The Port of San Diego announced that the beginning of the 2012-2013 cruise season coincides with the inaugural visit of the Disney Wonder to San Diego. The 2,700-passenger vessel will enter San Diego harbor at approximately 7 a.m. on Friday, September 21, 2012 and dock at the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier.
The Port of San Diego will welcome the ship and its passengers with entertainment by the San Diego State University Athletic Band. Passengers will begin disembarking the vessel at about 8:30 a.m.to enjoy regional attractions such as the San Diego Zoo, Sea World and Balboa Park.
According to the Cruise Lines International Association, port-of-call visits contribute approximately $1 million per ship call to the region's economy. The amount is attributed to the money spent by passengers and crew while in port, plus indirect spending and jobs related to ship service providers, tour operators, transportation companies, fuel companies and many others.
To commemorate this inaugural visit, a ceremonial plaque exchange will take place onboard the vessel at 11:30 between Disney Cruise Line Captain Fabian Dib, City of San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and Port Commissioner Bob Nelson.
"We are pleased to welcome Captain Dib, the crew and the passengers of the Disney Wonder to the Port of San Diego," said Lou Smith, Chairman of the Board of Port Commissioners. "We hope they enjoy the region's many attractions and we appreciate the economic impact this visit brings."
The Disney Wonder is one of four cruise ships in the Disney Cruise Line fleet. The ship is sailing out of Los Angeles to San Diego as part of special Pixar-themed voyages. This will be the first of four port-of-call visits that the Disney Wonder makes to the Port of San Diego. The vessel returns to San Diego Bay on September 28, October 5 and October 12, 2012.
The Port of San Diego has 85 cruises and more than 270,000 passengers scheduled for calendar year 2012. In early October, the Port will have two multi-ship days, with three cruise ships in port on Thursday, October 4 and three more on Friday, October 5.
Although San Diego's cruise business has dropped over the last few years as the economy floundered, a recent cruise feasibility study performed by the firm of Bermello Ajamil & Partners indicates that the cruise industry is still the fastest growing tourism sector in the world and that the San Diego region can look forward to seeing more frequent cruise line calls beginning in late 2015-2017.