The Inside Scoop
FROM THE KNOT EDITORS
The First Look
Hornblower Cruises and Events in San Diego, California, lets couples embark on their new journey together aboard one of its private yachts. Whether hosting a wedding event during the day or at night, these luxury yachts provide an original wedding venue with breathtaking vistas of San Diego Bay. There are seven yachts in the San Diego Bay area fleet, suitable for both ceremonies and receptions.
Inspiration. The entire yacht is available for a cocktail or dinner reception with up to 1,000 guests. As Southern California’s largest charter yacht, it offers 28,000 square feet of space. Each of the two enclosed decks caters to 500 guests. Inspiration features a sky deck that offers 360-degree views of San Diego Bay.
Lord Hornblower. The entire yacht accommodates 500 guests for a seated reception or 700 for a cocktail reception. Alternatively, a minimum of 120 guests can use the main or middle decks for a smaller wedding event. This luxurious boat has three decks and features four salons, three bars and two dance floors.
Adventure Hornblower. This climate-controlled yacht accommodates 350 seated guests or 550 for a cocktail reception. The sun deck has a capacity for 300 guests and offers spectacular views of the city skyline. It features a grand staircase, etched glass artwork, a dance floor, galley and four bars.
High Spirits. This yacht accommodates up to 150 guests. Built in 1929 and magnificently restored, it features mahogany paneling, crystal lighting accents, a dance floor, antique piano, dining room, dining table of a Chippendale design and two bars.
Emerald Hornblower. This yacht accommodates up to 90 guests for dining and 120 for a cocktail reception. There are two decks, which feature a modern lounge, main dining salon and bar. Guests can see exceptional views of the surroundings through the panoramic windows. This yacht features a retractable roof for guests to enjoy the sun during the day or to dance the night away in the moonlight.
Newport Hornblower. This yacht accommodates up to 80 guests for dining and 100 for a cocktail reception. This 85-foot yacht has a modern interior featuring chrome lighting, tables made from natural maple wood and wall coverings of a neutral design.
Renown. This classic Trumpy motor yacht from 1940 accommodates 40 guests for dining or 50 for a cocktail reception. It features a private stateroom, a dining deck, natural wood paneling, a solid teak bar and spacious open-air bow.
What You Should Know
Hornblower Cruises and Events has a reputation for its award-winning hospitality. The event planners are on hand to help couples decide which vessels and wedding packages are best for their requirements. The company offers eight wedding packages.
The Marina Dinner Cruise Package includes four hours of sailing time, background music during the ceremony, a hosted soda and juice bar and a cash bar for extra beverages. After the hors d’oeuvres of coconut-dipped prawns and tomato basil bruschetta, the venue offers a choice of oven-roasted chicken roulade or black pepper flat iron steak for the seated dinner. Also included are a salad, rice dish, vegetable sauté, bread and wedding cake for dessert.
The Tailwind Dinner Cruise Package is a seated dinner package and also includes four hours and a DJ instead of background music. A hosted wine and beer bar is in place of the soda bar and it includes displayed hors d’oeuvres, such as artisan cheeses. The entree choices include broiled escalope of salmon or grilled filet mignon.
The Starlight Dinner Cruise Package is a four-hour seated dinner cruise and includes a hosted premium bar and several displayed hors d’oeuvres to choose from, such as warm brie en croute and baked crab-stuffed mushrooms. The venue provides a VIP service, including red carpet boarding and chocolate truffles upon disembarking. The entrees include center-cut filet mignon or roasted prawns.
The four-hour Waypoint Dinner Buffet Package cruise includes a hosted soda and juice bar, a DJ and two entree choices for the buffet dinner. These include grilled salmon, stuffed chicken breast or carved New York strip loin.
The Bay Breeze Buffet Package has the same features as the Marina Dinner Cruise Package except that a buffet replaces the entree choices. The buffet includes smoked salmon lox, chilled asparagus, carved breast of turkey and classic eggs Benedict, among other dishes.
