Disney Cruise Line ship visits San Diego
Ship is one of 4 operated by Disney
Last Updated: 271 days ago
SAN DIEGO -
The 964-foot Disney Wonder Friday became the first Disney Cruise Line vessel to visit San Diego.
The 2,700-passenger luxury liner arrived from Los Angeles for the first of four visits over the next month during themed voyages based on Disney-Pixar movies.
San Diego State University's marching band greeted the passengers, many of whom disembarked to go shopping or visit area theme parks, and Mayor Jerry Sanders exchanged plaques with Fabian Dib, the ship's captain.
The vessel is one of four operated by Disney.
"This means jobs for San Diegans, which transcends all sectors. It goes from tourism, hotels, retail, restaurants as well as suppliers of food and beverage," said Adam Deaton of the Unified Port of San Diego.
San Diego's cruise business has slipped in recent years because of the faltering economy and fear of crime in Mexico, even though the global industry is expanding. Port of San Diego officials expect more cruise ships to call on the city by 2015.
The peak year was 2008, when 255 cruisers pulled into port in San Diego, carrying about a million visitors. This year, it's a lot less.
"We'll have about 79, 80 cruise calls. That means about 250,000 passengers, over 50,000 crew," Deaton said.
Deaton said between now and May of next year, which is the cruise season, that will translate to about $150 million for the local economy.
Passenger Kasey Buddle, here with her family from Australia, said, "We're actually getting on the hop on, hop off tour bus. We came a few years ago, so we're hoping to see a bit more this time."
"We're excited. We're on our way to Legoland, so we can't be more excited about that," said Bay Area resident Cynthia Johnson.
The Disney Wonder will cruise the California coast until the end of this year, originating cruises will depart Los Angeles with stops in San Francisco, San Diego, Ensenada and then back to Los Angeles.
There are no plans for it to come back after that, but cruise officials said with the improvements being done on San Diego's waterfront and an improving safety situation in Mexico, San Diego is poised for a cruise comeback.
Deaton told 10News, "Once that gets sorted out, we're going to see that jump right back up. It's going to be quick, so we're planning for it."
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. City News Service contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.