sun sets over the channel islands on wild california escape small ship cruise
aerial of secluded bay with turquoise water and large cliffs in channel islands
Channel Islands cruise guests with orange PFDs on enjoy a Zodiac cruise in calm water on a sunny day.
Channel Islands cruise travelers paddle yellow inflatable stand-up paddleboards near a National Geographic-branded small ship.
fox seen on wild california escape: channel islands small ship cruise
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North America Baja California Cruise

Wild California Escape: Channel Islands National Park

This 5-day wilderness adventure in the remote and remarkable Channel Islands offers a unique and rejuvenating experience exploring, learning and relaxing throughout this special and close-to-home destination. Board your floating base camp, the 100-guest National Geographic Quest or sister ship 100-guest Venture, in Los Angeles and head to three of the five wildlife-rich islands which make up Channel Islands National Park, as well as Catalina Island. Actively explore unmarred landscapes and revel in pure nature.

Almost every national park in the U.S. is easy to get to, but the Channel Islands are separated from the mainland by miles of ocean. What this cruise offers is unique and effortless access to wild beauty and pristine nature for 5 days/4 nights, using a ship as a base camp.

This Channel Islands cruise offers opportunities to exult in the pristine beauty of the islands and roam free in wide-open spaces. Take leisurely trail walks with a naturalist looking out for the astonishing number of endemic flora & fauna of the islands. Explore fascinating sea caves by kayak or paddleboard. Stroll white-sand beaches or spend time exploring bustling tide pools. Take in panoramic views & spectacular landscapes. At the end of the day, enjoy a sunset cocktail party on deck and welcome the night with stargazing.

Read more for details about this trip, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s Baja cruises and Baja trips.



Itinerary

Wild California Escape: Channel Islands Itinerary

This 5-day Channel Islands cruise begins and ends in Los Angeles, California and spends time exploring the islands of Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa and Catalina.

Route map of Wild California Escape: Channel Islands National Park cruise round-trip & counterclockwise from Los Angeles.
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Day 1
Embark Los Angeles, California

Arrive in Los Angeles and head to the Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Harbor Hotel in San Pedro for a transfer to the ship. Familiarize yourself with the ship, stow your stuff and take in the sights on the ship’s deck. Embark in the early evening, meet the team and settle in for the days ahead.

Accommodations

National Geographic Venture, National Geographic Quest

Meals

dinner

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Day 2
Anacapa & Santa Cruz Islands, Channel Islands National Park

Wake to the ship at anchor off the rocky outcropping of East Anacapa Island. Join your wellness specialist on the sundeck for morning yoga, and then enjoy the breakfast buffet. After breakfast, join naturalists aboard the Zodiacs to go ashore on East Anacapa. The goal is the Anacapa Lighthouse, built in 1932, the last major light station to be built on the West Coast. Soak in the views from Inspiration Point or, for a more relaxing option, explore Arch Rock via Zodiac.

Accommodations

National Geographic Venture, National Geographic Quest

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 3
Santa Rosa Island, Channel Islands National Park

Start your morning with an optional stretch class before breakfast. Weather permitting, go kayaking, hike one of the many trails or simply relax ashore. With luck, catch a glimpse—or photo—of the elusive fox species endemic to the island. Join the naturalists for a more strenuous hike out to the base of the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, which contains what is considered one of the world’s rarest pines and one of only two naturally occurring groves in the world. End the day with a sunset cocktail party.

Accommodations

National Geographic Venture, National Geographic Quest

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 4
Catalina Island

Spend the day discovering the colorful history and natural wonders of Catalina Island. Once a haunt of smugglers and gold-diggers, the island was transformed into a resort destination by chewing gum tycoon William Wrigley, Jr. in the 1920s. Some 50 years later, William’s heirs, Philip K. Wrigley and Dorothy Wrigley Offield, established the Catalina Island Conservancy, protecting nearly 90 percent of the island. Meet a Conservancy member to learn about their work on the island before heading out on the trail for spectacular views of the coastline and the Catalina backcountry. With luck, catch a glimpse of the elusive bison herd who have resided on Catalina Island since 1924. Head for the water to kayak or stand-up paddleboard. Return to the ship for a farewell dinner, and a last evening at sea under the stars.

Accommodations

National Geographic Venture, National Geographic Quest

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 5
Disembark Los Angeles, California

Awake dockside in the bustling Port of Los Angeles (early risers can catch the action in one of the world’s largest ports). Disembark after breakfast for transfers to the airport.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations; all meals as indicated, beer, wine & full bar; non-alcoholic beverages; shore excursions, sightseeing, entrance fees and special access permits; round-trip transfers for guests using group flights; use of kayaks, bicycles and stand-up paddleboards; services of the ship’s physician; expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guides; all port charges and service taxes; gratuities to local guides and drivers; basic WiFi (enhanced and premium packages available for purchase). Gratuities for all departures of National Geographic Explorer, Orion, Endurance, Resolution, Sea Cloud, Jahan and Lord of the Glens.