With similar features to the previous package, the four-hour Mainsail Lunch Reception Package includes a seated lunch. This consists of hors d’oeuvres followed by an entree, such as pan-seared Atlantic salmon or grilled breast of chicken.
The hors d’oeuvres served for the Sea Breeze Lunch Reception Package include tomato basil bruschetta and baked crab-stuffed mushrooms. A lunch buffet follows comprised of grilled breast of chicken, penne pasta and spinach salad to name a few dishes.
The San Diego Hors D’oeuvres Reception Package is a three-hour cruise with background music for the ceremony. It features a hosted wine and beer bar and a cash bar. The displayed hors d’oeuvres include imported and domestic cheeses plus fresh fruit and vegetable crudités. The tray-passed hors d’oeuvres include dishes, such as grilled chicken satay, tenderloin of beef and bacon-wrapped scallops
Booking a wedding event with Hornblower Cruises and Events has extra perks:
- Each package includes a wedding ceremony performed by the yacht’s uniformed captain
- A welcome glass of house champagne served on arrival
- Free-flowing house champagne is available with each package
- Wedding cake included for dessert
From the Vendor
Weddings and Receptions on San Diego Bay Yachts
Intimate weddings or grand receptions are a breeze with eight beautiful yachts and expert planners. Catering is prepared on board. Packages start as low as $79. Make your dream wedding on the water real.
Amenities + Details
Outdoor - Covered
Outdoor - Not Covered
For more details about amenities, please message the Venue.
$$$ – Moderate
Waterfront, Beach, City Hall, Cruise, Historic Venue, Church, Restaurant, Rooftop
Bar + Drinks, Cakes + Desserts, Destination Wedding Packages, Destination Wedding Planning, Destination Weddings, Food + Catering, Planning, Rentals + Equipment, Service Staff
Unique and AmazingReviewed on 4/21/2014 Amanda S
We held our wedding reception on a Hornblower yacht (the Renown) on March 17, 2014. We were so very pleased with this company, from start to finish! Kristie and Monique were both extremely responsive to any and all questions I had (which were many!), and I found this very helpful as I was planning our wedding from Arizona. Also, we were able to customize a package which best met our needs. We chose to have our ceremony on a beach and have a dinner cruise as our reception which worked out beautifully! But looking back, I think my one wish would be to have had more time on the yacht... the 3 hour cruise we booked went by too fast! I would definitely recommend one of the 4 hour packages to anyone considering a wedding, even if you are having your ceremony elsewhere. We, and all of our guests were having such a great time that we were sad to see it end. The staff on the yacht (and I am sorry I do not remember their names) were super nice, professional, and helpful. The yacht was just beautiful, as were the views of course. While I was concerned that the Renown would be a bit small, it actually was very comfortable for our guests (25 people). And the food! Wow, every one LOVED the food... in fact they are still talking about how delicious everything was even a month later. The food was quite plentiful and very fresh. They even agreed to provide for our vegetarian guests at no extra charge. In fact, my husband only had one complaint: he couldn't get any of the food to take as leftovers :) Overall, Hornblower had the best prices for a yacht wedding or reception, they were an awesome complany to work with, and provide standout service. Also, there aren't a bunch of hidden fees, other than the standard services charge and a landing fee, which I assume comes with any on-the-water-event. I can't wait to return to San Diego and take a Hornblower cruise for our anniversary!
Complete Wedding Package with Hornblower CruisesReviewed on 10/24/2012 Cyril G
Everything went smoothly on me and my husband's wedding day. My husband and I had a small wedding with twenty guests. We went with one of the upgrades of Hornblower's intimate wedding packages: ceremony, 3-hr cruise, dinner, photographer, photo package and cake. The three-course dinner was delicious, as was the wedding cake (which they let me customize to my liking), and the views were breath-taking. The wedding coordinator was amazing, she made everything less stressful. She was included in the package as well! The cruise and dining staff were all friendly and attentive. All my guests enjoyed themselves and so did my husband and I! I definitely recommend them!
