Best for short cruises from San Diego: Carnival
- No free room service
- No free alcohol
- Food included
- No price matching
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San Diego’s cruise port is small, but big enough to be your personal gateway to paradise. If you’re hoping to hoist anchor in the Pacific, here are our top picks.
The San Diego cruise port hosts just over 100 cruise calls annually. These are the cream of that crop.
No, no cruise lines sail to Alaska from San Diego. If you’re hoping to visit America’s last frontier, consider kicking off in Los Angeles. Princess Cruises has itineraries that sail from LA to Alaska from May through August.
Disney Cruise Line offers a route departing from San Diego that it markets as an Alaska cruise, but Victoria, Canada is the furthest north it goes — which isn’t technically Alaska.
Carnival and Holland America Line regularly offer the best cheap cruises from San Diego, with rates less than $100 per person, per night if you cruise during off season.
When choosing cruises for this list, we looked at the quality of routes available from each cruise line, prioritizing well-paced itineraries with port stops at key destinations around the region.
We also considered dining onboard, weighing the number, variety and overall quality of restaurants against passenger reviews. Finally, we weighed cabin amenities against each price point, looking for cruise lines that are known to deliver the highest value.
Additionally, we sought out customer reviews on travel websites and personal travel blogs, considering first-person experiences and each company’s overall reputation.
Most cruises depart from San Diego during spring or fall. You’ll find fewer itineraries in January and early February, and hardly any throughout the summer months. To find the lowest rates, avoid cruising during spring break — that’s March — and try not to sail around Thanksgiving or Christmas. Still, that Hawaiian escape may be worth the splurge when the weather cools in late December.
The Port of San Diego is the fourth largest port in California, and has two terminals — B Street Pier Terminal and Broadway Pier. Most cruises depart from B Street Pier Terminal, as Broadway Pier is typically only used as an overflow dock area.
While the Port of San Diego doesn’t have its own designated parking lots, many cruisers use the overflow parking lots at San Diego International Airport. From there, the cruise port is only about 10 minutes from the airport by car. Uber, Lyft and plenty of taxis are standing by.
You could also take the bus from the airport to the cruise port, riding route 992 and hopping off at N Harbor Dr.
Cruising from San Diego can be an efficient and highly enjoyable way to visit Mexico, circle Hawaii or explore our nation’s Pacific coast. But before booking, check for promo codes and sales to can snag a deal.
Disney Cruise Line Cyber Monday deals for a whimsical cruise with your fave characters.
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