Cruise From Long Beach In The Holiday Season

Cruise From Long Beach In The Holiday Season.jpg

We Started Our California Cruise In Long Beach

We headed south to cruise from Long Beach in the holiday season. It was a short 7 day cruise along the California coast. With one stop south in sunny and hot Mexico.

When we planned our California cruise, we debated a few options on where to stay when we arrived. On previous visits to Los Angeles we stayed out of the city in Santa Monica and Newport Beach. We considered staying right in the city of Los Angeles. But finally decided to stay closer to the cruise port in Long Beach.

We always travelled a few days before we departed on a cruise. Travel in the winter added unpredictability. We liked to adjust to local time. And we often just wanted to enjoy a few days in a port city before we departed. On our cruise from Long Beach in the holiday season, we were happy we stayed in Long Beach. There were some interesting things to see and do. Even if the weather did not always cooperate.

Leaving Toronto In The Snow

It was an early start to winter in Toronto. A big storm hit the day before we were scheduled to leave for our cruise with Oceania Cruises.  We were off for wine tasting along the California Coast. With our Nexus passes in hand and an 8am departure, we planned to arrive at the airport at 6am. But we totally mis-judged how badly backed up the airport was from the storm.

We were still dealing with the fallout from Air Canada making major changes to their computer systems. And were unable to check-in online. When we arrived at the airport, we were not happy to find that David had been selected for a “special” screening process. This explained why we could not check in online. And added more than 30 minutes to his security line time.

There were many people delayed in security and our plane was held for 30 minutes. But when even a 30 minute wait did not get everyone onboard, there was a further delay to remove baggage. Luckily the de-icing line up was small. So we only departed Toronto an hour late.

Toronto Airport De-Icing.jpg

We flew out over snow-covered lands and headed away to cruise from Long Beach in the holiday season. Very glad to get a brief respite from the winter weather.

Toronto Departure Snow.jpg

Packing for this trip had been a bit of a challenge. We started in winter weather, enjoyed fall temperatures along the California coast and then finished our trip in cold and wet Vancouver. It was a good thing we checked bags!

Arriving In Rainy California

As the song rang in my head (“it never rains in Southern California”), we were not really surprised when we found it raining when we landed at LAX in Los Angeles. For years California was plagued with drought. But this year it seemed that it rained a lot. When we did our road trip in California at the beginning of the year, it rained in many of the places we visited.

Over the course of 6 days in Long Beach, we had rain on every day but one. On the one sunny day, we wandered down to the outdoor pool at the Renaissance Long Beach Hotel. But we were not tempted to get in.

Renaissance Hotel Pool.jpg

Renaissance Hotel Pool.jpg

We still figured that rain was better than snow! And the long range forecast for our cruise from Long Beach looked to be improving.

Exploring The Harbourfront

Our hotel was centrally located in Long Beach on Ocean Boulevard. It was an easy walk from there to the Pike Market. While this was billed as an outlet market, there were only a few shops and the prices did not seem to be a bargain. The mall was the first thing we saw all decorated for the holiday season.

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Beside the mall was a 9 storey high ferris wheel. At night we saw it lit up from our hotel room. It did not run while we were at the harbourfront.

Pike Harbour Mall Ferris Wheel - Cruise From Long Beach In The Holiday Season.jpg

From there we walked down to Rainbow Harbour. There was a light house on the breakwater. The inner harbour was filled with shops and restaurants. And the Parker’s Lighthouse Restaurant.

Rainbow Harbour Lighthouse.jpg

Rainbow Harbour Parkers Lighthouse - Cruise From Long Beach In The Holiday Season.jpg

Docked in the harbour was the Queen Mary ship. There were tours available to see this ship. And you could even book a room to stay on the ship or visit for special events.

Rainbow Harbour Queen Mary - Cruise From Long Beach In The Holiday Season.jpg

There was much to do on the harbourfront on a cruise from Long Beach in the holiday season.

Street Art Was Everywhere

It seemed that everywhere we looked we found yet another piece of colourful street art in Long Beach. Large murals covered the sides of buildings.

