SAN FRANCISCO—On Friday, October 8 it was announced via the Mayor of San Francisco and Port of San Francisco that the return of cruises to and from San Francisco. The first vessel to call on the Port of San Francisco was the Majestic Princess on Monday, October 11. The Port is expecting 21 cruise calls through the remainder of 2021 and a record 127 calls in 2022.
“I am so excited to welcome cruises back to our Port, and visitors back to our City” said Mayor London M. Breed. “Tourism is a critical part of our City’s economy, helping to pay for important services that allow us to take care of our most vulnerable residents. This announcement is just another example of our City coming back to life and emerging from this pandemic stronger than ever before.”
A press release from the Mayor’s Office indicates, the return of cruises will bring back sectors for the tourism and hospitality sectors. Every cruise call brings thousands of passengers and crew members to San Francisco and the waterfront that assist small and family-owned businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Pre-pandemic, in 2019, San Francisco welcomed 280,000 cruise visitors, contributing $27 million to the economy.
“The Port supported our small and family-owned businesses during the pandemic, and will continue to do so with the safe return of cruise, expected to bring thousands of people to our waterfront,” said Elaine Forbes, Executive Director of the Port of San Francisco. “We are proud to work with public health agencies to ensure cruise will return safely, exceeding CDC guidelines, to keep our waterfront community healthy and economically vibrant.”
Cruise operations are resuming safely with strict compliance with all applicable U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rules and regulations. Individual cruise lines calling at the Port each developed agreements with the San Francisco Department of Public Health that exceed CDC COVID-19 guidelines. Passengers and crew members are vaccinated per CDC guidelines. Each cruise line has vessel specific health and safety guidelines to protect all people on board, terminal workers, and members of the public.
“Our City has shown that with high levels of vaccinations and the right safety protocols in place, we can open up businesses and bring back tourism while mitigating the spread of COVID-19. The return of passenger cruises to San Francisco is another step forward in that direction,” said Director of Health, Dr. Grant Colfax.
The Port’s Cruise Terminals at Pier 27 and Pier 35 are implementing new COVID-19 informed protocols to ensure the safety of staff, passengers, and the public. Passengers embarking and disembarking will be staggered to minimize passenger congregation. Masks will be required indoors throughout the terminal, which will now be a touchless environment.
“Princess Cruises has visited San Francisco for more than 50 years, beginning in 1969 with our very first voyage to Alaska. Since then, Princess has made nearly 1,400 calls at the Port of San Francisco and carried more than 2 million guests,” said Jan Swartz, Presidnet, Princess Cruises. “We are grateful to the Port of San Francisco for their support during the pause and our team members are eager to welcome guests back on board to enjoy a safe and real vacation.”
San Francisco serves as the only passenger cruise terminals in the Bay Area. Terminals are located near the city’s most scenic landmarks and famous visitor destinations including Fisherman’s Wharf, PIER 39, and the Ferry Building. Almost 60 percent of the calls are homeport sailings (where passengers embark and disembark), and 40 percent are transit calls (where passengers visit the city for sightseeing, dining, and shopping).
“Passengers aboard the Majestic Princess will be warmly welcomed to San Francisco this coming Monday. The return of cruises to and from San Francisco is an important step forward in our recovery and yet another positive sign for the City’s tourism and hospitality industry. The record 127 cruise calls expected in 2022 will deliver large numbers of visitors to the City and provide a tremendous boost to our economy,” said Joe D’Alessandro, president & CEO of San Francisco Travel Association.
With large cruise ships docking, there can be over 6,000 passengers, crewmembers, and terminal workers at the cruise terminal combined. Pre-pandemic, each dollar of economic activity on Port property generates close to $1.50 in total citywide economic activity. Pre-pandemic, economic activity on Port properties supports an annual $4 billion economic output for San Francisco, $117 million for Northern California, and over 16,000 jobs for the region and northern California combined.