SAN DIEGO - Three cruise ships called on San Diego on Tuesday, between them bringing nearly 5,000 passengers to town for a day of sight-seeing, shopping and eating at local restaurants.
Holland America's Zuiderdam docked around dawn at the B Street Pier. The two other ships came to San Diego for the first time.
The Celebrity Solstice stopped on the other side of the B Street Pier. At 1,041 feet, it is the longest cruise ship to ever call on San Diego, port officials said.
The Oceania Regatta arrived at the Broadway Pier late in the morning.
The port estimates that every stop by a cruise ship injects around $2 million into the local economy.
"It impacts the airport in terms of passengers coming in to get on the ship, trains, shuttles, buses, retails, hotels," the port's Adam Deaton told 10News. "Most passengers stay a few nights in San Diego, which means money going into the city which means services for San Diego, and then it impacts our retail and attractions."
While the cruise business has boomed globally, it has sagged in San Diego in recent years because of the economy and concerns about violent crime in Mexico.
This year, the port expects 77 calls by cruise ships, compared to 87 last year. The 2013 total is about one-third the number of port calls in San Diego in 2008.
The port expects the local cruise industry to recover by 2015 or 2016.