Hello a little info on longbeach. It is no longer distance to the boat then LAX and let me tell you what a great airport it is little and very well run. I would say a reason is that a lot of airlines do not fly there . We flew from JFK there it was a great time. If you need to know more drop me a line JD
Yes, if possible, fly to Long Beach airport. In my past experiences LAX was usually crowded and hectic and LB was always easy to get in and out. It's a small airport right off the 405 - sort of like a bus terminal. The problem is that not many airlines fly to LB. I think America West and JetBlue flies there.
Long Beach is a great little airport (emphasis on little)! If possible, try to fly into Long Beach. It’s about a 10 minute drive to the port. Jet Blue pretty much monopolizes most of the flights. Although you might find some options with Delta and America West. American no longer flys there. Steve’s description of LB airport resembling a bus terminal is a good one!
Flying into LAX will mean a longer trip to the port, mostly due to traffic (probably close to an hour). However, you will have a lot more options as far as air carriers. And the shuttle options are endless, try Prime Time or Super Shuttle for cheap fares. You can even reserve on line and get a discount.
The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles are right next to each other. They are basically the same place. So either airport is an option. You may also want to consider Orange County airport (SNA) for other options. Traffic-wise, it might be close than LAX.