-80, positioning yourself in one of the two right-hand lanes as you near the city. Take Exit 2C onto Fremont Street. Turn right onto Howard Street, which will lead to a dead end at the Embarcadero.
Turn left onto the Embarcadero and follow it until you reach Pier 27; then make a right turn to enter. If you're coming from this direction, allow plenty of time for backups at the toll plaza and downtown traffic, particularly during rush hour.
Don't believe what Google Maps tells you -- there is unfortunately no parking directly at the San Francisco cruise terminal. There are other options available but keep in mind that, because the port is in a popular location for locals and visitors alike, parking lots can be expensive.
There are several parking garages and lots in the area immediately west of the Port of San Francisco, and some of them offer special rates to cruise passengers. A couple of options include Impark, the 80 Francisco Street Garage and Anchorage Square Garage. We suggest checking with the garages in advance for availability or reserve online.
If you're parking nearby, you can drop off your luggage and your party at the applicable San Francisco cruise terminal before parking your vehicle. Private cars, taxis and car-share vehicles are allowed to enter the ground transportation area for dropping off passengers.
Note that drivers might balk if there's a line of cars waiting to unload. Be firm and tell them you want to go all the way to the door if you want to avoid a walk.
The Port of San Francisco is served by San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Shuttles, taxis and public transport are all available at the airport. Shuttle companies, such as Super Shuttle, offer a range of vehicle options for larger groups of up to 21 passengers.
You’ll have to take the Yellow Line to Embarcadero, then transfer to the F streetcar at Market St. & Main. Get off at The Embarcadero & Sansome St. stop. The San Francisco cruise terminal is across the street from the streetcar stop.
Bringing luggage on the streetcar is allowed, but this particular line can get crowded. Taking a taxi from the Market St. & Main stop may be more comfortable on busy days. The drive to the cruise terminals takes less than 10 minutes.
There are taxi stands on the Arrivals/Baggage Claim Level of all airport terminals at San Francisco International Airport. Taxi coordinators can help arrange for wheelchair-accessible taxis on request. The drive from San Francisco International Airport to either San Francisco cruise terminal takes between 30 and 50 minutes, depending on traffic.
There are no food or beverage services at the main terminal, but its central location means you're not far from plenty of dining and shopping options. There are a few restaurants directly west, within a five- to 10-minute walk from the San Francisco cruise port.
Foodies should head south along the Embarcadero to the Ferry Building, which hosts farmers markets, prepared food stands and restaurants. There's also shopping here, and most businesses are local.
Major department stores are grouped near Union Square, which is about a 10-minute drive away. You'll find plenty of souvenir shops around Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf.
Don't overlook the museum shop at the Exploratorium (Pier 15), especially when you're looking for gifts for young ones. It's got oodles of fun and surprising educational toys and books. Plus, it's only an eight-minute walk from the Port of San Francisco.
Amtrak doesn't serve San Francisco, although it does serve Oakland in the East Bay. If you arrive by train and want to take public transportation to the Port of San Francisco, you’ll have to walk about 10 minutes to the Lake Merritt BART stop.
There, take the Blue-S Line to Montgomery St. in San Francisco and either transfer to the F streetcar to The Embarcadero & Sansome St. or take a taxi right outside the BART station.
Wheelchairs should be requested via your cruise line or travel agent, not at the terminals as they don't have them available. There is also the option to rent wheelchairs from Cloud of Goods, which will deliver to you wherever you are at the Port of San Francisco.
Porters are available onsite to assist with luggage during embarkation and disembarkation.
Inside the main San Francisco cruise terminal, restrooms are located on the second floor, as well as in the baggage collection area for disembarking passengers and passengers in transit.
Wireless internet is free and available throughout the San Francisco cruise terminal.
You'll find 2.5 acres of public open space located outside of the Embarcadero end of the terminal at Cruise Terminal Plaza. It offers a lawn with 50 benches along with views of the Bay, Treasure Island, the Bay Bridge, Financial District, Telegraph Hill and Coit Tower.
Attached to the benches there, you'll find images and historical information about some of the most famous cruise ships that have called at San Francisco over the past 150 years.
Inside the main San Francisco cruise terminal, there’s a seating area on the second level.
Getting Around: Keep in mind that piers are not consecutively numbered. Odd-numbered piers (including the cruise terminals) are north of the Ferry Building (where Market Street and the Embarcadero intersect), while even-numbered piers are south of the Ferry Building.
Luggage Storage: Due to security restrictions, luggage cannot be stored at the Port of San Francisco.
What Time to Arrive/Embark: The main cruise terminal is generally ready to process embarking passengers between 11 a.m. and noon for security screening and ticketing.
In the event of inclement weather, staff try to accommodate those who might arrive early. Passenger boarding usually starts around 1 p.m. Always default to the time listed or suggested on your cruise line-issued e-docs for the best estimate of when to arrive.
Embarkation days are busy at the cruise port. Budget more than enough time to battle potential traffic (only one way in) to make sure you get there with plenty of time to spare.
Hotels Near the Port of San Francisco: The closest hotels to the Port of San Francisco are located in the nearby Fisherman's Wharf area, with major brands as well as one-off lodgings.
The city's grand old hotels (Fairmont, St. Francis and Ritz-Carlton, for example) are clustered near Union Square. Many of the newer upscale brands (W, Four Seasons, St. Regis and Intercontinental) are located south of Market Street in the SoMa neighborhood.
Homesharing services like Airbnb are also a popular choice in San Francisco, particularly if you want to avoid the city's steep hotel prices.