Hornblower Cruises & Events
We had our ceremony and reception on one of their yachts and it was perfect. The best service and value. The coordinator took care of everything and made it perfect.
We had our rehearsal dinner on the hornblower cruise and it was awesome. Very expensive but our 100 guests had an unbelievable time and I'm not sure we could have given them a better experience. The food was great and Jewel was such a pleasure to work with during the whole process. She helped suggested flower companies and an entertainer and both were perfect. We had a fabulous time and were so impressed by the experience
Everything was beautiful but they wouldnt let us dance with our shoes off!
This was a really nice wedding, it would have been nice though if Hornblower offered a practice rehersal without charging so much.
We availed of Hornblower's Wedding Package because it was complete and hassle free not to mention unique, imagine getting married on a yacht! Hornblower provided an officiant for our ceremony (the captain of the yacht), we were attended to by an excellent crew, their food and open bar were excellent and they also provided a wedding cake made by one of the top bakeshops in San Diego. Kristie, Hornblower's Events Manager was very helpful, professional and pleasant to deal with. The package wasn't as costly as we expected, considering that we also rented the yacht and cruised around the bay. It was definitely worth every penny. We highly recommend Hornblower to friends who want an intimate wedding or for those who simply want to have a unique event or a romantic dinner.
I had my reception on the boat. The staff was easy to work with in the planning stage. They were prompt (yes, it's a relief that the boat is there when you expect it to be). The staff on the night of the event was ok -- they did everything they were supposed to, but nothing above and beyond.
Hornblower Cruises & Events provides the perfect setting to make your special day unforgettable. Imagine being surrounded by some of California’s most notable sights and breathtaking views as you sip champagne with your special guests. Owning 7 of California’s most distinctive fleet of luxury yachts, Hornblower gives you imaginative cuisine, unparallel views, and first class service. Our Professional Event coordinators ensure that every element of your event is taken care of. From the invitations to the decorations, we strive to continually be creative and meet your every need. For over 28 years Hornblower Cruises & Events has been creating San Francisco’s most memorable wedding events, specializing in receptions, rehearsal dinners, bridal showers, and breathtaking nautical ceremonies. Come aboard and discover the “art of entertaining” with Hornblower!
How do I choose a yacht?
Throughout the year Hornblower offers several Open Yacht Events of which you are welcome to attend. Please contact your Sales Manager or Event Coordinator to arrange an onsite consultation to see the yachts dressed in wedding décor and to sample our cuisine. Onsite consultations are available by appointment Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Discover the Hornblower experience prior to your event on a Dinner or Brunch Cruise. You and a guest can indulge in the exquisite cuisine, live entertainment and captivating views at a 50% off discount or a refund on your signed contract. Your Event Coordinator will be happy to assist you with your reservation.
How do I reserve a yacht?
Placing your deposit and signing the contract will secure your yacht, date, and time. All additional details are flexible and may be changed up to 30 days prior to your event. Deposits may be made by Credit Card or by check, payable to Hornblower Cruises and Events. Feel free to fax your deposit to 415-434-0425, or mail it to Pier 3 on The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94111; with the attention to your sales manager.
Are the yachts wheelchair accessible?
The two yachts in Hornblower’s Bay Area fleet with limited wheelchair access are The California Hornblower and San Francisco Belle.
What is the smoking policy on the yachts?
Guests may smoke on the outside decks.
Are we required to purchase additional insurance?
Hornblower does not require additional insurance.
Who will help me plan my event?
To ease the stresses of your event Hornblower has experienced Event Coordinators on staff. Once your deposit and contracts are received a coordinator will contact you to introduce themselves. Your Hornblower Event Coordinator will guide you through all the steps of planning your onboard Hornblower experience. For the day of your event please designate someone in your party as an onboard contact. This person will act as a liaison between you and the Hornblower staff and should be authorized by you to make last minute decisions.
What happens the day of the wedding?
Although the order of events is decided by the bride and groom below we have listed a sample of the standard occurrences.
• 2 hours prior: Crew arrives to set floor plan
• 1 hour prior: Florist will set up, cake arrives
• Captain welcomes guests 15 minutes prior to sailing or ceremony time
• 30 minute dockside ceremony, if applicable
• Set sail
• 30-45 minutes, cocktails, champagne & hors d’oeuvres served while bride & groom take pictures
• Approximately 1 hour after departure, buffet opens or seated meal is served. (The meal service will take 1 to 2 hours.)
