In the early days of the pandemic, a cruise ship that would become one of the bellwethers of the outbreak, the Grand Princess, docked in the Bay Area carrying dozens of infected passengers. It was one of the last cruise ships in the world to operate before the global shutdown of the coronavirus.
Now, a year and a half later, cruise ships will once again take off and land at the port of San Francisco.
On Monday, the Majestic Princess, leaving the port of Los Angeles, will be the first to dock in the Bay Area since the Grand Princess’s disastrous voyage in March 2020.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed said in a statement that she was “excited to welcome the cruise back to our port and visitors back to our city.”
According to the mayor’s office, the port is expecting 21 cruises in the remainder of the year and a record 127 in 2022.
The return of the cruise, Ms Breed said, could help the city’s economy, which has been hurt by the loss of revenue from the thousands of tourists arriving in the city by ships.
According to the mayor’s office, when the largest ships dock, they bring more than 6,000 people to the city’s cruise terminal. Before the pandemic, port properties generated $4 billion a year for the city, $117 million for Northern California, and more than 16,000 jobs for San Francisco and Northern California combined, city figures show.
Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line, the world’s three largest cruise companies, lost about $900 million each month during the pandemic, according to credit rating agency Moody’s.
Cruise lines have now begun welcoming passengers for American sailings, and this summer, demand has exceeded supply.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided a comprehensive list of measures cruise ships can take to reduce the spread of COVID, including requiring passengers to show proof of vaccination or provide negative tests.
Joe D’Alessandro, president of the San Francisco Travel Association, said in a statement that “the return of cruises to and from San Francisco is an important step in our recovery and another positive sign for the city’s tourism and hospitality industry.”