SAN DIEGO -- The largest cruise ship San Diego has ever seen docked at the Embarcadero Wednesday morning due to Hurricane Willa and a tropical storm.
The Norwegian Bliss parked next to the Port of San Diego around 7 a.m. Those aboard were originally expected to go on a Mexican Riviera tour, but the cruise liner made other arrangements when it learned of the bad weather.
Norwegian Cruise Line released a statement:
“The safety and security of our guests and crew is always our top priority. Due to Hurricane Willa and Tropical Storm Vincente in the Eastern Pacific, we modified Norwegian Bliss’ itinerary from Los Angeles. During this sailing, Norwegian Bliss calls to San Francisco and San Diego, California and Ensenada, Mexico. Guests were notified of the change as soon as our operations team was able to confirm the modified itinerary. Our team is working to ensure the best vacation experience possible given these weather-related changes. We will continue to closely monitor the storms and provide additional updates as they become available. We apologize for any inconvenience or disappointment these weather-related changes may cause.”
The Port of San Diego said it is certainly not mad about the change of direction.
“It’s a big deal because whenever San Diego has a new ship or a new cruise line that comes in it gives San Diego a chance to show off what we have,” said Adam Deaton, Port of San Diego spokesman. “It’s really about the economic impact for San Diego. That’s why we do it at the Port of San Diego. A home port vessel, that’s a vessel that begins or ends in San Diego is about $2-million dollars per call. These visitation vessels which just come for the day bring guests [and] generate about $600,000 dollars on average per visit."
Deaton said San Diego could see even more money than that with hundreds of more people hopping off the incoming ship.
Hazelwoods on the Bay Cafe is across the street from where the big boat docked. Employees were excited when FOX 5 told them Tuesday about the unexpected visit.
“We were prepared to be really slow this week and tomorrow I just doubled the staff,” General Manager Christina Brenner said. “It’s a good surprise."
The ship is more than 1,000 feet long and holds more than 4,000 guests.
The boat left San Diego Wednesday evening to make its way to Ensenada, Mexico.