Rodney Fong (left), President of the San Francisco Port Commission presentsMayor Gavin Newsom has declared “Princess Cruises Day” in San Francisco to commemorate the cruise line’s 40th anniversary of sailing from the Port of San Francisco.

Forty years ago, Princess Italia sailed beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, commencing a new era of cruise tourism. Since that inaugural voyage in 1969, Princess Cruises has sailed cruise ships from San Francisco Bay to the far reaches of the Alaskan glaciers, down to the Mexican Riviera, and around the world.

Princess Cruises, the Port’s largest cruise customer, has made approximately 1,000 calls at the Port of San Francisco over the past four decades, and carried well over one million passengers.

“The relationship between San Francisco and Princess Cruises dates back to the company’s earliest days, and it has been strong for 40 years,” said Mayor Gavin Newsom. “Not only does Princess provide a great travel experience, but having their ships on the San Francisco waterfront translates into tourism revenue for the City, as well as jobs for longshoremen and shipyard workers.”

The Port estimates that every time a cruise vessel visits San Francisco, up to $1,000,000 is generated in direct purchases of goods and services.

Rodney Fong (left), President of the San Francisco Port Commission presents“We are proud of our long association with the Port of San Francisco,” said Alan Buckelew, president and chief executive officer of Princess Cruises. “Sailing from one of the world’s marquee destinations continues to be a highlight for our passengers. And the Port has always been a supportive partner, dedicating themselves to a successful operation.”

In addition to cruise calls, Princess has shown its support to San Francisco by investing $3 million into the expansion of the Port’s drydock at Pier 70. In fall 2008 Star Princess became the first “post-Panamax” ship to be serviced there. Princess has also been a key advisor to the Port in its plan to construct a new primary cruise facility at Pier 27.

Princess Cruises was co-applicant with the Port for funding from the regional Air District which resulted in a $1.9 million grant for the installation of shoreside power at Pier 27. Complete installation is expected by 2010; most Princess ships are equipped to take advantage of connecting to the electrical grid, thereby eliminating air emissions at berth.

“Princess Cruises has been a great partner with the City and the Port,” said Port executive director Monique Moyer. “We know this partnership will continue to blossom as we construct a new primary cruise terminal at Pier 27 in the next few years. It will be a terminal capable of meeting industry demands and passenger expectations when visiting our port.”