July 24, 2024

Year-round cruises return to San Francisco

Star Pirincess heads under San Francisco’s Golden Gate bridge.

For decades, San Francisco was known as the headquarters of the famed Matson Lines, whose fabled 26,000-ton passenger liners Lurline and Matsonia offered regular passenger service to and from Hawaii until the early 1960s. Last month, San Francisco was back in the news as a cruise centre, when Princess Cruises started year-round cruises from San Francisco with its 2,600-berth Grand Princess. This ship will be the first for decades to be based year-round in San Francisco.

While several ships have homeported in San Francisco for round-trip Alaska cruises since 1969, it has only been during the summer season. Grand Princess will offer thirteen voyages to Alaska, two to Mexico and fifteen sailings to Hawaii, as well as a number of coastal cruises to California ports that will turn at Ensenada.

The Grand Princess was substantially rebuilt at the Grand Bahama Shipyard in 2011, when her aft “shopping cart handle” was removed and replaced with a much more eye-pleasing arrangement of tiered decks aft. At the time, Princess described this as “the most significant transformation ever of a Princess Cruises ship.”

Until now, San Francisco has hosted sixty to eighty cruise ship calls per year, handling about 200,000 passengers, with itineraries including round trips to Alaska and Mexico, as well as positioning voyages in the spring and autumn that begin or end in San Francisco.
With the Grand Princess, however, the port will gain substantially, with another 37 cruises over the next fifteen months, accommodating 95,000 passengers.

The Grand Princess’s Alaska season began May 10th, with the first of thirteen 10-night Inside Passage cruises, round trip from San Francisco. Each call at San Francisco should be worth about $1 million for the local port economy.

From the Cruise Examiner: http://www.cybercruises.com/articlesindex.htm

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