ALCATRAZ SOLD OUT? Resale, Packages, and Last Minute Options
The tour I want from Alcatraz Cruises is sold out... How do I get Alcatraz tickets?
Day Tour or Night Tour, purchasing an Alcatraz tour package from an Authorized Reseller is the simplest solution when Alcatraz Cruises is sold out. Select tour companies obtain, in advance, a limited number of Alcatraz tickets for resale.
DiscoverTown Tours is one such third party Authorized Reseller. DiscoverTown Tours is an Official Tour and Travel Partner of Alcatraz Cruises, and as such has been granted to use the Alcatraz Cruises logo in it's Alcatraz resale promotions.
Scroll down to read about the "Same Day Ticket Advisory" for an alternative solution, albeit one that is more difficult.
Are the Alcatraz Tickets resold by DiscoverTown Tours the official tours?
Yes. Alcatraz - as a portion of the tour packages we sell - is the one and only round trip ferry from the Official Concessionaire to the National Park Service, Alcatraz Cruises. This is true for Alcatraz Day Tours or Alcatraz Night Tours.
Are the tickets guaranteed? Or will I have to wait to see if the tickets are actually available?
At discovertown.com, there is no wait to confirm Alcatraz availability. We either have them or we don't. Once you make your purchase, the Alcatraz portion of your tour is guaranteed and locked in... Your Alcatraz tickets are taken from our pre-paid, limited allocation at the time of purchase.
- Many of our guests have reported frustrations with other companies that make you wait 48 hours only to be told tickets are not available. Again, we either have the tickets or we don't.
Why can't I buy just an Alcatraz ticket? Why do I have to purchase a combination tour package?
Alcatraz sells out fast. Often weeks in advance. If you missed the opportunity to buy directly from Alcatraz Cruises, tour companies selling tour packages is a viable option. We operate under the rules of the National Park Service and Alcatraz Cruises, particularly the requirement to only resell Alcatraz as part of a combination tour package.
If you are able to put tickets/packages into your shopping cart here at discovertown.com, that means we have those tickets in stock and your search is over.
Will I get to go inside Alcatraz? Or is it just a boat ride around the island?
We resell the tickets that take you onto Alcatraz Island and put you inside the prison, always with the Cell House Audio Tour.
To be clear, some of our packages include a second boat ride (Bay Cruise or Sunset Cruise) but the round trip to Alcatraz Island is the core of all of our combination packages.
For more details on the Cell House audio and the island experience, click on the Alcatraz description tab once you are viewing any Tour Package page on this site.
How long is the Alcatraz tour?
Alcatraz Day Tours usually take 2-2.5-3 hours total time. The Audio presentation inside the prison runs about 50 minutes. Boats leave the island every 30 minutes, you decide when to leave. Night Tours are on a set return schedule and the total time is just about 3 hours.
- During the day, there may be a queue to get on a return boat. You may not be able to get on a boat right away if enough people are in line before you, you may wait another 30 minutes for the next boat.
Do you have the Alcatraz Night Tour?
Yes. Subject to availability.
This is a great tour in high demand. It takes roughly 3 hours and is far less crowded than the day tour. See the Alcatraz Night Tour description tab on any Alcatraz Night Tour Package here on DiscoverTown.com. It sells out well in advance of the day tour. We offer Alcatraz Night Tour Packages, particularly in winter, spring, and fall. We have them less often in summer and for Christmas week.
- These are very limited.
- Few resellers offer this. You have come to the right place.
- If our Night Tour options are sold out, try an Alcatraz Day Tour Package.
- During peak periods we may not offer the Night Tour at all. We are not always able to obtain them for resale.
Do you provide transportation to Alcatraz Landing, Pier 33?
No. You must get yourself to Pier 33 at least 30 minutes before departure.
Alcatraz Cruises' website says they are the "Only source for tour tickets to Alcatraz." How are you a source?
This language is a little confusing. Alcatraz Cruises is indeed the only provider of ferry service to Alcatraz Island. So you need an Alcatraz Cruises ticket. They are the original source. We are an Authorized Reseller of theirs.
They also say "Don't be fooled by unauthorized sellers..." but they don't immediately explain that they give select companies authorization for resale. If you go to Alcatraz Cruises' FAQ page and find “FAQ's About 3rd Party Ticket Sales” you will see that they do authorize resale under restricted conditions, including tour packages. We follow these regulations.
Can I get same day or next day Alcatraz tickets from a reseller?
You cannot get same day or next day Alcatraz tickets from discovertown.com or any Authorized Reseller. Resellers must submit the names of all of their guests 4 days before departure. Therefore we do not have tickets for the very last minute.
If you want Alcatraz within 4 days, you can compete with others for a very limited number of same day tickets – known as the "Same Day Ticket Advisory."
What is the Same Day Ticket Advisory?
