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Cruises to San Diego

San Diego (Photo:littleny/Shutterstock)
San Diego (Photo:littleny/Shutterstock)

About San Diego

California's second largest city, San Diego is located at the foot of the state's scenic coastline, where it enjoys more than 300 days of sunshine a year. The metropolitan area is an inviting mix of city chic and beach casual, with plenty of recreational opportunities ranging from sailing across a sparking bay to hiking in the Cuyamaca Mountains.

San Diego is home to diverse nationalities, including Pacific Islanders, Asians, Hispanics, Middle Easterners and Europeans. It is most heavily influenced by its Spanish and Mexican roots. Visitors will discover this as they explore Balboa Park, munch tacos and take note of Spanish street names.

Shaped by canyons, flat lands and rolling hills, the city's numerous neighborhoods have distinct ethnic and cultural identities. Many of the most dynamic, including Old Town, Point Loma, Hillcrest and North Park, are within eight miles of the cruise terminal. Equally close is funky Ocean Beach, one of the last authentic California beach towns. Several other popular destinations -- like the Gaslamp Quarter and Little Italy -- are an easy walk from the port. Just a few miles from the bay is Balboa Park, the nation's largest urban cultural park, home to the Old Globe Theater and world-renowned San Diego Zoo.

For those who arrive or depart and have time on their hands, day trips abound. Take the kids to SeaWorld to pet dolphins or to colorful Legoland in Carlsbad. Enjoy a round of golf at world-famous Torrey Pines followed by a gourmet dinner overlooking the sea in La Jolla. Bet on the ponies during the summer racing season in Del Mar. Less than an hour's drive from the city, taste wine in Temecula's wine country, or camp overnight with lions, tigers and giraffes at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido.

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DAY 1: Vancouver

7 Night
Cruise to San Diego

Leaving:
Vancouver
Visiting:
Victoria, San Francisco ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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DAY 1: San Diego

11 Night
Cruise to San Diego

Leaving:
San Diego
Visiting:
Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Quetzal ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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DAY 4: Puntarenas

12 Night
Cruise to San Diego

Leaving:
Panama City
Visiting:
Panama Canal, Puntarenas ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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DAY 1: San Diego

5 Night
Cruise to San Diego

Leaving:
San Diego
Visiting:
Cabo San Lucas, Ensenada ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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10 Night
Cruise to San Diego

Leaving:
San Diego
Visiting:
Santa Barbara, Monterey ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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15 Night
Cruise to San Diego

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
Visiting:
Cartagena, Colon ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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15 Night
Cruise to San Diego

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Cartagena, Panama Canal ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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17 Night
Cruise to San Diego

Leaving:
San Francisco
Visiting:
San Diego, Cabo San Lucas ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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15 Night
Cruise to San Diego

Leaving:
San Diego
Visiting:
Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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18 Night
Cruise to San Diego

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Key West, Grand Cayman ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to San Diego

Leaving:
San Diego
Visiting:
Seattle, Juneau ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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9 Night
Cruise to San Diego

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Catalina Island, Ensenada ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to San Diego

Leaving:
San Diego
Visiting:
Santa Barbara, Monterey ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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9 Night
Cruise to San Diego

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Catalina Island, Ensenada ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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32 Night
Cruise to San Diego

Leaving:
San Diego
Visiting:
Hilo, Honolulu ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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16 Night
Cruise to San Diego

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Cartagena, Colon ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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Cruise Critic Favorite

11 Night
Cruise to San Diego

Leaving:
Vancouver
Visiting:
Victoria, San Diego ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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Cruise Critic Favorite

7 Night
Cruise to San Diego

Leaving:
San Diego
Visiting:
Santa Barbara, Los Angeles ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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7 Night
Cruise to San Diego

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
San Francisco, Monterey ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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2 Night
Cruise to San Diego

Leaving:
San Diego
Visiting:
Ensenada ...
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Cruise Line:
Disney Cruise Line
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18 Night
Cruise to San Diego

Leaving:
San Diego
Visiting:
Hilo, Kona ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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16 Night
Cruise to San Diego

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
Visiting:
Aruba, Panama Canal ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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14 Night
Cruise to San Diego

Leaving:
San Diego
Visiting:
Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta ...
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Cruise Line:
Disney Cruise Line
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3 Night
Cruise to San Diego

Leaving:
San Diego
Visiting:
Ensenada ...
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Cruise Line:
Disney Cruise Line
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18 Night
Cruise to San Diego

Leaving:
San Diego
Visiting:
Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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Why go to San Diego?

