How does one get to the San Pedro cruise terminal from the Amtrak LAX station?

Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Yumacool

Train Attendant
AU Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2014
Messages
78
Location
California
I live in Northern California and am traveling to Los Angeles in late September to take a cruise leaving from San Pedro, which is about 30 miles from the downtown LA Amtrak station. What is the best way to get from the station to the cruise terminal? Amtrak used to offer a bus connection between the two cities, but no longer does, according to the web site. The cruise line offers transfers from the LA airport to San Pedro, but does not offer transfers from the Amtrak station. I thought I could take the flyaway bus connecting the train station and the airport in order to obtain the free cruise line transfer to San Pedro, but I phoned them and they will not allow it. One has to arrive by air. A taxi from downtown LA to the cruise terminal could cost 90 to 100 dollars, but I'm sure there are other ways. I just need to ensure they I get to the cruise terminal on time. Suggestions are appreciated.
 

pennyk

Amtrak Rider
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2009
Messages
14,199
Location
Orlando, FL
I cruised from San Pedro in December 2018 (traveling to LAX from Florida). To avoid LA automobile traffic, I took commuter rail (Metro, I think) from LAX to Long Beach. I do not remember where I transferred but I know I took 2 trains. Once I got to Long Beach, I took an Uber to San Pedro. Because I was coming across country and I was aware that delays were possible, I arrived in San Pedro 2 days early. (I had originally planned to spend one night in Santa Monica, but due to fires in the area, I opted to spend 2 nights in San Pedro). I tend to travel fairly light so taking my luggage on the Metro was not that bad. However, at the time, I was suffering from a foot injury and was limping so walking up stairs carrying luggage in a Metro Station was a challenge, but I sure felt proud of myself when I finished my adventure and arrived at my hotel in San Pedro in one piece.

I would not plan on arriving by train the same day as your cruise departs. So many things can go wrong.

If you are not adventurous or unable to carry your luggage on commuter rail, I strongly suggest a ride sharing service or a taxi cab.
 

zephyr17

Engineer
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
6,597
Location
Washington State
Well, my first question is how do they know you didn't arrive by air? In my experience, you didn't need to book the air travel through the cruise line (which I never did and never will) in order to book their airport transfer. If they require flight details, find a flight that fits your intended arrival time at the airport and tell them that. So:

Option 1: little white lie, book an airport transfer and take the Flyaway bus. It is no business of theirs how you got to LAX.

Option 2: LA Metro Trip Planner IIRC, there's an express bus that goes between downtown LA and San Pedro that has a stop at/near the cruise terminal. No need to take the Blue Line to Long Beach and Ubrr from there unless you really want to ride the Blue Line.

Personally, I'd go with 1.

Under no circumstances should you try to travel down from NorCal the same day as the cruise departure. The earliest possible you could get to LAUS is 2:35 pm using 702 from Sacramento with no connections from the Bay Area, and most cruises cut off check in by 3 pm or 4 pm. It would be damn near impossible, not just highly inadvisable.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 8, 2015
Messages
3,804
Location
Los Angeles
As was previously mentioned, there is a bus line, or you could take the fly away to LAX. Either way, time is of the essence. The train is liable to not be on schedule, the boat is leaving on schedule. If you want to risk the train being close to schedule, catch a Cab or uber. That way you'll be on the boat when it clears the breakwater and that's a sight you don't want to miss.
 

zephyr17

Engineer
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
6,597
Location
Washington State
If you want to risk the train being close to schedule, catch a Cab or uber.
There is no train from NorCal (actually a Thruway bus from the train at Bakersfield) that can reasonably make a same day cruise. If cruise check in closes at 3, as is common, and the 2:35 bus arrival is on time, there would be 25 minutes to get to the San Pedro cruise dock from Union Station. That is flatly impossible.

A 4 pm check in you could might make it if the bus was on time, you started right away and traffic wasn't too awful, but it would be s serious gamble.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 2, 2021
Messages
833
Location
Lubec, ME
As many have noted it is a bad idea to try to arrive the same day the cruise leaves. I would arrive the day before and stay overnight at a hotel near LAX then get the cruise line bus from there the next day. I recall there is a Hilton near the airport there are probably others.
 

