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Cruises to Catalina Island

Catalina Island (California) (Photo:Chris Grant/Shutterstock)

About Catalina Island

Catalina, third largest of the Channel Islands, feels like a world away.



Twenty-two miles west into the Pacific from Los Angeles, the island combines natural beauty with a wide range of amenities and activities. With over fifty miles of shoreline, secluded coves and dramatic views, this destination has earned a reputation as "the island of romance."



Fittingly, Avalon, Catalina's mile-square port city, is named for an island paradise in the King Arthur legend. Catalina's most famous landmark, the 1929 Art Deco Casino, dominates the waterfront. Rows of shops, restaurants and hotels stretch along Crescent Avenue and up into narrow streets dotted with bougainvillea-framed bungalows. Most of the town's attractions are within comfortable walking distance from the pier - snorkeling, kayaking, dining and shopping.



The good news is that Catalina's charms should be enjoyed for years to come. The Santa Catalina Island Conservancy, a non-profit organization, owns and manages over 80% of the 76-square-mile island, a gift from the family of chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. The Conservancy's holdings include Catalina's rugged interior and most of the coastline. Its goal is to restore and preserve the island's natural state.

Catalina is a relaxed, friendly island with a Mediterranean feel, easy to explore on foot or by golf cart. Its rich marine life and clear calm waters make it a popular destination for water sports, from fishing and wake boarding to snorkeling and kayaking.

  • More about Catalina Island

  • Why go to Catalina Island?

  • Catalina Island Cruise Port Facilities?

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Regatta
Regatta

20 Night
World CruiseDetails

386 Reviews
Leaving:Vancouver
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Sep 7, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Celebrity Solstice
Celebrity Solstice (Photo: Celebrity)

7 Night
Pacific Coastal CruiseDetails

2,160 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Apr 22, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Regatta
Regatta

7 Night
Transpacific CruiseDetails

386 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Sep 20, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Navigator of the Seas
Navigator of the Seas

4 Night
Catalina & Ensenada CruiseDetails

2,252 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Royal Caribbean International
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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4 Night
Pacific Coastal CruiseDetails

801 Reviews
Leaving:Vancouver
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Oct 24, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Mexican Riviera CruiseDetails

2,160 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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72 Night
World Cruise: Treasures Of The Pacific RealmDetails

146 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Seabourn Cruise Line
Jan 11, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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6 Night
Pacific Northwest CruiseDetails

1,686 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
May 6, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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145 Night
145-day World Cruise: Extraordinary HorizonsDetails

146 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Seabourn Cruise Line
Jan 11, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

7 Night
Pacific Coastal CruiseDetails

1,872 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

7 Night
Pacific Coastal CruiseDetails

1,872 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Oct 1, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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4 Night
Baja Mexico CruiseDetails

561 Reviews
Leaving:San Diego
Cruise Line:Disney Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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4 Night
Baja Mexico ItineraryDetails

21 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Carnival Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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4 Night
Baja Mexico ItineraryDetails

21 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Carnival Cruise Line
Jul 3, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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4 Night
Baja MexicoDetails

1,343 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Carnival Cruise Line
Dec 24, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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More about Catalina Island

Why go to Catalina Island?

Pros:

The island's casino is still in exquisite shape; its Avalon Theatre debuted the first films with sound

Cons:

There's not much for free; you'll pay for tours, water sports, scooter rentals and even the beach

Bottom Line:

Once the retreat of the rich and famous, Catalina still offers vacationers an afternoon of amusement

Catalina Island Cruise Port Facilities?

Green Pleasure Pier is a hub of activity. It's home to the Visitors Bureau, as well as rentals for motorboats, wave runners and fishing equipment. Glass bottom boat tours and semi-submersible tours launch from here. For years, the pier has been Avalon's official weigh station for sport fishermen, including Zane Grey, Cecil B. DeMille and Charlie Chaplin. Nearby Crescent Avenue is a pleasant place to window shop and enjoy an ice cream cone.



Insider's Tip: On weekdays, tourists easily mingle with the island's 3,800 year-round residents. But on weekends and during the summer, it can be tough to find a place to lay your beach towel. To escape the crowds, bring your mask and snorkel on a short walk from the boat dock to the preserve at Lover's Cove. With no fishing or boat anchorage allowed, the Cove is rich in marine life. Or visit Little Harbor on the southwest shore, reached by Catalina Safari Shuttle Bus. Rugged waves crash on two beautiful sandy beaches at this secluded cove.

Getting Around?

Cars are limited on Catalina (there's a 8-10 year waiting list to own a car on the island). Most folks walk or rent golf carts and bicycles, the preferred modes of transportation. Even the sheriff drives a golf cart fitted with a siren and special high-speed gears (about $30/hour for carts for those 25 and older with a driver's license; $10/hour for bikes).

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The U.S. dollar is the official currency and ATMs are plentiful.

Language?

English.

Where You're Docked?

Catalina's port is too small for cruise ships. Instead, ships anchor outside the harbor and tender passengers to Green Pleasure Pier in the center of downtown Avalon.


Catalina Island Cruise Reviews
Catalina is a joy to visit because there are very few cars and only golf carts and a few trucks. The people are extremely friendly even with all the tourists who visit them every day. The city is clean and extremely Read More
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waves4u
Tender port. What we saw we liked. Our itinerary change left us with little time in Catalina and NO HAL excursions offered :-(Read More
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KayakOtter
After tendering into Avalon Harbor, we rented a golf cart and took the one hour tour that takes you around town, into the hills above, and up to the botanical garden. There are some nice photo ops on the way. It’s a Read More
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Z0nker
Second time on Catalina Island. Went on a hike, not too much to see and do here but it is beautiful. Tendered port.Read More
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Csfleury

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