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Cruise Port — San Pedro, Accessible And Unique

This week, we're featuring ports you may find on your cruise itinerary, to give you a snapshot of what it's like, what ships usually go there and what some of the options are once you get off the ship. Today it's San Pedro, California.

If you're driving to San Pedro, parking can be an issue. We've boarded ships there after parking in the adjoining lot ($12 a day) and after leaving our car with friends who live nearby (free, but you'll probably take them for lunch).

This port is about 20 miles south of Los Angeles on Interstate 110 — although sometimes Los Angeles is 20 miles from Los Angeles — so there are plenty ofSan Pedrotransportation options and no shortage of things to do, depending on how much time you have. 

Here's one: Stay at the Westin Los Angeles at LAX and you can park free for a week. If you're flying into L.A., there are several shuttle possibilities, usually for San Pedro-5 copyabout $15 per person.

At your departure point, it's easy to find things to fill your time. If you have a short stay before boarding a ship, there's a free shuttle that runs every day a ship is in port, through downtown San Pedro, which of course has shops and multi-cultural restaurants and tourist points. At this time of year, at least for another couple of weeks, there are whale-watching opportunities with priced at $15-$20 for two to three hours on the water.

It's not far to many museums, beaches and "Old San Pedro" is almost walking distance from the cruise ship…Fisherman's Wharf is not much farther.

Sometimes we've scheduled our arrival at a cruise port to be as close to departure time as possible, but that means missing the boat — so to speak — for an interesting visit to a unique area like San Pedro.

There are several cruise lines using that port but Princess and Norwegian are the two that regularly have ships leaving from San Pedro.

Today at portsandbows.com: Cognac is more than an apertif

Celebrity Reflection
7 nights
April 12, 2014
Miami (return): San JuanSt. ThomasSt. Maarten
Inside: $429
Cost per day: $61

Cruise Lines Catering to 'Youth'

California may have as many "old folks" per capita as any other state, but the perception is that surf, sand, sun and movie stars makes it a destination for the young as well as the young at heart.

Celebrity seems to think so, too.

In a clever attempt to attract young cruisers, Celebrity is taking its act ashore. Not the ships, of course, just a taste of what happens when you go on one of their ships. That's "taste" as in Qsine, Tuscan Grille, Bistro on Five, The Porch and Grand Epernay — the cruise line's for-fee, upscale restaurants at sea. It also includes a taste of AquaSpa in the shape of a complimentary neck and shoulder massage.

The road show that Celebrity hopes will result in a sea show (or at least a booking or two) is in Long Beach through the weekend…at the World Series of Beach Volleyball tournament. After that, corporate and public events in Los Angeles, Palm Springs and Orange County all next month.

Celebrity doesn't say so, but it's clearly designed to attract young cruisers, most of whom have been to a cruise ship only long enough to drop off their parents.

And if it attracts a few "old folks" along the way — as in Palm Springs — so much the better…

* * *

The same might be said of Norwegian, the cruise line that has long attracted young-ish cruisers with its "freestyle" philosophy, but the strategy is a little different.

Again, the cruise line doesn't mention the demographic (why alienate anybody?) except to say that "Freestyle Cruising is a natural fit" for people who ride the Rocky Mountaineer. That's the train service that operates primarily in the Pacific Northwest, from Calgary to Seattle and a myriad of places people on Alaska cruises have been known to visit.

There are five different Rail and Cruise vacation packages for next year, connected to Alaska sailings on the Jewel, the Pearl and the Sun. The cruise line has determined that nearly half its Alaska cruisers also ride the rails before or after being on the ship.

The perception is that Rocky Mountaineer appeals to young adventurers and whether that's true or not, if it attracts a few "old folks" along the way…

Holland America Eurodam
7 nights
December 1, 2013
Fort Lauderdale (return): Grand TurkSan JuanSt. ThomasHalf Moon Cay
Inside: $499
Cost per day: $71
Cost per day: $71


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