New Bay Area cruise to make stop in Napa beginning in 2023

Jul 27, 2022

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While wine lovers have long cruised California’s prime viticulture region by rail via the Napa Valley Wine Train, an actual cruise will soon give travelers a new way to learn, taste and tour.

American Cruise Lines, which operates smaller ships within the borders of the U.S., has announced a new Northern California cruise that will take passengers around San Francisco and the surrounding regions, with a key stop in wine country.

The inaugural San Francisco Bay Cruise sets sail in February 2023. Over eight days, passengers will see some of the Bay Area’s most popular tourist attractions from the water, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island and Treasure Island.

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american jazz cruise ship american cruise lines
American Jazz, the American Cruise Lines ship that will carry passengers on the San Francisco Bay voyage. (Photo courtesy of American Cruise Lines)

Cruising Northern California rivers, the itinerary calls for a day in Stockton and two in Sacramento. Day five is sure to be a highlight when the voyage’s American Jazz ship docks in Napa.

With an unusual but iconic entrance into wine country via the Napa River earlier in the day, the afternoon’s excursion includes a visit to a Napa winery.

It’s not clear just yet which winery will be involved. However, there are plenty of great options in the region for American Cruise Lines to choose from … and that’s probably an understatement.

While travelers will only spend one of the trip’s eight days in Napa, it seems wine will have a distinct influence throughout the trip.

Onboard experiences include special wine presentations to help budding or accomplished aficionados gain a better understanding of the intricacies of California cabernet and other varietals.

wineries sign in napa
A sign at Paraduxx in Napa points travelers toward various wineries in the region. (Photo by Sean Cudahy/The Points Guy)

Related: Booking your 1st river cruise? Here’s what you need to know

Of course, Northern California is renowned not just for its wine but its food, too — a reason why passengers might find the cooking demonstrations on the voyage noteworthy.

Other day excursions on the San Francisco Bay Cruise include a visit to Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli Square and Alcatraz, along with a NASCAR-style driving experience at the Stockton 99 Speedway and a visit to the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento.

fisherman's wharf san francisco
Walking around Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. (Photo by Sean Cudahy/The Points Guy)

Packages start at $6,095 per person for accommodations that include a private balcony. Voyages set sail on Feb.17 and 24, 2023, as well as March 3 and 10, 2023.

The aforementioned American Jazz is fairly new. It was inaugurated in 2020. The ship can carry a maximum of 190 guests with its 99 rooms and six common areas.

american cruise lines voyage map
(Image courtesy of American Cruise Lines)

Related: 8 mistakes to avoid when visiting Napa Valley

American Cruise Lines sees this expansion of its portfolio as an answer to surging interest in domestic river cruises aboard smaller ships. The company’s current cruise options include a half-dozen ships that sail the Pacific Northwest.

Featured photo by Can Balcioglu/Getty Images.

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