Introducing San Diego
San Diego, the Golden State's oldest, second largest and south-most city is celebrated for its perfect climate, miles of beaches, and southerly location on the border with Mexico, adjacent to Tijuana. Originally San Diego started as an insignificant Spanish settlement, founded in the early nineteenth century, and for over a hundred years developed relatively slowly, until the 1940s, when the population boomed. San Diego bay is fabulous for sailing, and the city has a rich maritime heritage – here you'll find the base for the Pacific Fleet of the United States Navy. Today the visitor will find a city that mixes contemporary urban design with historical Spanish architecture, sparkling sea views to the west coast with barren, rocky hills to the east, and haute-cuisine restaurants, with characterful tortillarias.
San Diego Cruise Port
The Cruise Ship Terminal is located at North Harbor Drive at the B Street Pier, very near to the city center. The cruise ship terminal is a modern building with the usual variety of facilities for cruise passengers. The wharfs at the cruise port are numbered in the following way. Wharfs on the north of B Street pier are one and two, on the west three, and on the southside four and five. The wharfs on the Broadway pier are numbered identically. On both piers, wharfs one and two are combined to dock a large cruise ship, similarly four and five. Berth three is kept for shorter vessels. Thus the port has the ability overall to dock four large cruise ships simultaniously. A second terminal is being built on Broadway pier, due to open in 2010.
5 Best Things to Do in San Diego (Editor's choice!)
When planning a cruise trip from San Diego, make sure to spend a day at one or other end of your vacation exploring the city. Highlights include
1 USS Midway Museum
Walk south for just 5 minutes on North Harbor Drive from the cruise port toward the awe-inspiring carrier ship, named the USS Midway, docked at the Navy pier. Visit the USS Midway Museum to find out about the city's unique naval tradition.
2 Coronado Beach
Catch a short ferry to Coronado island. A quick cab ride across the barrier island will get you to the island's beach, a lovely stretch of fine, white sand on the ocean's coastline. Tour famous Hotel del Coronado, an unique example of a Victorian beach hotel.
3 San Diego Zoo
San Diego Zoo, located in Balboa Park, is internationally renamed for its design and astonishing collection of animals. There are over seven hundred different species, who live in a creatively landscaped 100 acre park. Favorites are the Polar Bear Plunge, the Gorilla Tropics and Tiger RIver. Children will enjoy the animal infant nursery and petting zoo.
4 Gaslamp Quarter
The Gaslamp Quarter is possibly the city's most characterful section. The original buildings date to the mid 19th century. Enjoy your visit to a cluster of fashion shops, restaurants, galleries, bars, sidewalk cafes, jazz clubs and nightclubs with a romantic Victorian feeling mixed with a modern buzz. The quarter is also a center for big parties, from music and food festivals to St Patricks Day.
5 Spanish Missions
San Diego has twenty one missions, established over two centuries ago. The major task of the missions was converting the native Indians to religion. The first ever, known as the Mother of the Missions, is the Mission San Diego de Alcala. This was founded in the late 18th century by Padre Junipero Serra. A few years after completion the mission was torched in a rifle, but it was quickly rebuilt.
Picking A Cruise From San Diego
Pick from an amazing variety of cruises. Possibilities include the Mexican Riviera, the Hawaiian islands, or trans Panama canal voyages to Florida. For experienced cruisers more far-flung routes to the South Pacific or South America are a possibility.
A typical Mexican Riviera itinerary offering would be visiting Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco, Zihuataneojo, and Manzanillo (11 Night Mexican Riviera from Royal Caribbean).
Travelling to San Diego Cruise Port
From the Airport
The cruise terminal is a quick ten minute cab journey from the Airport. Taxicab pick-up areas are easy to find on the forecourts of each of the three airport terminals.
Amtrak's major San Diego terminus, the Santa Fe Depot, is only a fifth of a mile away from the cruise port, so you can walk or take a taxi. If you are walking, travel west on Broadway toward the waterfront. When you reach the bay, the cruise port is easy to see.
If traveling south on Interstate 5, continue along the highway into downtown San Diego. Turn off at Sassafras, signed to the airport. Follow Kettner for three-quarters mile, until you reach Laurel. Make a right on Laurel and carry on until Harbor Drive. Make a left to join Harbor Drive. The cruise ship port is half a mile on your righthand side.
If traveling north on Interstate 5, continue along the highway into central San Diego. Exit at Hawthorn, signed to the airport. Continue along Hawthorn to Harbor Drive. Here, make a left. The cruise ship port is one-half mile on your righthand side. Numerous parking lots are available. It's a good idea to arrange parking in advance.