If you’re flying into Los Angeles to take a cruise out of Long Beach, getting from the airport to the cruise terminal can be challenging. Depending on which route you take, the airport is between 22 and 26 miles from the cruise terminal, so you definitely can’t walk.
Fortunately, this is LA, and there are plenty of transportation options for you to choose from. We’ll cover all of the options for you in this article, as well as the different routes that can be taken from LAX to Long Beach Port.
Before you choose your transportation, it’s helpful to know what route you’ll be taking. There are three main routes that people choose, although if you’re using Google maps you may be directed along neighborhood roads and scenic routes to avoid traffic.
This is the shortest route, which makes it the most popular. Beginning at LAX (1 World Way, LA, CA, 90045), you will take World Way out to S Sepulveda Blvd. World Way is a one-way street, and the only road into or out of LAX, so don’t worry about getting on the wrong road. World Way only allows you to drive on one direction, and you’ll either keep driving in circles or get on the exit for Sepulveda.
From S Sepulveda, use the middle lane to take the ramp for I-105 East, and then use the right lane on I-105 to take exit 2 for I-405. Keep right at the fork to stay on 405 S toward Long Beach. After 13 miles you’ll take exit 32B onto I-710 south, and then take exit 1A onto Harbor Scenic drive. Then just follow the signs directing you to the cruise terminal.
This route begins just like the last one, except instead of taking exit 2 off I-105 onto I-405, you stay on I-105 a bit longer. After driving on I-105E for about six miles, use the right two lanes to merge onto I-110 south. You’ll continue on I-110 for a bit over 4 miles and then use the right three lanes to merge onto I-405 south. From here on out the route is the same is the last one.
I-105E and I-710S
Again, this route starts by getting onto I-105E from the airport. This time you’ll stay on I-105 for twelve miles before taking exit 13 to merge onto I-710S toward Long Beach. Then it’s a straight shot to the harbor, where you’ll take exit 1A and follow the same instructions we laid out for the first route.
Most people plan on taking the I-405 route, but sometimes the other routes, while longer in terms of distance, will have light traffic. Check your map app before you leave the airport to see which route is currently the fastest.
Now that you know how to get from the airport to the cruise terminal, it’s time to take a look at the different transportation options available to you. There are a lot of options you can choose from, and we’ll try to give you all the information you need to make the best choice.
Also Read: Full Guide on Long Beach Cruise Terminal Parking
LAX, like any major airport, has rental car services readily available. If you’re flying in the same day that your cruise is leaving, a rental car may not be worth it. Many people, though, choose to fly in a day or two in advance so there’s no risk of a flight delay causing them to miss their cruise.
If that’s the case, a rental gives you a lot of freedom to explore LA and Long Beach before your cruise leaves. If you like, you can even park the car in the parking garage at the cruise port while you’re on the ship.
The cost of a rental car is often much less than people expect, and rideshare services like Uber and Lyft can be very expensive, since they increase their prices during times of high traffic including the routes from LAX to Long Beach Port.
It’s worth it to check on the rental car prices. Select the rental service you prefer to use and check with them to see what it would cost to pick up the car at LAX at the beginning of your trip and drop it off at the end.
If you go this route, you will also have to pay for parking in the parking garage at the cruise port terminal. There are no place at the port to drop off a rental car, so that isn’t an option. You’ll have to park it somewhere, and the parking garage costs $17 per day (that price does fluctuate, though).
Or, if you’re arriving early and you’ve booked a hotel, many of the hotels offer free parking for the duration of your cruise if you book with them. Check with your hotel; you may just have free parking.
Uber is the most popular ride share service, and that means that you will almost always be able to find a driver nearby. Using Uber is dead simple; download the app if you don’t already have it, and add a payment method. Then you select a destination and request a ride (your phone should automatically supply your current location.
Uber has a base fee for each ride, and then charges you both by the minute and by the mile. In other words, there is one minimum fee you will always pay, and then the remainder of the cost is based on how long the ride lasts and how much distance is covered. The nice thing about this is that you pay for the whole car, not per person. In most of the airport shuttles, you are paying per person.
You’ll pay just under $30 on average for an Uber ride from LAX to the Long Beach Cruise terminal. Remember, though, that Uber’s pricing increases during times of high demand. That means you could be paying significantly more than that.
