ALCATRAZ TOURS TERMS AND CONDITIONS INCLUDING CANCELLATION AND REFUND POLICY
Alcatraz Tours terms and conditions including cancellation and refund policy
- Terms, Refund and Cancellation Policy
- General terms-
- Other terms and information
- Reservation and Cancellation Policy
- Do I Need Travel Insurance? Do I get a refund if I cancel for personal or medical reasons ?
Our Terms, Refund and Cancellation Policy are as follows:
- All Alcatraz sales are final and non refundable, once you receive our voucher confirming your tour and date of the tour , and then later want to cancel - there is no refund at all. Alcatraz offers one departure based on the scheduled time on your tickets, if you miss the ferry, there would be no other substitutions or departures as Alcatraz is always sold out. All sales are final
- Cost of the Muir woods parking fees is non refundable.
For other tours this is our terms
- 91% of the total amount will be refunded if the tour is canceled at least 15 days prior to the scheduled tour (or the date of the tour or service) 9% covers the required transaction fees; that’s 4.5 % per transaction (booking is one transaction and refunding is a second transaction)
- 50% of the total amount will be refunded if the tour is canceled at least 7 business days prior to the scheduled tour or service. (weekends and holidays don’t count).
- 15% of the total amount will be refunded if the tour is canceled at least 5 business days prior to the scheduled tour (weekends and holidays don’t count).
- 0% of the total amount will be refunded if the tour is canceled 4 business days or less prior to the day of the scheduled tour or service. This includes no-shows. (Weekends and holidays don’t count).
Refund Fees: There is a charge for each transaction when wanting a refund. This charge will vary from 4.5% to 7.9% per transaction depending on the type of credit card you used to make the transaction and the country where the credit card was issued. This charge covers the credit card transaction fees that your credit card company charged us when you made the reservation on our website and includes the required merchant processing fees associated with your credit card company. This policy applies on all refunds as well, regardless of the amount or the date of the refund.
Methods of Payment and Accepted Credit Cards: We accept all major credit cards including MasterCard, Visa, Discover, American Express, wire transfers, Debit Cards, Euro Cards, “Cartes Bleues.” and PayPal. We may in exceptional circumstances accept payments in cash from clients who have no credit cards.
- Please note that tour guides are not allowed to guide inside Muir Woods National Monument and at Alcatraz Island.
- The pick-up at your hotel in San Francisco is included, however to keep the cost down, the drop-off after your Alcatraz tour is not included.
- The minimum drinking age in California is 21.
- Minors under the age of 18 are not allowed to visit Alcatraz Island, unless accompanied by an adult. Minors must be supervised at all times while visiting Alcatraz Island, Alcatraz Landing and while onboard Alcatraz cruise vessels.
- Alcatraz tickets are extremely hard to get because they are often sold out weeks and months in advance. The sooner you book, the better.
- Approved online transactions on our website do not guarantee your Alcatraz tour or tickets as we must go through a process in order book these tickets, after we received your transaction. Alcatraz may have approved or declined your reservation based on availability and the increasing popularity of Alcatraz tours. After we send Alcatraz your reservation, we will keep you posted by email. This may take days or weeks and if approved, you will be confirmed. If declined, we will fully refund the transaction to the credit card you used on our website when you booked this tour.
- The only online calendar available on our website is extremely hard to manage and update on a daily basis. This calendar governs all our tours and is available in over 10 different languages, which multiplies the number of tour options by 10! When Alcatraz tickets are sold out, we cannot simply block the calendar for these particular date(s) because this will prevent all other clients from booking any of our tours. This would put us all out of business! Alcatraz represents only 10% of our tours and it’s impossible to block the calendar each time Alcatraz is sold out, as their reservations calendar changes constantly. For that reason, we have amended these terms and conditions on our website stating clearly and unequivocally the following terms regarding Alcatraz tour and tickets reservations:
- All our tours, including Alcatraz, are subject to availability even if the transaction is approved. We do reserve the right to void or refund your transaction when Alcatraz tickets are sold out. This is totally beyond our control as the only provider of Alcatraz tickets and tours are governed by the U.S. National Park Service, and their ticket availability and regulations apply to all clients and visors equally.
