The Long Beach Cruise Terminal is one of the busiest cruise ship ports in the country. It’s Carnival’s primary port on the Pacific Coast and sees nearly 300 cruises departing from it each year. If you’re taking a cruise in the Pacific, odds are very good that you’ll be leaving from Long Beach.
For most people, that means they’ll be flying into LAX or the Long Beach Airport and taking a shuttle out to the cruise terminal. Others, though, especially people who live in the area, will be driving themselves.
As with any form of long-distance travel, figuring out what to do with your car while you’re on a cruise can be one of the most challenging and frustrating aspects of planning your trip. Some people choose to have someone drive them to the terminal and pick them up, and some will choose to use services like Uber and Lyft.
It’s always more convenient, however, to drive yourself. It’s cheaper, sometimes, too. That’s why the Long Beach Cruise Terminal has a five-story, 1,450 space parking garage. There’s plenty of room there for you to drive yourself to the cruise terminal and have your own car ready and waiting for you when you return.
Before you park your car there, though, you’ll want to know a few things. Price is the first issue people tend to raise, but there’s also the question of space. Will your car fit?
Security, too, is another question. If you’re leaving your car there for the duration of your trip, you want to be sure that it’s well-guarded.
We’ll cover all of this and more in this guide so that you have all the information you need to make a decision before you book your trip.
Long Beach Cruise Terminal Parking Price
Since this is the first question many people have, it’s the first one we’ll address here. In addition to wondering how affordable the parking structure is overall, many people want to know how the price of parking here compares to the cost of taking an Uber, Lyft, or Taxi.
That’s a difficult comparison since those costs vary depending on how far from the terminal you live and the time of day that you’re using the service. Uber, in particular, can have widely varying costs.
To park in the cruise line’s parking structure, the cost is $17 per day. For oversize vehicles, you’ll be charged an additional $17 for each extra space your vehicle uses.
While a direct comparison for everyone is impossible, it is possible to estimate a general price range for taxis, Uber and Lyft. For both Uber and Lyft, the average cost of a ride from LAX to the terminal is in the range of $35-$45, one way, and around $15 one way from the Long Beach Airport. A taxi is $45 from the Long Beach Airport, and $60 from LAX.
If you live in the area you can estimate your costs based on those rates and distances. In general, unless you’re taking a very short cruise, it’s probably cheaper to pay for a ride than to pay for parking. That doesn’t factor in the cost of a plane ticket if you’re traveling from out of town, though, and most of the cruise terminal customers are not from the Los Angeles area.
If you have to travel into Long Beach from a different part of California or any of the nearby states, you could certainly save yourself some money by driving in and parking instead of flying in to Long Beach or LA.
If someone is dropping you off, they can park in the structure for a reduced rate and won’t be charged the full price as long as they leave within 24 hours.
The current $17 per day rate applies to all spaces. There is no difference in price based on what level you park in or if you need a handicap spot. There are also no discounts for compact or fuel efficient cars.
The rate applies to the space, not the car. If your car takes up two spaces, you’re paying double the rate.
One final note on payment- the money is due in full when you leave, and can be paid in cash or via all major credit cards.
Security at the Parking Lot
The good news is that there aren’t a whole lot of complaints about the security of the parking garage. In fact, a quick google search will reveal no complaints at all about the security there.
The bad news is, there doesn’t really appear to be much security. Or, more accurately, there’s not much in the way of parking garage security.
Because the parking garage is part of the cruise terminal, it’s under the same security umbrella as everything else. In addition to the overall terminal security, the sheer volume of activity and the near-constant presence of people make it difficult to go around breaking into cars there.
If you want to park your car in the terminal parking, you really don’t need to worry about security. It is by all accounts a very safe place to leave your vehicle for the duration of your trip.
With five stories and 1,450 spaces, there’s plenty of room for your car. Oversize vehicles are welcome, too, but they will be charged an additional fee for any extra spaces that you use up.
Unfortunately, you can’t call in to reserve a parking space ahead of time. Parking in the terminal is first come, first serve. It might be a good idea to arrive early to make sure you have a spot if you’re worried about that.
There are height restrictions, as with any parking garage. For most cars this won’t be a problem, but for those arriving in an RV you may need to use the adjacent outdoor parking lot.
