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Old October 22nd, 2009, 11:54 AM
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Default Long Beach Cruise Tips

Hello all. I placed the following tips on a thread for the Splendor (shipping out on 11/29/09 myself), but thought I would expand upon the ideas in a general posting on tips for Carnival Cruises leaving Long Beach. General ideas on where to stay, what do do, etc. when leaving on a cruise from LB. The Spendor will be my 4th cruise from LB, and I live in LA and vist Long Beach on a monthly basis. Not only is it a cruise port, but it's really a nice place to visit in an of itself.

Places to Stay:

Hotel Maya: www.jdvhotels16-px.trvlclick.com/
This is a great 5 star hotel that is about a 10 minute walk (no joke) from the Queen Marry and terminal area. They offer a park and sail package (subject to availability so book early). It's a night say, 7 days of parking, and a breakfast for $239. This might seem alot but when you factor in the cost of parking at the pier ($110 for a week), and Breakfast (say $40), then it's about $89 for the room, which is a great price for a 5 start hotel right on the port, and sooo close to the Terminal. They also throw in shuttle service to and from the ship.

Queen Mary: www.queenmary.com
This is a nice experience, especially for first time cruisers, or people who want to wake up right next to their ship in the morning. You get to book a vintage "cabin" on the Queen for the night. It get's you ready for life on a ship (ship sounds, the size of the rooms, the feeling on being on the sea, etc.) and gets you in the cuise spirit. They are plenty of food options on board and a nive bar as well. It is pricy, and their is no "sail and stay" package meaning you'll have to move your car to the pier parking and pay for this the day of your cruise.

There are other places to stay, but in my experience these are the best options for a cruise, because they are close to your destination and give you nice value and a high quality stay. I have done the Maya 2 times (this year will be the third) and the Quenn Mary once, so this get's my vote.

Getting Around: Once your by the port, the options are endless. Long Beach knows it's life blood is tourism and embraces it. You can take the Passport Bus (Big red buses) for free anywhere around the port that a tourist wants to go. They also have a water taxi system that can take you places all around the port (for a nominal fee). Taxi's are also available if that is your preference.

Food: the options are limitless. From Bubba Gump (sea food), to Islands (Beach style burgers), Outback (steaks), etc. you cannot go wrong. Take
the Water taxi or the passport bus to Pine street (can't miss it) and you'll find all the options you need.

Suggested things to do:

Queen Mary: Duh! Right by the terminal, and lot's of things to see and eat. Great way to kill a morning or afternoon.

Long Beach Aquarium: www.aquariumofpacific.org
This is a great spot to also kill a morning or the afternoon. World class exhibits with a focus on providing an up and personal experience with sea life. A great place to visit, a must if you have kids.

Pine Street: As I said there is food, places to shop, things to see and places to play in this area.

Harbor Fun: Located close to the Aquarium, their is a port area with lots of options for day cruises, fishing, wale watching, sailing, etc.

Here are some thoughts/tips for the day of the cruise:
1. If you can get there early to see the ship come in it is worth it. Nothing more exciting then seeing your ship come in at sunrise, knowing your going to sail that day. You can actually get on the Queen Marry (even if you don't stay there), walk up on the deck athte bow and watch the ship come in. A special moment. The Ship usually arrives between 6am-7am on the day of sailing, so this is for the early birds.

2. I'm then going to have breakfast on the Queen Mary. They have a very nice buffet with a great view of the harbour and it's another great way to start the cruise.

3. After breakfast, it's early check in. It is so much easier to get this out of the way, it takes like 10 minutes if you go early, vs. 30-40 if you wait and do it at the mian terminal. The early check in is located at the bow (front) of the ship, but you need to enter on the dock (not on the ship). This starts around 9am.

4. After check in, I'm going to hold the fort in line, and send my DS and DW to see the sights for a few hours. Long beach has a great local bus line, that can take you to see the sights (the aquarium, shopping, etc.) on the other side of the harbor in 5 minutes. Then I can camp out and once things start moving tell my DW to come back. It's easier than having a crazed toddler (or teen) getting bored in line. Plus, I can relax, listen to the early football games on the radio, and meet some new friends in line.

Some other quick tips:

A. When you get on board, while everyone is going to the buffet take the time to visit the places you want a reservation. The SPA, the Specialty Restaurant (for those formal nights!), and stop by the dinning room if you need to change your table/time. These reservations/changes are easy to get early, but can be impossible if you wait to long to make them.