Pros:

The Port of San Diego is located right downtown, in California's sunny second-largest city

Cons:

Itineraries are somewhat limited to the Mexican Riviera and coastal cruises

Bottom Line:

It's a beautiful city with optimal weather and anything you want to do is a trolley ride away

San Diego Cruise Port Facilities?

There are no cafes, gift shops, ATMs or visitor information booths inside the cruise ship terminal; however, just outside the terminal is the International Visitors Center where multilingual staff and volunteers have information on activities, attractions, lodging and dining options, as well as maps and discounted tickets. The center is open seven days a week.

Good to Know?

Trips to Tijuana or other nearby Mexican beach towns can be problematic, especially on ship departure days. Border crossings are long and unpredictable, and violence and crime, plus rising prices for everything from tequila to sombreros, act to deter even savvy locals from making the trip.

Getting Around?

Taxis and airport shuttles will be plentiful at the port, airport or at downtown hotels. The port offers a list of shuttle services you can arrange in advance.

On Foot: From the port, it is a short walk to harbor attractions, the Gaslamp Quarter and Little Italy. If you're feeling adventurous, licensed pedicabs lined up at the port and around downtown can be fun transportation along the harbor and into the Gaslamp Quarter. Make sure the fee is agreed to in advance.

By Bus: The hop-on, hop-off (HOHO) Old Town Trolley is an efficient way to see highlights of downtown, Coronado, Balboa Park, Little Italy and Old Town. Along the way, drivers entertain with colorful history (and some tall tales). There are several pick-up stops downtown and free shuttle service to the trolley from select hotels.

City bus service in San Diego is fairly complicated and slow and not recommended for visitors, unless they want to see some of the city's diverse residential areas.

By Car: Taxis are plentiful, but expensive; so for longer visits, a rental car might be a better option. The city's network of freeways is fairly easy to navigate, but avoid the rush hours of 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

By Rail: For just-beyond attractions like Old Town and Mission Valley, there is a light-rail service from several downtown stops. The Coaster commuter train from downtown to Oceanside is no-hassle transportation to north county beach cities, including Encinitas and Carlsbad Village where the station stops are convenient to beaches, restaurants and shops.

During the summer horse racing season, there's a Pony Express train to Del Mar. The train leaves from the historic Santa Fe Depot near the port on Kettner Boulevard several times daily. Roundtrip fare is $8 to $11 depending on the destination.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The currency is the U.S. dollar, and ATMs are readily available throughout the city and just off the cruise terminal.

Language?

English is spoken everywhere, including in the tourist-friendly areas of Baja, Mexico.

Where You're Docked?

San Diego Cruise Port Address:
B Street Cruise Ship Terminal, 1140 North Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101

Cruise ships dock at the B Street Cruise Ship Terminal in San Diego harbor at the bayside entrance to downtown. It's a 20-minute walk to the bustling Gaslamp Quarter and 15 minutes to trendy Little Italy or the novelty shops at Seaport Village.


Awards and Recognition

Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Destination

  • 2017 Top-Rated US & Canada Destinations
  • 2016 Top-Rated US & Canada Destinations
  • 2015 Top-Rated US & Canada Destinations

San Diego Cruise Reviews

Celebrity Eclipse
packedcountdown
Sail Date: Nov 2019
So much to do in San Diego - something for everyone.... Read More
Hogladyrider
Sail Date: Feb 2020
We strolled along the San Diego Harbor boardwalk and enjoyed a tasty meal at Mitch's on the harbor waterfront.... Read More
Carnival Miracle
Osoyoos Tommy
Sail Date: Feb 2020
Really enjoyed San Diego. We are making plans to return for a week or so.... Read More
ElEl
Sail Date: Jan 2020
Great city to begin a cruise. We arrived 3 days early in order to enjoy San Diego a bit before our cruise.... Read More
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