We all need a break from routine every now and then, and a weekend escape is the perfect way to relax and recharge or chase thrills with your friends and family. If you happen to live in or near Los Angeles, you’ll be happy to know that planning a quick getaway from the city is now easier than ever, even if you only have a few days to spare.
For the first time in over a decade, Royal Caribbean® is back in the City of Angels, offering 3- and 4-night cruises from the West Coast to two top-rated vacation destinations in the Channel Islands and along the Baja Coast — Catalina and Ensenada. You can get excited about the ship you’ll be sailing on too. Designed to deliver wow-worthy weekends, the Amplified Navigator of the Seas® offers endless ways to fill every moment onboard with fun.
The best part about setting sail on a Catalina Island cruise or Ensenada, Mexico cruise is that all of these short sailings squeeze in plenty of captivating scenery, unique activities and epic fun in the sun. Whether you’re traveling with your best friends, your significant other or your little ones, these are just some of the top experiences you can look forward to on the best weekend cruises from Los Angeles.
The sparkling Pacific waters around Catalina Island are home to an abundance of interesting marine life. In fact, Lovers Cove Marine Preserve near Avalon is considered one of the world’s healthiest marine environments. Get an up-close look at beautiful reefs, shimmering kelp forests, and all kinds of fish — from green-gold opaleye to striped sheepshead and giant black bass. Also keep an eye out for moray eels, bat rays, and of course, playful California sea lions. You should have a great view, too — visibility in these waters can reach down to 100 feet. If you prefer to dive beneath the waves and explore on your own, grab a snorkel and mask. Lovers Cove is one of the most popular snorkel spots at this much-loved vacation destination, and a great place to spend a full day during your Catalina Island cruise.
Despite what you may be thinking, this isn’t your typical casino. In Italian, the word “casino” means “gathering place,” and that’s exactly what William Wrigley Jr. had in mind when he commissioned this beautiful building in 1929. Nearly a century old, the Catalina Casino was a hub for movie moguls and celebrities alike, including Samuel Goldwyn, Louis B. Mayer, Charlie Chaplin and Marilyn Monroe. The parties hosted in its 20,000 square-foot ballroom — the largest circular ballroom in the world — were legendary. Get a feel for the rich history and gilded glamor of the place on a guided tour during your visit to the island.
If you’re into hiking, a Catalina Island cruise is a great option for you. This pretty little isle off the coast of California is home to plenty of great nature treks. If you want to try the trails outside Avalon, get a free hiking permit online via the Catalina Island Conservancy’s website. Or get one onsite at the Hermit Gulch campground office, which is also the start of the popular Hermit Gulch Trail. From the campground, it’s a two-mile hike uphill to Hermit Gulch Lookout if you head west. If you’re down for a longer ramble, head out along the Garden to Sky trail, which starts at the Wrigley Memorial and finishes with panoramic views of the island. Still not a long enough trek? Keep going — the Garden to Sky trail turns into the Divide Road, which yields beautiful forest and ocean views all the way to Hermit Gulch Lookout.
One of the most popular resort towns on the Baja Coast, Ensenada, Mexico is a stop on some of the best weekend cruises from Los Angeles. If your idea of the perfect getaway involves a beach day, you’re in the right place. Ensenada is home to plenty of beautiful sun-kissed shores, each with its own vibe. Seasoned surfers should head to Playa San Miguel, known for its consistent and challenging waves. Water sports like kayaking, windsurfing, snorkeling and diving abound at the family-friendly Playa Baja Beach, located just south of Ensenada. And Playa Estero is best known for its laid-back atmosphere and natural beauty, making it an ideal spot for sunbathers and especially couples looking to unwind away from the crowds.
Mexico is the oldest wine-growing region in North America. Less than an hour north of Ensenada sits Valle de Guadalupe, often referred to as Mexico’s Napa Valley. One of the best places to sample local wines along the Baja peninsula, it’s home to more than 75 different wineries and lots of acclaimed restaurants, where you can sample gourmet dishes paired with award-winning vintages — all while taking in views of the sprawling vineyards and majestic mountains behind them. Join guided tours and tastings of the different wineries or pay a visit to the Wine Museum, where you’ll learn all about how winemaking has evolved in Mexico since 1524, when the conquistador Hernán Cortés had the first vineyards planted in the country.
If you’re a foodie, an Ensenada, Mexico cruise is the perfect way to sample the region’s bold flavors. This lively port city has one of the best food scenes in the Baja peninsula. Sandwiched between rolling mountains and the sparkling blue waters of the Pacific, Ensenada is home to some amazing restaurants. Fresh seafood features prominently in most dishes, especially signature street food items. Like crispy Baja-style fish tacos fried in batter that’s similar to tempura, and refreshing ceviche served with crunchy, golden tostadas. You can also enjoy your fill of raw delicacies fresh from the sea, including tender scallops and sea urchins paired with flavorful house-made salsa and pico de gallo. The best way to enjoy all of Ensenada’s many delicious food finds is with an ice-cold beer — and this Baja city is home to several great breweries. Most offer tours and guided tastings, though you can also ask for a local selection of beer at any beach bar or restaurant in town.
When you plan a weekend cruise from Los Angeles, the destinations you’ll visit aren’t the only things to look forward to. The best 3- and 4-night cruises from LA set sail onboard the Amplified Navigator of the Seas®, a fleet-favorite that goes long on thrills. If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, buddy up for a hair-raising ride on The Blaster® aqua coaster — the longest waterslide at sea. It features five different blast points that propel you along 800 feet of dips, drops and the longest stretch of slide ever suspended over water. If you’re still craving a thrill after that wild experience, take on RiptideSM, the only headfirst mat racer slide at sea.
Want to practice your tide-taming skills before hitting the famous swells and surf spots in Ensenada, Mexico? Fortunately, you’re on a ship that lets you do just that. Grab a board and brush up on your balance and form on the FlowRider®, a 40-foot-long surf simulator that’s become a favorite. It’s hands-down one of the most popular activities to try onboard as you sail between ports on weekend cruises from Los Angeles. Go solo and try not to wipe out, or sign up for a one-on-one lesson with an instructor. Whether you’re new to shredding or a seasoned surfer who’s spent plenty of time carving up waves, you’re in for 30,000 gallons of rushing, awesome fun.
The Amplified Navigator of the Seas® is home to a newly redesigned resort-style pool deck that’s perfect for soaking up the sunshine on short cruises from Los Angeles. With double the surface area, the pool offers plenty of room to lounge and swim. Not to mention, the hot tubs are now located on the top deck, so you can enjoy endless views of the Baja coast and Mexican Riviera as you unwind. What’s more, no matter where you choose to kick back onboard, you’re never far from your go-to vacation cocktails — thanks to a new signature bar called The Lime and Coconut℠. By day, this three-level hangout is the ultimate spot to sip tropical drinks, all your favorite wines and ice-cold brews. At night, it turns into an island-inspired lounge with live music.
Whether you’re looking to spend a few days unwinding on some of the West Coast’s best beaches or want to fill every moment with new discoveries, cruises from Los Angeles onboard Navigator of the Seas® offer the perfect mix of sun-soaked relaxation and bold, adrenaline-amping thrills. Remember that these are just some of the many experiences you can look forward to onboard and onshore. If you haven’t already booked your 3- or 4-night cruise from LA, explore open sailings here.