Last updated: 03:30 PM ET, Mon October 10 2016

San Diego Ranked as One of Top Destinations by Cruise Critic

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Holland America Line | Jason Leppert | October 10, 2016

San Diego Ranked as One of Top Destinations by Cruise Critic

Photo by Jason Leppert

Cruise Critic has released the results of its first-ever 2016 Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards, and I’m proud to see my homeport of San Diego, California ranked as number four of five top-rated US and Canada ports.

In the category, America’s Finest City comes in only behind San Francisco, California; Bar Harbor, Maine and Key West, Florida and ahead of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada; all of which are other excellent selections. Out of five stars, San Diego is rated by the website’s members with an average of 4.1, and member debbucky is quoted as saying, “Best city ever! And everything you would ever need or want is within walking distance to the ship. No touristy feel at all once you leave the dock.” 

READ MORE: The Cruise Return of the Mexican Riviera

The news comes at a time when the classic Mexican Riviera itinerary is picking up with an increase in embarkations and disembarkations by Holland America Line scheduled to begin this month on Oct. 22. On that day, the Westerdam will call locally, the brand’s new America’s Test Kitchen culinary partnership first rolled out onboard, as the ship repositions from its summer Alaskan season.

“Being named one of the top five cruise destinations in the U.S. and Canada is a tremendous honor and the Port of San Diego appreciates Cruise Critic and its online community for including us in this awards program,” said Marshall Merrifield, Chairman of the Board of Port Commissioners. “The San Diego region welcomes travelers from all over the world to enjoy the beauty of San Diego’s coastline and our sun-drenched outdoor lifestyle.”

San Diego’s cruise season officially began on August 26, and a total of 90 calls are scheduled during the 2016-2017 period, an impressive 30 percent increase since last year. The port anticipates even more growth in the seasons to come. Besides Holland America Line, current brands to stop in San Diego include Azamara Club Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and more, and each sailing touching the city generates $2 million in economic impact.

READ MORE: San Diego, California: America’s Finest Homeport

I myself will be sailing aboard the Crystal Symphony on a Thanksgiving California Coastal itinerary in November and the Westerdam to the Mexican Riviera in December, both roundtrip from San Diego, so stay tuned for reports from each.

The cruise industry is very important to the Port of San Diego and the region,” said Randa Coniglio, President & CEO of the Port. “Not only does it have a huge economic impact, but it’s part of what makes the waterfront a dynamic and active destination. Over the past few years, the Port has completed numerous improvements to ensure that our cruise customers have an enjoyable experience.”

As a native resident of San Diego, I may be partial, but the recent enhancements to the facilities have been quite dramatic, transforming the embarcadero into a world-class destination that will hopefully attract even more cruise lines and passengers. Carnival Cruise Line and Princess Cruises, which occasionally calls on San Diego, regularly sail from the Los Angeles ports of Long Beach and San Pedro respectively, but perhaps they too will give San Diego new consideration.


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