If you’re traveling by yourself, or there are only two or three people in your party, Uber may not be cheaper than a shuttle. It will still offer more convenience, though. Uber comes when you call, and in a busy airport like LAX there’s likely to be an Uber nearby all the time. Shuttles leave on a predetermined schedule, and they often make multiple stops at different terminals, hotels, and possibly even another airport before taking you to your destination.
Lyft works the same way as Uber, and calculates your payment the same way, too. It usually isn’t much different in price; it’s a little bit cheaper, averaging around $26 to get from LAX to the Long Beach Cruise terminal.
Just like Uber, Lyft will increase its rates during times of high demand, so the cost may be much higher. It usually doesn’t increase them as much as Uber does, and when demand is high the price gap between Uber and Lyft may be significant.
A lot of people consider Lyft to be less safe than Uber, though there isn’t any evidence to support that. What is true is that Lyft has less stringent standards for the cars their drivers use, allowing older models than Uber will. They also often encourage their drivers to allow passengers to sit in the front seat, creating a more casual, “friendly” atmosphere. Some people like this, others find it very offputting.
That said, most Lyft drivers also drive for Uber, so in practice, there are rarely any real differences in the quality of the ride.
According to RideGuru prices start from $38 from LAX to the Long Beach Port. It will depend on the type of vehicle chosen. Take a look here.
Taxi is a lot more expensive than Uber or Lyft at over $85. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it, though. There are taxis waiting outside baggage claim at every terminal at LAX, so they can be even easier to find than Uber/Lyft, and if you’re in a rush that might be important.
For a lot of people, taxis offer more peace of mind, too. Uber and Lyft drivers are just people looking to make extra money, and just about anybody can do it. Both companies vet their drivers, but at the end of the day using those services can often feel like paying a random stranger to drive you around.
Taxi drivers feel more professional, and seem to have more oversight. In short, taxis seem safer to many people. If that’s the case, the extra cost might worth it. There are usually plenty of taxis at the airport, too, since it’s a busy airport in a major city. You shouldn’t have to wait long at all to get a taxi, so if you’re in a hurry, they might be the best option.
The bus route from LAX to the Long Beach Cruise Port costs $9 per person. For smaller parties, it’s almost certainly the cheapest way to get there. Few people choose to do it, though, because it will take a long time.
When there’s little to no traffic, it’s an hour and half bus ride. that’s because it involves a minimum of two different bus routes. Depending on the bus you take and the time you get on it, you may also have to fit a train ride in, too. There are two bus stops in LAX, one at Terminal 1 and another at Terminal 4.
It’s an option, and if there’s only two of you, or if you’re traveling alone, it will definitely save you money from LAX to Long Beach Port. It just won’t be fast, and may not be all that convenient, either.
Airport shuttles might be the most popular choice for getting from LAX to the Cruise terminal. They aren’t typically the cheapest, and they charge per person, which can quickly drive the price up. So, why the popularity?
Convenience, mostly. Many companies allow you to schedule your pickup in advance, which means the shuttle is usually waiting for you when you arrive. Mostly though, it’s about the luggage.
Uber and Lyft drivers are using their personal cars, and while they both offer larger vehicles for larger parties, a family of four going on a week-long cruise may be worried about fitting their luggage into the car. The same goes for taxis. On a bus, you have to carry you luggage with you, and that gets old fast.
Shuttles, meanwhile, have plenty of room for your whole family and all of their luggage. They’re hassle-free and easy to find. Many of them also offer rides to Disneyland, so if yo have time before or after your cruise you can add that on.
Carnival has it’s own airport shuttles, too. These cost $30 per person, one way. So a total of $60 per person. Clearly, these get expensive fast. They also can only take you directly from the airport to the cruise line, and will only run on the day that you are boarding your ship. If you are flying in early, the Carnival shuttles are not an option (private shuttles companies are, though).
The advantage of the Carnival shuttles is that, if you are flying in the same day your ship leaves, it’s easy to book and find the shuttle. You might even be able find a package deal with the shuttle built in to the price of the trip.
Independent Shuttles/Car Services
The cruise line and airport shuttle services aren’t the only game in town. Los Angeles is home to a huge number of shuttle and car services, and these are often a much better deal for larger groups. In fact, you will usually get a better rate if booking for a larger group than a smaller one.
The only downside to these is that, because there are so many of them, there are bound to be some less-than-dependable ones. Do your research and pay attention to customer reviews before booking a shuttle. Most of these services will also expect you to tip the driver.
