Catalina Express

Catalina Express, Dana Point: Address, Phone Number, Catalina Express Reviews: 4.5/5

Catalina Express
4.5
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About
Catalina Island is just an hour away aboard our fast and sleek boats out of Long Beach, San Pedro and Dana Point. We are committed to offering the most advanced, state-of-the-art watercraft available while maintaining a high level of dedication to safety, customer satisfaction, and quality of service. Today, the fleet consists of 8 high-speed vessels. More than one million passengers set sail to Catalina Island each year on board Catalina Express, and with year round service and up to 30 departures daily, you can easily join them.
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
309 reviews
Excellent
178
Very good
95
Average
21
Poor
6
Terrible
9

Gilbert00
Vista, CA73 contributions
Couples
As always the trip to and from Catalina Island from Dana Point was wonderfully smooth. The boat even stopped for a while to let us see a huge pod of dolphins swimming around us. The boat was punctual, and clean. The staff was friendly. The reason why I took off a star was the morning crew was very strict on the mask wearing protocols, but the evening crew was not. I was uncomfortable with several people wearing masks only over their mouths.
We were seated before the galley where the crew tended to congregate, and not a word was said. There were no other seats available, so we sat behind this couple. I help care for my elderly father-in-law so am quite careful with mask wearing and appreciate others doing the same. Other than that, the trip was fine.
Written August 8, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you so much for sharing your experience to Catalina Island. We love hearing about our passengers’ trips. Thank you for writing a review and we look forward to having you aboard again soon!
Written August 13, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Cary L
San Diego, CA679 contributions
Catalina Express runs high-speed ferries to Catalina Island from several ports on the mainland. They are punctual, reliable, and reasonably priced. Their crews are professional and helpful. I've used their service numerous times, from Long Beach and Dana Point, and always been satisfied.
Written April 25, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you for your kind review. We are glad you enjoyed your trip and look forward to having you aboard again soon.
Written April 26, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Elesha H
Dallas, TX20 contributions
Friendly, plenty of windows, clean, and with a paid bar, with food, and drink (alcohol too), it is a no brainer. Of course, besides Catalina Flyer, or the helicopter. this is your only choice.
Every time we go to Catalina, we use The express.
Written June 10, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful experience to Catalina Island. We love hearing about our passengers’ trips. Thank you for writing a review and we look forward to having you aboard again soon!
Written June 13, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Joe N
Laguna Beach, CA94 contributions
The Catalina Express delivers a solid service. Good crew. Good equipment and a Great way to experience a true Pacific Island in the 310 area code. Catalina is wonderful and the Catalina Express is an easy way to get there... BTW... Have a Buffalo Milk while on the Island!!!
Written August 21, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful experience to Catalina Island. We love hearing about our passengers’ trips. Thank you for writing a review and we look forward to having you aboard again soon! We do agree that having a Buffalo Milk is a must have on the Island.
Written August 21, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

JoanneTait
Cherves-Richemont, France103 contributions
We have been promising ourselves a trip to Catalina for the past 10 years at least so this time we made it happen. We were advised by family to upgrade out tickets and we were very pleased we did this especially for the return journey. The boat itself was clean and the staff were really friendly. The other plus of upgrading, apart from not having to queue for too long was the free drink, sad I know but it was Christmas :) So go to Catlina, Upgrade your tickets and have some fun.
Written January 6, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

hungrynomore2016
Los Osos, CA65 contributions
The Long Beach terminal is so easy to navigate and the staff is very quick to get you through the line. The Ferry ride is pleasant and if you get a chance to book the Commodore Lounge, do it without hesitation. It is well worth the upgrade fee. Definitely worth the trip to see the Island.
Written April 1, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

William McC
Boston, MA299 contributions
Friends
I have taken the Catalina Express out of San Pedro and Long Beach, and the Catalina Flyer out of Newport Beach, many times, but my favorite way to Catalina is out of Dana Point. It comes down to scenery. Dana Point, from the clear water in the Point area to the abundance of high cliffs, actually resembles Catalina in several respects, and certainly in a far closer manner than the other three ports. The boat is smaller than the ones coming out of either Long Beach or Newport, true, but I like the cozier ride. Parking at Dana Point is a relative breeze, especially compared to Newport. Catalina Express staff, from the ticket window to the parking voucher podium to the crew on board, is friendly and relaxed in a resort-casual kind of way, though you always feel you are in capable hands. Crossing the channel, it is not unusual to spot marine life, including, on several occasions, dolphins. As Catalina Island's pale blue profile gradually resolves into a dazzling, green-brown island with peaks rising to over 2,000 feet, a rare slice of old California preserved as near-wilderness outside of Avalon and the Isthmus, you will realize you have gotten away, truly away, from the mainland.
Written April 14, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Charlie B
Los Angeles, CA1 contribution
Business
I am an employee on the island and I travel regularly on the Catalina Express. I was recently attacked by a dog while on the boat, and when I defended myself, the owners threatened and assaulted me. The crew handled the incident unprofessionally. An employee allowed the owner to loosen the muzzle, the leash was never tied down, and the dog ran into my aisle and attacked me while I was sitting in my seat. The security cameras on the ship are live and DO NOT have a recording feature. So please be aware that if something bad happens while on board the ship, it will be your word against the Catalina Express.
Written September 5, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

