Don Bauder 4:37 p.m., Dec. 27
Cruises to bring heavy tourist traffic next week
Next Tuesday may not be the most ideal time to find oneself Downtown. In addition to a 7:10 p.m. baseball game in which the Padres host the Miami Marlins, the Port of San Diego reports that three cruise ships will be simultaneously docked in San Diego during the day, unleashing over 5,400 sightseers on local attractions.
The 1,041 foot-long, 2,900-passenger Celebrity Solstice will be making its first visit to San Diego, as will the 600-passenger Oceania Regatta. The Solstice is the largest tourist vessel to make San Diego a port of call. Holland America Line’s 1,937-passenger Zuiderdam will also be in port.
The Port expects heavy traffic along North Harbor Drive beginning at 9 a.m. due to the volume of passengers disembarking for tours and visits to the area’s shops and restaurants coupled with ongoing construction in the effort to revamp the bay front.
Overall, 77 cruise ship stops are expected in San Diego during 2013, down from 87 last year and a far cry from the peak 255 visits the city received in 2008. This number is largely affected by fewer ships “home porting” in San Diego for part or all of the year – the Port says each round-trip cruise from San Diego has an economic impact of $2 million attributed not only to local tourist dollars but fuel, maintenance, and restocking income from the ships while they’re docked. Port officials say they don’t expect traffic to begin to recover until 2015 or 2016.
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