The arrival of the Crown Princess cruise ship off Stearns Wharf has been a welcome sign for Santa Barbara. It will give the local economy a boost going into the fall months.
Eleven ships are scheduled between now and the end of November.
Most will be in the middle of the week, just when businesses could use the extra foot traffic.
About 3000 guests and crew were on the ship that arrived today. Most came ashore by noon and immediately found local information from the “Ambassador” team along Cabrillo Blvd.
There, several tables of information were set up that included maps, flyers, brochures and an array of listings for restaurants.
Shopping, and city tours were in big demand. Many people asked where the Old Mission was located, along with the Funk Zone and the names of a few good bars and restaurants.
“We’ve actually have people call us, local businesses saying ‘can you give us your cruise ship schedule because we have such an influx of customers we want to staff extra employees'” said Dominique Samario with the Waterfront Department.
She says overall 28 cruise ships will visit Santa Barbara this year, but none were scheduled during the summer.
Many guests were thrilled to see the electric shuttle busses lining the street and the .50 fee which made their trip into town very affordable.
Elise Malacara, an Ambassador said she thought many of these guests were from other parts of the U.S. and possibly from Europe too.
A cruise ship visitor, Gynene Smith, who has been on more than two dozen trips said, “I love cruising, it’s wonderful. You get on board, you unpack your suitcase you get to see a lot of places, not for long, you are in port from eight to nine hours and it is wonderful.”
Santa Barbara does not have a deep water port for the ships and the passengers come ashore on small tender boats.
All of the cruise ships the remainder of the year will be from the Princess cruise line.