DiscoverTown Tours offers guaranteed tickets... as part of a package. However, if it is inside 4 days and/or you are not afraid to get up very early in the cold San Francisco air on the POSSIBILITY of getting tickets, then here's how it works:
- At Pier 33, Alcatraz Landing, at 7:30 am when Alcatraz Cruises opens their window, each morning roughly 50 - 100 tickets are sold at face value directly to the public. The volume varies by season. Generally more tickets are available in summer since SF tourism is at its highest. Alcatraz Cruises will not say what is available in advance of any given day.
- A maximum of four tickets will be released to any group with at least one adult over age 18. All four travelers must be in line. Unfortunately, one martyr on the cold dock cannot hold a place for 3 stragglers. Everybody must suffer together. One ticket per person in line. Security guards keep this in check.
- All adults (age 18+) must have a government issued photo ID ready to present (if you are able to get tickets).
- Tickets given are usually for one of the first 3 departures. Possibly later. This also may vary.
- Similarly a very, very limited number of Night Tour Standby Tickets can be obtained by waiting in this same line. Getting on the Night Tour this way is a complete gamble of your time - in the morning and then again that same evening. As few as 10 standby tickets may be handed out and there is no way to know how many regular ticket holders may miss the boat to free up space for you.
- Before you disrupt your vacation waiting on the frigid dock, we suggest that you go to Pier 33 and find out all of this for yourself.
The Same Day Ticket Advisory is public knowledge. It is on the internet. It is known to concierges at scores of hotels. And it is clearly posted at Pier 33 for walk up guests the days before, although it is not on the Alcatraz Cruises website (to prevent an overwhelming queue)...
All in all, this widespread information generates crowds/competition. Often people are there at 5:00 am (even 4:00 am in summer!) to secure a good spot in line. Those folks probably get tickets. After that, it's anyone's guess.
Given all of this, we feel quite good about offering a locked-in alternative to the chilled dock of Pier 33 in the early morning hours. Our guests are often pleasantly surprised by the fun and value of the other tours we offer and they see the convenience of getting a guaranteed seat as far preferable to taking a chance at the cold early morning dock.
What about StubHub or Craigslist and such?
Alcatraz Cruises requires all purchasers over age 18 need to show a photo ID that matches the name on the ticket. Alcatraz Cruises states that "visitors are required to show proof that they are the actual purchaser of a ticket, and if unable to confirm this ‘proof of purchase’ they may not be allowed on the boat." Previously reseller tickets just listed the name of the reselling company. Now all tickets include the name of the individual guest.
If you purchase a ticket with the name of someone else on it, your photo ID won't match the ticket.
Do you offer the Alcatraz Behind the Scenes Tour?
We do not sell the Alcatraz Behind The Scenes Tour. We know of no reseller that does. To our knowledge, these are sold only through AlcatrazCruises.com and they sell out weeks and weeks in advance.
If Alcatraz Cruises and DiscoverTown Tours are both sold out, do you have referrals?
Yes, sometimes we can make referrals. Including for the Night Tour. If the Alcatraz date you seek is unavailable, but more than four days away, check out our Referral page. If we have referral dates that can help you, then Contact us for possible referral.
IF YOU ARE SEEKING TICKETS WITHIN 4 DAYS OF DEPARTURE, CALLING OR EMAILING US WON'T HELP. For such last minute tickets, see the "Same Day Ticket Advisory" information above.
Is Alcatraz Wheelchair Accessible? How steep is the hill? What if I have mobility issues?
The 1/4 mile walking road on Alcatraz is steep, equivalent to a 13-story rise over that distance. But SUSTAINABLE EASY ACCESS TRANSPORTATION (S.E.A.T.) is there for guests with mobility issues. This tram is available roughly twice per hour. It runs from runs from the Alcatraz Island dock to the Cellhouse ... and back down to the dock. It has retractable ramps that allow for both manual and power wheelchairs. Once at the prison, inside the Cellhouse there is an elevator.
Boarding S.E.A.T. is on a first come, first served basis. Guests with mobility issues using this tram may be accompanied by one other person in their group, space permitting. Groups can meet up at the Cellhouse or at the Alcatraz Island dock. S.E.A.T. is not for mobile children/strollers.
How do I purchase an Alcatraz Tour Package from Discovertown.com?
Choose a combination package first, then pick an Alcatraz departure from within that package page.
- Enter the quantity of tickets and choose an Alcatraz date and time from the drop-down menu. If you see a “Book Now” message, that means Alcatraz tickets are available for that date/time/quantity.
- Upon purchase, your screen will show a 5 digit invoice number confirming receipt.
- Again, once you make your purchase, the Alcatraz portion of your tour is locked in... Your Alcatraz tickets are taken from our pre-paid, limited allocation at the time of purchase.
- Once your full tour package is confirmed, there are no refunds or exchanges. You will check a box agreeing to the terms and conditions.
- After your order is placed, your ticket count and the names of your group members will be given to Alcatraz Cruises. Your Alcatraz tickets will be waiting for you on the day of departure. They will have been set aside from our pre-paid allotment and go only to you.
