Cruising from San Diego
San Diego is a great city to cruise from. It has everything that Los Angeles does not: for one, the downtown area is within walking distance to the pier. Another reason why I love to cruise from San Diego is the proximity of the airport to the port, which is very close.
I want to share with readers a press release that I just got from the Port of San Diego. There is quite a lot of cruise buzz happening at this popular southern California cruise port.
From San Diego Tourism Authority
With two centrally located cruise ship terminals downtown just minutes from the San Diego International Airport, as well as chic bayside hotels, restaurants and exciting attractions, San Diego is the perfect cruise port, serving a wide range of cruise lines with diverse itineraries.
Ten cruise lines make calls in San Diego including Disney – the newest addition – Carnival, Celebrity, Crystal, Holland America, Norwegian, Regent Seven Seas, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Silversea. Each year, about 75 cruise ships dock in San Diego Bay, one of the most beautiful natural harbors on the West Coast.
San Diego’s cruise ship season runs September through May. Exotic destinations include Hawaii, Tahiti/French Polynesia, the Caribbean, Australia/New Zealand, the Panama Canal, South America, Central America and Mexico. San Diego Bay is considered the “Gateway to the Mexican Riviera” with numerous 3-11 day cruises to popular ports of call like Ensenada, Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán, Acapulco, Ixtapa and Puerto Vallarta.
Following are some new San Diego cruise offerings and bayside developments for San Diego cruise ship passengers to enjoy.
Disney Cruise Lines will begin offering three and five-day cruises from San Diego to Ensenada and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico beginning May 17, 2015 aboard the Disney Wonder ocean liner. Four Mexico cruises are also scheduled for October 2015. In addition, Disney offers a two-night weekend getaway off the San Diego coast (May 15, 2015) and five-night San Diego to Vancouver, Canada cruise (May 20, 2015).
“Pier” into the Future
Enhancements to the Broadway Pier, site of the Port Pavilion cruise ship terminal, are underway to make it more inviting to the public. Features include new moveable furniture, shade structures and decorative elements, including a historical Port timeline created on engraved brass plates. The project is expected to be completed by August 2014.
The pier is open to the public on days when no cruise ships are berthed there. The enhancements will encourage visitors to walk out onto the pier, explore, relax and enjoy panoramic views of San Diego Bay.
A new, pedestrian-friendly North Embarcadero project along Harbor Drive downtown, adjacent to the two cruise ship terminals, is quickly taking shape. Features include a park, gardens, landscaped promenades, palm-lined medians, jacaranda groves and outdoor seating that were completed in July 2014. Shaded pavilions under construction will soon be home to a new San Diego Visitor Information Center, kiosks for Flagship and Hornblower harbor/whale watching tours and a café; completion is expected in September 2014.
Also along the Embarcadero, a grand new Waterfront Park, featuring playgrounds, expansive grass lawns and a spectacular 830-foot long fountain with reflecting pools and 31 water jets, opened in May 2014. Free and open the public, the community park is the largest urban park to open in San Diego since Balboa Park in 1915.
Across the street from the cruise ship terminals, on the northeast corner of North Harbor Drive and Broadway, construction has begun on two sleek new Marriott-branded hotels and a 1.6-acre park with pedestrian paths, lawns, trees, interactive sculptures and a food pavilion. The hotels will share a common lobby and be operated as a Springhill Suites and Residence Inn (400 total guestrooms). Completion is expected in 2016.
Pre- and Post-Cruise Fun
San Diego’s popularity as a cruise port is due to its appealing combination of nearby pre- and post-cruise offerings with a consistently warm and temperate year-round climate (average daily temperature is around 70ºF). Passengers can schedule a few days before or after a cruise to explore San Diego’s world-class attractions, including the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, Old Town, Cabrillo National Monument, SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego Bay and its vibrant new Embarcadero – including the popular USS Midway aircraft carrier museum and Maritime Museum of San Diego with its Star of India , the world’s oldest active sailing ship. Passengers can also enjoy downtown’s historic, lively Gaslamp Quarter and Little Italy neighborhoods within walking distance from the cruise ship terminals.
Happiness is calling in San Diego. For more information on San Diego’s cruise ship offerings, visit the San Diego Tourism Authority’s website at www.sandiego.org/what-to-do/cruises.aspx , the Port of San Diego’s website at www.thebigbay.com/san-diego-cruise-ship-schedule.html. A “CruiseSchedule Port of San Diego” app is also available for free download from the App Store.