Categorized | Cruises

Carnival Cruise Lines to pull out of San Diego…

Posted on 12 January 2011

In yet another sign of waning interest in West Coast cruises, industry giant Carnival is pulling out of San Diego, effective in early 2012.


Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen tells USA TODAY the line will not replace its last remaining ship in the city, the Carnival Spirit, when the vessel moves to Australia in 2012. Carnival announced the ship’s move to Australia late Tuesday.


The 2,124-passenger Spirit’s final sailing out of San Diego is scheduled to take place in April 2012.


“All San Diego cruises through April 2012 will operate as scheduled, (but) we do not currently have plans to replace the Carnival Spirit in San Diego due to the weaker relative financial performance for that program at present,” Gulliksen says. “However, we will consider basing a ship in San Diego in the future depending on market conditions and based on our very strong relationship with the Port of San Diego.”


Cruise lines have been reducing capacity in California sharply the past two years in the wake of what one industry watcher calls a perfect storm of troubles in the region. Carnival already pulled another ship, the 2,052-passenger Carnival Elation, out of San Diego last year (repositioning it to Mobile, Ala.), and Royal Caribbean’s 3,114-passenger Mariner of the Seas is leaving the region this month.


Industry watcher Travel Weekly this week reported San Diego’s cruise calls this year will be half what they were in 2010, a year that in turn was down 45% from 2009. Los Angeles will experience a five-year low in cruise passengers this year, with 605,000 in all (down from a peak of 1.2 million in 2008).


The Carnival Spirit has been sailing out of San Diego seasonally during the fall and winter since 2004. The ship traditionally spends its summers in Alaska.


Gulliksen says that while Carnival has yet to announce its plans for Alaska in 2012, the Carnival Spirit still will be heading to the region for the summer before it sets sail for Australia in the fall, and the line is “committed to maintaining our Alaska program in 2013 and beyond … we are in the process of identifying which ship will operate our Alaska cruises.”

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