San Diego, California
Name: Port of San Diego, B Street Terminal
Address: 3165 Pacific Highway, San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 686-6200 or (800) 854-2757
The San Diego airport is just ten minutes from the cruise terminal.
San Diego is due south of Los Angeles and about an hour’s drive from the Mexican border. The terminal is virtually in downtown San Diego, just minutes walk from the city’s old town and its wonderful restaurants and small boutiques. The Port of San Diego welcomes over 190 cruise ships throughout the year and the B Street Cruise Ship Terminal is conveniently located in the very heart of thriving, vibrant downtown San Diego and is a short distance from numerous attractions.
In San Diego there’s a hotel to suit every budget and taste in the downtown area and even outside the immediate downtown region you’ll find B&Bs, small and affordable boutique hotels and inns. Holiday Inn, Best Western, Quality Inn, Hilton, Sheraton, Marriott and Hyatt are just a few of the major brands in the downtown area.
There is also the recently renovated the Horton Grand, a Victorian-era wonderland with four-poster beds, hand-carved armoires, costumed attendants, liveried bellmen and afternoon tea. The elegant W San Diego is located in downtown San Diego near Little Italy and just minutes from the Gaslamp Quarter.
The illustrious Hotel del Coronado, located across the bridge in Coronado, is easily San Diego’s most famous hotel. This national historic landmark, the oldest continually operating wooden-built hotel in the United States, sits on the beach.
For something completely different, try the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club Apartments in nearby La Jolla, or the Britt Scripps Inn minutes by cab from downtown San Diego. One of the finest examples of Victorian architecture in San Diego, the three-story Britt Scripps Inn has been completely restored to authentically reflect the craftsmanship and rich heritage of the late 1800s. The Queen Anne-style Victorian Inn, with its nine private rooms and bathrooms, combines turn-of-the century style and grandeur with contemporary luxury and personalized service.
San Diego is more than just a city. It’s also a region that has a multitude of history and activities. The city itself is arguably the West Coast’s most people-friendly with a downtown that has been painstakingly renovated and restored to its previous glory.
California’s second largest city, it has 70 miles of beaches and a gentle Mediterranean climate that offers year-round activities.
It is also one of the west coast’s major arts communities with theater, music and art attracting visitors from around the nation. It has 15 museums, numerous art galleries, and five theaters including the Old Globe Theatre.
San Diego County’s 4,200 square miles offers immense options for pleasure while awaiting your cruise of afterwards. The County encompasses 18 incorporated cities and numerous other charming neighborhoods and communities, including downtown’s historic Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy, Coronado, La Jolla, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Escondido, La Mesa, Hillcrest, Barrio Logan and Chula Vista, just to name a few.
Popular attractions in and around the city include the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park and Sea World San Diego. (Legoland is an hour north.) In San Diego’s East County, the terrain varies from gentle foothills to mile-high mountains and the historic mining town, Julian, down to the 600,000-acre Anza Borrego Desert State Park, offering nature-conscious visitors endless opportunities to hike, camp, fish, observe wildlife and much more.
San Diego’s North County embraces an agricultural community that produces quantities of flowers and magnificent produce. Wine growers are also making a mark by growing and harvesting quality grapes that become excellent wines, which are served at some of the most elegant restaurants and resorts in the region.
Along the west, 70 miles of Pacific Ocean coastline not only supports year-round outdoor recreation, such as surfing, boating, sailing and swimming, but also important scientific research at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. To the south, Mexico has its own cultural offerings in various towns along the border and coastline, including Tijuana, Rosarito and Ensenada.
San Diego County also features 92 golf courses and a variety of exciting participatory and spectator sports, beachfront resorts and luxury spas, gaming, a dynamic downtown district, annual special events and unique holiday offerings, multicultural festivals and celebrations, colorful neighborhoods and communities, a rich military history and much more.
But the heart and soul of the city and region is to be found just minutes from the cruise terminal in the Gaslight District, a 16-1/2-block urban neighborhood, and a showplace of what urban restoration can accomplish. You could easily spend an entire day in the Quarter, where classic Victorian buildings are home to 100 retail shops, 100 restaurants and 35 bars and nightclubs.
Near the cruise terminal itself is Seaport Village, filled with fun shops and boutiques in a Cape Cod-esque seaport setting. Try the old (1895) carousel featuring a full menagerie of animals including an elephant, a giraffe, camels, a dragon, galloping horses and more.