HappyKatya
Dana Point, CA276 contributions
Couples
If you've never seen Catalina Island, "26 miles across the sea" (as the song says) from Dana Point Harbor, you're in for a treat, and Catalina Express will get you there in comfort in 90 minutes. Catalina Express is well worth the $75 pp round trip. We go twice a year and stay a few nights for both our birthdays!
We reserve weeks in advance but we're "planners." A few days in advance may do it and we've seen walk-ons get lucky. Just call, you never know; cancellation is for full refund by 6pm the night before. These are not large boats; but Just Call and See! It's worth it if you can get a seat.
Catalina Express is professional, punctual, safe, clean, checks plenty of luggage easily, been in business forever, mainstay of the local scene. People start lining up at the ticket window an hour to 45 minutes before departure.
Be sure to pick up the Catalina map handed out at the ferry ticket window, very useful.
We always take Uber or Lyft from home; they are very good in Dana Point. Ferry parking is a nightmare; it's in a remote lot over 10 minutes fast walk from ticket window for $35/24 hrs (last time we used it).
Only got one day? Well worth it to take the first ferry there, stroll around, have dinner, and take the last ferry back. You can even leave bags in lockers at the Catalina Ferry terminal but call and ask if they still require one-dollar coins.
Catalina is a whole 'nother review but it's just gorgeous. The water is crystal-clear, the bright orange garibaldi fish are plentiful just strolling along the shore, the main town Avalon is a storybook harbor full of beautiful leisure craft and the iconic bright orange round Avalon Casino (see TA photo). Downtown, which you see first strolling in off the ferry, is full of great seaside bars, restaurants, inns, hotels, and has a small beach on which to relax for an hour. We like the ribs and margaritas at El Galleon in town, if you can handle the occasional loud karaoke. On the far side of the casino is Descanso Beach, a lovely pebbled beach (bring water shoes, or it's ouch!) where you can rent deluxe loungers (call or online reservation in advance helps) or relax on the rest of the beach for $2pp/day. We like not only the view here, but the beach bar and restaurant have fantastic beach-side fare and the best drinks in Catalina. Great tart mango daiquiri, not sugary.
Descanso Beach Ocean Sports (hut closest to the casino) rents kayaks and snorkel gear. Highly recommend a few hours kayaking, the tropical-like coastline and deep blue water are really something to see.
For walking & hiking, from center of downtown, walk up toward the mountains to the Nature Center at Avalon Canyon, about a half hour walk from the ferry (there's also a free shuttle from the ferry dock). The views from the Wrigley Memorial above the Nature Center are stellar, and the Memorial building is like a visit to Florence, Italy. For real hiking, ask at the entrance or google in advance the "Garden to Sky Hike," another one hour+, 1-way, up the mountain behind the Memorial. Views from the ridge at the top of Catalina Island are definitively worth the sweat; we'll take sandwiches and find a rock to sit and enjoy the view while munching.
Or for a quick walk-hike, trek up the hill just past town to the Bell Tower; it's toward the casino but on downtown side of the casino. See map handed out at ferry ticket office. Lovely harbor and canyon views. We'll do this first thing in the morning, then breakfast at the Catalina Coffee & Cookie Co in the garden of the Hotel Metropole downtown, which has great fritatas and breakfast fare. Not to mention the blueberry coffee.
Written June 19, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

hmk24
Billings, MT239 contributions
Friends
We took a day trip to Catalina and used the Dana Point Catalina Express to get there. They recommended booking in advance because sometimes they sell out. We parked at the marina, they charged us $12. The ride over and back took an hour and fifteen minutes. From Dana Point it appears that they only have one (or two on Fri / Sat) roundtrip. The boat ride was smooth, we sat outside at the back of the boat and saw a few whales. They leave on time and boarding is very organized. Check for a discount coupon. I found one for $7.50 off each way using AAA. They also offer free sailing on your birthday.
Written January 25, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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