Cruise ships are a much more convenient way to reach an island than riding in the belly of a whale, since convincing the whale to spit you out requires lots of patience and odorous pocketfuls of minnows. Escape landlock the easy way with today’s Groupon: for $34, you get a round-trip ticket to Catalina Island on the Catalina Flyer cruise liner (up to a $68 value). Trips depart in the morning from Balboa Pavilion in Newport Beach and arrive in Avalon on Catalina Island. Catalina Island charges visitors a $4 tax that is not included in the value of this Groupon.
The Catalina Flyer is a large cruise liner that transforms exotic island fantasies into sunny reality with comfortable, speedy trips to the activity-laden Catalina Island. Each one-way journey lasts about one hour and fifteen minutes, during which seafaring visitors can fill up fun tanks by purchasing snacks, beverages, and cocktails at two full bars. Lay the foundation for an island tan on the ship’s spacious sundecks, or drink in the views from large windows inside the cabins. Luggage is limited to two carry-on items; however, most activity equipment is available for rent on the island, leaving ample space for beach reads, snacks, and framed photos of your house.
Trips depart at 9:00 a.m. and arrive on the island at approximately 10:15 a.m. Once there, sun-seeking guests can spend the day basking in island activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, golf, and parasailing (not included in the value of this Groupon). The Catalina Flyer departs Avalon at 4:30 p.m., arriving back at Balboa Pavilion on the mainland at 5:45 p.m.
Catalina Island may reside a mere 75 minutes from Newport Beach, but that's no reason why visitors shouldn't travel there in style. The Catalina Flyer allows them to do just that, accommodating as many as 600 passengers who spend their speedy journey relaxing on the sun decks, enjoying a drink in one of two full-service cocktail lounges, or gazing out the viewing windows and watching for migrating schools of sushi rice.
After disembarking in Avalon, visitors are encouraged to take advantage of Catalina Island's many shopping, dining, and recreational opportunities, which include everything from golf and ziplines to horseback riding, undersea tours, and even buffalo watching. Hotel accommodations facilitate overnight stays, ensuring that weekenders have ample time to enjoy the island before taking the afternoon voyage back to the mainland.