That said, a shortage of parking spaces doesn’t appear to be a common problem. The parking structure is huge, after all, and most of the passengers on cruises will have flown in from other parts of the country, and won’t have a car to park.
You should also note that the top floor of the garage is uncovered. This is Southern California, so the weather is unlikely to be an issue (hail storms and the like are pretty rare there), but if you want your car in covered parking make sure to park on the lower levels.
As with security, a quick google search can show you that there aren’t really any complaints about a lack of spaces to park in. If you’re really worried about it, you can arrive extra early, but it just doesn’t seem to be a problem.
How to Get There
The Parking Structure is located right in the cruise terminal in the Port of Long Beach. The exact directions will depend on where you’re coming from.
The terminal is located at the end of Harbor Scenic Drive, on the eastern side of the Port. If you’re taking the exit from 710 or Ocean Boulevard, keep driving down Harbor Scenic Drive all the way. The turns off the road will take you into the port, but following the road all the way to the end gets you to the Queen Mary and the Cruise Terminal.
In fact, Harbor Scenic Drive will take you directly to the parking structure itself, making it easy and convenient to park.
If you’re driving in from the north, you’ll most likely be coming in on Interstate 405. If that’s the case, you’ll stay on I-405 until you hit I-710; you’ll want to turn south on I-710 and then take Exit 1A onto South Harbor Scenic Drive, which will take you right to the parking structure.
If you’re driving in from the south, you’ll most likely be on Interstate 5. It’ll be a little faster if you take exit 85A to get on CA-73 North and take that highway all the way in to town. You’ll then take exit 18A to get on 405 North, followed by exit 32B to get on 710 South, and then exit 1A on to Harbor Scenic Drive.
Once you’re on Harbor Scenic drive, you’ll eventually need to take the left two lanes to exit toward the Queen Mary, then continue on Queen’s Highway and continue on to Windsor Way. The parking structure is on Windsor Way.
Facilities at the Long Beach Port
If you’re parking at the terminal, you might need a place to stay either before your trip of after your trip, depending on what time the cruise departs.
There are several hotels at the terminal providing convenient lodging for cruise passengers.
Hotel Maya by Doubletree is one of the more popular hotel options for the cruise terminal and for those visiting the Queen Mary. It’s uniquely designed building and tropical landscaping are ideal for beginning your vacation before you even set foot on the cruise ship. If you have the time, the hotel has beach access and other amenities like kayak rentals.
If you’re arriving early, it’s a great idea to make sure you have the time to check out the Queen Mary, which is located right next to the terminal. The old ship has actually been converted into a hotel, and you can stay there instead of a traditional hotel. But, you don’t have to stay there to check out the exhibits. If you only have a couple of hours before you board the ship, you still have plenty of time to head over to the Queen Mary and check out the exhibits, and even grab a bite to eat.
There are other attractions in the area, but many of them are not located in the Port. If you’re planning on parking at the terminal, make sure you’ve already seen all the sights in Long Beach before you park. Even if the things you want to see and do are all located in or near the Terminal, like the Queen Mary, it’s best to park when you’re done sightseeing. The area is quite large and there’s no need to worry about the availability of parking spaces.
You can do more than just park at the parking structure. There are facilities inside the parking structure for scanning and storing your baggage, and even checking it in so that you don’t have to worry about carrying it with you while you wait to board.
There’s also a dedicated driveway for drop off and pick up, including a bus lane. This means that even if you’re using public transport or having a friend drop you off, the parking facility will be part of your trip.
Conclusion on Port of Long Beach Parking
Parking at the Long Beach Cruise Terminal is a popular and convenient choice. The $17 per day is reasonable, and while it’s not as cheap as paying for Uber or Lyft, it can be a lot more convenient.
Most people who regularly use the parking structure for their cruises are those who live relatively close by. While they could use public transit or a ride share service, the ease and convenience of walking off the ship and going straight to your own car to drive own is well worth the price to most people.
With no complaints about security of scarcity of parking spaces, the parking garage at the terminal is hands-down the best place to park your car during a cruise. Several hotels in the area will let you park in their lot for the duration of your trip if you book a room with them, but if you aren’t planning on spend an extra night or two at the port before your trip this isn’t an option.
