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Cruise Ships Departing SD For Good?

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Video published January 28, 2011 | Download MP4 | View transcript

Above: The Broadway Pier on San Diego Bay just got a $28 million face-lift. Shortly after, Carnival Cruise Lines announced it's San Diego based ship, "The Spirit" would be leaving for good next year. What does the loss of another ship mean for the industry here?

The Broadway Pier on San Diego Bay just got a 28-million dollar face-lift. Shortly after, Carnival Cruise Lines announced it's San Diego based ship, "The Spirit" would be leaving for good next year.

Guest

Tom Fudge, KPBS reporter and author of the blog On-Ramp.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

THE BROADWAY PEER JUST GOT A $28 MILLION FACE LIFT. AFTER, CARNIVAL CRUISE ANNOUNCED THE SPIRIT WOULD BE LEAVING FOR GOOD NEXT YEAR. TOM HAS COVERED COVERED THE STORY. THANKS FOR BEING HERE. THE QUESTION ON OUR MINDS IS WHAT IS BEHIND THIS?

IT IS PART OF A LARGER ONE THAT IS EFFECTING THE ENTIRE CRUISE BUSINESS. NOT JUST IN SAN DIEGO BUT SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA IN GENERAL. LAST YEAR SAN DIEGO LOST ITS OTHER CARNIVAL SHIP, AND EARLY NEXT YEAR THEY WILL LOSE THE SPIRIT. IN TERMS OF CRUISE BUSINESS, NUMBER OF PASSENGERS, LAST YEAR SAN DIEGO SAW A THIRD OF ITS CRUISE BUSINESS LEAVE, LOST A THIRD OF ITS BUSINESS IN THIS YEAR, AND THEY ARE EXPECTING TO LOSE ANOTHER HALF OF THEIR BUSINESS. IN LOS ANGELES IT'S BAD TOO. A WEEK AGO THEY LOST THEIR ONLY YEAR AROUND CRUISE SHIP AT THE PORT OF LOS ANGELES. IN LOS ANGELES I CAN TELL YOU IN 2005 THEY HAD 2.5 MILLION CRUISE PASSENGERS LEAVING OUT OF THAT PORT AND THIS YEAR THEY ARE ONLY EXPECTED 600,000.

WHAT IS THE REASON? IS IT THE VIOLENCE IN MEXICO, SOMETHING ELSE? COMBINATION?

IT'S A COMBINATION OF THINGS. PART OF IT IS THE ECONOMY, THE CALIFORNIA ECONOMY. CALIFORNIANS DON'T HAVE ENOUGH --AS MUCH MONEY TO GO CRUISING. AND IT IS A LOCAL MARKET. THE PEOPLE WHO LEAVE FROM LOCAL PORTS ARE CALIFORNIANS. AND MORE THAN THAT IT'S MEXICO. THERE ARE A LOT OF CONCERNS ABOUT THE VIOLENCE IN MEXICO. THE DRUG VIOLENCE. A LOT OF PEOPLE --IN MEXICO -- AND MEXICO IS THE CRUISE PRODUCT FOR SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. IF YOU TAKE A CRUISE YOU TAKE A CRUISE TO MEXICO. ONE OF THOSE PORTS, WHICH HAS BEEN A POPULAR PORT FOR CRUISES HAS BECOME SO DANGEROUS IN THE EYE'S OF TRAVELERS THAT DISNEY AND HOLLAND HAVE REFUSED TO STOP THERE BECAUSE CRUISE PASSENGERS HAVE BEEN MUGGED, ROBBED AND IT REALLY IS A VERY --SOMEWHAT DANGEROUS SITUATION.

THERE IS A BOREDOM FACTOR TOO.

THERE IS A BOREDOM FACTOR. I TALKED WITH A TRAVEL WRITER AND SHE ENJOYS CRUISING BUT SHE SAID, YOU KNOW, I CRUISED OUTLET OF SAN DIEGO LOT AND CRUISED THE MEXICAN RIVIERA FOUR TIMES. DO I WANT TO DO IT A FIFTH TIME? I DON'T THINK SO. IT'S THE SAME PORTS. YOU ARE SEEING THE SAME STUFF. ONCE YOU HAVE DONE IT YOU MAY NOT WANT TO DO IT AGAIN.

WHAT ABOUT THE IMPACT OF THE SHIPS LEAVING? HOW DOES THIS EFFECT THE SAN DIEGO ECONOMY? ACCORDING TO THE PORT OF SAN DIEGO, IT HAS A BIG EFFECT. EACH PORT CALL THEY SAY BRINGS ABOUT $2 MILLION IN ECONOMIC IMPACT TO THE LOCAL ECONOMY. NOW IF YOU LOOK AT THIS FISCAL YEAR WHEN THEY ARE EXPECTING 125 PORT CALL THAT ADDS UP TO $254 MILLION. THAT'S A BIG IMPACT ON THE LOCAL ECONOMY. SO IF THE CRUISE BUSINESS GOES DOWN HILL, THAT'S WHAT YOU ARE MISSING.

THANK YOU, TOM FOR JOINING US AND EXPLAINING THAT MORE.

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