“We’re seeing an overall increase, with 96 calls projected for 2018-2019 compared to 83 this season, and the projection is that it will keep growing at 5 to 8 percent a year in passenger numbers,” said Adam Deaton, senior account trade representative at the Port of San Diego.
Deaton called the growth slow and steady, as the port expects 242,000 passengers for this current season, up about 8 percent on last year. For 2018-2019, projections are around the 280,000 mark, and the port is already taking bookings out to 2020.
The main uptick comes from the Mexican Riviera, where both Disney and Holland America are once again building capacity.
Disney has assembled a nice deployment mix for the Wonder, homeporting in San Diego on both ends of its Alaska summer season. The cruise line offers short sailings from San Diego, and also extends itineraries up to a week sailing south to Mazatlan.
For 2019, Disney will expand its San Diego spring season to two months.
Working closely with Disney, the port recently installed a new outdoor escalator for passengers, making the boarding process more seamless.
Also on the drawing board is a plan for a second shorepower connection by 2020, allowing the port to hook up two ships as opposed to one.
By 2020, cruise brands with more than five calls in California will be required to plug-in for 80 percent of those calls, as opposed to the 70 percent mark currently.
The port enjoys a diverse passenger sourcing mix, although the majority are from a drive-in market composing of Arizona, California and Southern Nevada, Deaton said.
“Our growth forward will be attached to the Mexican Riviera,” he added.
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