SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Friday workers on the Holland America Koningsdam were putting the finishing touches before they set sail Sunday, at roughly 60 percent capacity.
"We are finally here," said Gustavo Antorcha, the President of the Holland America Line. "We are finally able to sail and we are just incredibly excited."
The ship still offers the same amenities as years past. That includes lounge chairs by the pool, dining with a view, and live music. But safety measures are also heightened. Masks are now required while onboard, and sanitizer stations are placed throughout the ship's decks.
"Our objective has been to be one of the safest places where guests can come and have a vacation," Antorcha added. "It really starts pre-cruise with the vaccination requirement, and then the testing which is two days before embarkation...and all of the medical centers have testing capabilities."
Holland America said it's changes they are willing to make. The last 19 months have left these cruise ships to furlough thousands of workers, which affected not only Holland America's revenue, but the Port of San Diego's.
"We are expecting about 100 cruise calls this cruise season and that's going to be about $174 million, a long awaited $174 million pumped back into the local economy, to give us that boost that we so long need," shared Adam Deaton, cruise business manager of the Port of San Diego.
Holland America said they are prepared for roughly 33 calls in San Diego this season which would bring in more than $35 million.
Antorcha stated, they are promising a safe and enjoyable cruising experience, "They [cruise workers] are eagerly eagerly anticipating guests on board."
Deaton said cruises for thousands of passengers, is a much-needed vacation, “This is one of the safest vacation options right now.”
After a lost revenue of roughly $300 million, the Port of San Diego shared they are glad to see one of their longest-standing partners bustle with activity.
“Each visit into San Diego represents half a million dollars of direct spending into the city," explained Antorcha. "So you take a season where we have 30 to 40 calls that really adds up.”
Those in line not only having to show proof of vaccination but get tested two days before embarking.
“We have made a lot of additional precautions so there is mask wearing in selective areas," said Antorcha. "We have made upgrades to our technical systems on board, air conditioning and handling systems have UV lighting and enhanced filtration."
They were small asks that are now fulfilled, to be able to bring back voyages to nearly 80,000 passengers.
“It's to make sure that the experience we provide to guests is exactly what they are anticipating," shared Antorcha.
Those aboard, once again able to dock in San Diego.
“You are creating that safe environment where maybe you have been hesitant to take a vacation over this time period but at the same time you want to get out of the house and do something," said Deaton. "Holland America is probably your best bet.”