- We do require 8 business weeks in advance when booking any of the Alcatraz tours, especially during the peak season holidays and week-ends. The peak season refers to the period of April to the end of October.
- We reserve the right to offer you alternative tours when Alcatraz is sold out. If you decline our offer, we will fully refund your transaction, which takes about 10 business days toand in Alcatraz Island be available in your account. The same applies to us when a client books a tour on our website. It takes 7 to 10 business days before we receive such payments. These funds transit between merchant services, authorize.net gateway and banks before they get transferred to the required bank account.
- A common mistake some customers make: When Alcatraz tickets are sold out, customers rush desperately to book the Alcatraz tour directly on our website, without taking the time to review our terms and conditions in this regard. We cannot be blamed in such cases, as we make it extremely clear that we have no control over Alcatraz tickets when they are sold out. We therefore do require at least 8 business weeks booking in advance.
- For time considerations, we don’t drive across the Golden Gate Bridge on the half-day tour, but we do include it on our full-day San Francisco city tour.
- The itinerary may change based on your time, road or weather conditions, pick-up location and preference. When it is rainy or foggy, we have to skip some areas /places for safety considerations or due to the lack of visibility.
- Please note that vehicles taking 7 passengers or more are prohibited entry to many places in San Francisco, like Lombard Street, Russian Hill, Telegraph Hill, Sea Cliff, Marina, Muir Beach and Overlook, Alamos Square (painted ladies), and all other areas restricted by law to van or bus tours. We therefore recommend our SUV tour option, which is without doubt the best way to travel to these sights.
- Smoking is not allowed in our vehicles. We apologize, but our vehicles are not pet-friendly and not equipped for passengers with disabilitties or wheelchairs. Thank you for understanding.
- Many tours and services are governed by special terms and other conditions which are stated on the tour voucher you will receive from us by email. This is the final tour confirmation, because the merchant and automated receipt you will receive when booking on our website, doesn’t guarantee your tour, even when the transaction is approved.
- Currency: All transactions are in United States Dollars (USD). Please note that if a transaction is declined, we do not receive any email from our Merchant account in this regard. It is your responsibility to ensure that your transaction is approved before you contact us. If approved, you will get an automated email from (firstname.lastname@example.org) shortly after making the reservation on our website. Otherwise, please start over with a different credit card and ensure that you provide the correct bank and billing address information including your zip code (postal code)
- Approved transactions do not guarantee your tour(s) as all reservations are subject to availability. Popular tours like Alcatraz require at least 8 weeks’ reservation in advance.
- Visiting Alcatraz, tour length and terms: Once on the Island, you can stay on Alcatraz as long as you wish, but allow at least for a 3-hour roundtrip (for sailing to the island, taking the Cellhouse audio guided tour, exploring the island and its exhibits, and the return to the mainland). A photo ID is required from visitors when embarking on Alcatraz ferries. Suitcases, large backpacks or oversized duffel bags are not permitted on Alcatraz Cruises vessels or at Alcatraz Island. The same applies to bicycles, skateboards, roller blades or skate shoes and weapons which are not allowed on Alcatraz Landing or on Alcatraz Island.
- Minors under the age of 18 are not allowed to visit Alcatraz Island on our tours, unless accompanied by an adult. Minors must be supervised at all times while visiting Alcatraz Island, Alcatraz Landing and while onboard Alcatraz Cruises vessels.
- There is no food service available on Alcatraz, but snacks and beverages are available on all boats headed to and from the island
- The roads and walkways on Alcatraz are steep. The distance from the dock to the Cellhouse is approximately 1/4 mile (.4km) and the elevation change is 130 feet (40 meters). Alcatraz visitors unable to make the climb up Alcatraz’s steep roads can take advantage of the S.E.A.T. – Sustainable Easy Access Transport – vehicle, an accessible shuttle that runs twice an hour from the dock to the prison building and twice an hour from the drop off location back to the dock. Boarding SEAT is on a first come, first served basis.
