Celebrity calls in San DiegoAfter losing nearly 70 percent of its cruise business on a weak Mexico market, San Diego has found some solid footing and is anticipating an uptick in cruise calls in the coming years.

 “We need to re-introduce why San Diego is a great cruise destination,” said Adam Deaton, the port’s cruise marketing representative. “We were right there at the top in 2008 with the most passengers in southern California.”

New for the current season is the Veendam doing a split Hawaii and Mexican Riviera program.

 “If that goes well hopefully business will start to improve,” Deaton continued. “By 2020 we are forecasting to be above the 600,000 passenger market.”

With Holland America as the port’s main customer, the cruise line sails to Hawaii, Mexico and down to Panama, but the majority of the business is still tied to Mexico.

But things are getting better, said Brandy Christian, vice president, strategy and business development, in regards to the perception surrounding the Mexican Riviera.

 “Being a border city we get a lot more of the news, and it has definitely died down,” she noted. “People are getting more confident about Mexico.”

Carnival has seen this and has added a second ship to a short cruise program in Long Beach, Christian explained.

 “We are hoping Carnival continues having success in Southern California.”

With three cruise piers just five to seven minutes from the airport, San Diego offers an unique homeporting opportunity while being passenger friendly for trans calls.

When you come into San Diego you are right in downtown,” said Deaton. “Passengers can walk into downtown, old town, Little Italy, go shopping and more. There is no need to get on a bus.”

>> Also in this section: Cruise Industry News catches up with the leading North American ports - from the East Coast, to Florida, to the Gulf, West Coast and Alaska.

Excerpt from Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine: Winter 2013/2014