The Port of San Diego’s 2016-2017 cruise season kicks off on Friday, August 26, 2016 with the arrival of the Disney Wonder. The 2,700-passenger vessel will berth at the Port’s B Street Cruise Ship Terminal, where guests will board for a 14-night repositioning cruise through the Panama Canal to Port Canaveral, Florida with stops in Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Cartagena, Colombia; and Cozumel, Mexico.
That’s just one of the many exciting destinations for cruises leaving from the Port of San Diego this season. Other itineraries feature visits to Buenos Aires, Argentina; Santiago, Chile; the Mexican Riviera, Hawaii and the California Coast.
Currently 90 cruise calls are scheduled for this season, up 30 percent from last year. This is a positive sign for the Port, which has seen its cruise business making a steady climb the last two years after struggling through the recession.
“The Port of San Diego’s cruise business is coming back in a big way,” said Marshall Merrifield, Chairman of the Board of Port Commissioners. “We are making improvements to our B Street facility, including adding an escalator, to meet the growing demand. We’ve been working with our cruise partners over the last couple of years, making improvements to port security and enhancing itineraries. That, combined with an improved U.S. economy, has contributed to this resurgence.”
The Port’s homeported (cruises that begin and end in San Diego) lines are Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Holland America Line and Celebrity Cruises. An economic impact study covering the Port’s cruise business for the 2015 calendar year found that each homeported cruise generated an average of nearly $2 million in economic impact to the region. The study also found that the Port’s cruise business contributed $82 million in overall economic impact to the San Diego region. It also demonstrated that about $46.8 million was spent on local businesses and that it contributed to $22.3 million in employment earnings.
Cruise ship passengers now have an enhanced experience to welcome them to San Diego. In November 2014, the Port completed a $31 million project to improve the North Embarcadero area, adjacent to where the cruise ships berth. The project beautified an area from the front of the B Street Cruise Ship terminal to the front of Navy Pier. The project added public gardens, art, new seating areas, a new walk-up café and other amenities. Other improvements include Lane Field Park, which opened in March 2015 across the street from Broadway Pier and a new Marriott Residence Inn/Springhill Suites hotel that opened in April 2016. Another hotel, a 400-room InterContinental, is currently under construction at the same site.
The Port’s cruise schedule is available on portofsandiego.org/recreation. For detailed information on cruise itineraries and dates, please visit the websites of Holland America Line, Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Lines and Celebrity Cruises.