Catalina Express

Catalina Express, Long Beach: Address, Phone Number, Catalina Express Reviews: 4.5/5

Catalina Express
4.5
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 Catalina Express and similar attractions

Popular mentions

4.5
1,125 reviews
Excellent
689
Very good
331
Average
76
Poor
12
Terrible
17

yvrguy2016
West Vancouver, Canada38 contributions
Efficient but SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS NEED TO BE IMPROVED
Sep 2021
Everything is done by paper in 20th century style. Don't be a fool like me and assume you can show your electronic receipt and waltz aboard. The receipts and online checkout do not clearly encourage you to arrive 45 minutes early. This early arrival is necessary so you can get your paper ticket in the main ticketing hall. With dozens or a hundred other passengers, you can be sure there will be a line so arrive early. Staff on the ground are competent. My ticket was rebooked (I missed the boat due to the paper ticket issue) without comment or charge. The mainland terminal at San Pedro was very well organized. The parking is both good and easy and reasonably priced at 20/day (given there are no alternatives!).

Downsides: The boats are getting on in years. The staff on the Catalina side had a chaotic way of boarding two different boats with different staff members giving conflicting instructions, leading to stress on the part of passengers in the line. They need large, clear signage to assist with these busy evening return sailings.

The biggest downside, however, is safety. The safety announcement was cursory. It was hard to hear due to other noise. Most passengers were not paying attention and on the return trip there was no microphone or amplifier, making it very difficult to hear. The passengers did not seem to care about safety and did not pay attention to the very minimal, rapidly-spoken safety instructions which I felt were lacking. I still could not tell you where the life raft is. I am quite sure if there were an emergency there would have been a stampede for the life vests which is scary. These vests should be distributed in various different areas to minimize queuing in a crisis. Given the tragedy off the coast of Santa Barbara in 2019 in which dozens of passengers died in a vessel of similar size, it is very hard to fathom how security is not better handled. These ships are not large and are decades old. The younger crew, while friendly and cheerful, did not seem very safety-conscious in the way an airline stewardess is.

Be alert, pay close attention to the safety instructions and don't be afraid to ASK QUESTIONS afterwards so you can be sure of where to go to the life raft. Your life could depend on it.
Written September 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for your review. Your review has been sent to the appropriate manager for further review. We value all of our customers and take seriously all positive or negative feedback concerning our service. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.
Written November 1, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Roger25375
Charleston, WV49 contributions
Amazing day at Catalina Island
Aug 2021
We wanted to do something laid back before our cruise to the Mexican Riveria. We took Catalina Express from San Pedro to Avalon and from Avalon back to Long Beach. It was a quick uber rider from the hotel over to the terminal, check in quick and easy, and the ride over to Catalina was just over an hour. Nice and smooth. Spent a good 5 hours over before it was time to make the crossing back. Book early to make sure you get the times you want. That is why we left from one terminal and arrived back to another.
Written September 13, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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 September 20, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

sean
1 contribution
Never Again
Jul 2021
Upon return boarding, I misplaced my tickets and I was directed to booth to resolve. The person told me I have to rebuy tickets even after showing proof of purchase. She explained this is policy. Are you kidding me ? This companies shortcomings in their "policy" are directed toward the consumer. Easy to say "just give us more money" and all will be fine. I will not use this company ever again. FIX YOUR POLICY !
Written July 27, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Karen G
7 contributions
Great day trip!
Jun 2021
First time on Catalina island in 20 years; just as enjoyable. As with any island location, expect to pay more, especially as businesses recover from the 15 month shutdown.
Written June 26, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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 29, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Seaside52381475060
2 contributions
Fast & smooth trip to Catalina Island and back
Mar 2021
If you are particular about where you would like to sit on the boat I would suggest arriving at least an hour before departure in order to get into line. We wanted to ride outside at the top of the boat and on our ride to Catalina, that area filled up quickly. The boat ride back to long beach wasn't as full so we were able to get outdoor seating easily. The Long Beach terminal was easy to get to via Uber & had plenty of space for waiting in line.
Written April 5, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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 April 9, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

SamMiddletown
Middletown387 contributions
GOOD TIME , COVID WORRIES - STAY HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Nov 2020
Good time.. Left on time, great ride to the Island. No problems with the crew. Got there on time, left on time. NO PROBLEM with the crew. IF YOU ARE WORIED BOUT THE COVID , STAY THE HE!! HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Quit your whining..............
Written December 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for your review. We are glad you enjoyed your trip and look forward to having you aboard again soon.
Written December 31, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Angieebby_
Los Angeles, CA12 contributions
A very peaceful ride
Dec 2020 • Friends
Very clean and organized! We were catching the earliest ride in the morning. So really enjoyed watching the beautiful sunrise on the boat. The ride was pretty calm and quiet, ended up taking a peaceful nap on the way.
Written December 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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 December 31, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Ian D
San Luis Obispo, CA363 contributions
Enforcement. Enforcement. Enforcement.
Nov 2020
This is for the Catalina Express from Long Beach (Downtown). I bought my tickets online, so the check in process was simple.

