Alcatraz Cruises offers level boarding to their vessels, which take visitors from Pier 33 to the island prison across the bay. From there, it’s a quarter-mile hike uphill to the cell block. Visitors unable to make the trek can take the SEAT electric tram, which features roll-on access. There’s level access to the cell block, with wheelchair-access to most sites on the self-guided audio tour; and although there are a few uneven patches of pavement here and there, it’s still a very accessible tour.
That said, you have to be careful where you buy Alcatraz tour tickets, as there are a number of reseller websites out there that hawk these tickets at inflated prices. You should never pay more than $37.25, which is the adult ticket price at Alcatraz Cruises, the only authorized Alcatraz concessionaire. Unfortunately this website may not always come up first in internet searches, due to paid advertisements. And that’s exactly how some unsuspecting visitors end up paying much more for their Alcatraz tours.
One of the big problems is that these reseller websites look official. In fact when I did a search, at first glance it was hard to distinguish the authorized concessionaire website from the reseller sites. The big key is that the official site has the National Park Service authorized concessionaire logo – something that the reseller websites lack. Additionally, the ticket prices on the reseller sites are always higher – in my case there was almost a 20% mark-up.
So definitely put Alcatraz on your next San Francisco itinerary, but be very careful where you buy your tickets. Always deal with the National Park Service authorized concessionaire – and in this case that’s only Alcatraz Cruises!
For more information on access on Alcatraz, visit www.nps.gov/alca/planyourvisit/accessibility.htm.