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Be A Leader Street Art - Cruise From Long Beach In The Holiday Season.jpg

Coloured Balls Street Art - Cruise From Long Beach In The Holiday Season.jpg

Baby Street Art - Cruise From Long Beach In The Holiday Season.jpg

Dancer Street Art - Cruise From Long Beach In The Holiday Season.jpg

Art decorated the sides of electrical boxes. Fanciful pieces were used to draw you into restaurants. And if that didn’t work, Hamburger Mary’s had a set of colourful wings that could be posed with.

Electrical Boxes Street Art - Cruise From Long Beach In The Holiday Season.jpg

Hamburger Marys Wings Street Art - Cruise From Long Beach In The Holiday Season.jpg

A blue tile mural told the history of Long Beach. This blue tile reminded us very much of the blue tile art used in Portugal to tell stories.

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When you take a cruise from Long Beach, make sure to explore the city for street art. We found so many interesting pieces.

Long Beach In The Holiday Season

The city of Long Beach was decorated for the holiday season. Wreaths were on the light poles on the streets. A blow up Santa welcomed us to a local business.

Farmers Merchant Bank.jpg

Promenade for Christmas - Cruise From Long Beach In The Holiday Season.jpg

Santa for Christmas.jpg

Santa for Christmas.jpg

At night, the coloured lights drew us to the Long Beach Performing Art Centre building. The large Christmas tree and holiday lights were beautiful. And the fountain show added more touches of colour and movement. It was fun to watch.

Christmas - Performing Arts Center - Cruise From Long Beach In The Holiday Season.jpg

Christmas - Performing Arts Center - Cruise From Long Beach In The Holiday Season.jpg

Christmas - Performing Arts Center - Cruise From Long Beach In The Holiday Season.jpg

We got in the holiday mood on a cruise from Long Beach in the holiday season.

Heading To The Cruise Port

There were two cruise ports in Long Beach. The cruise port close to our hotel at Rainbow Harbour was the home base for Carnival Cruise Lines. On several days we saw ships in the port.

The LA World Cruise Centre was a bit further north in San Pedro. Most cruise lines docked in San Pedro. Our Oceania Cruises cruise from Long Beach in the holiday season left from Pier 93 in San Pedro.

San Pedro Cruise Terminal 93.jpg

It was an easy Uber ride to get from downtown Long Beach to the cruise dock. When we returned to the port after our cruise, it was again easy to get an Uber to the airport.

Cruise From Long Beach In The Holiday Season

We enjoyed our short stay in Long Beach before our cruise along the California coast. There was much to see and do along the waterfront. Everywhere we looked we were delighted with the street art we found.

The city was decorated for the holiday season. It was easy to pick up the holiday spirit on a cruise from Long Beach in the holiday season.

The first port on our cruise was on Catalina Island. We were excited to head out on a small boat to find playful dolphins and sea lions.

Have you done a cruise from Long Beach in the holiday season? Did you find it a great port to start from?

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About TravelAtWill 739 Articles
Travel blogger and photographer! Scuba diving, luxury cruising, chocoholic, sea and sunshine addicts, camera attached and just generally curious! Join us on our adventures!


  1. San Pedro was a port for us when we cruised from Florida to Vancouver. We Saw the Queen Mary ship, but not all that fabulous street art you found. Your airport experience out of Toronto is exactly why I try to avoid winter when I travel (not always successfully). Sounds like in the end you had a fun holiday season.

    • Rhonda, We were so surprised at home much interesting street art we found. And the holiday displays were fun. A good time of year to visit, even with a little rain. Linda

  2. Missing a flight is my worst nightmare, but it’d be very rare to miss one due to snow and ice down here in Australia! Long Beach sounds like an interesting place to spend a few days, even if it was raining. I particularly liked the murals and and coloured lights, and the rain’s always a good reason to hole up in a restaurant or bakery 😀

  3. I am actually planning ahead for winter 2020 (around December/January time) and hoping to do a beach/sightseeing holiday with the family in the LA area.I think Long Beach would be alright for a day trip but which place would you recommend in the area with beaches and great places to stay with that ocean view. I can get cheap flight and when I went to San Francisco in December 2017, the average temperature was +22/78F which I think is great. Would you say the temps are above average for that time of year and that we should head further south for warmer climbs (like Mexico)? 😛

    • Danik, if you want beach weather in Dec/Jan, then it will be hard to find in California. We were there last year in both of these months. Temps between 10 and 20. Some rain. Great for exploring. But not beach weather. For that you need to go further south. Linda

  4. Delayed flight is one of the things that I don’t like about traveling but it seems like you still had a wonderful time. California is on my bucket list. Long beach sounds like a great place to visit and explore too, I love the street arts.

