It doesn’t matter if you’re a local or visiting, getting out on the water in San Diego is always a fresh delight. A Sunday brunch cruise is a luxury that shouldn’t be saved for out of town friends and family. The beautiful, calm bay, the stunning sweep of Coronado Bridge, and great company matched with an overflowing buffet and bottomless mimosas makes for an outing that only a fasting monk would find fault with.
I was lucky to step onto the Hornblower San Diego ship with a group of travel buddies for Sunday Brunch. A light breeze kept us cool as we waited to board and then walked up the ramp to greet our captain.
Stepping in from the sunshine, my eyes adjusted to the light as a tray of champagne or sparkling cider was offered. Large round tables were set with crystal, china and silverware. An ice bucket with Champagne waited for attention. A few steps away, table on table of food presentations; a line of hot entrees, a cutting station, and a dessert nook.
Briefly the Captain’s voice echoed through the space with announcements about the ship and our route as we slipped away from the dock. We were off! Food and conversation flowed and it was easy to forget that we were sailing. That would’ve been a mistake as the views just outside our ballroom dining hall rivaled anything else on board.
Carpeted stairs led up and into the daylight. The top deck held small rounds for glassware and more than one guest brought their Champagne bucket upstairs to continue the party. With gentle sun, and smooth breezes, I stood in wonder as the city, the port, and the star of the afternoon, the sweeping grace of the Coronado Bridge slipped by.
I’m a big fan of that bridge and the chance to see it from below is always thrilling. Before we knew it, two hours had passed. The ship glided into port and paused as the final ties were made. The captain materialized once again at the top of the gangplank to say goodbyes. I imagine it’s a satisfying part of his job on perfect afternoons like this. Shaking hands with so many satisfied, well-fed, happy guests after their Sunday Brunch wasn’t part of the job description but a perk.
More Sunday Brunch details & other Hornblower cruises:
Hornblower schedules several cruises year round from two docks on the San Diego waterfront.
During Whale Watching season you’re on the water with Naturalists from the San Diego Science Museum and guaranteed sightings or a return trip.
The Sunday brunch cruises are weekly with special dining cruises year round: Mothers’ Day, Pet Day on the Bay, Sunset Dinner, Fireworks and special occasion trips too.
My Sunday Brunch cruise was complementary with Hornblower San Diego. One day I hope to sail with them at their other ports in San Francisco, Niagra and New York.
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What a delightful way to spend Sunday! I’ve never been to San Diego or the bay area and this is something I would consider doing when I get the chance to visit there! Plus the champagne and the warm fuzzy feelings. Thanks for sharing this, Elaine!
Thanks, Trisha, I’m glad you enjoyed my recounting. It was a pinch-me-is-this-my-life days!
It funny I really like bridges too. Everything from design, purpose, history and symbolism. With a last name Rudder you know I’m always down for cruises and boat rides. Great Post!
Thanks, Chris. I’ve loved seeing your posts too. Big architecture fan here, especially on grand scales like the Coronado Bridge. Currently there’s no way to walk across it so the experience is a swift car ride. It makes seeing it from below, from the water, so cool.
I always love getting out on the water–this sounds like a fantastic way to have brunch! I bet the food was delicious and it’s great that you had such good weather! Looks like a wonderful day!
We were so lucky with the weather. It had been overcast and chilly that morning!
This looks like such a fun experience! I love just being out on the water, so this would be my kind of day! 🙂
You’d love it, Lauren. Hornblower really knows how to do things well. I hope you get to try one of their cruises in one of the many ports stateside.
A perfect way spending part of a Sunday like this. I always love being on the water – it’s so relaxing. Of course, I imagine a cruise ship in San Diego offers a much more scrumptious brunch buffet than our little ships in Switzerland 🙂
Your little ships offer another layer of elegance entirely. The spread on a bigger buffet line in America can be over-the-top!
i’ve only gone whale watching once, and that’s when i was a kid. i’ve been wanting to go so badly, but i always get distracted with other destinations! one day in my adult life, i’ll see a whale breach!
I hope that you do. Whales are such a wonder. I’d like to see them breech up close. That power and intensity!
Brunch and seafood! My two favourite things!
