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3 Cruise Ships Pull Into San Diego Port Thursday

Three ships together carrying more than 6,000 passengers will pull in today at the unofficial start of the Port of San Diego's "Cruise Season,'' giving at least a one-day boost to a local industry battered by the poor economy and safety fears about Mexico.

Two ships from Holland America, Westerdam and Statendam, and one from Princess Cruises, Sapphire Princess, will tie up along North Harbor Drive, which port officials said could be very busy during the day. The vessels will bring a combined 6,300 passengers to San Diego.

The state of the economy has prompted cruise lines to shift their ships elsewhere around the world.

The regular run by the Carnival Spirit from San Diego down Mexico's western coastline has been limited to only a few months early next year, and the shipping company plans to subsequently transfer the vessel to Australia.

Other cruise companies have also lowered the number of San Diego port calls because more money can be made overseas and travelers are worried about going to Mexico because of crime, according to the port district.

The port estimates that each visit by a cruise ship has a local economic impact of $2 million.

Today is the unofficial kickoff to Cruise ship season in San Diego. Two ships from Holland America and one from Princess Cruises brought a combined 6,300 passengers to San Diego.

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