Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay has captured the imagination of millions for generations. Viewed from the shores of the city of San Francisco, the buildings and landscape of Alcatraz hold mystery and wonder. In the 1800s, the United States military managed “the Rock,” using it as a garrison and defensive point. More famously-or notoriously-from 1934 to 1963, it was a federal prison, where high security–risk prisoners were sent. The chilling waters of the Bay were thought to be the best deterrent against escape attempts, and that notion proved right. Today, Alcatraz is a national park, only accessible to the public via Alcatraz Cruises. Tour reservations in advance are strongly encouraged. Another great way to experience the Rock is by taking an Alcatraz Discovery Lunch Cruise by Hornblower Cruises. This delightful voyage includes a buffet lunch, live narrative tour of Alcatraz history, and a trip through San Francisco Bay.