LONG BEACH, Calif. The new Long Beach Cruise Terminal, built for
$45 million by Carnival Corp., will allow passengers to while away
the pre-boarding hours, by touring the historic Queen Mary ocean
liner, sipping a cappuccino or shopping.
Scheduled to begin operations on April 14, the state-of-the-art
facility is built next to the permanently docked 81,237-ton Queen
Mary, now a 356-room hotel with several restaurants and shops.
The entire complex includes a 1,000-foot berth; a new five-deck
parking garage; and check-in facilities on the Queen Mary and in a
refurbished geodesic dome.
Baggage-handling systems and an immigration and customs facility
are also located in the dome, which formerly housed the Spruce
Goose the wooden aircraft that had a wingspan of 320 feet built by
“All the major components are complete now,” said Giora Israel,
vice president of strategic planning for Carnival Corp. “We already
had a ship come in for a test. The garage, road system, terminal
and pier are all complete.”
The first cruise to depart from Long Beach will be the
2,040-passenger Ecstasy, on April 14. The Elation’s first cruise
from the new terminal will be April 16.
The 12-year-old Ecstasy departs every Friday and Monday on
three- and four-day Baja cruises, while the Elation departs Sunday
on weekly Mexican Riviera voyages. The 5-year-old Elation will be
replaced by the slightly larger, 2-year-old Carnival Pride in
Both ships are abandoning longtime homes at the World Cruise
Center at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro.
The Long Beach terminal is designed to be efficient,
cost-effective and pleasant for cruise passengers, who often endure
long check-in lines and seemingly endless waits on plastic chairs
in concrete port buildings.
“There is a tendency for some passengers to arrive very early,
as early as 9 a.m.,” Israel said. “The problem at San Pedro is that
there is really very little for them to do or places to go.”
Interestingly, he said that passengers arrive earlier in Los
Angeles than they do at homeports in South Florida or
“It is a fact that in Los Angeles, more so than in any home port
Carnival operates from, many of our guests are arriving early to
the cruise,” Israel said. “We are not sure why. It could be the
traffic, the fear of lunchtime traffic, or the obvious they want to
start their Fun Ship vacation as soon as possible.”
At Long Beach, passengers will be able to unload checked
baggage, shortly after arriving by car, taxi, bus or van.
A new roadway system includes a two-acre covered area that can
accommodate up to 15 motor coaches; and up to 50 cars taxis or
vans, Israel said. Those who drive their own cars can park in the
parking garage, which accommodates about 1,200 cars in covered
spots and a few-hundred more on the roof. Parking will cost $10 per
day. The elevator in the garage drops people off in the plaza
“People get out of vehicles with their luggage and on the spot,
the luggage is identified, taken away, X-rayed and goes onto the
ship,” Israel said. “People can then go their merry way.”
Passengers can check in after 9 a.m. in the new
10,000-square-foot Carnival Lounge, located aft on a lower deck of
the Queen Mary.
There, they can also buy discounted tickets to tour the
1934-built Queen Mary.
“The Queen Mary hasn’t decided yet what that price will be, but
it will be a substantial discount, in excess of 50 percent,” Israel
Meanwhile, smaller, carry-on bags can be checked in at a small
Carnival building, so that passengers can walk around the complex
unencumbered. The carry-ons have to be collected before passengers
The new Carnival Plaza will connect to the series of shops that
is part of the Queen Mary Seaport Development complex. A pub and
coffee shop are among the new retailers expected to open within
Boarding will begin at noon. “If they already checked in, at 12
they go to the terminal, go through X-ray and, bingo, you’re on the
ship,” Israel said.
Passengers arriving after noon can check in at the desk in the
dome and embark immediately.
The disembarkation process will also be streamlined, he
explained, with the new “sequential debark.” Israel said passengers
will receive the traditional colored baggage tags, based on order
of disembarkation to connect with flights. The luggage will be
unloaded in the same order.
“The immigration is not done on the ship, so we don’t have to
wait until the entire ship is cleared,” Israel said. Previously,
all the luggage was unloaded, and then immigration officials
embarked to clear the ship.
“Then the authorities start allowing people to get off,” he
said. “This new system dramatically expedites the quality of the
Carnival is also selling pre- and post-cruise packages, which
include one to three nights in the Queen Mary hotel.
One-night packages are priced from $115, including a rental