Major Car Rental Agencies in San Diego Port?

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#1
Paris, France
673 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Hello folks

We are considering a cruise that ends in San Diego.

We would like to travel back to Europe from LAX the same day we disembark. A car rental would seem to be an economical (and pleasurable) option to do the transfer.

Can anyone tell us if there are car rental agencies at San Diego Port or, if not, where would be the most convenient place to pick up a car? (We are not familiar with San Diego so the locations on the Car Rental websites are quite cryptic for us! )

We have read on the board that Hertz and Avis have good rates.

Any other suggestions for transport are welcome.

We are considering Azamara Club Cruises....... maybe some past passengers could tell us if they offer a San Diego/Lax transfer.

Many thanks

Brian & Tony
#2
San Diego
7,336 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
The cruise port in San Diego is located right in our downtown and only 2miles from the airport sooo there are many car rental places that would be convenient. Both Hertz and Avis are at the airport and also have some downtown locations.
You can use Google to see the exact location on a map and to see its relationship to the cruise terminal.
Depending on your airline, some also offer returns to Europe with a "hop" from San Diego to LAX and then on to Europe.
You could try a ticket that way to see.
Delta flies routes SAN-LAX----and on to various points etc.It has a relationship with Air France if that is your best choice.
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#3
The OC
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Joined Mar 2008
I'm not sure of the exact date, but BA will start SAN-LHR nonstops in a few months. Some government restrictions on BA / AA partnerships have been lifted so expect to see a big increase in service between the USA and UK.

The airport is less than 5km and 10 minutes from the cruise docks. However if you see a downtown location that is very convenient too and you will avoid the fees that most airports add to car rentals. The drive to LAX is approximately 180km and 2.5-3 hours if there's no traffic.

Or, you can take the train (Amtrak). The station is a 10 minute walk from the cruise docks. Take the train to either Irvine or LA Union Station. From there, the Flyaway bus service goes to LAX. Making the connection in Irvine is a few dollars cheaper but Flyaway service is more frequent from LA. Note this is probably more expensive than a car rental and will definitely take longer.

San Diego is one of the world's most convenient cruise ports so getting from the ship to the airport, car rentals, or Amtrak is easy.
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#4
San Diego
4,556 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
There are no car rental agencies right in the cruise terminal in San Diego (at least not in the current one, not sure if that will be a feature of the new terminal opening the end of this year or not). There are a number of car rental places within reasonable walking distance of the current terminal. Avis is the closest...about 2 1/2 blocks from the terminal on Ash Street. For others, you could walk a few more blocks, or take a cab or pedicab, pick up your car, go back to the pier and pick up your luggage and passengers, and then head up Hwy 5 toward LA. I would avoid going all the way to the airport to get to a rental car agency, as they will just turn around and shuttle you to their off-site car park locations closer to the pier.

Be sure to ask about one-way drop off fees, which may apply for some agencies even taking the car to LAX.

Depending on the time of day, and day of the week, plan on at least 3 hours to drive to LAX, and give yourself at least another half hour to check in your car. For international flights in LAX you need to be at the airport at least 2 hours prior to your flight; 3 is better. Take Hwy 5 north through South Orange County where you will change to Hwy 405 and take that to the LAX exit (Century Blvd) which is well marked from the freeway.
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#5
San Francisco, CA
307 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
The Cruise Ship terminal is close enough to the airport that you will most likely be renting a car from the airport location should you decide to do so. I believe that if you do not arrive at SAN, you are not charged related fees.

On paper, the drive is easy (5 North to the 405 split, then 405 to Century Blvd and the LAX rental car return area,) especially if there are two of you which permits you to use the carpool lane. That said, although it is reasonable to expect to accomplish the drive in three hours, traffic is unpredictable (it took me six hours once to cover the same distance )

As Kenish mentioned Amtrak is another option, and the train ride is, for the most part scenic.

If I were in your shoes, I would consider staying in San Diego an extra day and flying out to CDG (I am guessing) the next morning. True, you will have to change planes somewhere, but it would mitigate the risk of Murphy's law kicking in on disembarkation day.
#7
Paris, France
673 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
We decided to book Avis. They say that they will provide transportation to their downtown location from the cruise terminal (only a few blocks away) - handy rather than hauling suitcases. I requested a GPS so we should get to LAX with no problem..... maybe even with time to do some sight-seeing on the way..... any suggestions?

bandt
#8
San Diego
7,336 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
What time would your plane leave from LAX?
Will you be driving on during the week or on a weekend ?
I ask because traffic up to LAX can be problematic and so time for sightseeing will depend on many factors.
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#9
Paris, France
673 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Thanks for your post riffatsea.

We shall be arriving at San Diego on Saturday Jan 08 at 7.00a.m.

Transatlantic flight leaving LAX at 6.30 p.m.

Maybe a leisurely ride on the freeway and a cocktail at LAX waiting for departure would be the best option.
#10
1,189 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
It is probably a 2.5 to 3 hour drive. The traffic on a Saturday will probably not be too bad. I would take the 5 freeway and in Dana Point take the Pacific Coast Hwy. This will take you through some very scenic areas and you will have time to make stops along the way. If you plan on this ask for more specifics and many on here can help.

If you are early at the airport head up to The Encounter www.encounterlax.com, it is in the center of the airport and has a bar and restaurant.

Jen in SoCal

Originally posted by bandt
Thanks for your post riffatsea.

We shall be arriving at San Diego on Saturday Jan 08 at 7.00a.m.

Transatlantic flight leaving LAX at 6.30 p.m.

Maybe a leisurely ride on the freeway and a cocktail at LAX waiting for departure would be the best option.
#11
San Diego
7,336 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Saturday morning is probably the BEST time to make the drive north!! Working backwards from your flight time--
You should be at the airport by about 3:30PM
You'll have to drop off your rental car and then shuttle to the airport so you should plan on being IN LA by about 2:45PM(14:45)
There are several different possible sightseeing plans:
You could drive north on I-5 and get off in Dana Point like mentioned above. Then maybe stop for a meal in Laguna Beach?
You could drive directly up to LA and pass the airport and go to Santa Monica /Venice Beach to walk around /have a meal.
I suppose it would depend on if you'd like to see scenic beach areas or pick some sightseeing IN LA and then a meal/drink etc.
I'd feel safe doing either plan. Hopefully you'll have seen some of the sights in San Diego before your cruise.
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#12
San Francisco, CA
307 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
Originally posted by bandt
Thanks for your post riffatsea.

We shall be arriving at San Diego on Saturday Jan 08 at 7.00a.m.

Transatlantic flight leaving LAX at 6.30 p.m.

Maybe a leisurely ride on the freeway and a cocktail at LAX waiting for departure would be the best option.
Don't bet the freeway ride being leisurely. You will probably be off the ship around 9 or 10 AM; on the road by 11 AM and should be physically in Terminal 2 at LAX by 3:30 PM to deal with the LONG Lines. That means you should be returning the rental car around 2:30 PM. Not much time to dawdle.