The Port of San Diego has finally secured a year-round cruise ship.
Starting Oct. 12, Royal Caribbean International’s Legend of the
Seas will homeport for one year in San Diego, said Rita Vandergaw,
the port’s senior director of marketing and communications.
“We’ve been working on this forever, and I still want to pursue
it more,” she said. “Royal Caribbean has a one-year commitment, but
we’ll do everything we can to extend it beyond one year.”
The Legend will operate a variety of cruises from San Diego, she
said, including longer Panama Canal and Hawaii itineraries and
seven-day Mexico voyages.
San Diego has been a busy port in recent years, but primarily
with seasonal ships in the winter.
Holland America Line and Celebrity Cruises operate regularly out
of San Diego between September and May.
The Legend’s Mexico cruises will operate during the summer
months, Vandergaw said.
“Their only consistent operation will be the seven-day cruises
in the summer, and that fills a void,” she said. “We did not have
year-round cruise operations out of San Diego, and the Legend gives
The Legend of the Seas began sailing in 1995. A 70,000-ton ship,
it accommodates 2,076 passengers.
Among the Legend’s itineraries are 14-day Panama Canal cruises
from San Diego to Miami with stops at Cabo San Lucas and Acapulco,
Mexico; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; and Oranjestad, Aruba.
The seven-night Mexico cruises will visit Cabo, Mazatlan and
The Legend will also operate 12-day Hawaii cruises starting in
Ensenada, Mexico, just south of San Diego. That port is used to
comply with the federal law that requires foreign-flagged ships to
call at a foreign port.
In its efforts to attract more cruise business, the Port of San
Diego has also improved its facilities.
Work to improve the terminal’s interior was completed about
three months ago, she said. The project removed walls that divided
the space into sections; plus a restaurant and shop was moved to
the back to help improve pedestrian flow and add seating.
The port also erected a white tent for check-in.
In other Western port news, the Port of Seattle said its
homeport business is expected to increase by 40 percent next
“We’ll have three cruise ships on the waterfront every Saturday
and every Sunday during the 2004 season, and one cruise ship every
Friday,” said Port Commission Chairwoman Patricia Davis.
The number of weekly departures will increase from 100 this year
to about 140 in 2004, the port reported. Passenger volume is
expected to exceed 500,000, up from the nearly 400,000 expected
Additional ships that will homeport in Seattle next year include
the Sapphire Princess and an as-yet-unnamed Holland America Line
vessel. The two will depart on Sundays from the new Terminal 30,
which opened last May.
In addition, Celebrity Cruises will offer a Friday departure
from the Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal.
Meanwhile, the July 11 christening of the Island Princess was
the first time Vancouver had been host to such an event.
“This is a historic event and a great honor for both Vancouver
and Canada,” said Kevin Little of the port authority.