Los Angeles, California
Name: World Cruise Center
Address: Berth 90-93, San Pedro, CA
The World Cruise Center is 19 miles from the Los Angeles International Airport and the best mode of transportation is a shuttle bus. Call 1-800-BLUE-VAN (258-3826) for information. Your cruise line will also have information about terminal/airport connections.
Los Angeles is located on the Pacific Ocean in southern California about 405 miles south of San Francisco and 125 miles north of San Diego. The World Cruise Center can be found in the greater Los Angeles area in the small coastal town of San Pedro, 20 minutes away from downtown L.A. and near Long Beach.
Depending on your budget and what you are looking for in a hotel, there are endless places to stay in L.A. from the Four Seasons Hotel at Beverly Hills to the Century Plaza Hotel or Spa-A Westin Hotel. Around LA International are a series of budget hotels and many more in the Long Beach/San Pedro area including Hilton, Crowne Plaza and many others.
The list of things to do and see in the Los Angeles area is dizzying. From Malibu to Long Beach, the beautiful California coastline is a good place to start. Next, soak up the glitzy Hollywood atmosphere and take a stroll on the Walk of Fame or tour the mansions of Hollywood stars in Beverly Hills. Head to Rodeo Drive for some lavish shopping or just sit with a latte and partake in some discreet celebrity watching. Remember to keep your camera poised.
Los Angeles is actually a complex collection of cities that make up the Los Angeles basin, a series of small communities that are strung together with barely a noticeable break separating them. And within this complex of communities is one of the most picturesque, Pasadena, known primarily for its New Years Day Rose Bowl game. But this is a community that’s the crown jewel of the Los Angeles area.
Like Beverly Hills, Pasadena is a monied place, where residents enjoy their wealth. But unlike Beverly Hills, Pasadena residents prefer being out of the spotlight, away from celebrity. Its history is born from money, its raison d’être originally to be a vacation enclave for the rich and powerful from the east. And that environment lingers.
Originally, wealthy easterners came to the area and built grand mansions and hotels in which to vacation during the winter months. But the place also attracted the new rich of Los Angeles, many of whom wanted to establish a cultural and intellectual climate.
Henry E. Huntington was one of those wealthy patrons who had made his money from railroads and real estate investments. Today, his former residence is the Huntington Art Gallery and Library, and his Versailles-like grounds are now a botanical garden covering 130 acres with more than 14,000 different kinds of plants. Walk through the portion devoted to a Japanese garden with its drum bridge, a Japanese house, stone ornaments, a walled Zen garden, and bonsai court, and your mind battles with concepts of time and place.
The Huntington complex is a major cultural focus of the city. In it, you’ll find a Gutenberg Bible, a manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Benjamin Franklin’s hand-written autobiography, first edition folios by Shakespeare, Gainsborough’s Blue Boy, and Lawrence’s Pinkie.
But, the property doesn’t stand alone as a cultural icon. Nearby are the Norton Simon and Pacific Asia Museums and the city is home to Caltech and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, all legacies from those early fortunes.
Yet, Pasadena has the look and feel of a small town. Nestled in a sometimes valley of smog, just 25 minutes by freeway from downtown LA, the city is perfectly suited for those who want to live the California of their dreams. It’s a safe enclave of civilization where stores and shopping centers feature the music of Mozart and Chopin. Gucci shoe-clad women carrying Hermes hand-bags look for rumored bargains along boutique-lined Lake Avenue, a Rodeo Drive for the middle-rich.
Pasadena, with a population of 134,824, embraces a broader spectrum of economic and social life. They feed themselves in 530 restaurants, shop in some 300 stores, and revel in the fact the community has eight theaters, six auditoriums for the performing arts, and eight major museums.
Not only do the life styles of Hollywood celebrities now occupy an important place in the lexicon of local jargon, the city is the home of director Peter Sellers, actresses Jessica Lange, Barbie Benton, and Delta Burke along with a long list of Nobel prize winners, past and present. Television’s EMMY Awards ceremonies are held there.
