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Cruises to Catalina Island

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

About Cruising to 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 Cruise to Catalina Island?

  • Catalina Island Cruise Port Facilities?

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Brilliance of the Seas
Brilliance of the Seas

6 Night
Pacific Coastal Cruise

1,562 Reviews
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Navigator of the Seas
Navigator of the Seas

4 Night
Catalina & Ensenada Cruise

2,292 Reviews
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Zaandam
Zaandam Cabins

7 Night
Wine Country & Pacific Northwest

558 Reviews
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Radiance of the Seas
Radiance of the Seas (Photo: Royal Caribbean)

8 Night
Pacific Coastal Cruise

1,232 Reviews
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MSC Cruises

11 Night
Wine Country & Pacific Northwest

558 Reviews
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4 Night
Pacific Coastal Cruise

558 Reviews
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20 Night
Panama Canal

1,200 Reviews
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Cruise Critic Favorite

6 Night
Los Angeles To Vancouver Cruise

2,471 Reviews
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31 Night
Western Caribbean Explorer & Panama Canal

1,200 Reviews
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21 Night
Panama Canal

1,200 Reviews
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4 Night
Pacific Coastal Cruise

864 Reviews
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30 Night
Western Caribbean Explorer & Panama Canal

1,200 Reviews
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Cruise Critic Favorite

4 Night
Pacific Coastal Cruise

961 Reviews
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4 Night
Catalina & Ensenada Cruise

2,292 Reviews
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6 Night
Wine Country & Pacific Northwest

1,200 Reviews
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More about Catalina Island

Why Cruise 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 was a gem of a port. We had a lovely lunch by the water, visited a history museum featuring the history of Tiki on the island, and some mini golf. It was so nice in fact I wish we’d just ferried to the islanRead More
DPadres69
I walked around Catalina on my own, it was pleasant, reminded me of the 1960s :)Read More
Seventyishtraveller
Catalina is the only reason I have done this cruise 4-5 times. So much to do, all walkable (except the interior tour which I recommend). Go get lunch at Maggie’s Blue Rose and a Cadillac margarita. Walk over to tRead More
Catmomma
Catalina was easy to get off and on, even though you have to take another boat in, but it goes quickly. Read More
Rockynrobyn71

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