The West Coast is looking at building upon its record year of traffic in 2022, eclipsing that and setting another regional record this year with over 1.4 million passengers, according to data in the 2023 Cruise Industry News Annual Report.
That eclipses the just-under 1.4 million guest market set in 2022, which beat out long-standing 2008 record of just under 1.2 million guests. With issues in Mexico combined with the recession and Alaska head tax, traffic dropped off, cratering in 2013 and then slowly building up.
These cruises primarily sail from ports such as San Diego, Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Francisco. Ships sail short and long itineraries, the, majority of the traffic heading south to Mexico, while a handful of sailings are longer – heading both north and up the coast, but also west and to Hawaii.
The top West Coast cruise line is Carnival, with three ships dedicated to the region and carrying well over 600,000 guests annually from its Long Beach terminal, but also utilizing San Diego and San Francisco.
Royal Caribbean also entered the market for the first time following the pandemic, with a presence out of Los Angeles.
Princess is another key player in the market, sailing to both Mexico and Hawaii on unique itineraries.