Other terms and information
Guidelines and Policy
Wheelchair and handicap accessibility issues: We apologize but our vehicles are not equipped with wheelchair access. There is no room for a wheelchair in our vehicles unless it’s a very small and foldable wheelchair. However, the main concern is the customers’ ability to get it in and out of the vehicles for liability issues. Our one-day tour lasts 12 hours, door-to-door, but a 4 to 5-hour drive each way may be necessary, based on weather and traffic conditions. When kids, seniors and wheelchairs are part of the tour, this will slow down the trip, and requires overtime. $179 will be charged to your credit card for each additional hour added to the tour after 12 hours by van and $129 per hour when touring by SUV.
Pets: Pets are not allowed in our vehicles out of respect for those who have allergies to pets.
Smoking:Smoking is not permitted in our vehicles
Clothing: Please be prepared for cold weather, slippery roads and hiking trails, so have comfortable waterproof hiking shoes to walk on the snow, in winter and spring. This long day-tour can be challenging for kids and seniors, we therefore recommend the overnight tour package.
Parks, Attractions and Site Closures: We are not responsible, nor liable, for road and weather conditions. State and national parks closures can happen at any time and without prior notice, due to bad road and weather considerations. No refund will be issued, regardless of the reasons for which the trip may not reach its destination. If you cancel or stop the tour for personal or medical reasons, there will be no refund of tours or dates offered either.
Guided tours in foreign languages: All tours in foreign languages are subject to extra fees to cover tour guides or freelancers we may hire to honor your tour in the required language.
Travel Agents: Travel agents are liable for 20% gratuity when their customers do not tip the driver or tour guides. We require travel agents to provide customers’ full name and contact information or the tour will be cancelled. Travel agents are also liable for all overtime if their clients did not pay for it, and a credit card will be needed on file. Due to the high cost of conducting business in California, we barely cover our business expenses and wages.Therefore, all our tours are at non-commissionable rates.
Travel Agent’s Duties:Many travel agents never communicate our terms and policies to their customers, even when they promise to do so. 98% of the time we loses ubstantial amounts in unpaid overtime and money owed.Therefore, we require that all travel agents provide their clients’ names and contact information (cell phone numbers and emails) and to share the basics of our terms and policies and the general terms of the tour they booked. Clients must know what to expect and what is not included. Please be assured that we never share any details regarding the cost of the tour. This remains confidential between travel agents and our office.
Also, some customers are extremely hard to deal with, so it is the travel agents’ responsibility to provide two telephone numbers where we can reach them. We require agents to assist us with their customers’ excessive behavior or misunderstanding of our terms due to a lack of communication or transparency between travel agents and their clients.
Gratuity: 15% to 20% gratuity is required and customary in the USA. Generally, a tip may vary between 15% to 20% of the total purchase amount, or it can be a flat amount that is near the appropriate percent. It really depends upon the situation.
Website and Quotes: We no longer provide quotes, unless the required tour is not available on our website.This is how it works: First choose your preferred private tour from our website https://alcatraztoursf.com to get an instant quote by clicking on the button “Prices”, and get the cost per person. Same with other tabs like “Trip Overview”, “Tour Itinerary”, “Tour Prices” and” BOOK THIS TOUR” online. We invested extensively in our website.So,with one click you get more details, information and descriptions about each tour and itinerary, than any other operator can offer you.
There is a misconception about private tours. With all due respect to visitors and customers who are still suspicious of the cost of private tours. I am happy to clarfiiy for your better understanding “why private tours cost more”.