B. If your going to board early, make sure you wear or carry on swimsuits. Not only is it a great way to kill time before sailing to take a dip, since most people forget these in their luggage, the pools/spas can be very empty the first few hours on board.

C. Immediatly after the Muster drill, the ship will sail. Instead of going back to your cabin to drop off the life vest, take it with you to the back of the ship, for a drink of the day, and a great view of the city as the ship pulls away. Another special moment that says....We are on vacation.

D. There is no food close to the lines to board. If your going to be in line for a while, make sure you bring some snacks and drinks. There are vending machines for drinks close by, but the price is highway robbery.


Those are just a few tips from a frequent cruiser and LA local on the port and Cruising form Long Beach. Feel free to drop me a line with any questions. Happy cruising.
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 12:45 PM
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The Queen is nice for a day visit. We stayed there when we sailed on Carnival Pride. Yes, the idea of staying on a vintage ship like the Queen Mary is inviting. The truth is that the rooms are filthy. We found blood on the matress. The carpets were disgusting and had not been vacumed in a while. I dropped my cell phone and when I moved the bed to get it back there was an intersting collection of thngs under there. The bathtub was dirty and I decided to pass on my shower until I got to my cabin on Carnival Pride. I can understand wear and tear on the vintage fixtures in the ship. I could not understand the filth. I did complain to no avail. When I returned home I complained to Hotels.com as that is where I booked the room. I was sent a $50 certificate for my next hotel stay that I booked from them. The $136. we paid for the room was an awful lot to pay for a dirty shabby room. If I sail from that port again I will find a better hotel.

Laura
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 12:50 PM
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I had not done the Queen Mary for a stay for about 4 years, so thanks for the update. Seems like things have gone down-hill. As I said, the Hotel Maya is my first choice personally.
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Old October 23rd, 2009, 11:52 AM
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Great tips. I have heard bad things about the Queen Mary hotel. Plus they don't do Park and sail I won't be staying there. I have been checking out Hotel Maya so far so good. It's just a price issue, do I want to pay that much or go on the cheap?
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Old October 27th, 2009, 08:22 AM
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We just stayed at the QM but were sadly not impressed. But it was very cool to get up and watch Splendor come in to port. (Getting up was not a problem, actually almost a relief.) We had one air vent blowing hot and one blowing cold all night. Plus teenagers running around the hotel.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 04:16 PM
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We are staying at the Renaissance Long Beach Hotel for $89.00 a night plus $13.65 in taxes...
Flying in on Friday rather than Sunday as we save over $100 in additional air fare for a Sunday flight...
Our total 2 night stay is $205.30...
Plan on just relaxing & walking around Long Beach...
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Splendor...... Nov. 28th, 2010 (booked)
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Old December 8th, 2009, 11:35 AM
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Thanks for your great advice. Few specific questions.
1. I'm sailing next month. I've heard the parking is 89, has it since gone up to 110?
2. Besides hotels, are there nearby safe lots I can park for cheaper?
3. 9 am is a bit early for me to check in. (I'm driving from Costa Mesa) But I don't want to wait for hours with a mob of people. What time would you suggest to get there before most cruisers? 10:30?
4. I've been told classes and/or equipment at the gym can be very popular. Can I sign up for these when I board?
5. Does priority or self-disembarkation exist on the Sapphire? I'm willing to carry my luggage onboard.
6. Art auction-yes or no? I don't want a sales pitch.
7. Do they let you shower in the spa without charging the fee?
8. I'm anytime dining. I've heard I need to make reservations. But Princess told me it's not necessary. Thoughts?
Thanks
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Old December 8th, 2009, 01:42 PM
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Thanks for the great tips!! I'm sailing on the Splendor Jan 24th - it will be my first time on the west coast (besides Alaska). Do you know what the typical January weater is? I heard its windy with rough sea's compared to the caribbean. I'll be coming from Boston - but I really dont want to bring bulky clothes if I can aviod it. I usually bolt from the car into the airport in just a sweatshirt, even if its freezing.

I'm glad to hear you mention the Outback is close by. I'm a picky eater and that's one of my favorite places.

I didnt realize you could visit the QM and walk on her deck with out actually staying there - so glad you mentioned that. Like some of the other posters, I have heard that the QM has gone down hill lately, but I really want to see her and the view from the bow.

47 days and counting for me....wooooohooooo
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Old December 8th, 2009, 01:56 PM
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JGrathwol,

The OP was refering to Long Beach Harbor. If you are sailing on Princess you will most likely be sailing out of San Pedro, so make sure you go to the right pier.

