(Long Beach and San Pedro)
Of course by default, Los Angeles’ close proximity to Hollywood makes it the cinematic mecca on the list, and both the ports of Long Beach and San Pedro conveniently serve round-trip cruises as well as day visits to repositioning ships. Here’s where visitors will find all the major studios, many of which are accessible to the public for tours. While Universal Studios is fun, it’s primarily a theme park. The best way to truly see behind-the-scenes is to take advantage of its VIP Experience and walk around the famed backlot.
For those not in the know, Universal is where they’ve filmed the likes of Back to the Future, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,
Jurassic Park, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, and more.
A fully authentic standalone experience is available with the Warner Bros. Studio Tour, available as a two-hour overview or five-hour extensive look at its backlot, soundstages, prop and costume departments, and post-production facilities. At nearly $300 a head, it’s a bit pricey, but it’s seriously worth it for cinephiles.
After all, Warner Bros. is where they filmed the classic Casablanca and recent La La Land, as well as many current TV shows like The Big Bang Theory and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Tickets to tapings of these are even available. While not the most pleasant of cruise ship movies, the disaster remake Pose
idon was produced here, too. Outside of these studios, other tours are offered by Paramount Pictures and Sony Pictures. Paramount is a must for fans of Star Trek, and Sony is great for Jeopardy! quiz aficionados. Other honorable mentions a bit outside Hollywood proper are the dusty Paramount Ranch and Melody Ranch, both seen in the new Westworld.
If you don’t want to go quite so far, Carnival Cruise Line’s recently expanded Long Beach terminal also has a cinematic history. The geodesic dome that once housed Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose aircraft is so large that it served as a soundstage prior to becoming a cruise port. Productions filmed inside include A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Batman & Robin, and Stargate.
Permanently moored just next door is the original Queen Mary, itself a filming location available for touring. The hilarious cruise film Out to Sea may have supposedly taken place entirely on Holland America Line’s earlier Westerdam, but the Cunarder doubled for some of the ship’s interiors. It can similarly be seen in The Aviator, Pearl Harbor, and The Poseidon Adventure.
Out to Sea