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Ihearttravel11

Catalina - excursion or DIY?

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I am taking DH on his first cruise in May (my second, so I am no seasoned cruiser any means). Just a quick 4 night on Carnival Imagination. Our ports are Catalina and Ensenada.

I booked our Ensenada excursion, but am unsure if a Catalina excursion is either worth the cost, or even necessary. From what I have read, Catalina is a smaller, walkable area.

Any recommendations? 

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The "downtown" area is small and walkable, but many of the sites are not in the downtown. So it depends on what tour and sites you are interested in.

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I just kind of figured we would walk to a restaurant, grab some souvenirs, and maybe people watch.
I do see there is an inexpensive excursion, which would be okay, but at this moment we don't really have any interest in much more than that.

Edited to add :
If we did do an excursion, this would be the one.
"Enjoy a scenic tour of Avalon and take in the majestic sights of the Avalon Theatre foyer. You will ride along the island's only coastline road to an elevation of 400 feet, passing the Wrigley estate and setting the stage for amazing photo opportunities. We continue through the quaint and colorful bungalow grid and pass along the oldest golf course west of the Mississippi. The friendly guides will entertain you with fun facts, characters and characteristics of the lovely town of Avalon.<br><br> We will make a 15 minute stop at the historical Catalina Casino building. Casino is defined as a "Meeting Place" which seats 1064 in the movie theater. The Casino is filled with art deco period paintings, and frescos. After your stop at the theater, we will return to the Tour Plaza which is in the heart of town where you'll have the rest of the time to explore on your own." At $27.99/person.

Edited by Ihearttravel11

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5 hours ago, Ihearttravel11 said:

If we did do an excursion, this would be the one.

This can be done better on your own-- they aren't even taking you upstairs to the ballroom which is the prettiest space in the Casino building. I would just book a Casino tour which you can do online quite easily. Its an easy walk from where you get tendered in. The entire downtown is very pretty and walkable. If you really wanted to get up into the hills by the Inn at Mt Ada (the Wrigley mansion they reference) you can rent a golf cart quite easily. 

 

If you wanted to venture deeper into the island like to the other town of Two Harbors, that would be the only reason I would book any sort of excursion. 

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Just spent 4 days on Catalina in June.  I would definitely do the "Discover the Casino" tour.  It's about 1 hour long, and is the best attraction. 

 

The town the ship stops at is Avalon.  It's a tiny port town -- you can tour the whole place in a couple hours.  Lots of little shops and restaurants.   

Another fun thing to do, while not an excursion you can purchase on the ship (that I can see), is to rent a golf cart and tour the island on your own.  We found that a lot of fun -- could go at our own pace.  I recalled it only took 1 hour to tour the whole town and hills.  Personally, I would keep away from any tour buses.  Golf cart is the way to go.

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I agree do it on your own.  We spent a long weekend on the island last year and just walked around town and rented a golf cart for an hour drive up the hill.  Golf carts are considered vehicles under CA law so take your DL and proof of insurance otherwise it will cost a little more for their insurance.  Most of them take only cash, which I recall was about $100.  

Edited by ATSEAMYLIFE

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Posted (edited)

Feb 2020 Royal Princess shore excursion Catalina Island. Very thrilling off road Hummer that seats 12. Great local driver/guide made sure we saw plenty Buffalo and other wildlife. 

7E96F046-28B6-4CE3-B3EB-81F3A8A60FBC.jpeg

CF51107D-B3A9-4EE6-BDC0-D9DE45542AC6.jpeg

D5DECC67-83B6-4410-849C-160E997E7E05.jpeg

Edited by tipofthehook

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Beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing. I'm going to Catalina in November, I hope.  I'm doing a tour and hope to see the buffaloes.

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