The busiest cruise ship year ever in Santa Barbara concludes today with the arrival of the Golden Princess this morning at 7 a.m.
The massive luxury liner emerged from a fog bank to anchor off Stearns Wharf.
Visitors coming off the ship for the day are taking tours of the city, going to wine country and walking into the shopping district.
Shuttles, electric busses and taxi cabs await them on Cabrillo Blvd. along with a team of volunteers from the Visitors and Conference Bureau with “Visit Santa Barbara” information ranging from restaurants to historic sites.
This year, Santa Barbara had 28 cruise ship visits. 11 took place this fall. Last year there were 21 in what had been the busiest year in recent memories. 2014 not only exceeded that number but shows the city is welcoming cruise ship stops, especially on weekdays, as an economic boost to Santa Barbara’s economy.
For years, cruise ships were virtually nonexistent and mainly left Long Beach for Mexico, Catalina, or San Diego stops. In recent years, Santa Barbara has been added to the routes and the reviews have been positive.
While the final numbers are not in, this year, the city is expected to see an economic impact of about $3 million from the cruise ship stops.
Morning fog came in around the ship shortly after it arrived. That’s expected to burn off. The Golden Princess will leave this evening at 6 p.m.