Cruise ships in fact berth at the two cruise ports just outside of LA – in San Pedro and Long Beach.
World Cruise centre San Pedro is where most cruise ships dock. It’s the largest cruise port on the West coast and it accommodates the biggest cruise ships. In terms of facilities, there are nearby cafes and restaurants, hotels, adjacent to the port, as well as a shopping mall a short taxi ride away. The Battleship USS Iowa Museum is 15-minute walk away. Getting around is easy, there are shuttles to and from LA International Airport, the name of the company is SuperShuttle. The nearest train station is Pacific Coast Highway, about 4 miles from the cruise terminal. There are parking facilities and car rental available as well. Los Angeles International Airport is 20 miles away, about 30 min drive, depending on traffic.
The second cruise terminal is the Cruise Terminal Long Beach. Supershuttle also provides airport transfers to this terminal, and it’s 25 miles from LA International Airport. The Queen Mary is 10 minutes walking distance and is a good way to spend a few spare hours until you board your cruise ship. There aren’t any close by public transportation links.
The local currency is the American dollar (USD). All major credit cards are accepted everywhere. There are ATMs everywhere as well and exchanging money is very easy, however the rates at home in UK seem to be better than in the States, so do some research prior to travelling. If you are planning to use your cards, check if your bank charges any fees and notify them that you will be abroad. There are a few currency exchange stores spread through the city, so do look those up prior to travelling if you are planning on exchanging cash. Banks offer good rates in general as well, however they would charge fees and not all branches would have a currency exchange service all the time. The best thing to do would be to call ahead and research.
Opening hours and bank holidays. The opening hours are very generous in LA. Most shops and restaurants are open all week, some of them 24/7. The shopping malls are open 10 am to 9 pm all week, with reduced by an hour or two opening times on Sunday. Banks and post offices would be open 9 am until 6 pm Monday to Friday, only a handful would work until midday Saturday. There are a few bank holidays in Los Angeles, and the banks and post offices will be closed, however most shopping malls and other outlets will work as normal.
Tipping culture is huge in LA. As a rule, you should tip any service staff. Many of them are paid low hourly rates and rely heavily on tips. Between 15 and 20% of the bill at a restaurant is considered normal but beware that some establishments include it in your bill, especially for larger groups. Hotel staff should also be tipped about a dollar per bag for the bellboy and about 2 USD per day for the housekeeper. Taxi drivers and spa saloon staff expects between 10% and 20% of the bill, if the service has been exceptional, feel free to leave more. Bartenders expect about a dollar per drink, more if the place is more upscale, and tour guides anything from 15 to 20%, depending on the length and the size of the group.
The local time in Los Angeles is GMT-8 hours and the internationaldialling code is +1 213.
Things To Do
LA is a city that’s quite spread out and rather difficult to navigate through, if you don’t have a car. Make sure you pick carefully the sights you would like to see, especially if your time is limited. The most popular places to visit are, without a doubt, the beaches and the Hollywood movie glamour sites.
Malibu is where it’s all happening in LA. This is the best spot for watching surfers challenge the waves, “stargazing” (spotting celebrities), shopping beach fashion and eat at posh restaurants. Malibu’s best kept secret though, are the natural wonders that surround it. We recommend heading to Zuma beach, Leo Carrillo State Beach, Surfrider beach, Malibu Creek State Park, Malibu Lagoon and Escondido Falls.
Santa Monica is another famous beach location. It’s a separate smaller city with very vibrant, urban atmosphere, and swelling crowds in summer weekends. It’s very bicycle friendly, if you don’t feel like driving. There is a lovely pier at the beach, the Tongva park and the recently refurbished City Hall gardens are also worth seeing.
Other famous sights, obviously are Hollywood related – the Universal studios Hollywood need no introduction, as well as the Hollywood sign – the number one location for pictures. The Hollywood walk of fame at the Chinese theatre is a great and unique attraction – opened in 1927 it now displays 2624 stars, each named after a celebrity – Dwayne Johnson being the latest to receive one.
Disneyland Anaheim is the only theme park, built under the direct supervision of Walt Disney himself, opened in 1955. This is a happy place where all your favourite Disney movies come to life and where you can feel like a kid again.
There are a lot more attractions to see in Los Angeles, for example there is an impressive collection of interactive museums – the Getty centre would be the most famous on. It displays a collection of pre-20th-century European paintings, manuscripts, sculptures, decorative arts and photographs. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) holds the largest collection of art in the Western states and it aims to inspire creativity and dialogue. The Broad is a contemporary art museum, founded by philanthropist Eli Broad. It rotates temporary exhibitions and offers innovative audience engagement. Smaller museums are the Peterson Automotive Museum, the Craft and Folk Art Museum, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, the Museum of Jurassic Technologies and the Japanese American National Museum.
There are a few locations where you can enjoy magnificent views of the city – the free observation deck on the 27th floor of the City Hall is the city’s best kept secret. The OUE Skyscape is the most popular and newest one. Here you can not only enjoy the vistas from California’s tallest open space observation deck at 305 metres, but also experience the glass slide at 300 metres above ground! The Griffith Observatory offers a planetarium, public telescopes and splendid views of LA from the Pacific Ocean do Downtown LA.
The beaches around LA deserve special attention too. Apart from the aforementioned most popular ones, there are many more to explore, offering different experiences. At County line beach you can find yourself swimming alongside dolphins and small reef sharks. If you happen to be in LA in winter, go to Point Dume State beach for whale watching. Other beaches to explore and relax at are the El Matador State Beach, El Porto Beach, Dockweiler State Beach, Will Rogers State Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Cabrillo Beach.
All Cruises and Flight details are subject to availability and price variation. Final package price is available upon payment of deposit and confirming your ATOL & ABTA protected cruise holiday