The Hornblower Hybrid is a Model of Alternative Energy Innovation

Hornblower Cruises & Events boasts the marine industry’s only hybrid passenger ferry fleet in North America.  The first hybrid ferry was introduced to San Francisco Bay in 2009 by Alcatraz Cruises, a Hornblower Cruises & Events company, providing transportation to Alcatraz Island in accordance with their concession contract with the National Park Service.

Since that time the remaining two primary vessels in the Alcatraz Cruises fleet have been hybridized, making Alcatraz Cruises the only passenger vessel company in North America with a fleet of hybrid vessels.

In April 2012, Hornblower Cruises and Events christened another state-of-the-art hybrid vessel in New York Harbor, the Hornblower Hybrid.  This newest hybrid sources power from the sun and wind, grid electricity as well as an on-board battery bank.  Additionally the Hornblower Hybrid will derive power from hydrogen fuel cells, already installed on the Hornblower Hybrid, once that technology is approved by the US Coast Guard.

The continuing development of marine industry hybridization, as well as hydrogen fuel cell technology, demonstrate Hornblower’s commitment to innovation, marine conservation, environmental stewardship and sustainability.

For more detailed information on the New York Hornblower Hybrid vessel click on

According to Terry MacRae, CEO of Alcatraz Cruises and Hornblower Cruises & Events, “The Hornblower Hybrid fleet is an example of our company’s goal of becoming the greenest concessioner in the National Park Service.  With this Hornblower Hybrid fleet, we are now being recognized as a model of environmental innovation in the cities of San Francisco and New York.”

According to Kathy Bergreb Smith of, “Hornblower has worked closely with the Coast Guard throughout the building process on the multiple innovative systems, constantly breaking new ground.”

The Alcatraz Cruises Hybrid fleet uses power generated by ten‐foot‐tall wind turbines and photovoltaic solar arrays covering the awning on the top decks. That power is converted and stored in battery banks that then power the navigation tools, lighting and other electronics on board the vessels. Excess power is stored in the main propulsion battery banks.

In addition to solar panels and wind turbines, the Hornblower Hybrid fleet has Tier 2 marine diesel engines. These cleaner fuel‐efficient engines reduce the amount of diesel fuel used, minimize emissions and significantly reduce the company’s overall carbon footprint. The customized drive system allows the captain to monitor the energy needs of the vessel and select the most efficient power sources. For example, when the boat is idle at the dock the engines will shut off and the motors will run off of energy stored in the battery banks

About the boats:

San Francisco Bay

In San Francisco, the Alcatraz Cruises Hybrid fleet has redefined the profile of vessels on San Francisco Bay.

Hybrid Boat at Dock

As multipurpose vessels within the Alcatraz Cruises fleet, these boats ferry visitors to Alcatraz Island and Angel Island, as well as taking school groups and other passengers on cruises around the Bay.

Alcatraz Cruises considered several different designs before selecting this particular system. Of greatest importance was the need to build a system that maximized the weather patterns on San Francisco Bay. This vessel system has been designed to be modified as technologies are improved or refined.

Alcatraz Cruises offers daily round trips to Alcatraz Island as the concessioner of ferry service for the National Park Service. The contract for this service began in September

2006. Alcatraz Landing, the departure and return location, is located at Pier 33 on the

Embarcadero, between Bay and Chestnut streets. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 415‐981‐ROCK (7625).


New York Harbor 


 The New York Hornblower Hybrid features stunning floor-to-ceiling windows and an open layout that makes this boat’s flexible spaces perfect for everything from elegant dinner programs to rockin’ dance parties. State-of-the art lighting, sound and audio systems allow for increased customization to make sure events are as unique as each group they host.  The vessel boasts the following attributes:

  • Unobstructed views from climate-controlled indoor decks
  • Outdoor observation decks
  • Customizable LED lighting to match any decor or theme
  • State-of-the-art audio and video systems with flat-panel LED screens throughout
  • Full bars on each deck

 In addition to the yacht’s well-appointed interiors and breath-taking exterior decks, the New York Hornblower Hybrid is the greenest vessel in New York Harbor with the following features: 

  • Powered solar panels and wind turbines
  • Flooring sourced from post-consumer recycled materials
  • Aluminum wall coverings for a modern visual backdrop, eliminating the need for wallpaper, glue or high volatile organic compound (VOC) paints
  • Energy-efficient windows and heating/air conditioning systems to maintain a comfortable interior in the most efficient way possible
  • Custom created counter tops made from recycled glass and colored vodka bottles

About Hornblower Cruises:

For three decades, Hornblower yachts have sailed past famed landmarks while serving seven California cities. Hornblower Cruises & Events is the parent company of Alcatraz Cruises, the official National Park Service concessioner of transportation services to Alcatraz Island,  Statue Cruises, the official National Park Service concessioner of transportation services to the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island. Beginning in Spring 2014 Niagara Cruises, the only boat tour operating from Niagara Falls Canada, will begin offering daily service with frequent departures.

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