These are the busiest cruise ships sailing out of Southern California – Orange County Register

The Mexican Riviera is by far the most popular cruise destination outside of Southern California, accounting for the vast majority of the region’s itineraries. Twenty-two ships, representing a dozen cruise lines, will set sail from these waters to the land of salsa, sombreros and sun this year, and none will be carrying more passengers south of the border in 2023 than the Carnival Radiance.

The fifth-oldest ship in the fleet is scheduled to make 103 round-trip trips from Long Beach to Mexico, and when those trips are at full capacity, 3,873, that’s roughly 400,000 people living on Radiance “la vida loca” for three or four days only this year alone. Despite working 24/7 with no days off, not just until December but until at least May 2024, Radiance should continue to look, well, bright. Originally christened the Carnival Victory in 2000, she was renamed and refitted in 2021, and finally the Check looked better than ever—and bigger than ever.

A popular cruise port on the Mexican Riviera, Cabo San Lucas offers visitors many shore excursion options. (Photo by David Dickstein)
A popular cruise port on the Mexican Riviera, Cabo San Lucas offers visitors many shore excursion options. (Photo by David Dickstein)

All public areas of the ship underwent a $200 million reconstructive operation. What West Coast passengers now see and experience on Radiance’s Ensenada and Catalina Island getaways is a water park, spa, sports complex, main theater and youth facilities that meet the high expectations of today’s consumers. Some of the tastier upgrades include the addition of Big Chicken, home of perhaps the best tenders at sea, along with Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse, Italian restaurant Cucina del Capitano, Bonsai Sushi, and the rum-filled RedFrog Pub.

“Carnival Radiance features all of Carnival’s fan favorites and more,” said Christine Duffy, cruise line president.

Carnival Panorama is one of three cruise ships fully dedicated to south-of-the-border voyages in 2023. (Photo by David Dickstein)
Carnival Panorama is one of three cruise ships fully dedicated to south-of-the-border voyages in 2023. (Photo by David Dickstein)

Sporting the brand’s new red, white and blue exterior livery, the Carnival Radiance defies age alongside its junior bunkcam, the Carnival Panorama. The Panorama, with 4,008 passengers, will make the most week-long round trips to Mexico this year than any other ship. Just as she has done since her maiden voyage in 2019, the third newest ship in the Carnival fleet will rack up major nautical miles, embarking on 52 week-long voyages from Long Beach to the most popular resort towns along Mexico’s west coast.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines' ship Navigator of the Seas is docked in San Pedro. (Photo by Chuck Bennett, Contributing Photographer)
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines’ ship Navigator of the Seas is docked in San Pedro. (Photo by Chuck Bennett, Contributing Photographer)

Across the Vincent Thomas Bridge is another maritime workhorse in the region: Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas is spending another year sailing from San Pedro on three- to seven-night voyages to Baja California and on to sail the Mexican Riviera. The 20-year-old ship went into dry dock four years ago for a $115 million overhaul that included an increase in capacity and tonnage for the second time since her christening. With 76 round trips to Mexico this year, the 4,000-passenger Navigator of the Seas will host more sailing parties than any other ship sailing south from the Port of LA. The world’s largest cruise ship from 2002-05 ranks second overall among ships bound for Mexico in the destination-limited but vital western US market.

With exotic world ports further afield than a cruise that calls in three to seven days on the Pacific Coast, the ideal spot for getaways and family vacations, the region’s most popular sea destinations are Mexico, Alaska and the San Diego Coast and Vancouver. British Columbia. Around 90% of cruises, specifically from Southern California, head for the year-round warmth of our southern neighbor. Itineraries of three or four days from San Pedro and Long Beach usually go all the way to Ensenada to comply with a Civil War-era law requiring ships to make an international call. Five-day sailing trips often take a few hours in Cabo San Lucas, six-day overnight stays, and week-long trips usually add stops in Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlán.