An all inclusive dream!Reviewed on 10/14/2012 Kathryn G
From the get go Hornblower was amazing. Jill responded to my inquiry right away and worked with our schedule to show us the yacht. Once we booked Kristie Bryant was a dream to work with. Communication was fantastic, I always knew what was going on, and Kristie was always willing to show me the yacht as many times as I wanted. The day of staff were amazing, DJ the event manager was always making sure everything was the way I wanted and Aaron the bartender made the best drink suggestions. Finally the FOOD! Best wedding food I've ever had. I'm still hearing back from my guests about the prime rib and the cheesy potatoes. My mom even wanted to take the leftovers home in a Tupperware container! I couldn't have picked a better venue. How many people can say that got married on a yacht?!?! Thank you Hornblower for an amazing day.
The whole experience with Hornblower was amazing! They were very accommodating with us planning our destination wedding. The food was so good, delicious, hot and great quality! I highly recommend this for a small wedding. Not overly expensive and a lovely event host!
Perfect wedding venue!Reviewed on 7/29/2015 Haley L
Everything was perfect they made everything for our wedding so easy. Everyone loves the appetizers and the entrees were good too! Everything was amazing and I would recommend them to anyone
Everything was perfect!Reviewed on 2/26/2013 Rebekah K
Monique and her staff were wonderful. From the planning to the big day, Monique helped in every was possible. She ensured everything went on without a hitch. The staff during the cruise were attentive and delightful. We didn't have one complaint and all of our guests had a wonderful and enjoyable experience. I wouldn't change a thing!
Intimate and EasyReviewed on 10/10/2012 Irene M
Hornblower Cruises & Events wedding packages allowed for us to make the decisions and have no worries that everything would be arranged when we got there. They even wrapped our wedding cake tier to take home and enjoy on our 1 year anniversary! Monique made us feel at ease and the wedding vows seemed tailored to us. Hornblower Cruises and Events took a day special for the bride and groom and created a memorable day for us and our guests. It was what we both wanted... intimate and stress-free!
Small weddingReviewed on 8/08/2012 alexis H
We had such a great day and the hornblower took care of everything if you need a place for a small wedding this is it !!! We plan on going there for our first anniversary as well we had so much fun
BEST VENUE!Reviewed on 2/08/2012 grace lynn p
do yourself a favor and say i do on the Hornblower Yacht. Everything from the amazing food, views and more than helpful staff. You can't go wrong, best decision ever!
Fantastic DayReviewed on 10/31/2011 Amy E
We could not have asked for a more beautiful and perfect event. The planning was stress free due to the wonderful staff and then we didnt have to deal with a single issue the day of our wedding! LOVED IT
Such beautyReviewed on 10/06/2011 Sheryl D
Perfect Wedding VenueReviewed on 9/27/2011 Felicia R
My husband and I wanted to do something different, so we were looking online and found a yacht we fell in love with through hornblower cruises and events. Krystie and Jill were very helpful and were in contact with us for over a whole year planning our wedding. I was so nervous since it was going to be on a boat. I am so happy to say that everything turned out perfect!! the background of dowtown san diego with the sunset on the water was so beautiful! everything turned out amasing! I would do it all over again!!
Hornblower Wedding CruiseReviewed on 3/03/2011 Lisa C
We held our wedding on the Emerald Hornblower with 67 of our closest family and friends. This boat has a retractable roof on the second of two levels and we were able to be married under the sunshine, but protected from the breeze by the walls and windows. Not much decoration needed for this ceremony as the beautiful San Diego Bay was our backdrop! Some guests stood during the short ceremony in which the captain married us. There is a lounge area directly next to the area for the ceremony for extra seating and the DJ. Amazing food for the Main Sail Lunch! The dining room is all indoors on the first level with a bar. Their package included favors-tix for a future Harbor Cruise for our guests! and a cake-we chose Twiggs for our bakery (AMAZING white velvet cake)! The servers, captain, director, bartenders, everyone was SOOOO nice, helpful, and accomodating. The whole cruise is only 4 hours and it went fast!!! Just enough time for a little afternoon dancing:-) Beware steep stairs and steps on the boat. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a FUN and small wedding on the water!!!
