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Cruise Ships to Return to San Diego This Fall

NBC San Diego logo NBC San Diego 6/21/2021 NBC 7 Staff
a large ship in the water: Holland America Line’s Koningsdam ship arrives at the Port of San Diego’s B Street Terminal on Wednesday, May 19, 2021 so dozens of its crew members can get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. © Provided by NBC San Diego

Holland America Line’s Koningsdam ship arrives at the Port of San Diego’s B Street Terminal on Wednesday, May 19, 2021 so dozens of its crew members can get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The full reopening of San Diego County means the return of many things locals and visitors like to do, including hopping on a cruise ship for a vacation out of the Port of San Diego.

On Monday, Holland America Line – alongside San Diego’s Board of Port Commissioners and city and tourism leaders – announced its plans to bring cruising back to San Diego this fall.

And, they're not the only ones. Port of San Diego Chairman Michael Zucchet says the calendar for the fall season is already filling up with names like the Disney Cruise Line and Carnival joining the list.

"We expect to have anywhere from 70 to 80 cruise calls starting in September or October for the season, which is obviously down from pre-COVID levels but that’s a fairly healthy come back," Zucchet says.

The return of the line’s cruises will have a big impact on the local economy, which was estimated to have lost $282 million since last March due to canceled cruises.

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The Port of San Diego said each ship that docks locally contributes $300,000 to the local economy in provisioning, port taxes, and spending. Holland America Line works with more than 35 local vendors who supply the company and its ships with goods and services.

“Usually what happens is out of town visitors will stay overnight the night before and then oftentimes, they’ll stay in San Diego when they come back to dock. So, we can get pre and post-stays out of it,” explained Julie Coker, president and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority.

In order for cruise ships to resume service,98% of crew members and 95% of passengers need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So, Holland America's Koningsdam ship arrived at the port Monday morning so crew members could be given their second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, administered by Sharp HealthCare.

Back in May, Sharp offered cruise ship employees their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Port of San Diego’s B Street Terminal – making it the first port in California to offer the coronavirus vaccine to cruise line staffers. In all, 450 crew members from three ships were vaccinated, according to Sharp.

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Two other ships will be pulling into the Port of San Diego in the coming days so their crews can receive their second doses as well.

Koningsdam is scheduled to begin its first season homeporting in San Diego for cruises to Mexico and Hawaii on Oct. 24.

According to the Port of San Diego, Holland America Line has been homeporting out of the Port of San Diego since the 1990s – which means its cruises begin and end in San Diego.

The Port of San Diego said Holland America Line is also actively involved in giving back to more than 30 local nonprofits including La Jolla Playhouse, San Ysidro Health and Girl Scouts San Diego.

More information about cruise lines out of the Port of San Diego – and planning your vacation – can be found here.

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