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Cruises to Monterey

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.

  • Why go to Monterey?

  • Monterey Cruise Port Facilities?

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Cruise Critic Favorite
Regatta
Regatta

9 Night
Cruise to MontereyDetails

376 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Apr 24, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Koningsdam
Koningsdam docked alonside in San Diego. (Photo: Holland America Line)

7 Night
Cruise to MontereyDetails

754 Reviews
Leaving:San Diego
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Nov 5, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Discovery Princess
Discovery Princess (Image: Princess Cruises)

7 Night
Cruise to MontereyDetails

Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Celebrity Millennium
Celebrity Millennium

6 Night
Cruise to MontereyDetails

Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
May 6, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Cruise to MontereyDetails

Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

9 Night
Cruise to MontereyDetails

Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Crystal Cruises
Jun 14, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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10 Night
Cruise to MontereyDetails

Leaving:San Diego
Cruise Line:Windstar Cruises
May 10, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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19 Night
Cruise to MontereyDetails

16 Reviews
Cruise Line:Hapag-Lloyd Cruises
Mar 2, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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16 Night
Cruise to MontereyDetails

Leaving:Vancouver
Cruise Line:Silversea Cruises
Oct 2, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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11 Night
Cruise to MontereyDetails

Leaving:Vancouver
Cruise Line:Silversea Cruises
Oct 5, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Cruise to MontereyDetails

Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Mar 25, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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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
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
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4sunnydays
In Monterey, we took an Uber to Carmel to see the little town. It was so different!Read More
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susieisnot
It was fun walking around and enjoying sea food near the ship.Read More
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packedcountdown
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 fRead More
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kissthesnook

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