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  • Writer's pictureJoshua Daniels

Where to park for a cruise out of San Francisco . . . .

If you know anything about San Francisco, you know that parking can be a problem. Or, rather, parking there can be a nightmare. The city is congested and finding parking at a reasonable rate is often difficult. When you stay at a hotel, especially a nicer one near the Financial District, you can easily spend $65 per day (or more) just for the pleasure of keeping your car in the hotel's garage. What about if you're going on a cruise out of San Francisco? What are your parking options?

There are many possibilities. I have summarized two great options for you.

First, the San Francisco Port Authority has a very helpful website that could solve your parking problem. Here's the link . . .

The Port Authority's website links you to a parking garage only blocks away from the piers used for the ocean cruise lines. The garage charges a reasonable (for San Francisco, at least) rate of $18 per day. You can reserve a sparking space up to two months in advance of your cruise. This is the option we are taking for our Princess cruise to Alaska.

Booking a reservation with this garage was very easy. I submitted my information to the garage through the website. I did this about 45 days before our cruise. The garage manger called me about 30 minutes later to finalize the reservation. He took my credit card information and sent me a confirmation email only seconds later. You bring a printout of the confirmation with you and you're set!

The manager said we could arrive around 10:00 a.m. to park on embarkation day. He suggested not to come any earlier because the garage will need the ship's outgoing passengers to start exiting the garage to create space.

After our cruise, I will report if there are any problems with this parking option. So far, however, it has been straightforward and convenient.

The other reasonable option, especially if you want to save even more money, is to park outside the City and use Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). In case you're not familiar with BART, this is the underground rail system running through and around San Francisco. BART offers long-term parking options at numerous locations, including Dublin/Pleasanton, the airport, South San Francisco, Oakland, and many other places north of the City. BART has a helpful website covering its parking options. I have included the link . . .

You can easily park outside San Francisco and then ride BART. For instance, long-term parking at the airport is only $5 per day. It doesn't get any cheaper than that!

I have also included a link that lets you calculate your BART fare depending on your point of departure. For instance, a round-trip ticket from the airport to Embarcadero station will cost about $18 per person.

If you use BART, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to make it to the pier on time. Here is a link that allows you to plan your estimated commute time.

If you do ride BART into San Francisco, you would exit at the Embarcadero station. That would leave a rather lengthy walk to the pier down Embarcadero Avenue. With luggage, and if you're late, that could be a less-than-fun walk.

Luckily, there are usually many cabs in the area, which would be just a short drive to the pier. You could also use Uber. If you have time, however, and you want a little fun, you could catch an "F-Line" trolley. No reservations are required for the trolley. You just wait at the marked signposts that you'll see on Market Street as you exit the BART station when you walk east towards Embarcadero Avenue (towards Pier 1).

The F-Line runs from Market Street to Embarcadero Avenue all the way to Fisherman's Wharf (and back again). Although not as popular as the more famous Cable Cars, the F-Line trolleys are still very iconic and an easy way to get down Embarcadero Avenue. Here is a helpful website regarding the F-Line.

As of the date of this article, an F-Line trolley costs $2.75 per adult, and $1.25 for youth (5-18) and those 65 years of age or older. You will need exact change when boarding.

In my humble opinion, these are the best options for parking if you have a cruise out of San Francisco. I hope you found the information helpful! Contact us if you have any questions. Have fun planning for your next trip!

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