San Diego’s arts and culture are booming. Balboa Park, the largest urban cultural park in the U.S., is home to 15 museums, numerous art galleries, beautiful gardens, the Tony award-winning Globe Theater and the world-famous San Diego Zoo. The San Diego Museum of Art and San Diego Natural History Museum are highlights, as well as the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center and the historic Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Balboa Park also has glorious flora and fauna, particularly the Inez Rose Parker Memorial Rose Garden and the Japanese Friendship Garden.
One of the newest cultural facilities is the Children’s Museum/Museo de los Ninos San Diego Muse, a state-of-the-art $25 million facility in downtown San Diego. It includes a dramatic three-story atrium, 17-foot concrete entrance bridge, six interior and two exterior galleries for hands-on art experimentation, two birthday party rooms, 250-seat-theater and an indoor/outdoor café. Located across from the Muse is a one-acre park specifically designed for children with three shade-covered play spaces and an interactive cargo net climbing structure.
Near the cruise ship terminal is the USS Midway, the longest-serving carrier in the history of the U.S. Navy. Today it’s a museum, tribute and education center and already the most-visited of more than 100 historic ship museums in the continental United States.
La Jolla, the Palm Beach of the San Diego area, is actually is part of the city itself although it likes to think of itself as being far removed from the mundane and ordinary – which it is. This is where you go for luxury resorts that cater to the rich and famous, but you’ll find it extremely accessible.
Its upscale shops include Anne Taylor and Armani Exchange for clothing, several very upscale antique shops and at least two specialty cigar stores. Some of the restaurants that look over the rocky bluffs to the sea are Tapenade or Nine-Ten, two of the finest (and priciest). If you’re really adventurous, you can climb the rocks surrounding Black’s Beach, which allows nude sunbathing. La Jolla is a 25-minute drive north of the cruise dock by taxi.
Adjacent to the Cruise Ship Terminal, passengers can board the San Diego Coronado Ferry and cruise across San Diego Bay to spend the day in Coronado. Orange Avenue, the city’s charming main thoroughfare, was awarded the Great American Main Street Award in 2000, and the village’s “downtown” is home to quaint shops, fine dining and the award-winning Lamb’s Players Theater.
Things to do:
Walk the beaches. At the beach that fronts the city of La Jolla, north of San Diego, you can walk past the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and beneath the cliffs of Torrey Pines, through a nude beach area and all the way up to Laguna if you wish.
Passengers interested in visiting one of San Diego’s major attractions can take a walk on the wild side at the San Diego Zoo, a 100-acre tropical oasis located in the middle of Balboa Park. Home to 4,000 animals of 800 rare and exotic species, the zoo is world-renowned for it s bio-climatic exhibits, including the new Absolutely Apes, Hippo Beach and Polar Bear Plunge, to name a few. The zoo is also home to four popular giant pandas — Mei Sheng, Bai Yun, Gao Gao, and Su Lin — and is one of only four facilities in the United States to house this critically endangered species. You can take a guided bus tour for a great overview of the zoo.
SeaWorld San Diego, located just north of downtown San Diego on Mission Bay, also offers close encounters of the animal kind, but in an aquatic setting. SeaWorld San Diego is the first SeaWorld park in the nation and home to Shamu, the world-famous killer whale. The park features six major animal shows, dozens of fascinating exhibits containing marine life from around the globe and the new thrill ride Journey to Atlantis.
Shoppers will love Horton Plaza, a colorful outdoor shopping experience covering seven city blocks in downtown located within a 10 minute walk of the Cruise Ship Terminal. Known for its M.C. Escher-like architecture, Horton Plaza features more than 140 stores, including Nordstrom and Macy’s.
Special Places: San Diego is close to Tijuana, Mexico, one of the world’s most visited cities. Tijuana is conveniently located 17 miles from downtown San Diego, a perfect daytrip for guests looking for an affordable international adventure. The border city bustles with activity day and night, offering duty-free shopping, authentic Mexican cuisine, dog racing, arts and culture, nightlife and more. The rich and colorful culture of Tijuana can be discovered on Avenida Revolucion, the city’s lively main thoroughfare, where shopping opportunities abound in festive outdoor bazaars and plazas (www.tijuanaonline.org).
The easiest way to visit Tijuana is via the San Diego Trolley’s Blue Line, which runs from downtown San Diego to the U.S./Mexico border. The total ride time one-way is approximately 40 minutes. Or take an organized tour, offered by several companies.
Cabrillo National Monument, situated on the Point Loma peninsula at the entrance to San Diego Bay, commemorates the first European exploration of the U.S. West Coast by Portuguese navigator Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo; he discovered San Diego Bay on September 28, 1542. Cabrillo National Monument is the third most visited national monument in the U.S. and includes the Old Point Loma Lighthouse.
— Ray Chatelin