Flagship Patriot Jet Speedboat & San Diego Harbor Cruises

I had ummed and ahhed about going on Flagship’s Patriot jet speedboat ever since I came across a YouTube clip. I was researching new activities to do in San Diego and thought that it looked like fun. The thing is I’m scared of deep water and I don’t like boats. Hey, I even feel sick whilst travelling across to the Isle of Wight on the 30-minute ferry.  So you can imagine that this was going to be a big deal for me.

I had to set about building up my courage in preparation to do this and I did it in three stages. First, I took an hour-long cruise in Poole and that was ok. Then I opted for the two-hour cruise around San Diego Bay which I found really relaxing and then I was ready to go 50 miles an hour on a speedboat! Read on to see what I thought as well as all my top tips for the best price and experience.

old ship in front of San Diego City skyline
San Diego – The old vs the new

The cruise starts right next to the USS Midway on San Diego’s North Harbor Drive. Tickets can be purchased on the day from the kiosk, the visitor centre behind the kiosk, discounted from some hotel concierges, or massively discounted from companies like Groupon.

There is on street meter parking close by at $2.50 an hour (coins or card) for 3-4 hours maximum, more parking on the pier, at nearby Seaport Village, and also at the Midway for a flat rate $10 a day (pay attendant on entry).

Hornblower and Flagship both run cruises from the same dock for the same price. We opted for Flagship and bought from our hotel for $26 pp instead of $32 for the two-hour cruise.

You have an option to sail the North side which takes you past Harbor and Shelter Islands, Point Loma, the Rosecrans Cemetery and the military airbase. You will also pass the military sea lion and dolphin training centres (we saw sea lions but no dolphins).

navy training ship at Coronado
Navy training ship at Coronado San Diego

Or the South side which takes you past the Midway, all the military boat docks and under the Coronado bridge. Both tours offer great shots of the San Diego skyline but more so on the South side. If I had to choose one I would say the South has more to look at but opt for the two-hour cruise if you can.

jet skis in the San Diego Harbor
Racing jet skis in the San Diego Bay

As you enter the slipway you will have your photo taken which you can buy on the way out for $20 but the crew come around on board offering to take photos of you with your own camera at various intervals during the cruise. There is a running commentary throughout with lots of interesting facts and history. The best views are on the right-hand side. You can sit inside or outside on one of three decks and there are bars and restrooms on board. Be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen even on a cloudy day and have a few dollars change to tip the crew.

Whilst we were on our cruise The Patriot “showed off” alongside which made my mind up to definitely do that too, and as soon as possible.

patriot speedboat and flagship cruise boat in San Diego
Flagship Patriot – the ultimate thrill ride!

Again, tickets could be bought discounted for as little as $18 from Groupon, rather than a normal $30 ticket at the kiosk. As you go onboard you are offered a free poncho and a dry storage area for bags.

Now if you are a bit nervy like me here’s some safety tips that might alleviate your fears. You are strapped in via a lap belt, there is a life jacket under your seat, there is a handrail in front of you and lastly there is a hand signal that you can do during the ride if it’s an emergency and the crew will slow the boat and attend to you (yes, I did fear I might throw up)! So, after the crew shared that safety briefing, my nerves were settled and we were off.

And wow, what an amazing experience it was. You travel at 50 mph up and down the bay, experiencing a few zig zags through the surf and 360 degree turns to ensure that you are covered in anything from a mist to a total drenching of cool sea water. My advice is to wear as little as possible, don’t bother with the poncho just have some dry clothes to change into later in the car. Getting soaked just adds to the experience. I absolutely loved this thrill ride and the only downside is that it didn’t last longer than 30 minutes. It was both exhilarating and totally relaxing having the wind blow through your hair. I will now be going on this every time I come to San Diego and you should too. I can’t recommend it enough and am really looking forward to going on it again.

Again have a few dollars to tip the crew with you. There is another official photo taken on boarding, but the crew will take a couple more for you with your own camera. Make sure you get a before and after shot.

Coronado Bridge San Diego
Great views of the Coronado Bridge from the cruise ship and speedboat


I have lots of new posts to come covering free and cheap things to do in San Diego as well as traditional tourist attractions.

Do have a read of my post of over 70 tips for taking a road trip or holiday in the USA and check back as I will be writing about Sedona, Lake Havasu, Las Vegas, San Francisco and more shortly.

In the meantime you might like to read some older posts:

USS Midway, Seaport Village and Embarcadero
Cabrillo Monument Point Loma
Art Walk Liberty Station San Diego
An Afternoon in and around Poole Quay


11 thoughts on “Flagship Patriot Jet Speedboat & San Diego Harbor Cruises

  1. That looks amazing. San Diego is very high on my travel list so when we go I’ll have to do this. Summer probably couldn’t go since she gets motion sick really easy.

    Liked by 1 person

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