Yes, public group tours are more cost-effective than a private tour. Did you know that private tours and public tours are similar in cost and expenses? Both provide one driver-tour guide, one vehicle, one tour and same expenses and liability. However, the private tour operator (like us) makes 95% less profit than that of the public tour operator who makes 10 times more profit thanks to the number of people per tour. We, on the other hand, focus on quality.We never share our private tours with other customers, but we still provide the same services and cover the same expenses and even more in some cases. We use one vehicle, one driver/ tour guide, same commercial insurance liability and wages, while providing a more personalized service and customized trip itineraries conducted in luxury vehicles and totally private (not in old buses) and we gain access to all sites where large buses are prohibited. Our profit margins are minimal for some tours, due to the high cost of doing business in California.
How our website works. 90% of clients book our products directly online, and 10% who contact us once before they make their reservations. However, many travel agents who shop online, contact us way too many times, and too many of them never book with us.They never even take 1% of the time we spend on their inquiries to send us an email informing us that they are no longer interested.
- Online Reservation and Transactions
What happens after we void or refund a transaction? Approved transactions: When transactions are processed on our website, and approved by your bank, it still takes about 7 to 10 business days before we even get the required funds transferred to our business merchant bank account.However, we still honor your tour(s) as scheduled if your transaction is approved, even if the tour is scheduled for the next day, as long as the tour is available. We are committed to provide high quality services and tours to our customers.
Voided and refunded transactions: When a transaction is voided, or refunded, the charge is removed from the authorized transaction inquiry and never batched or settled because the funds never leave customers’ bank accounts. However, all such transactions will still show on customers’ bank statements as “pending” for up to 7 to 10 business days because the funds are temporarily frozen by your own bank without leaving your account.Please take this aspect into consideration before you follow up with us.
To release the funds, you will need to contact your bank and handle this directly with them as this has nothing to do with us.
Common mistakes and misconception about voided transactions: Most customers do not realize or understand their own bank’s policy and guidelines regarding online purchases. The main issue is that the funds from the voided charge will be inaccessible to the client for a full 10 business days. For that reason, clients often think that the charge was still placed on their credit card, but in reality it has never left their bank account and will be available only after 10 business days. In other words, voiding a credit card transaction will not remove the charge from customer’s bank account immediately, please be patient before you follow up with us or your bank in this regard.Banks usually take 7 to 10 business days to release these funds back to your account, and this is totally beyond our control and has nothing to do with us.
Declined transactions. Why was your reservation declined? When a reservation is declined a client’s own bank, this is often due to a mismatch between customer’s bank information (such as the name on the credit card, card number, expiration date, CVV, zip/postal code or billing address).If any one of these verification factors don’t match the information you provided on our website, compared to the bank information when placing your order, your transaction is automatically declined by your own bank to protect your bank information from fraud. Sometimes, transactions are also declined due to insufficient funds as well. Your tour(s) will not be confirmed until your new transaction is approved by your own bank. We apologize for the inconvenience but your own bank did so to prevent fraud and protect your credit card information.
Tip: Most credit card companies including Amex now require their clients to inform them in advance when making purchases online or out of town / state, otherwise they decline the transaction to prevent fraud. You may also get an email or text message alert asking you to approve or decline the transaction that has been declined before you resubmit it online, this is out of our hands and it’s indeed required by many credit card companies for customers’ own good.
Responsibility and Tour Change Liability
We hereinact as a tour operator; or as a subcontractor represented by a contractor, and/or independent tour guide/driver or subcontractor, and do not assume responsibility or liability for the following:
- Any injuries or illnesses or accidents suffered by customers during any trip or tour
- Loss or damage of personal property or when stepping in and out of our vehicles
- Inability to facilitate tours or services due to vehicle breakdown or vehicle vandalism or road/park closures.
- Delays, inconvenience, itinerary changes or cancellations due to force majeure or any circumstances beyond our control including weather, traffic, road work, hazards, park attraction/winery/monument closure.
