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Cruises to Monterey

Monterey (Photo:Ken Wolter/Shutterstock)
Monterey (Photo:Ken Wolter/Shutterstock)

About Monterey

The Monterey Peninsula, about 120 miles south of San Francisco, is arguably one of the most naturally beautiful areas on earth, its rocky coast fringed by cypress forests and abundant marine sanctuaries. It also boasts rich literary roots in the writings of John Steinbeck and Robert Louis Stevenson. A day in the city and its surrounding communities provides many opportunities to explore this hilly, sea-kissed area in depth. And, for the more adventurous, it offers the chance to explore the beautiful and historic peninsula as a whole.

Monterey is a prime tourist destination, and by mid-morning on any given day, cruise ship passengers will be joined by hordes of tourists arriving by bus and car. However, cruise ship passengers are a distinct minority in Monterey -- the town has strict environmental safeguards, has a limited anchorage and small tendering pier, and is relatively passive in pursuing the industry. There is much local opposition to cruise ships calling in the harbor, and visiting ships must observe strict "no discharge" rules when in port. The size of the marine sanctuaries also limits the location and number of places ships may anchor.

Still, visitors will find a charming community, filled with history from the city's past as a whaling center and, later, as the sardine capital of the Western Hemisphere. Now, of course, that industry is gone, replaced by museums, seafarers, artists and writers. The area is perfect for walkers, and offers a wide range of art galleries and shops, and natural attractions as well as some special man-made ones, such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Good restaurants offering freshly caught seafood welcome the diner who is willing to wander off the beaten track. The area boasts numerous up-and-coming wineries.

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DAY 1: San Diego

10 Night
Cruise to Monterey

Leaving:
San Diego
Visiting:
Santa Barbara, Monterey ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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DAY 1: Vancouver

10 Night
Cruise to Monterey

Leaving:
Vancouver
Visiting:
Seattle, Astoria, Oregon ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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DAY 1: San Diego

10 Night
Cruise to Monterey

Leaving:
San Diego
Visiting:
Santa Barbara, Monterey ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Monterey

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
San Francisco, Monterey ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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9 Night
Cruise to Monterey

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Catalina Island, Ensenada ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Monterey

Leaving:
San Diego
Visiting:
Catalina Island, Santa Barbara ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Monterey

Leaving:
San Diego
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Santa Barbara, Monterey ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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9 Night
Cruise to Monterey

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Catalina Island, Ensenada ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Monterey

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
San Francisco, Monterey ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Monterey

Leaving:
San Diego
Visiting:
Santa Barbara, Los Angeles ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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25 Night
Cruise to Monterey

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Honolulu, Kauai ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
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9 Night
Cruise to Monterey

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Santa Barbara, Monterey ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Monterey

Leaving:
Mombasa
Visiting:
Zanzibar, Mayotte ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Monterey

Leaving:
San Diego
Visiting:
Catalina Island, Santa Barbara ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Monterey

Leaving:
Seattle
Visiting:
Astoria, Oregon, San Francisco ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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29 Night
Cruise to Monterey

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Key West, Cartagena ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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6 Night
Cruise to Monterey

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Santa Barbara, Monterey ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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Cruise Critic Favorite

7 Night
Cruise to Monterey

Leaving:
Vancouver
Visiting:
Seattle, San Francisco ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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9 Night
Cruise to Monterey

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Ensenada, San Diego ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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75 Night
Cruise to Monterey

Leaving:
Bangkok
Visiting:
Koh Samui, Sihanoukville ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
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21 Night
Cruise to Monterey

Leaving:
Vancouver
Visiting:
Ketchikan, Sitka ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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28 Night
Cruise to Monterey

Leaving:
Vancouver
Visiting:
Seattle, San Francisco ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Monterey

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
San Francisco, Monterey ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Monterey

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
San Francisco, Monterey ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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8 Night
Cruise to Monterey

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Santa Barbara, Monterey ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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Why go to Monterey?

Pros:

This Californian peninsula boasts cypress forests, marine sanctuaries and abundant natural beauty

Cons:

Crowds in peak season can make attractions like the aquarium nearly impossible to visit; go early

Bottom Line:

A highlight of coastal cruises, Monterey is easily walkable with galleries, shops and stellar panoramas

Monterey Cruise Port Facilities?

There is very little to do on the pier itself, but in the immediate area are Fisherman's Wharf, Cannery Row, Presidio Park and downtown. If fishing is your thing, Fisherman's Wharf has all the sights and smells associated with the Monterey fishing industry.

Good to Know?

Crowds. Monterey is very popular with tourists, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium is the epicenter. Either visit the Aquarium on your own as soon as it opens or avoid it entirely. Cannery Row can also be dense with foot traffic, although the crowds thin the further one moves from the Aquarium.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

Currency is the U.S. dollar; ATMs are plentiful.

Language?

English.

Where You're Docked?

Cruise ship passengers are tendered ashore at the Coast Guard Pier, from which all of Monterey is an easy walk. Tendering begins before many of the shops and attractions have opened; this is a great opportunity to explore prime tourist destinations such as Cannery Row at a relaxed pace.


Monterey Cruise Reviews

Star Princess
4sunnydays
Sail Date: Sep 2019
Monterey was absolutely beautiful! Rented a car. Enjoyed the aquarium and the spectacular scenery from Monterey to Carmel along our ocean drive. The day was way too short.... Read More
Ruby Princess
papajimd
Sail Date: Sep 2018
for sure visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium.... Read More
Ruby Princess
kissthesnook
Sail Date: Sep 2018
We did not take a ship excursion. Instead we walked down the path to the Monterey Aquarium. It is a bit of a hike (1.5 miles) but good exercise with a gorgeous view. The aquarium was wonderful. We made it in time... Read More
Celebrity Eclipse
packedcountdown
Sail Date: Nov 2019
It was fun walking around and enjoying sea food near the ship.... Read More
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