MikefromCrete

Engineer
Joined
Mar 24, 2009
Messages
2,813
Location
Crete, IL
When we went on a Pacific coast cruise several years ago, we took a van service from LAX to a hotel in San Pedro. The next day, the hotel offered van service to the cruise terminal. Definitely arrive in LA the day before your cruise leaves. It's not worth the hassle to arrive the same day.
 

rickycourtney

Conductor
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Messages
1,905
Location
Fresno, CA
As far as public transportation goes… you can take the Metro J 950 Line. It’s a semi-BRT route that picks up at Union Station and travels to San Pedro every 30 minutes. The Harbor Beacon Park & Ride stop is across (a very wide) street and a large parking lot from the San Pedro World Cruise Center.

Other options would be to use a van service like SuperShuttle or a Lyft/Uber.

Just depends on how much you want to spend vs. how much inconvenience you’re willing to put up with.
 

Yumacool

Train Attendant
AU Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2014
Messages
78
Location
California
I am planning to take the train to Los Angeles the day before cruise departure and spend the night in a hotel, either in nearby to the station Little Tokyo or in San Pedro. I've heard too many horror stories about people having trouble making connections.
 

zephyr17

Engineer
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
6,597
Location
Washington State
As far as public transportation goes… you can take the Metro J 950 Line.
That's the one I was thinking of when I posted my Metro trip planner response. Thanks for the details.

Personally, if I were doing it from NorCal, I'd enjoy a leisurely and scenic ride on the Starlight rather than the San Joaquin train/bus. Arriving relatively late around 9 pm, I'd stay in DTLA and make my way to San Pedro in the morning.
 

zephyr17

Engineer
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
6,597
Location
Washington State
I am planning to take the train to Los Angeles the day before cruise departure and spend the night in a hotel, either in nearby to the station Little Tokyo or in San Pedro. I've heard too many horror stories about people having trouble making connections.
Well, same day from Northern California would be close to impossible in any case.
 

Chris I

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 8, 2019
Messages
167
Location
Portland, OR
Metro is still unclear about the exact opening date, but hopefully this is open by September:

It will allow a one-seat ride from Union Station to Long Beach. You'd probably want to stay near Union Station and make your way down in the morning. The Starlight is unlikely to be on time, and you probably want to avoid the Metro that late at night.
 

Stremba

Train Attendant
Joined
Apr 27, 2022
Messages
62
Location
Crafton
I am planning to take the train to Los Angeles the day before cruise departure and spend the night in a hotel, either in nearby to the station Little Tokyo or in San Pedro. I've heard too many horror stories about people having trouble making connections.
That is probably wise. I don’t like relying on same day connections from one Amtrak train to another Amtrak train if I can help it, let alone a same-day connection from Amtrak to some other more of travel. At least with the Amtrak-to-Amtrak connection they will help you out. You are pretty much on your own (and likely screwed) if you are counting on getting to a cruise ship, flight, etc.
 

Yumacool

Train Attendant
AU Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2014
Messages
78
Location
California
All the input is truly appreciated! I have traveled quite a bit by Amtrak over the years and take it whenever I can. The first long distance train I ever went on was as an 11-year-old -- my father took my brother and me on the San Francisco Chief. That led to a lifetime of passenger train riding.
 
Last edited:

BCL

Engineer
Joined
Nov 16, 2012
Messages
4,211
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
I've been researching using LA Metro for a trip, so I've learned a bit about it.

LA Metro J (Silver) Line. The bus plaza is on the east side of Union Station. A bit different in that it's a bus line with a letter/color designation. Not sure about baggage though. They say that luggage is allowed, but I don't think they have racks/bins like they have on their rail lines. $1.75 plus 75 cents surcharge per passenger, although a ($3.50) day pass is valid as is on all express services. And a $2 TAP fare card purchase price (there are machines at Union Station and a customer service window that sells them) unless you use the TAPtogo app and use that with an NFC compatible device.