Rehearsal lunchReviewed on 11/06/2010 Susan K
We chartered our own boat for 40 of our guests and they all enjoyed themselves. The staff was attentive and the food was tasty. The boat was a little run down but that would be my only complaint.
Couldn't ask for anything more.Reviewed on 10/18/2010 Kathryn Z
This was the perfect venue for our smaller group. They took care of just about everything which allowed us to sit back, relax and enjoy the evening with our guests. The food was wonderful and everyone we dealt with was so kind and helpful. I would certainly recommend this to anyone looking to have a dinner cruise reception.
smooth sailingReviewed on 6/28/2010 Nina G
We used Hornblower for our 2006 wedding ceremony and reception. For the most part, they were easy to work with and the planning and event went smoothly. The food and service was very good and overall it was a good value for what we got. Two issues: 1. My wedding planner was supposed to have access to the boat a few hours ahead of time to set-up the decorations, put out favors, etc. However when she showed up at the appointed time and location the boat was "locked". Because of this she did not have the time to fully decorate as we had planned. Luckily I am pretty laid back and was okay with the fact that the boat wasn't decorated as much and how I exactly wanted for the ceremony and reception. 2. We decided to have the ceremony on the boat at sunset. However, we just taken off when the ceremony started and so walking up the aisle was a little choppy. I wouldn't recommend doing this. I suggest having the ceremony while the boat is docked so that there are no bumps as you're walking down the aisle or have the ceremony somewhere else. Just a thought.
Easy and beautifulReviewed on 5/26/2010 Sarah M
Hornblower made it so easy to have a beautiful wedding and reception. We chose a harbor cruise because many of our guests were coming from out of town and we wanted to treat them to something special - and show off San Diego living. The staff was helpful and patient during the planning process. San Diego is such a laid-back town that sometimes the hospitality industry doesn't have the best record for service - but we were both blown away by the attentive and warm service provided to our guests. We actually enjoyed our reception food - many guests commented on how it was the first wedding they had attended where the food was delicious. Note: Unless you bring in your own officiant, the wedding itself has to be kept to 10-15 minutes. 15 min. was just right for us - enough time to exchange meaningful vows, share some lovely readings...but not long enough to bore our guests. For San Diego dinner cruises during the summer, be sure to check out the Summer Pops schedule. If you book your wedding on the same evening as a concert, you just might get some "free" fireworks thrown in. Our captain made an effort to time the cruise so that we were close to the fireworks when they were set off.
Review for Hornblower Cruises & EventsReviewed on 5/10/2010 Genny L
The food was very good. Everything happened very smoothly.;The sound system was not very good. 4 hours goes by VERY quickly.
Rating for Hornblower Cruises & EventsReviewed on 5/10/2010 Becky B
Rating for Hornblower CruisesReviewed on 5/10/2010 Kristi W
Review for Hornblower CruisesReviewed on 8/31/2007 KRIS J
She was very friendly & made the time leading up to the wedding day as stress-free as possible.
Review for Hornblower Cruises & EventsReviewed on 8/28/2007 Amber M
Cruising in San Diego bay for 4 hours in an awesome yacht. We could tell everyone was having fun and enjoyed every minute. And four hours is perfect ... not too long and not too short.;The bride doesn't really have a place to hang out before the ceremony on the boat ... the bathroom is quite small and very hot ... but it was still well worth it.
Rating for Hornblower Cruises & EventsReviewed on 8/23/2007 Jeanne G