Exclusions

Immigration fees; air transportation; extensions; meals not indicated; reserve wines & premium spirits; gratuities for all departures of Delfin II, Endeavour II, Islander II, Venture, Quest, Sea Bird and Sea Lion; personal items such as emails, laundry, voyage DVD, etc.; and insurance of any kind.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of 15% of the total trip cost is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 days before the departure date. Special payment terms apply for groups of 8 or more; inquire for details. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person fees, based on number of days prior to departure:
120 or more days – 100% of deposit**
119 to 90 days – 50% of total trip cost
89 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost
**Advance payments will be credited in the form of a Lindblad Expeditions Travel Certificate, valid for 12 months from the date of cancellation, and which may only be applied towards final payment on any future booking. 

(For expeditions booked prior to May 1, 2023: Please refer to your invoice for your payment and cancellation terms.) 

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The Wild California Escape: Channel Islands National Park cruise begins and ends in Los Angeles, California (LAX). We highly recommend arriving one day prior to your trip start date in case of any flight delay, cancellation or lost luggage issues. Plan flights to arrive to Los Angeles by 2:30pm on Day 1 of the itinerary in order to meet at the Port of Los Angeles by 5:30pm. Disembarkation is after breakfast, at 9:00am on Day 5 of the outlined itinerary. Plan flights to depart Los Angeles no earlier than 12:00pm Noon.

Activities

Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the ship’s crew can tailor most excursions to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include hiking, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, inflatable boat/skiff excursions, photography, whale watching, yoga and wildlife observation.

Room Configuration

In addition to listed Solo cabin rates, select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. If you would like to share accommodations with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to try to accommodate you in select cabin categories. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate whether or not a roommate is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Kids under the age of 18 at time of travel save $500, at double occupancy. Skilled staff members are trained in organizing activities that inspire curiosity in young people of all ages. Programming for kids may include activities like photo workshops, journaling, scavenger hunts, Zodiac-driving lessons, hands-on nature and science programming and kid-friendly menu options.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the captain’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique. 

Rates & Dates

Cruise Rates & Dates

Rates are variable per remaining availability and are subject to change.

Oct 26 - Oct 30, 2024
National Geographic Venture • 5 days
From $3506USD
Per Person
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Oct 30 - Nov 03, 2024
National Geographic Venture • 5 days
From $3506USD
Per Person
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Nov 03 - Nov 07, 2024
National Geographic Venture • 5 days
From $3506USD
Per Person
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Apr 28 - May 02, 2025
National Geographic Quest • 5 days
From $3310USD
Per Person
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May 02 - May 06, 2025
National Geographic Quest • 5 days
From $3310USD
Per Person
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Oct 23 - Oct 27, 2025
National Geographic Venture • 5 days
From $3609USD
Per Person
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Oct 27 - Oct 31, 2025
National Geographic Venture • 5 days
From $3609USD
Per Person
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Oct 31 - Nov 04, 2025
National Geographic Venture • 5 days
From $3609USD
Per Person
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Accommodations

Learn About The Small Ships On Your Itinerary

Expedition Ship
National Geographic Quest

Purpose built to cruise coastal waters, shallow coves and fast-moving channels, the 100-guest National Geographic Quest is a luxurious and state-of-the-art expedition vessel designed for supreme comfort and enhanced wildlife viewing.

Expedition Ship
National Geographic Venture

The 100-guest National Geographic Venture is a state-of-the-art, purpose-built expedition vessel made for exploring coastal waters, shallow coves and fast-moving channels while sailing with the luxury of supreme comfort.

Deals

Current Deals on This Trip

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Offer expires May 31st, 2024
Kids Save $500 On Select 2024 & 2025 Nat Geo Expeditions Worldwide

Save $500 per kid under 18 when you book your 2024 or 2025 departure from a variety of National Geographic expeditions worldwide.

Add to Wishlist
Offer expires May 31st, 2024
Groups Save 5% On Select 2024 & 2025 Nat Geo Expeditions Worldwide

Save 5% when traveling as a group of 8 or more on a variety of 2024 or 2025 National Geographic expeditions worldwide.

Expert Review

Ship Reviews from our Experts so You Know What to Expect

Mary Montalbano • August 1st, 2023
Expert Aboard: Venture & National Geographic Quest Reviews

Learn from two AdventureSmith experts about identical sister ships Nat Geo Venture and Quest. Tips on choosing your cabin, what the food is like and why choose to sail aboard.

Book with the confidence that comes from experience.

100+ combined years of experience, 7 continents explored, decades of expedition cruising around the world & here to help you find & book your dream trip.

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Wild California Escape: Channel Islands National Park