910-950_TT_06-26-22.pdf
 
Last edited:

rickycourtney

Conductor
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Messages
1,905
Location
Fresno, CA
Metro is still unclear about the exact opening date, but hopefully this is open by September:

It will allow a one-seat ride from Union Station to Long Beach. You'd probably want to stay near Union Station and make your way down in the morning. The Starlight is unlikely to be on time, and you probably want to avoid the Metro that late at night.
Long Beach isn’t the same as San Pedro. Once OP got to Long Beach, he’d have to take a bus across Terminal Island. The J Line bus is a one-seat between Union Station and San Pedro.
I've been researching using LA Metro for a trip, so I've learned a bit about it.

LA Metro J (Silver) Line. The bus plaza is on the east side of Union Station. A bit different in that it's a bus line with a letter/color designation. Not sure about baggage though. They say that luggage is allowed, but I don't think they have racks/bins like they have on their rail lines. $1.75 plus 75 cents surcharge per passenger, although a ($3.50) day pass is valid as is on all express services. And a $2 TAP fare card purchase price (there are machines at Union Station and a customer service window that sells them) unless you use the TAPtogo app and use that with an NFC compatible device.
All of this is correct, except that Metro Rail trains don’t have luggage racks/bins either. They have an open area with no seats where people can put bikes/strollers/luggage/carts/whatever. On a bus or a train, as long as your baggage isn’t excessive you’ll be fine.
 
Joined
Aug 30, 2021
Messages
11
Location
Rancho Mirage, CA
There are at least two San Pedro Hotels that I have stayed in that have park & sail packages. You can stay the night before or the night after your cruise and have, I believe, up to 15 days parking in your package, sometimes breakfast. One is the Crowne Plaza and the other is the Holiday Inn Express. Both have shuttles to and from the cruise terminal. I think Double Tree is another, but I have not stayed there.

I also took the Metro J 950 Silver line from Union Station. It's tricky finding the bus stop the first time, as it is not where the other busses are. It's up and over a ramp to the freeway where there is an actual bus stop. There is no place to put your luggage, other than next to you. Hang on to it, as it can be a wild ride.
 

ScottR

Service Attendant
AU Supporting Member
Joined
May 24, 2021
Messages
178
Location
Monterey
That is probably wise. I don’t like relying on same day connections from one Amtrak train to another Amtrak train if I can help it, let alone a same-day connection from Amtrak to some other more of travel. At least with the Amtrak-to-Amtrak connection they will help you out. You are pretty much on your own (and likely screwed) if you are counting on getting to a cruise ship, flight, etc.
I do this quite a bit as I live in Salinas. The Coast Starlight arrives late evening in LA, the Ubers and taxis are busy, and the taxis almost always try to make you pay cash. You Can take the subway to downtown LA or Hollywood easily from Union Station, and there is a good security presence, but you won’t get much further Unless you like riding buses late at night.

I generally do this one at arrival, then overnight in a hotel in Hollywood or downtown.…then next morning a cab or Uber to San Pedro.
 

WWW

No real RR Job
AU Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
518
Location
MSP
Just make sure you are at the right port for your cruise - - -

The port of Long Beach noteworthy ship the Queen Mary is used by Carnival

The port of Los Angeles (San Pedro) noteworthy ship Battleship Iowa is used by NCL and others.

Orientate yourself to be at either airport (LAX - Los Angeles - LGB - Long Beach) for the best results
in getting transportation to and from the cruise ports - - -

Cruise line provided free transfers
Purchased transfers meet at airport baggage claim
Shuttles see web sites for details
Taxis
Ubers
Lyft
Some hotels in port(s) area provide the service for their guests

Remember to be at the port city the day before the cruise - - -
Arriving by air the day of the cruise can be troublesome and stressful - - -
Missing the cruise because of transportation conflict would be a disaster !

Research this carefully - check out other websites - - -
One of the best for this is Cruisecritic.com
 
Top