Catalina Connection

No Boat, No Problem: Travel in Comfort With Catalina Express

DANA POINT— One of the best parts of owning a boat is the ability to cruise to exciting destinations like Catalina Island. There are times, though, when a boat might be out of commission or you’re transporting more guests than can comfortably ride on your boat – this is where a ferry service such as Catalina Express comes in as an alternative to taking your boat.

Catalina Express is an ideal way to travel, offering 30 trips daily from San Pedro, Long Beach and Dana Point and takes around an hour to get to the island. In some ways, Catalina Express has built a history along with the island, considering the company’s CEO and President, Greg Bombard, was born on Catalina.

In the 2018-2019 issue of Catalina Express Magazine, Bombard stated, “I was born and raised on Catalina Island and I invite you to experience everything this unique destination has to offer … From one converted fishing boat in 1981 to a fleet of eight modern, fast boats, we’ve come a long way. We now carry over a million passengers a year with up to 30 departures daily to Avalon and Two Harbors from San Pedro, Long Beach and Dana Point.”

Back during the earlier days of Catalina’s tourism, way before Catalina Express entered the picture in the early 80s, it is said that passengers traveling on the steamships who caused a fuss were issued a yellow ticket stating they could not return to the island. Luckily, this kind of thing has never happened during a Catalina Express trip.

Angela Puchala, Senior Marketing Manager, told The Log in an email, “I think that happened during the steamship days, but never in our 37 years of [operating] Catalina Express [trips].”

During a morning trip to the island from Dana Point, a pod of bottlenose dolphin were spotted by passengers. According to the boat’s captain, this is a fairly usual happening that seemed to go over especially well with the children on the boat.

Seating is available inside or outside on the deck and safety devices are also available onboard for emergency purposes.

Upgrades are available to the Commodore Lounge for an additional $15 each way, which allows for passengers to travel in style. Just a few of the perks include priority check-in and boarding, complimentary bottled water soda, beer, and cocktails including a delicious Bloody Mary, comfortable leather-trimmed reclining chairs and an onboard snack or cookie.

Departing from sleepy Dana Point was relatively easy, staff was friendly and the recommended check-in time of an hour before departure gave plenty of time to grab a bagel breakfast from a nearby shop.

Year-round, Catalina Express offers many vacation packages that include some of the best rated hotels on Catalina and a lot of the deals are quite comparable, especially when traveling during the off-season.

A roundtrip ticket costs about $75, not including the price of parking. Visit to learn more about booking tickets or vacation packages, viewing schedules and fares and more.

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