Alcatraz Cruises has been offering free tickets to underrepresented youth for several years now. But many of the schools that these children attend are not able to take advantage because they can not afford the transportation to get students to San Francisco’s Pier 33 to board the boats.
In 2017, Alcatraz Cruises partnered with Hornblower Classic Cable Cars and made a big leap forward in addressing this transportation gap, creating an incredibly rewarding program in the process.
The Alcatraz Cruises Gives Back! outreach program offers complimentary Alcatraz Island tickets along with full round-trip ground transportation, picking up students in the morning at the participating school and returning them in the afternoon.
Since the schools targeted for this program provide free lunch for nearly 100% of their students, Alcatraz Cruises includes a box lunch for every visitor. In addition, and as a keepsake, Alcatraz Cruises also provides complimentary boarding photos for all participants.
Alcatraz Cruises Gives Back! is offered on select Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in January and February for 2018. For the inaugural 2017 season, Alcatraz Cruises hosted 15 group experiences, including 290 students and 99 adult chaperones.
All schools that are invited to participate are Title 1 grade schools in the immediate San Francisco/Bay Area. The program will be offered again in 2018 with the goal of bringing this opportunity to even more qualifying schools.
The Alcatraz Cruises Gives Back! program has generated some of the most intense outpourings of joy and gratitude and it has been deeply rewarding for all involved. Just imagine the joy of these children being picked up at their school by a motorized cable car knowing they are on their way to Alcatraz.
Student testimonials (misspellings included):
“Thank you for giving us our special trip to Alcatraz today. We all loved the ferry. The food was delicious and the adventure was amazing. My favirote part was going into the cells during the audio tour. Some students also claimed to have saw a ghost. . . Anyway I wish you can send other classes to go and maybe do for other schools.”
“We had a wonderful time on Alcatraz. I really liked the cable car because we got to feel the fresh air. I also liked the food especially the sandwich. My mom said that the picture was beautiful. Every time I see it I feel happy. I put the picture on my desk. On the boat, I saw a sea lion! I so surprised! I was so exited and felt happy That I went to Alcatraz.
Thank you for inviting us to Alcatraz. Alcatraz isn’t a place I would like to stay at.”
“We had a wonderful day – all day – on our trip to Alcatraz. For many of us, it was a day of firsts:
First time on a ferry, first time on a cable car (of any type), and first time to visit Alcatraz.
We continue to read up on and study the history of the escape attempts. We have a class divided on whether the three “successful” escapees are still alive. In ten years, the class may not remember my name, but they will certainly remember their adventure to Alcatraz Island.”
“On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being excellent. I would give a 10.”
“The entire experience was memorable (modes of transport), thrilling (Alcatraz!), compelling (Alcatraz!), thoughtful (lunches, pictures, guides), convenient (door to door pickup and delivery) and user-friendly (headsets).”
“It was wonderful! I especially loved that we were picked up in the cable car. This trip has been previously difficult if not impossible because of the distance and lack of transportation, but this made it work!”
“The students loved the boat ride and the cable car on wheels. They were really engaged during the Alcatraz prison tour and shared many things they learned. Some had a chance to talk to the former Alcatraz prison guard and asked him questions about the two prisoners who had escaped.”
“Whole experience was great. For many students, it was their first time on a boat. The cable car bus was popular and the students also enjoyed the audio tour.”
“3rd graders are required to learn about their city/community and how it has changed/evolved through time. Alcatraz was a great example of a place that has done a full circle and they were able to recognize that.”
“The cable car ride was amazing. The students had never been on one like that before. They loved it, and the driver was very nice and helpful.”
“Customer service was excellent! they made us feel like VIPs”
“Everyone was friendly and helpful. We never had to look for help, it was one of the easiest field trip experiences I have ever had.”
“Communication was excellent. I felt well prepared because I was prepared well. The paper itinerary was down to the minute and rolled out exactly as planned : )”