Happy Sailing
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Old December 8th, 2009, 02:59 PM
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Hi sistagoldenhair I like to the the weather averages for an idea of the possible weather. The averages for Long Beach:
Avg High 68; Avg Low 46 Avg Rainfall 2.95 inches. The Record highest temp in January is 93 that was on 1/31/03 and the Record Lowest temp in January is 25 1/13/63. It can be pretty windy in Southern California because of the Santa Ana winds. The end of January should be to bad. Since you cruised Alaska the ride to Alaska is rougher. You will get one semi rough day leaving Long Beach. The Pacific Ocean is rougher then the Caribbean. But I don't think it's that bad.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 03:29 PM
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Nighthawk65 is right only Carnival leaves out of Long Beach all other cruise lines leave out of San Pedro. Since I have cruised out of Long Beach and San Pedro I will try and answer your questions.

1. Here is the information on parking in San Pedro. Pacific Cruise Ship Terminals The website is claiming $12 per day is the max, but sometimes the website isn't updated. Call the parking lot and ask to be certain. Here are the phone numbers Parking Concepts at (310) 547-4357 or (310) 732-5773.

2. I don't know about other lots. But since these lots provide free shuttle service to the cruise terminal I'm not sure it's worth to park somewhere else an try to take all your bags to the terminal.

3. Since San Pedro does not have early check in at the Queen Mary there is no reason to get to the terminal as early as 9AM. That is a Carnival Cruise line (Long Beach terminal) thing only. Queen Mary is at the Long Beach Terminal you won't see it in San Pedro. I would suggest getting there at about 11AM I think you will be good. Unless of course there is an issue on the previous cruise. The ship has to be cleared before the next boarding can beginning. On one of my cruises out of Long Beach one of the passengers required to pass through customs pulled a disappearing act. It wasn't until 10AM that person cleared customs and debarkation could begin. The whole crew was searching the ship for Marilyn.

4. The time I cruised the Star Princess at of San Pedro the gym equipment was first come first serve. However, I think the Treadmills and other cardio equipment had a time limit. I can't quite remember.

5. I have no idea sorry. Carnival has self-disembarkation I tried it once and hated it. Everyone was trying to get off the ship at the sometime with all their bags it was a mess and not any faster then the normal debarkation. I prefer to hang out with a cup of coffee and wait.

6. The art auction is a rip off. This is my opinion. Park West is the company that does the art auction if you put that name in a Google or Yahoo search you will find I'm not the only one that feels this way. I have popped in grabbed a free glass of champagne and left.

7. Yes there are showers at the gym free of charge. I never use them it's a quick elevator ride back to my room so I do that instead.

8. I did personal choice dining on the Star Princess. I found if we wanted a table for two it could be a wait. However, if we didn't mind sitting with other people the wait wasn't long at all. Princess use to do a Fettucine Alfredo in the cheese bowl that was so yummy I still remember it and I last cruised Princess in 2003. It's completely bad for you but so rich and creamy and wonderful. I hope that helps.
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Last edited by katlady; December 8th, 2009 at 03:32 PM. Reason: adding picture
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Old December 8th, 2009, 03:51 PM
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Thanks for the 411 on the weather Katlady - I just cant wait unil January!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old December 16th, 2009, 11:03 PM
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Thanks for the tips. I'll keep them in mind come April.
Hopefully I'll be able to get at least a good photo of the Queen Mary while I'm there.:razz:
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Old December 17th, 2009, 07:55 AM
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Thoth - Splendor docks so you can see her starboard side from the aft of the Queen Mary. You'll see the QM when you board, and can get a good look at her from the Lido and above. Here she is arriving October 18th.

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Old December 17th, 2009, 11:45 AM
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Thanks ! That's a lovely photo. The Splendor looks magnificent.
Maybe I'll get a chance to go on-board the Queen Mary, but I have doubts due to my flight schedule.
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Old March 21st, 2010, 10:04 PM
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Thanks for all the good advices in this post.

We are flying to Long Beach for the very first time and after we come back from our cruise (Carnival Splendor) we want to stay 3 or 4 more days in the area (since we've already there, right?) What would you recommend

1. To stay in Long Beach and take excursions to L.A. or San Diego from there or

2. Move to L.A. and take a hotel there and do all the stuff that a tourist has to to and see?

I'd be glad to hear your opinion, we both have never been to L.A. either and we need a rental car anyway. We'll be flying out of Long Beach again because a round trip is more affordable.


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