Southern California Ports Watch Cruise Ships Leave

In yesterday’s issue of Travel Weekly, there was an article about the challenges that Southern California’s cruise ports were facing as the cruise lines have decided to pull their ships out of this area. The number of cruises sailing out of Southern California in 2011 will be half of what they were in 2010, which was down 45% from what they were in 2009. From 1.2 million calls in 2008 to only 605,000 passengers this year, Los Angeles will definitely feel a significant hit from this decision to pull ships. Between California’s struggling economy, the price of oil, and the various cruise lines’ desire to simply make a profit, the number of cruises available to the consumer to the Mexican Riviera will be far less than in the past.

Last year we sailed on Royal Caribbean’s “Mariner of the Seas” out of Los Angeles and we loved it. Sailing out of a different port and to different destinations than we had been to previously made our cruise “exciting and new” (to quote the “Love Boat” theme song). When I learned the Mariner was moved to Europe, I was sad on one hand because I had hoped we would be able to enjoy that cruise again. On the other hand, I also realized that the cruise industry puts ships in areas where consumers will pay to sail. When Alaska first opened up to cruisers, there was only one cruise line. Now look at how many ships sail to Alaska! Of course, while Royal Caribbean and Carnival have pulled their ships out of Southern California, Disney had no problem committing their ship, “Disney Wonder,” to Los Angeles for a minimum two years. Other lines still sailing: Crystal Cruises, Princess Cruise Line, Holland America, and Cunard with sailings to Hawaii.

Don’t count Southern California out just yet as a cruise port you might want to sail out of in the future! With new itineraries and ships added all of the time by the cruise lines, you never know what tomorrow might bring.

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