Monday, March 9, 2015

Episode #30 - Visiting Catalina Island

  
Welcome to Episode #30!

On this new episode, Scott shares about his overnight trip to Catalina Island which is just off the coast of California, about 26 miles from the ports of San Pedro and Long Beach. Catalina is a popular port stop for cruise ships year round for Carnival and Princess. As you will hear, there are plenty of things to do, see, experience and eat there. Check out our Instagram feed to see Scott's photos and video he shared!

Whether you decide to cruise to Catalina or plan to stay there for a few days, you won't be disappointed with the beautiful and quaint surroundings. And if you take the one of the express boats to the island you don't need your passport! Catalina one of California's best vacation spots where you can relax and be rejuvenated. 

As always, we have the latest cruise news, cruise chit chat, our themed cruise of week and Scott's bad sense of humor. (Guess who is writing the show notes?)

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Thank you so much for taking the time to listen to our show! - Tommy & Scott


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 California’s Island Port Destination 

A mere 26 miles from Long Beach, California is Catalina Island, California’s own Island Resort. Gorgeous mild weather all year long, it’s always a beach day at Avalon or Two Harbors.  One can get there by helicopter, airplane, cruise ship or express boat. My adventure started with a call to the Hermosa Hotel www.hermosahotel.com in Avalon. The family-owned hotel made all the arrangements for the room and the express boat cruise over on the Catalina Express www.catalinaexpress.com.  One call and I was on my way!  There is no surcharge for this service and the staff is kind and helpful and they go out of their way to make all guests feel like family. The Hermosa Hotel was built in 1896 and is considered a historic building.  The accommodations were charming. It’s like walking back in time.  They are pet friendly, have WIFI, shuttle service, and only a half block away from the beach.  They are Avalon’s lowest priced rooms and with 88 rooms they will be able to accommodate all size parties.

The tours on the island are like any other island resorts in ports of destination. From para sailing, golf, zip lines to scuba it’s all there for you.  But the difference is it’s all here in California.  Since my overnight stay was in Avalon and I chose The Zip Line Eco tour.  The tour was the most exhilarating with 5 consecutive lines, at heights up to 300 feet and speeds to 45 miles an hour.  It was breath taking! After the zipping through the hills outside Avalon I ventured to The Island Spa. Just steps from the beach, The Island Spa offers a wide variety of treatments from facials to massages and more.  Both the zip line and spa are owned and operated by the Santa Catalina Island Company. The Santa Catalina Island Company runs other interesting tours of the island for all activity levels.  www.visitcatalinaisland.com 

After a full day of zip lining, spa treatments, and wandering around Avalon, it was time to eat.  After talking with locals I was directed to “The Lobster Trap” www.catalinalobstertrap.com for the best fresh fish on the island. The locals were right - the seafood was outstanding!  For 35 years, Chef Pidel Razo has been amazing guests on Catalina and I left it up to him what I would be eating that evening.  First up was the creamy clam chowder - clams in every bite. No spices were necessary, it was seasoned to perfection. Next was the expertly prepared halibut - I could flake it with a fork. And the poke…WOW! All seafood is caught “daily and locally” if they can’t catch it, or if it’s out of season, they will fly fresh seafood in daily from The Santa Monica Seafood Company which is also been family owned since 1934 www.santamonicaseafood.com. If it's lobster that you want, the owner catches it from his many traps on the south side of the island. There is always a wait to get in, even during off-season, go early and plan to stay late. The food does take time to prepare - so relax, have appetizer and/or drink and enjoy ocean view and the great atmosphere. It’s worth the wait!

For more details about my trip to Catalina Island, listen to The Cruise Dudes Podcast, Episode #30 http://www.thecruisedudes.com/2015/03/episode-30-visiting-catalina-island.html where I share in depth. 

We have a great deal being offered to the Cruise Dudes listeners: ONE FREE NIGHT at the Hermosa Hotel until March 27, 2015. Go to our website: http://www.thecruisedudes.com/2015/02/episode-29-highlights-of-2015-los.html for the details.

Finally, be sure and contact the Catalina Chamber at www.catalinachamber.com for the “2015 Official Visitors Guide” and they will mail it out a copy to you free of charge. - Scott Andrews

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