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Top Tips for a Cruise from San Diego

If you live on the west coast, choosing a cruise that embarks from San Diego is a convenient way to vacation. Here are some helpful tips to know if cruising from San Diego, plus the top things to do in San Diego before you check in for your cruise.

The Port of San Diego

The Port of San Diego is located in San Diego harbor, which is just a short distance from downtown San Diego, making it an easy port to get to if you're staying in the city the night before your cruise.

Getting to the Harbor and Parking for a Cruise from San Diego

If flying, the airport is conveniently close to San Diego’s harbor as it's less than three miles away. There is a bus route from the airport to downtown with a stop close to the cruise terminal.

If driving to the San Diego cruise port, you can find paid longterm parking next to the harbor that is close enough that you can simply walk to your cruise ship.Some hotels close to the harbor offer longterm parking, and there is also cruise parking available at airport parking lots with shuttles to the cruise port.

Things to Do Before You Cruise from San Diego

San Diego has a wide variety of activities you can do before you hop on your ship. You may even want to give yourself a couple days there before your cruise to enjoy the sights and not feel rushed before having to check-in for your cruise.

Here are some of the top things to do in San Diego:

Gaslamp Quarter

San Diego’s downtown area is also a historic part of the city, referred to as the Gaslamp Quarter. It gets its name due to the gas lamps that used to line the streets. Today, it is a busy urban center that mixes in upscale restaurants, swanky clubs and laidback bars, and plenty of shopping with condos and office space.

It’s a fun place to explore and has the added bonus of being close to the waterfront of the San Diego Bay.

U.S.S. Midway

A short distance from the Gaslamp Quarter is the USS Midway Museum, a museum located within a massive naval aircraft carrier that is permanently parked in the bay and open to visitors. Take an educational tour of the Midway and learn what it was used for and how a naval ship operates. Then head out onto the massive top deck to enjoy some San Diego sunshine.

Balboa Park

If no trip is complete for you until you’ve explored the destination’s museums, then Balboa Park is where you’ll want to spend time while in San Diego.

Balboa Park is home to over a dozen museums, ranging from art and culture museums to science centers to air and space exhibits and more. Balboa Park also has sprawling gardens you can walk through and open space perfect for picnics. Balboa Park is also conveniently adjacent to the San Diego Zoo.

San Diego Zoo

And speaking of that zoo, it is also a must-visit place in San Diego, especially if you have kids. The world famous San Diego Zoo is known for its expansive exhibits, panda bears, and conservation efforts. The zoo is also lovely to walk around in due to rich foliage and trees planted throughout the park’s many paths.

Old Town

Located a short drive (or trolley ride) north of the Gaslamp Quarter is San Diego’s Old Town, known for its many Mexican restaurants and souvenir shops plus historic buildings. In Old Town you’ll find beautifully restored turn-of-the-century Victorian Houses, a one-room schoolhouse, and even the rumored-to-be-haunted Whaley House – all of which you can tour and learn more about the history of San Diego.

Mission Beach

If you’re looking to experience some of the San Diego surfer lifestyle and spend time on its iconic beaches, head to Mission Beach. This large strip of soft sand presents you with the quintessential San Diego beach life thanks to faded blue lifeguard towers, a busy boardwalk, oceanfront dive bars serving up local craft beer and fish tacos, and even an amusement park (Belmont Park, home to a fun wooden roller coaster).

Cruise Itineraries that Embark From San Diego

Celebrity Cruises itineraries that typically embark from San Diego include Pacific Coastal and Panama Canal cruises.

Pacific Coastal cruises are a fantastic way to explore the west coast of the United States. Instead of being stuck in a cramped car on a road trip, you can relax on your stateroom’s private veranda, enjoy an al fresco cocktail at one of the ship’s bars, get a relaxing spa treatment, or hang out by the glistening pool – all while sailing to your next destination!

Along with San Diego, Pacific Coastal ports of call include the California destinations of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Monterey, and San Francisco; and Pacific Northwest beauties like Astoria, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; Victoria, British Columbia; and Vancouver British Columbia.

Pacific Coastal ports of call that depart in San Diego typically end in Vancouver, British Columbia, where you can do a city tour before catching your flight back home. You can also do a reverse itinerary that ends in San Diego and add on a city tour to your vacation to explore all those fun San Diego sites you just read about.

Another cruise itinerary that has San Diego as an embarkation port is a Panama Canal cruise. This exciting itinerary leaves from San Diego and sails through the Panama Canal, giving you a first-hand look at how the famous canal and its lock system works.

After sailing through the Panama Canal, your cruise will continue to Florida, where you’ll disembark and get on a flight home.

Along the way, you’ll stop at ports of call in South and Central America such as Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; and Cartagena, Colombia. Similar to Pacific Coastal Cruises, you can also switch the Panama Canal itinerary up and start your cruise in Florida and disembark in San Diego.

Book Your Cruise from San Diego

Ready to set sail from San Diego? Use Celebrity Cruises' easy vacation planning tools, or speak with your travel agent to plan your dream cruise from San Diego.

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