It’s a great way to start a Sunday for certain.
Brunch with a beautiful view and bottomless mimosas. Life doesn’t get much better than this!
All that’s left is a driver to pour us back into our dwellings!
It’s always interesting to see a city from the water, it gives a totally different perspective on the place.
True, Fairlie. I hope you have had the chance in your area.
Sounds perfectly perfect! My idea of how brunch should be done. 🙂 Especially love that you got to check out the bridge and hang with the captain. Most impressive.
Truly a fun day and the Captain was very patient with his more enthusiastic passengers.
Brunch and cruising and San Diego? Sounds like a winner in my book. I love taking day cruises as seeing a city from the water gives you a much different perspective.
So true about the different perspectives from the water. You may know a place well and then see it from a whole, new vantage point.
This sounds like a lot of fun, Elaine. Maybe I’ll join you next time this happens, if I am in town. San Diego is so beautiful at this time of year. In fact, what am I saying! It’s beautiful at ANY time of year.
I’d love to see you down here, Anda. It’s beautiful truly any time of year, unless you’re here for the sun. It can be evasive at certain times but the marine layer usually burns off by midday.
Being out on the water and eating delicious food…is there anything better than that?
My feelings exactly.
I love San Diego and its plethora of things to do, mostly focused around the water which is fantastic. I have been on several Hornblower cruises in San Francisco and had a great time, I can imagine this one in San Diego is equally as good. Who doesn’t love a champagne brunch!
Thanks, Andi, for dropping by. It was a delicious outing, not just for the champagne but the buffet was full of surprising dishes.
That looks so great! I like those bay cruises. Take advantage of the beautiful views.
I love being out on the water too, Laura. Thanks.
Sounds fun. I loved the view of the Coronado Bridge. What an experience it would be to do this during whale watching season.
I’ve been out on the bay during whale season and it is thrilling. We were on more protected waters of the bay for our brunch.
I can’t believe I live less than an hour away and have never done this brunch cruise. Looks like a fabulous treat!
It’s a treat that I hope you indulge in one day soon!
Looks like a great ship for this type of experience. The captain’s hat is a great touch. San Diego always looks sunny and beautiful
Thanks for stopping by, Mark. Those hats were a charming detail that made us feel so welcome.
This looks amazing! Husband and I have been trying to plan a get away in San Diego soon, maybe even move there I dare say. I want to try this out! 😀
I hope you check out this and all the other cool things to do along the San Diego waterfront.
I definitely will! If you’re ever up in the Bay area, you should hit me up! We could do something cool like this! 😀
Thanks, Krysten. I haven’t taken a SF Bay cruise since the 1970’s!!
I had taken a very similar tour in Monterrey bay about 5 years back though it wasn’t as beautiful and sunny as it is in San Diego, this post brings back good memories.
Sorry to hear that your brunch cruise wasn’t as sunny but still being out on the water is a fine way to see Monterrey Bay.
What a fun way to spend a brunch. I’ve done a similar brunch cruise in Chicago and it is great fun! What a great spread of food and drinks. Delicious. No better way to enjoy the Coronado Bridge! Great pictures.
I’ll be in Chicago soon and will have to look into their brunch cruises too!
I wish I could have been with you. This looks like so much fun and I love that you hd your picture made with the captain. Reminds me of LoveBoat. 😉
Love it, Melody! Love Boat indeed. It was a great experience and I wish you’d been there too.
What an entirely civilized way to brunch. Looked so fabulous and genteel.
Thanks, Serina, It was a perfect day, company and experience!
I bet the views are fantastic! This looks like a lot of fun.
So much fun and yes, the views were wonderful.
We loved San Diego when we visited a few years back. This looks near perfect – a lazy Sunday morning with brunch and a view.
I’m lucky to call San Diego home. It was a perfect outing.
What a jolly day out! Such gorgeous weather you had. 🙂
Pretty perfect! We’d had cloudy skies days before so the sunshine was all the more reason to celebrate.
Sounds like Hornblower cruises are fun everywhere! I did one recently in San Francisco. It was a night cruise with fireworks, and so also had a very good time, but of course.
A night cruise of San Francisco Bay with fireworks sounds incredible! They know how to do things right.