Hornblower Cruises San Diego: The Perfect Way to See the Sights

March 25, 2019

San Diego, California is famous for its waterfront – especially The Big Bay. The San Diego Bay is 34 miles of scenic open waters line with restaurants, shops, attractions, marinas, and quaint parks.

Spend time exploring this area on foot, but before you do take a San Diego Harbor Tour with Hornblower Cruises. Discover all that you'll see with Hornblower Cruises San Diego as we detail the sights of this exceptional tour.

front of cruise boat with passengers looking over San Diego skyline on Hornblower Cruises in San Diego, California, USA

One of the longest running harbor cruise companies in San Diego, Hornblower offers the best sightseeing on the bay. You can choose between a one or two hour tour, each of which is professionally narrated. We recommend opting for the two hour excursion to get the full scope of the Big Bay. During the two hour tour, you'll see numerous famous San Diego sights. These include:

Harbor Island

The park-like setting of Harbor Island serves as the waterfront gateway to downtown San Diego. The "island" includes several marinas which harbor thousands of small boats, as well as several restaurants, two high-rise hotels, and Harbor Island Drive Park.


Shelter Island

At 1.2 miles long and only a few hundred feet wide, this isn’t an island at all. The single street of Shelter Island Drive runs the length of the Island and connects it to the mainland. Created to accommodate the larger ships of the Navy and serve as a shelter for boats in harbor, this entire section is Polynesian themed.

Point Loma

This seaside community is a hilly peninsula surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. Historically, it is defined as the landing place of the first Europeans to come ashore in present-day California. Along with the history of Point Loma, the area is known for it's rugged terrain, tide pools, and fabulous restaurants.


Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument is home to the Point Loma Lighthouse and looks back at San Diego's nautical history.  It commemorates the landing of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo at San Diego Bay on September 28, 1542. This was the first time a European explorer had set foot on the West Coast of what would become America. Look upon the site as if you were discovering it for the first time!

North Island Naval Air Station

Located at the north end of the Coronado peninsula, NAS is home to several aircraft carriers of the United States Navy. It is part of the largest aerospace-industrial complex in the United States Navy and is the official birthplace of Naval Aviation because the Navy's first aviator, Lieutenant Theodore Ellyson, and many of his colleagues were trained here.

Submarine Naval Base

Current commands at this naval base include Current major commands onboard include Commander Third Fleet, Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, and Submarine Squadron Eleven.

ground view of Coronado Bridge over water with reflection of sun in San Diego, California, USA

Coronado Bridge

The distinctive curve and soaring sweep of the 2.1 mile Coronado Bridge was the first structural conquest of San Diego Bay, joining the Island of Coronado and City of San Diego.

Naval Base Shipyard

Sometimes called 32nd Street Naval Station, this is the largest base of the United States Navy on the West Coast. It is the principal port of the Pacific Fleet, consisting of 54 ships and over 120 tenant commands.


Star of India

Star of India is the world's oldest active sailing ship. She began her life on the stocks at Ramsey Shipyard in the Isle of Man in 1863. Retired in 1926, she was not restored until 1962–63 and is now a seaworthy museum ship home-ported at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

All Aboard Hornblower Cruises San Diego Tour

These are just a few of the sights you’ll see on the two-hour tour of San Diego Bay. Sit back, relax, soak up the sights, listen to the narration for interesting facts, and even grab a snack or beverage if you’d like. The tours are offered throughout the day, from 10am-5:30pm. Choose the time that works best for your vacation. Do a later tour if you can, as it’s a great way to see the sights during the day as well as dusk – great for picture taking!

Written By Ashley


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