PHOTO: Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Wonder docked in San Diego, California. (photo by Jason Leppert)
In California, San Diego is picking up steam as a cruise homeport.
America’s Finest City is primed to receive 83 calls during the 2017-2018 season.
“San Diego continues to be a popular port for cruising,” said Robert ‘Dukie’ Valderrama, Chairman of the Board of Port Commissioners, in a press release.
“We have made improvements to our cruise ship terminal and the waterfront adjacent to it to enhance the passenger experience. We are proud that our homeported lines will be returning for yet another season.”
While the total number of scheduled cruise ship visits is nearly the same as last year, the projected passenger count is up. Approximately 242,000 are expected over the previous 224,000.
The season officially began on September 15 with the arrival of Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Wonder before departing on a two-night Halloween on the High Seas sailing to Ensenada, Mexico.
In fact, Disney continues to increase its presence in San Diego as Holland America Line remains a consistent player. The Disney Wonder will return another 17 times, offering 3, 4, 5 and 7-night journeys to Baja and the Mexican Riviera, plus one longer 14-night Halloween on the High Seas Panama Canal Cruise on October 27.
Holland America has even longer options available to local residents looking for a convenient getaway and out-of-towners alike. Extended choices of a 15, 53 or 80-day Asia and Pacific sailing on the Amsterdam leave in October while a 28-day Hawaii, Tahiti and Marquesas voyage on the Maasdam departs during March 2018.
Besides these and other more regular cruises from the premium line, its competitor Celebrity Cruises also has its own selections such as a 15-night eastbound Panama Canal Cruise on the Celebrity Infinity in November 2017 and April 2018.
READ MORE: Lots of Love for the Port of San Diego
Additionally, Costa Cruises, Oceania Cruises and Phoenix Reisen will make passes during a trio of world cruises.
The cruise industry’s positive economic impact on San Diego amounts to an average of $2 million per homeported cruise. Reinvesting in the infrastructure, the port will finish the installation of an escalator at the B Street Cruise Ship Terminal’s north passenger boarding bridge this month.
In recent years, the adjacent North Embarcadero waterfront has been enhanced with new facilities like a Visitor Information Center, walk-up cafe, public gardens, seating areas and public art.
Easily accommodating visitors before and after cruises is the 400-room Marriott Residence Inn/Springhill Suites hotel that recently opened across the street from the port during 2016. Another 400-room InterContinental Hotel is under construction as well.
Both properties sit along Lane Field Park honoring the history of the original Pacific Coast League Padres who played in the region until 1957.
As a native resident of San Diego, it’s difficult to not also point out how conveniently located all other forms of transportation are to the cruise terminal: The train depot is only blocks away, and the international airport is within a three-mile radius. All are beautifully situated on the scenic bay, the very water cruise ships serenely sail upon entering and exiting the port.
I may be partial, but L.A. can’t come close to claiming such bragging rights.
Of course, it helps both San Diego and Los Angeles when the Mexican Riviera is regaining favor among cruise lines and passengers again. Such increased traffic benefits local Californian economies overall as well as attracting newer and bigger ships such as Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Bliss come 2018.
To view San Diego’s cruise ship schedule, visit portofsandiego.org/recreation.
This post first appeared on TravelPulse.