  5. I have just had one cruise in my life and do look forward to many more in the future. Your festive cruise does seem to be very interesting and one I would like to sample with the kids. We not the best start to the cruise with the snow issues in Toronto but I guess it all was forgotten once you set sail from Long Beach. The view of flying over the snow-covered land to Long Beach looks stunning. What a change of weather from the snow to the warm California temperatures. Yes would have been a task to pack for this holiday with such different weather. The overall experience looks festive and fantastic though.

  6. Glad you were able to make it to the airport in time. The California Coastal cruises are a pretty good deal. It’s been awhile since I visited Long Beach but I’m heading back there later this year and will have to check out the street art.

    • Debra, We were happy to take a one week cruise along the California coast to get a break from the start of winter at home. Hope you find some interesting steetart when you visit Long Beach later this year. Linda

  7. It is such a good idea to stay at the port and get adjusted to local life before setting off in cruise. Will think of this. You have shared such fabulous street art! Each so colorfully and artistically done. I am already excited about Catalina Island. Hope I can do a similar cruise.

    • Indrani, We always get in a day or two early especially when we have to worry about winter weather. Lets us really be ready to start our cruise relaxed. We were so amazed with the street art we found. Hope you enjoy the posts about this trip. It was a great winter break. Linda

  8. I was just talking to my cousin about the California coast and then your post comes in when I was thinking of how nice it’ll be to spend long days next to the ocean, and move on to another country like Mexico! Your post sounds like adventure for those wanting to escape those wintry dreary landscapes!

    • Pashmina, We love California and have been many times. If you are planning a visit, check out the series of posts we did on our 4 week road trip earlier in 2019. It covers a lot of the spots you may want to visit. Hope you get to visit. Linda

  9. Great post!! You know as much as I have traveled around the world and doing different activities I never took the chance of going on a cruise. I love the idea of taking a cruise from the long beach and I guess it would a great spot to celebrate or have a great night out. I would surely would love to try it out for myself soon.

    • Daniel, A cruise is a good way to taste test some new places. In this case, it was an easy and relaxing way for us to escape Toronto winter for a bit. Hope you get to try a cruise one day. Linda

  10. Southern California is super nice. I think it is perfect for a trip like this. As a native, I dont think it is a good place to live haha, but the weather is nice for an escape from the snow!

  11. It honestly makes sense, but I had NO IDEA that there were cruises offered down the California coastline. What a fun opportunity! I am also really into street art at the moment, and I really enjoyed your photos. What a fabulous way to head south for a bit of the winter!

  12. We went there several times. Once we also rented a car and drove along the coast area. It is a very pleasant place to have a weekend escape.

  13. I have been wanting to drive up to Long Beach to see the revitalization they have done around the waterfront. The aquarium is amazing and the Queen Mary is fun to tour. Long Beach has a Grand Prix through the streets every year that is also a lot of fun, especially if you are someone who likes to star search because they are everywhere for this event

  14. How well they have done up the city of Long Beach for the holiday season, I find lots of photo opportunities here. Definitely a place worth staying even if for a short time. I am quite excited to know of the playful dolphins and sea lions. I haven’t been there yet, but I hope some day I will get there.

  15. I think it was an amazing decision to experience the place before boarding your cruise. Love the way you have discovered the nuances of the place. The set of images on street art had me wanting more. They are so brilliant. If the start is so brilliant, I wonder what you are going to share from your actual cruise. Waiting for it.

    • Ami, Long Beach was indeed a great spot to start our cruise. We too were amazed at the variety of street art we found. We will be sharing the rest of our cruise soon. Linda

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