• If you don’t have an hours devours program, meal service will begin about 20 to 30 minutes after departure from the deck.
• After the meal service, speeches and toasts begin
• Cake Cutting
• First Dance
• Dancing and fun for the guests
• Garter Toss
• Bouquet Toss
• Docking and Disembarking
DINING/FOOD & BEVERAGE
What type of meal service would be best – buffet or seated?
Both types of meal service have advantages. A buffet allows more mingling of guests and creates a flow around the room. A seated meal service provides more structure and can be considered more formal. The main thing to remember is that buffet tables take up space so the size of the room and the number of guests must be considered when planning a buffet. Likewise, you should allow a little over an hour for serving time from salad to desert.
Can we provide our own catering?
Our highly trained kitchen staffs are able to customize the food program to fit your requests, for this reason outside catering is not permissible onboard Hornblower.
What wedding cake is included in our package?
The wedding cake from Virginia Bakery is included in the Select, Premium, Elite and Signature packages. For your convenience three different cake styles are available. To sample the cake please schedule a date and time with your event coordinator.
Can we pick out our cake bakery?
Hornblower works directly with three bakeries. Virginia Bakery is our typical option, but you have the opportunity to upgrade if requested. The other two options are Cakework or Katrina Rozelle Bakery. If you so wish to have a cake topper, specialty cake knife or a server you are welcomed to provide your own.
Can we bring our own cake?
To simplify the event for you Hornblower contracts with bakers, but you may choose to use your own bakery. If you choose to provide your own cake from a professional bakery there is a $1.50 per person cake handling fee
Can we provide our own alcohol?
Unfortunately, it is against the law for Hornblower to allow individuals to bring liquor aboard. However, if we are unable to obtain the wine or champagne that you request you may provide your own. There is a $15.00 per 750 ML bottle handling fee.
I have a couple of guests that have special diets, can you accommodate them?
Please let your Event Coordinator know about any food allergies or special diets, we can make accommodations for most dietary restrictions including vegetarian, vegan or kosher. Please let us know 30 days prior to your event.
If there is leftover food at the end of the cruise can we take it with us?
Due to health regulations inherent to our catering license, leftovers may not be taken home after any catered event.
If I book my entertainment through Hornblower when will I speak to the DJ or Band?
You will be contacted by our Entertainment Department one week prior to your event to discuss specific entertainment requests. Should you need to be contacted sooner, we are happy to arrange that for you.
How do I know that I will be happy with the DJ?
To insure that your event is successful from the ceremony music to the reception, we use local, working professional DJs. Your DJ will contact you one week prior to your event to discuss the music details of your wedding and to make sure you have no music or entertainment concerns.
Can we bring our own DJ or Band?
You are welcome to provide your own entertainment. However, they must be able to provide their own speakers and microphone. Their equipment must be self contained, as they will not be able to plug into the house sound system.
If I bring my own entertainment will you provide a meal for them?
The decision to feed the entertainment is up to you. If you wish to do so just include them into your guaranteed guest count and discuss seating options with your event coordinator.
Can we burn our own CDs?
While you may bring your own CDs or tapes aboard our yachts, it is important to know that the sound level of the music may not be high enough for dancing and we cannot allow access to the CD or tape players during your event, as those areas are only accessible by our crew. Should you decide to bring your own CDs or tapes please be sure to ask your Sales Manager or Event Coordinator which yachts have CD and tape players, as every yacht is different.
Is there any room for dancing?
Absolutely! The following yachts have dance floors: The Captain, Admiral, Commodore, Empress, and two decks of the California
SET-UP / DECORATION
Decor and Favor Information
In order to insure all guests are cruising safely, we cannot allow open flame candles, as it presents a fire hazard. However, we do allow decoration candles as long as they are not lit.
Should you have favors for your guests, our crew would be happy to put those out for you. Please bring them in a box clearly labeled with your name, wedding date, and yacht ten days prior to your event.
Can we come on the boat prior to the event to decorate and how many people are allowed on?
