Locals greet cruise passengers as they disembark in San Francisco

ByRick Deutsch

Locals greet cruise passengers as they disembark in San Francisco

A group of 8 volunteers meet every cruise ship that berths in San Francisco. This welcoming committee gives passengers, with only a day to spend, tourist information and a helping hand. There are so many sights to see that these insider tips are valuable.

SpeakOnCruises is headquartered in Silicon Valley, 40 miles south of SF. We love the place, but prefer the calm of the suburbs. San Fran (the locals hate that term) is a lot of fun. Frisco (they hate that even worse) never closes! The traffic in the City (we hate saying that) is really, really bad. There are more cars than parking places – really.

The greeters include a who calls himself Sourdough Joe and the onetime owner of one of the Castro’s best-known bars, and they all work for free.

San Francisco as seen approaching the Pier.

San Francisco as seen approaching the Pier.

They get to the pier at 7 a.m. the normal arrival time for most ships. Then they wait for customs clearance. Then the cattle come down the ramp.

They can communicate in any of seven languages. The volunteers are former travel agents, a retired actor, a former bread distributor  . . . but mostly they are lovers of SF who have become city ambassadors. Endless questions are handled with aplomb. The can field almost every one.

What are the most asked? “Where’s a drugstore?” and “Where can I buy liquor. They will greet 75 ships this year.

This is the last season for the 100 year old Pier 35. The newly built main terminal is at Pier 27. It opens  in September. It’s a bit farther from Fisherman’s Wharf, but will be state of the art. Come back in a couple days and I’ll tell you about the new terminal.

Put your email address into the Contact box below and we’ll send you the link to a free 15-minute overview presentation about Speaking on Cruises.



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