We reserve the right to modify the tour guide/driver/vehicle/itinerary/rates and cancel tours without prior notice. We reserve the right to refer you to one of our sister companies, partners, subcontractors or to cancel the tour and refund your deposit if the tour is not available.
We reserve the right to remove any passenger who causes a disturbance to any individual in the vehicle, including the tour guide/driver, or poses a threat to an otherwise smooth and safe trip. We also reserve the right to refuse service to anybody.
Every passenger on board the vehicle must respect the tour guide and the time frame in which a tour is scheduled to occur when you stop for photos, breaks, hiking, walking or visiting a site of interest. We are not responsible for any delays caused by the customer or individual who does not comply with the time limit a tour guide recommends for each stop or site. Please note that overtime fees may apply if applicable, our tours and services are delivered as advertised for on our website.
Items not included in the tour price: Meals, driver’s gratuity, some entrance fees, wine tasting fees, and/or any additional optional fees and expenses unless otherwise noted on your tour voucher.
Some tours may include physical activities like hiking, walking, kayaking, riding a hot-air balloon, horseback riding, rafting, riding in vehicles, etc. involving risks including elevation change, car sickness. We do not assume any responsibility for any injuries, accidents or health issues that might be a result from any of these physical activities.
All of our customers are responsible for evaluating the potential risks of participating in any of our tours that may involve physical activity. Please immediately inform us if you have any health issues prior to making your reservation. Any modification of your arrival and departure time and date of the tour (made by the customer) is subject to review and approval by our office, partners, subcontractors and/or sister companies. Any modifications may be subject to additional fees and/or a new reservation.
Please note that we may also share or use your credit card to book your own tours to places like Alcatraz to facilitate and or expedite your reservation under your own name.This will show on your bank account as two separate transactions for the same required total amount stated on the website, but processed twice, instead of one transaction to maximize your chances to get Alcatraz tickets.
Our Hot-Air Balloon Special Cancellation and Refund Policy: This is an 8-hour guided tour (door to door when leaving from San Francisco or 6 hours when leaving from Napa or Sonoma Valley).
Your balloon ride will be scheduled before sunrise depending on weather conditions. Your safety is our #1 priority. Some rides may launch from other sites like Yolo County or Pope Valley when Napa weather conditions don’t allow us to fly the balloon. Balloons will never fly when it rains or in winds higher than 12 mph.
heads-up: The hot-air balloon pilots offer alternative launching sites when Napa Valley weather conditions don’t permit them to take off from the valley. This maximizes your chances to fly from other sites even when weather conditions are not ideal in Napa.
Non-refundable for No-Show or last-minute changes: Our office staff will notify you by 5 pm the day prior to your hot-air balloon tour (generally, we pick our customers between 4 and 5 am at your hotel in San Francisco or Napa). If we are unable to reach you before 5 pm the day prior to your balloon tour because you don’t respond to your email or cell phone, or because you decided not to return our calls, your driver will still show up at 4 am as scheduled. However, if you don’t wake up , this will be a no-show and therefore, the entire cost will be non-refundable as per our refund terms and cancellation policy.
The Refundable Portion of the balloon ride: If you decide to cancel the balloon ride portion of the tour, you must do so at least 72 hours in advance. The hot-air balloon ride is only refundable when the pilot cancels it the same day due to bad weather or for any other considerations. If you cancel the balloon reservation is 72 hours in advance; the tour guide will pick you up at 9 am instead of 4 am and proceed with the wine tour as scheduled.
The wine tour itself is not refundable regardless of weather conditions. However, if you wish to proceed and take your chance, your tour guide will pick you up as scheduled at 4 am. Please keep in mind that we have reserved this day just for you and turned down other reservations to honor your tour, we still get charged and pay all wages and business expenses. For that, only the hot-air balloon ride portion of this package is refundable IF YOU CANCEL IT BEFORE 5 PM THE DATE PRIOR TO YOUR TOUR. If so, you will receive a $190 refund per person, which will be credited back to you within 7 business days. If you book directly with Viator, please review their own terms and policy .