As long as the yacht schedule permits, you may have up to four guests pre-board an hour and a half prior to your cruise to decorate. Make sure to give the names of those people to your Event Coordinator fourteen days prior to your event.
Are there any restrictions on decorations that I can provide?
To avoid permanent damage to the fixtures on the yachts and safety of the wildlife we can’t allow confetti, glitter, staples, nails, tacks, open flame.
Are linens provided?
White linens and white linen napkins are included in your program cost. Specialty linens can be ordered at an additional charge. Your Event Coordinator will be happy to discuss upgrade options with you.
Does Hornblower Cruises and Events provide stemware, china, flatware, table and chair set-up for our event?
Yes, we provide stemware, china, flatware, table and chairs and the set up for it is included in your package.
Can you give suggestions of vendors that you work with?
Hornblower is a full service event planning company. We can assist you with most of your event details things like the flowers, photography, entertainment and anything else you can think of to make your event special.
Is the ceremony legal?
Yes, your ceremony is legal. Although our captains are licensed, ordained non-denominational ministers, you may provide your own officiant if you like. Either way, just remember to bring your marriage license issued in the State of California. California Marriage license forms can be found on http://my.ca.gov/.
Can we write our own vows?
Yes, you may write your own vows. If you choose to do so, please make sure to email or fax them to your Event Coordinator thirty days prior to your event. (Fax: 415-434-0425).
Can we have the ceremony on the outside deck?
Your ceremony can be performed inside or outside. However, not all of our yachts have outside deck space, so it will depend on the yacht you choose for your event.
How should we word our invitations?
When ordering your invitations, the following wording is suggested:
Aboard the yacht "____"
Boarding at ____
Sailing promptly at ____
Special note: If you have a pre-selected choice of menu items, please include those choices in your RSVP cards so that your guests may respond with their choice. Make sure if you have a pre-selected choice of menu items, you include the menu choice in your RSVP cards, so your guests may respond with their choice.
Will we have a rehearsal?
The Hornblower yachts and crew have several years of experience performing ceremonies; for this reason we do not include a rehearsal in the package. However, if you decide a rehearsal is necessary on the yacht please inform your coordinator Monday-Friday before 3:30 pm. It is important to know that our captains are not available to perform a rehearsal ceremony.
Does Hornblower supply the marriage license?
Your marriage license must be issued by the State of California. Hornblower can’t supply the license but information can be found online at http://my.ca.gov/, or you may contact the County Clerk. Be sure to bring the license to your event so that the captain or officiate can sign it. We will then submit the license to the county clerk within seven days of your ceremony. If you are already married, it is important to let your Event Coordinator know.
Can we request a certain location on the bay for our ceremony to be held? Since we always keep our passengers’ safety in mind, your captain will perform the ceremony once you arrive in calm waters and it is safe to leave the controls to another crew member.
Can children sail? Is there an age requirement?
Children of any age are welcome to sail with us. We have several children’s menus available.
Are the yachts safe? Who will watch the children that are attending?
While we have on board crew looking out for everyone’s safety throughout your event, it is the parents’ responsibility to keep an eye on their children, especially when they are on exterior decks.
Do you have life vests onboard for children?
Yes, there are personal floatation devices on board for everyone, including children.
Do you have highchairs?
Although we do not have highchairs available, you may bring one of your own.
Does Hornblower have a Dress Code?
Although we do not have a dress code, we recommend business casual attire, such as khaki pants and collared shirts, and we ask that you not wear jeans, shorts, or tank tops.
What is the weather like on the bay?
Weather on the San Francisco Bay is sometimes foggy or a bit breezy. Although your event will be held in doors it is a good idea to suggest to your guests to bring a coat or wrap if they want to go outside.
What happens if it rains?
All of the decks on our yachts are enclosed; your event will sail rain or shine. If you arranged for your ceremony to be on the outside decks and it rains, the ceremony will be moved inside.
What if my guests get sea sick?
For people who tend to get sea sick, we recommend acupressure/sea sickness wrist bands. These are sold at most drug stores. We also have a supply of bitters and soda on board, which helps upset stomachs. We do not recommend that your guests take Dramamine, as this medication can actually cause adverse reactions especially when mixed with any type of alcohol.