What is the Voucher?
- Upon purchase for all products, you can save or print your Voucher. We will also send you a duplicate email-based Voucher. The Voucher confirms all reservations and includes instructions for taking tour(s).
- We recommend that you download the Voucher. Regardless, you should receive a duplicate email with "Voucher" in the subject line within 2 hours after seeing your purchase confirmation (showing a 5-digit order number). If you do not obtain a Voucher, please check your junk mail box... Then if another copy is needed, please email us at email@example.com and we'll get one out asap.
- Note that there is no bar code or pdf attachment, so do not search for one.
Can I purchase Alcatraz at any time from you?
Although this website is open for business 24/7, we have a set number of tickets, so we advise that you make your purchase quickly to guarantee that we will have tickets for your desired date and time.
Our monthly allotment of Alcatraz is limited (Day and Night combined), so we may sell out of our small stock, especially during peak periods.
And within four days before departure, we can't help.
The Alcatraz tour departure times you list are not convenient for my group. Do you have other departure times available? Or can I use it for another time?
Alcatraz departures are time-specific and date-specific. The scheduled departures we offer cannot be changed. Occasionally we may have referrals that might offer a different time.
Are reservations needed for Big Bus Hop-On-Hop-Off or Bay Cruise components?
NO RESERVATIONS ARE NEEDED for these tours.
YOU CHOOSE when to activate your Voucher: any time/day before Alcatraz…
This may be in the afternoon once you have completed Alcatraz… or possibly in the morning before the Night Tour (if you give yourself ample leeway)... or any time/day after Alcatraz.
We recommend the hop-on-hop-off tour for another day, when you have no major commitments in the evening.
You must get yourself to Fisherman's Wharf (Pier 43&1/2) for the Bay Cruise or get yourself to Union Square or Fisherman's Wharf for the Hop-On-Hop-Off.
What about reservations for Muir Woods, Wine Country, or the Sunset Cruise?
- Within 24-48 hours you should receive final confirmation as we secure final reservations with our tour partners. Once confirmed, tours cannot be changed. All confirmed reservations are final sales.
- If you have not received a final confirmation for this part of the tour package within 24-48 hours, please email or call us.
- Courtesy shuttle pickups are only available at select hotels, primarily Downtown SF and Lombard Street. Fisherman's Wharf hotels are walking distance to Tower Tours' office or the Red & White Fleet Sunset Cruise. If pickups for Muir Woods or Wine Country are not available at your hotel, we will notify you.
- No hotel pickups for the Sunset Cruise.
- Note that a Muir Woods 9:00 am tour can be done the same day as an Alcatraz Night Tour. The 2:00 pm Muir Woods tour cannot.
For all Alcatraz packages, can other tours can be done BEFORE or AFTER Alcatraz?
- YOU CHOOSE the days for each tour.
- For Alcatraz Packages that include Muir Woods, Wine Country, or the Sunset Cruise, you must select dates/times for these tours at the time you purchase the package.
- Bay Cruises and Big Bus Tours do not require any date selection, although you may want to plan ahead as to which day you intend to activate those tickets and take those torus.
- Bay Cruises and Big Bus Tours can be done the same day as Alcatraz - IF TIMED PROPERLY.
- The Chinatown walking tour can be done on any day without reservation requirements. Instructions are included on your Voucher.
- There are no hotel pickups for the hop-on-hop-off bus or the 1-hr Bay Cruise
- If flexibility is important to you, these tours may offer your best option.
- If you start the Big Bus hop-on-hop-off tour late in the day, your available hop-off time will be limited.
- If you take the Big Bus hop-on-hop-off before the Alcatraz Night tour, it will be critical that you keep an eye on the clock and finish the tour at Fisherman's Wharf in time to transition to the Alcatraz Night Tour.
Anything else to know?
- FOR ALCATRAZ: Bring your email Voucher to Pier 33, Alcatraz Landing. You can show a printed copy of your Voucher or show it on your phone or tablet. All travelers over age 18 must show a government issued photo ID.
- There is no parking at Pier 33 Alcatraz landing, but there are several commercial lots within 5 blocks. Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before your departure, but not more than 2 hours early. You will not be able to get your tickets more than 2 hours before departure.
- Expect fog or cool weather at any time. Wind-proof jackets are highly recommended for Alcatraz, Bay Cruises, and the open-air hop-on/hop-off bus. Skull caps are a smart idea.
- We answer emails regularly. Normally at least once per day. See our Contact page.
- No Refunds or Exchanges on Alcatraz Packages. No Refunds for Missed Tours. No Refunds for Tours Not Used. At check out, you must check a box that you agree to the Terms and Conditions. Cancellation options for non-Alcatraz tours are limited by time. See Terms and Conditions.
- DiscoverTown.com does not collect credit card data. All credit card information runs through Stripe secure payment systems.
- To return to our splash pages, click for Day Tours, Night Tours, or both Day & Night options.