Cabo San Lucas Bay, a tender port, requires (from left) Celebrity Solstice, Carnival Miracle and Discovery Princess to anchor offshore. (Photo by David Dickstein)
Cabo San Lucas Bay, a tender port, requires (from left) Celebrity Solstice, Carnival Miracle and Discovery Princess to anchor offshore. (Photo by David Dickstein)

The more than 200 combined itineraries remaining on the 2023 schedule for Royal Caribbean’s Carnival’s Radiance and Panorama and Navigator of the Seas span the breadth of cruise lengths to Mexico. And while this tireless trio are the only ships fully committed to the destination this year, they don’t have a maritime monopoly on moles, mariachis, and margaritas.

The Discovery Princess is scheduled to make 30 round trips to the Mexican Riviera in 2023. (Photo by David Dickstein)
The Discovery Princess is scheduled to make 30 round trips to the Mexican Riviera in 2023. (Photo by David Dickstein)

Other ships that make waves between Southern California and the Mexican Riviera part of the year include the Carnival Miracle, which operates 36 round-trip cruises, all three to six nights from Long Beach. Excluding cruises to Hawaii, which make a pit stop in Ensenada, the Discovery Princess is the fifth most popular round-trip Mexican itinerary out of the Southland at 30, followed by Disney Wonder (29), Celebrity Solstice (18), Holland Americas Koningsdam (12). , Norwegian Bliss (11) and Celebrity Eclipse (10).

The Mexican Riviera, home to Cabos El Arco, is the most popular cruise destination outside of Southern California. (Photo by David Dickstein)
The Mexican Riviera, home to Cabos El Arco, is the most popular cruise destination outside of Southern California. (Photo by David Dickstein)

With two ships docking in San Pedro in 2023, Celebrity Cruises is hoping their first itineraries to the Mexican Riviera in 15 years will be the start of something great.

“We wanted to expand our brand presence with California travelers with a premium product right in their backyard,” said Elizabeth Oates, Celebrity’s vice president of strategy and innovation. “We felt that the casual elegance of our Solstice Class ships offered the perfect combination of innovation, indulgence and fun for the Californian guest and would take them to Europe, Asia, South America or wherever their travel dreams are in the future , with the brand you associate.”

Captain Charalampos Theocharis of the Celebrity Solstice, which makes round trips from San Pedro to Mexico until April. (Photo by David Dickstein)
Captain Charalampos Theocharis of the Celebrity Solstice, which makes round trips from San Pedro to Mexico until April. (Photo by David Dickstein)

Celebrity Solstice certainly goes well beyond that goal, working non-stop on a dry-dock renovation that has come and gone during the 15-month CDC-imposed shutdown. Duty called for the Solstice to be deployed to the West Coast once cruising resumed, so bye-bye planned major renovation, hello Alaska and the Mexican Riviera. A “complete textile renovation” is almost complete, so soon all cabins on Solstice will have new carpets, curtains and furniture – all being installed while passengers are on board, although you’d never know. Ninjas must be on Celebrity’s payroll as Captain Charalampos Theocharis twice had to reassure that renovations were underway during the first full itinerary of the new year.

“The people who work day and night to ensure our guests have a great experience without inconvenience deserve my respect and appreciation,” Theocharis said on a day at sea between calls to Cabo and Ensenada. “While every ship on every cruise line operates 365 days a year except for rare times, Solstice and other ships sailing to Mexico may be even busier. We have found that the year-round warm weather on the Mexican Riviera makes passengers onboard more involved and active.”

if you go

Carnival Cruise Line — carnival.com

Celebrity Cruises — celebritycruises.com

Disney cruise line — disneycruiseline.com

Holland America Line — hollandamerica.com

Norwegian cruise line — ncl.com

Princess Cruises – prinzessin.com

Royal Caribbean International — royalcaribbean.com

https://www.ocregister.com/2023/01/11/travel-these-are-the-busiest-cruise-ships-sailing-out-of-southern-california/ These are the busiest cruise ships sailing out of Southern California – Orange County Register

Adam Bradshaw

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