These shuttle services can usually take you to multiple locations. You can have them take you to the cruise terminal or the hotel, or many of them will run to the major local tourist spots, too.
If you’re flying in early and spending a night or two in a hotel, check and see if they have a shuttle service. A lot of the hotels in Long Beach do, and they can pick you up at the airport and take you to the cruise terminal. These shuttles are almost always free, too, so if the hotel offers it, you should definitely take advantage of it.
Also Read: 26 Ideal Hotels Near Long Beach Cruise Terminal
LAX to Long Beach Port Conclusion
One of the best things about taking a cruise out of Long Beach is that the airport and cruise terminal is set up to make it very easy for travelers to get from the airport to the cruise port and back. There are plenty of options, catering to all kinds of needs.
Passengers flying in the day their ships can book a ride with Carnival’s own shuttle service and rest assured that they have a ride that will get them to the terminal in plenty of time for them to board the ship. Airport shuttle services are also available to take you there, although they may have a few more stops along the way.
Hotel shuttle services, if you’ve booked a hotel in Long Beach, are possibly the best transportation choice, since they’re free. The only catch is that these can only be used if you’ve booked a hotel room, and not everybody does that.
Uber and Lyft are growing in popularity when it comes to LAX to Long Beach Port and will probably surpass shuttle services as the most popular way to get from the airport to the cruise terminal soon if they haven’t already.
They offer a lot of conveniences since there are usually plenty of them hanging around both the airport and the cruise port, and they don’t charge per person like most of the shuttle services do. For a lot of people, rideshares are the only transport they’ll use on a vacation, and for good reason. They’re affordable, and they can pick you up and drop you off anywhere.
Because this is Los Angeles, and there are huge crowds of tourists coming into the area daily, private shuttle and car services are abundant, too. These can be more expensive than rideshares, but the customer service may be better and the drivers are trained professionals. Shuttles of all kinds also typically have much more room for luggage, so larger groups or people leaving on a longer cruises may need to choose a shuttle over a car.
Finally, if you have the time and not much luggage, the bus is an option. It isn’t a great option, but it is an option.
The mode of transport you choose really depends on your personal preferences and when you fly in. If you’re flying in the day your cruise leaves, you may not have another choice but to use Carnival’s shuttles, since they are guaranteed to get you to the Cruise on time. And, if the shuttle is delayed, the ship is more likely to wait for it’s own shuttles than for an Uber.
Cruises out of Long Beach: The Pros and Cons
Other than that, the things to consider are cost, convenience, and your own comfort. We can’t recommend one type of transportation to everyone, because these are all personal preferences. Instead, you’ll have to use the information here to make the best choice for yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions
The average cost for a taxi ride from LAX to Long Beach cruise port is $87. That’s an average, so it may be higher or lower. Taxi prices don’t vary as much as rideshare prices, though, so that number is fairly reliable.
The distance depends on which route you take. The shortest driving route is 22.4 miles, while the longest is just over 26 miles.
That depends on the route you take, and how much traffic there is. With normal traffic, it’s a 30-35 minute drive.
Carnival is the only cruise line that leaves from Long Beach. The World Cruise center nearby is home to more cruise lines, but is in San Pedro, not Long Beach. The Long Beach Cruise Terminal is owned by Carnival, and used exclusively by that line.
If it’s just one or two people, the bus is the cheapest way. For three or more people, Uber or Lyft will usually be the cheapest, followed by the taxi. Private shuttles may be able to rival Uber or Lyft’s prices sometimes, so it’s worth checking with them. Airport or Carnical shuttles are the most expensive.
If you’ve booked a hotel with a shuttle service, that shuttle is free and will pick you up at the airport and take you to the hotel, then take you from the hotel to the cruise port. This is the cheapest choice for you if you have already booked a hotel room at a hotel that offers a shuttle service.
Yes, Uber can pick you up at LAX. Request the ride at the outer island curb on the arrivals level.
That will depend heavily on the size of the group you’re traveling with, when you are arriving, and how much luggage you have. Large parties with lots of luggage will have little choice but to use a shuttle, as taxis and Ubers won’t have enough room available.
Smaller parties will probably find Uber or Lyft preferable because they’ll save money and the ride will be more comfortable. If your flight lands on the same day that your cruise leaves, the Carnival shuttles are probably the best choice, even if they are more expensive.
Yes, but it will take at least an hour and half to get there, and you will have to change busses at least once, all while carrying your luggage.