Other parking lots and structures in the area are available to you as well, but the Long Beach Terminal Parking Structure is the closest one to the terminal by far. It’s literally next door to “the Dome.” Adding to its convenience are the baggage storage, baggage trams, and check-in options, all before you leave the parking garage. You’re paying for the parking space, but you’re also paying for extra services like that.
If you’re driving yourself to the cruise remember that you don’t need to reserve a parking space in this lot ahead of time, and you don’t need to pay in advance. You simply show up and park. Payment will be due in full when you leave, and the parking garage accepts cash and all major credit cards.
The lack of reservations makes some people nervous, but there are no reports of anyone having an issue finding available parking. The only potential problem would be if you come in an RV, which may be too tall to fit inside the garage.
The Long Beach Cruise Terminal Parking is the most convenient parking structure in the area, although it may at times be more expensive.
FAQ on Long Beach Terminal Cruise Parking
Yes, you can. The Long Beach Cruise Terminal Parking structure has plenty of room for your car. The pricing is affordable at $17 per day, although that price is set by the Port Authority and subject to change. You can also park at the Port itself for a similar rate, although you’ll be parking a lot farther away from the terminal.
For RV’s and other oversize vehicles, the space is more limited. RVs, in fact, may not be able to fit inside the structure.
Some hotels at the terminal will offer a Park & Sail package if you book a room with them. These deals let you park at the hotel and leave your car there at no extra charge during your trip, but they’re only available if you stay at the hotel. If you aren’t planning to spend a night in the hotel before your cruise, this option isn’t available to you.
There are also a number of other parking lots and parking structures in the area and even in downtown Long Beach that you can park in. These may lack the convenience of the Terminal Parking Structure, but they might be cheaper at times.
The price is $17 per day, and that is subject to change. In the past, the price has been both lower and higher than that. The Port Authority sets that price, not the cruise line.
If you have an oversize vehicle, you’ll have to pay an additional $17 for each space that your vehicle takes up.
There are no additional fees to pay, and the price is the same for every car. You won’t receive a discount for compact cars, hybrids, or fuel-efficient vehicles. You are advised to contact the Port before your trip to confirm the pricing.
Carnival Cruises leave from the Long Beach Cruise Terminal, on the east side of the Port of Long Beach, just past the Queen Mary.
To get there, you take exit 1A from Interstate 710 South (no matter which direction you’re coming from, you’ll need to get on I-710 at some point) onto Harbor Scenic drive. You’ll then take Harbor Scenic drive until you see the exit for the Queen Mary, which you’ll want to take. From there, continue on to Queen’s Highway, and then on to Windsor Way. From Windsor Way you can access the parking structure or continue on to loop around the parking structure to the drop off zone at the terminal.
There’s a storage area inside the parking structure for your luggage, as well as a baggage tram for sending your luggage ahead to the ship. If you like, you can check your luggage in there and not have to carry it around with you.
If you’re not comfortable with that, you can also simply hold on to your luggage until you board the ship.
Payment is due in full when you leave. All major credit cards are accepted, as is cash.
The parking fee at the Long Beach Cruise Terminal is set by the Port Authority, not the cruise lines. It’s subject to change at any time, so it’s best to call ahead and check with the Port Authority before you arrive to be sure you know what the price will be for parking.
No, the top floor is not covered. Only the first four floors offer covered parking.
No, you’re charged for the parking space, and all spaces are priced the same. There are no discounts any type of car.
No, all parking spaces are the same size.
No, you’ll want to make sure that your car has a sufficient charge before you park.
Yes, the Long Beach Cruise Terminal Parking Structure has handicap spaces available for those who need them. There is not a wheelchair service in the terminal, though, so if you are mobility challenged it’s good to plan ahead and bring your own mobilitiy assistance device.
There are several restaurants in the area, but for most of them you’ll want to eat before you park. Most of the hotels near the terminal and in the Port having restaurants inside, as well. You might still want to consider eating before you park, though, as these can still be a good distance from the parking structure.
Parking spaces at Long Beach Cruise Terminal Parking can’t be reserved for any reason. If you’re worried about making sure you have a parking spot, you can always arrive early. However, you should know that lack of parking spaces has never been an issue, as most passengers are not driving themselves to the terminal.