I would have given a higher rating if it weren't for the outbound trip when I felt unsafe. The line was long when I arrived, and just got longer. I sat on the retaining wall, knowing that there was little regard to social distancing by those waiting in line; I decided to be the last one on. Bad idea. There were no seats anywhere that had appropriate social distancing even for a single passenger. The mask rule enforcement, both on the boat and while waiting in line, was lax. So, I stood in a corner away from the seating with both a surgical mask and a face shield. I found out the next day that the ferry before mine had been canceled, so the reduced capacity for COVID didn't happen.

On the way back, I arrived more than an hour early and read my book while I was 3rd in line. The couple who were first in line clearly felt that they were exempt from mask wearing while engaging in conversation with the guy who was 2nd in line. There was no staff, so no enforcement. I just looked away, and the line began to grow. It didn't get anywhere near as long as outbound, fortunately. When it came time to board (about 10min late), the guy looked at my ticket, told me I was in the wrong line, and sent me to the back. I pleaded with him that I didn't know (bad signage) and that I had been there for over an hour. He said, "Sorry. You're standing right underneath (the very small, 20ft above me) sign." So, I was last to get on again, but I wasn't overly bothered (other than he was slightly rude and inflexible - when you have to be inflexible, you need to be nice).

I sat outside with no problem finding a place to sit. I did eye up the situation of where people were going to end up before I unpacked my lunch. There was a party of 5, drinking, unmasked, unchallenged. One of the vaping, unchallenged. When the steward came to do a sweep, he asked one guy to put his mask on, but no one in the party drinking (they had finished by the time he came up). They had complete disregard for others, and clearly the steward was intimidated by that.

Enforcement. Enforcement. Enforcement. For the safety of your staff and passengers. Non-compliant passengers should not get to dictate the comfort and safety of the rest.

The trip itself was fine and took the stated amount of time, about 1:15hrs.
Written November 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Safar_Maestro
Los Angeles, CA25 contributions
Poor Covid protocols
Oct 2020
Pleasant and quick way to get to Catalina, but management needs to think about how it approaches Covid.

Pros:
1) Nice views from the ferry.
2) Staff reminded guests to wear masks when not eating/drinking. They seemed serious about it.

Cons:
1) Windows were shut throughout the ride. Ventilation seemed to be switched off until the ferry was actually moving. I may be wrong, but the ventilation system appeared to be nowhere near as efficient as on a modern plane.

2) No real process for disembarking. No physical distancing enforced. Everyone just stood up and crowded around the exits. Why not a phased unboarding process to prevent crowding?

3) This is the worst, because it was actually initiated by a crew member: asking everyone inside the ferry to join in singing “Happy Birthday” for a passenger! I guess he hasn’t read all the well-documented super-spreader events that have happened at choir practice.

In hindsight, booking the higher-cost interior Commodore Lounge was a mistake. But I still wouldn’t be comfortable sitting outside due to the crowding during boarding and unboarding.

Sadly, I won’t be back on board for a long time.
Written October 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for sharing your experience to Catalina Island. We value all of our customers and take seriously all positive or negative feedback concerning our service. Your review has been sent to the appropriate manager for further review. We hope the rest of your trip was very pleasant and will give Catalina Express another try in the future.
Written October 16, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

nickelcitygirl
Sudbury, Canada620 contributions
Great crossing!
Sep 2019
We took the ferry from Long Beach to Catalina Island in September 2019 (pre-COVID times), and had a great experience. It's about a 65-minute crossing. We sat up top in the open air deck. As we left Long Island, we saw the Queen Mary and the dome where the Howard Hughes Spruce Goose is, and there was a cruise ship in the harbour when we arrived at Catalina Island. Our crossing both ways was good, although it was a bit rougher on our way back and a few in our group were feeling slightly queasy for the return trip.
Written August 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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 August 28, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Showing results 1-10 of 1,092
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing