We often think of the cities of America’s west coast — San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco — as destinations in and of themselves, places to spend your entire vacation to explore to the fullest. Rarely do we consider combining several of these into one, amazing vacation experience. But you can, and should, on a California coastal cruise.
Sometimes sailing as far north as Seattle or down south to Ensalada, Mexico, these west coast cruise adventures offer a sweet escape to epic cities, laid-back seaside towns and the Golden State’s sunlit natural wonders. Let’s look at the highlights you could enjoy firsthand.
Spend the morning checking out the 100-plus shops and boutiques on Rodeo Drive, America’s premier spot for luxury shopping. Hike around the iconic Hollywood sign in Griffith Park before heading down to Venice Beach to walk along its famed boardwalk. End the day over at TCL Chinese Theatre’s Hollywood Walk of Fame, where you can test your handprints against the likes of Tom Cruise, Scarlett Johansson and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Nicknamed “America’s Riviera,” Santa Barbara is a dreamlike area where whales swim past the palm-lined, rocky coast and wine-tastings are never too far away. A day well spent here could include kayaking around the yachts in the harbor, bicycling around vineyards and touring the private estates of Montecito, home to many Hollywood stars.
Relax on one of the many sun-soaked beaches around the bay. Glide past historic vessels and massive naval aircraft on a harbor cruise tour. See for yourself why the San Diego Zoo is considered one of the best in the world. Discover the playful intelligence of dolphins and other aquatic animals at Sea World Adventure Park. Stroll late at night through Old Town, considered to be the birthplace of California. Some cruises here stay in port until 11 p.m., so you have time to do it all.
There’s a good reason Tony Bennett left his heart in San Francisco — many good reasons. The City by the Bay is a cosmopolitan delight with a colorful history and 5-star restaurant scene. From touring Alcatraz and taking cable cars up and down those hilly streets, to seeing 1,000-year-old redwood trees at Muir Woods National Monument and dining at waterfront restaurants of Pier 39, the city delivers authentic moments around every turn. And everywhere you go, that gorgeous bridge will be in the background, ready to be the backdrop to some fantastic selfies.
Experience the timeless allure of California, from its fog-covered redwood forests to its star-studded cities, with Princess Cruises. With 4- to 10-day sailings and departures from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., it’s easy to see why Cruise Critic has named their California Coast cruises the "Best Cruises from the West Coast."