Bubbles seem to fill the Grand Épernay Dining Room on Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Solstice. Translucent globes hanging from the chandelier and light reflecting from bubble-like bulbs create an illusion of effervescence.
“You feel like you’re inside a bottle of Champagne,” said then-Solstice sommelier Randy Manansala as the ship embarked on a Mexico cruise from Los Angeles. The voyage last October marked Celebrity’s return to Mexican Riviera sailings from L.A. after more than a decade.
Solstice is one of a flotillla of ships now homeporting in Southern California. “Southern Californians are fortunate to have 3 busy home ports, making a weeklong vacation at sea or even a quick getaway so easy,” says Theresa Norton, editor in chief of Agent@Home magazine. “Now that airfares are rising, it’s more affordable to take a cruise you can drive to.”
Round-trip voyages take passengers to the Mexican Riviera, calling at ports such as Mazatlán, Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo San Lucas; up the California coast; and even to Alaska, Hawai‘i, and beyond.
Most itineraries range from 3 to 8 nights (cruises to Alaska and Hawai‘i are longer). Most fares start at under $300 per person per night, and many start at under $100. Here are some stellar ships sailing from Southern California.