The city’s oldest commercial buildings have been preserved as restaurants, boutiques, bookstores, and public squares and walking areas; buskers perform, and people watch one another hoping to find a famous face in the crowded streets and restaurants.
Old Town is the home to the domed Pasadena City Hall, built in 1927 to reflect the grace and style of the church of Santa Maria della Salute in Venice. The Pasadena Playhouse, constructed in 1917, recently reopened after an extensive renovation to its Spanish architecture.
Most of all, though, Old Town is where Pasadena gathers for fun – to eat at the boisterous Mi Piace, at 25 E. Colorado, kitty-corner from Dodsworth’s Bar & Grill where old time blues and jazz draws locals and tourists alike.
Q’s Billiard Club, 99 E. Colorado, is a funky combination of pool hall, restaurant, and lounge; and at Mijares Mexican Restaurant at 145 Palmetta Dr., you can pig-out on the appropriately named, Garbage Burrito, washed down by the barkeep’s deadly margaritas.
Still, nothing so immediately defines the stately elegance and wealth of Pasadena’s past and present glories quite like The Ritz Carlton Huntington Hotel (RCH). Catering to the rich and famous is nothing new for the RCH, with its history of always being at the center of Pasadena’s high-rent activity. President Bill Clinton heads a who’s-who list of guests who have stayed there, a roster that includes Albert Einstein, Prince Philip, Vladimir Horowitz, and presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan.
Before you head into L.A., visit the San Pedro Old Town to pick up antiques or handicrafts made by local artisans or find specialty gifts in the Ports O’Call Village. Now get serious and head to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.
From Chanel to Gucci, you’ll find every designer brand you can imagine in this legendary stroll. But before you bust your savings plan, mosey over to Robertson Boulevard (between Beverly Boulevard and Third Street) where you’ll find stores like Maxfield Blue, a high-end discount outlet.
If you like malls, go to the South Coast Plaza (333 Bristol St. in Costa Mesa) — the largest mall in the country. You’ll find more outlets at Beverly Center (8500 Beverly Blvd.) along with Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s.
Things to Do:
Sunset Strip has been the site of renowned Hollywood glamor and intrigue since the ’30s. The mile and a half stretch of Sunset Boulevard is rich in Hollywood history and culture. Dine out at the Rainbow Bar & Grill (9015 Sunset Boulevard) where Marilyn Monroe and Joe DeMaggio first dated. Next, head to the House of Blues (3950 Sunset Boulevard) for some eclectic live music.
A visit to L.A. is not complete without a tour of Beverly Hills, where the rich and the extremely rich call home. Rent a car and buy a map (people hawk these on the street) or take a tour on a trolley bus. Whether you remember Beverly Hills from the television programs Beverly Hillbillies or Beverly Hills 90210 or from Eddy Murphy’s adventures in Beverly Hills Cop, the area lives up to its reputation of to-die-for homes and expensive shopping. Trolley bus tours leave on the hour between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. from Rodeo Drive and Dayton Way. Call 310-285-2438 for more information.
Soak up some sun. Although the Port of L.A. takes up 44 miles of the beach, a lengthy stretch has been left in San Pedro for traditional California visitors: beach bums. When the sun gets too hot, slip into the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium (3720 Stephen M. White Drive) to learn about marine life on the west coast, and then head back out into the “outdoor museum,” the Cabrillo Coastal Park Trail. It is designed to be easily accessible for those with disabilities so it is perfect for the whole family. See www.cabrilloaq.org for more information.
Of Special Interest:
Architecture buffs alert: Just 15 minutes southeast of central San Pedro, you will find the Wayfarers Chapel, designed by Lloyd Wright, the son of Frank Lloyd Wright. The stunning structure opened in 1951. It’s worth the drive. (5755 Palos Verdes Drive, Rancho Palos Verdes.