Again, no changes or modifications are accepted within 72 hours prior to your trip. We close our office at 5 pm and your driver goes as early as 7 pm to be able to wake up at 2 am and come over to the office to pick up the required vehicle and meet you at 4 am at your hotel.
We are extremely transparent about these unforeseen weather conditions ,cancellation policy and terms. Please read these terms carefully so we avoid any misunderstanding or blame. Our drivers are humans and go to bed incredibly early to be able to show up at your hotel at 4 am. Please do not make any last-minute changes after 5 pm the day before your departure/tour. We will not even get your message until the next day!
By signing or checking this box “terms & conditions” on our website, you do hereby agree with all the above terms and policies and the tour voucher terms,which we will send to you via email after your tour confirmation.
Do I Need Travel Insurance? Do I get a refund if I cancel for personal or medical reasons ?
We regret that you have to cancel your tour and we understand how inconvenient that might be to cancel your travel plans for medical reasons or for any other reasons.
The common misunderstanding of our terms, refund, and cancellation policy by some customers. Some customers rush to claim a refund without reading our website terms , refund, and cancellation policy. No harm done, allow us to clarify that once again. In addition to our website policy https://www.alcatraztoursf.com/reservation-terms-policy , we have already shared with you the same general terms, refund and cancellation policy by email and we also sent you a tour voucher to ensure you have copy of our general terms , refund and cancellation policy.
Some confuse local small businesses like ours with large travel insurance companies. As you know, like all other local small businesses, we don’t provide travel insurance and do not take into consideration any cancellation/s that result from medical situations, personal or professional matters, flight/ travel plan interruptions.
We apologize in advance for the inconvenience but we are not able to accommodate you in this regard as this is NOT part of the services we offer. In fact, we do not even qualify for providing travel insurance as this is a different industry regulated by the federal government and available for all travelers and visitors through travel and insurance companies.
There are a range of travel insurance types provided by many insurance and travel companies, offering benefits and coverage for things like trip-cancellation, travel interruption insurance, flight insurance, medical travel insurance, etc. This is the shortlist of the best travel insurance options based on google search result and we are not liable for the use of these companies as we don’t work with any of these travel insurance companies: Allianz Global Assistance , Travel Guard by AIG, USI Affinity Travel Insurance Services, Travel Insured International, World Nomads, Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection, IM, AXA Assistance USA, Travelex Insurance Services, Seven Corners etc. Please refer to your credit card company, travel agent , bank, or local travel insurance companies. You may also check out the Federal Government website as well: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel.html
Again, regardless of the reason for your cancellation, we treat everybody equally and apply the same terms, cancellation, and refund policy on all customers as stated above and our website. We are sorry but this is out of our hands as it is not permitted by our insurance company and this is not included in our tours and local services.
Thank you for understanding our delicate situation as a small business, we appreciate your time and collaboration .
Why do I not qualify for a refund?
Again, regardless of the reason for your cancellation(whether it’s for medical, business , weather or any personal reasons ) , we treat everybody equally and apply the same terms, cancellation, and refund policy on all customers as stated on our website. We are sorry but this is out of our hands. We have reserved this date / these dates for you and turned down other customers and reservations to honor yours.
Whether you show up or not, the tour guide and office staff wages, the vehicle, the tour itself , and all other services and arrangements we made on your behalf are/will be fully paid for.
Our tours and all other services we locally provide are not covered by any insurance company as they don’t qualify for any insurance coverage and they still come out of our pockets where customers show up or not.
The cost of operating private tours as a small local business in California has tripled due to the pandemic and the cost of conducting a small business in California.
In addition to our website policy https://www.alcatraztoursf.com/reservation-terms-policy , we have already shared with you the same general terms, refund and cancellation policy by email and we also sent you a tour voucher to ensure you have copy of our general terms and cancellation policy
Thank you for understanding our delicate situation as a small business, we appreciate your time and collaboration.
Last updated , May 22, 2022