Catalina Express
Catalina Express
4.5
8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 2:30 PM
Saturday
8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Sunday
8:00 AM - 2:30 PM
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.
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.

Top ways to experience nearby attractions

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles341 reviews
Excellent
202
Very good
101
Average
21
Poor
8
Terrible
9

Elesha H
Dallas, TX41 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2022
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 as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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.

JoanneTait
Cherves-Richemont, France104 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2018
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 as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

hungrynomore2016
Los Osos, CA58 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2017
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 as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

William McC
Boston, MA360 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2018 • 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 as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Charlie B
Los Angeles, CA1 contribution
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2013 • 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 as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

HappyKatya
Dana Point, CA341 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2018 • 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 as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

hmk24
Billings, MT237 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2015 • 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 as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

PrincessGoldenHair
Alpharetta, GA9 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2014 • Friends
The actual trip on Catalina Express was okay… as one other reviewer said, "They get you there and back." But do not waste your time or money - Catalina Express is expensive - not a value for what you get. Catalina Island was the biggest disappointment of our trip. It's the Redneck Riviera of California. Cheap, tacky, and overpriced shops, souvenirs, and restaurants. There is nothing worth seeing or doing on this island. We went on an 7:50am boat over and planned to stay until evening but were beyond thrilled when we were able to go standby back at 2:00pm. And that was still too long. Don't waste your time or money.
Written May 29, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Patricia B
5 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2018
Everything about it was just as promised. We left from Dana Point, and the parking is a bit of a hassle because you have to shuttle each way. Boat ride was just fine and the crew is polite and helpful. From San Diego, it is a the best way to go.
Written July 28, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Clark R
Woodinville, WA6 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2015 • Couples
On Saturday, 2/21, we were returning from Avalon to Dana point on the 4:30 pm boat. As we were boarding, there were 4 obviously drunk people behind us that were also boarding. They were yelling, cussing and one girl was visibly staggering or stumbling. Unfortunately, they chose to sit right in front of us just to the right of the bar. The loud voices, the cussing (and I do mean just about every word you can think of) continued, and to top it off, the bartender served them more alcohol. This behavior went on during the entire 1 hour and 20 minute journey. At no time did any of the crew attempt to speak to them or do anything.

In fact, the bartender and 2 other crew members were on the other side of the bar laughing because they thought it was funny.

To top it all off, as we were all getting off the boat, we had to wait 4-5 minutes because the blonde crew member who was inside the boat and was trying to get these four idiots to get their baggage off the seats so they could raise the luggage ramp, two of the drunk girls grabbed onto him and started kissing him. People on the pier started making comments and the crew member who was trying to raise the luggage ramp kept yelling at the blonde crew member to stop it and help him. The blonde guy made no effort to push the girls away or resist. When the drunk girls finally let go of him, he opened the side door and jumped down on the pier and said, “I love my job”.

I don’t think the people and children on that boat appreciated any of it, and my guess is that you will hear from some of them as well. Your crew was unprofessional, uncaring, and even broke the law by serving these people more alcohol. So after 3 days on Catalina Island where we had a wonderful time, this is the last experience we have and how we will always remember this trip. Great way to run a company.
Written February 22, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Showing results 1-10 of 330
Is this your Tripadvisor listing?
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.
Claim your listing

Catalina Express - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

All Dana Point HotelsDana Point Hotel DealsLast Minute Hotels in Dana Point
All things to do in Dana Point
Day Trips in Dana Point
RestaurantsFlightsVacation RentalsTravel StoriesCruisesRental Cars