Are Cruise Ships Coming Back to Santa Barbara?

By an edhat reader

This week’s harbor commission agenda item will receive a presentation on the current status of the Cruise Ship Program, discuss, and provide recommendations to staff as necessary. (More information here)

The agenda states:

After two years of cancelled visits, the Waterfront Department currently has 24 cruise ship calls on the schedule for this spring. The first call of the season is March 16, 2022. In addition to new health and safety protocols and procedures instituted by the cruise lines, the Waterfront Department is initiating new shore side protocols including:

  • Requiring masks be worn by all staff and volunteers

  • Strongly recommending COVID vaccinations and boosters for all staff and volunteers

    involved in the Cruise Ship Program

  • Installation of hand sanitizing stations in the Cruise Ship Area

  • Requiring rental of portable restrooms for ships over 1000-person capacity

    The Waterfront Department continues to work with the Cruise Industry and our local and state health authorities to fully evaluate when it is safe to resume the cruise ship program in Santa Barbara. 

Here is the Harbor Commission agenda to start on Thursday, January 20th at 6:30 p.m. (virtual participation instructions as well):


Written by Anonymous

What do you think?


0 Comments deleted by Administrator

Leave a Review or Comment


  1. The only way I find this acceptable is if the passengers are given rapid tests immediately prior to boarding the boats to come to shore. Currently, passengers are only required to be “fully vaccinated” (with no mention of whether that includes a booster), and to test negative before the cruise starts, which is basically moot unless we are the very first stop for every ship. I do have high hopes that omicron is going to dissipate as quickly as it has spread, however we need to act as if it won’t and make rules accordingly. I am not impressed with the current plan detailed in this press release. The CDC has stated that cruise ships are basically the #1 worst environment for COVID spread. The revenue is enticing, but is it worth the spread (read: continual opportunities for mutation and a new super-variant)? I don’t think so.

  2. Ridiculous idea!!! The New Major,… not good for Santa Barbara. .. #1 way to shut down
    the area is to bring covid-19 ships to town. Cruise ship after cruise ship have caused the spread of covid, as recent as NOW…
    Do we now have a Major who is going to push money over health … resulting in higher expense for the City? We don’t need floating S***t houses…. as well as the ships dumping there crap in the ocean.

  3. A serious case of “Don’t Look Up” by the City Major…..
    The review, published in Marine Pollution Bulletin, finds that cruising is a major source of environmental pollution and degradation, with air, water, soil, fragile habitats and areas and wildlife affected.
    The research also finds that the cruise ship industry is a potential source of physical and mental human health risks, to passengers, staff and land-based residents who live near ports or work in shipyards. Risks to specific groups include the spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19 outbreaks widely reported on some cruise ships. The review also found evidence of the impacts of noise and air pollution on health, and difficult working environments for boat and shipyard staff potentially resulting in injury and mental health issues.
    The review combines evidence from more than 200 research papers on the health of people and the environment in different oceans and seas around the world. The research was conducted by a collaboration spanning Spain, Croatia and the UK.
    First author Dr. Josep Lloret, of the University of Girona, said: “Our paper highlights that cruising is a prime example of how the fates of our health and our environments are intertwined. Up until now, most studies have looked at aspects of this in isolation. Our review is the most comprehensive to date to combine these research fields and take a holistic view of how cruising damage our environments and our health. We now need global legislation to minimise damage on both our oceans and our health.”

  4. nah this stinks…no way. first off, the cruise passengers are NOT spending in town. There is no retail for them to spend it on and do you think they are going to shore to eat when they have all you can eat food on the ship which they already paid for? Nope. So then what? A santa Barbara tshirt, a postcard, an overpriced ice cream cone from the wharf then back to the ship. meanwhile they spread their germs all over SB and then I get laid off again at the next lockdown. stupid.

  5. Most likely the total number of ship visits will be 30-32. The local ecini.y desperately needs the money the ships bring in, which keeps hundreds, if not thousands of folks employed. No measurable greater risk to anyone whether they visit or not. I would rather we have happy touri$t$ than angry ones!

  6. In case you hadn’t noticed, omicron breaks through vaccine (and natural) immunity at fairly high rates. The less the virus spreads, the fewer variants will arise. Yes, we will probably all get Covid-19 at some point, and vaccinated people are less likely to die. But right now we need to work on the old “flatten the curve” thing. And we still want to reduce spread, to reduce mutations.

  7. Will people not take this stuff seriously! I do not travel much. If I do it is to small venues or to see a few people I know who are responsible. I do not mingle in crowds with hundreds of folks I do not know. I do not want to import reckless folks to my backyard and people who think going on a closed and tight ship in these times are definitionally reckless. It seems every day we read of new cruise ships with infections requiring them to isolate and often to return to their home port. The only reason for this seems to be to gin up some traffic on State Street. I thus will avoid State Street even more than I do now. But as noted, the amount of money spent by these day trippers is so small there must be another rationale. Does the city profit from fees to allow these ships to visit? Is this to get their revenue up, damn the people of the town? Seems likely.

  8. But how does stopping a thousand fully vaccinated old people who tested negative from stopping in sb help?? There is more than that in from LA hanging out in the 400-600 block alone of state street partying every night … and they are untested and obviously no vaccination record is checked. TKe a step back and realize the silliness of this faux outrage.

  9. So wrong for many reasons. Money , or the hope of making it, is what drives way too many decisions in SB….ironic since WE pay the price of the pollution and the coveted tourists spend at Marshall’s. Time for the citizens to loudly protest.

  10. Fernald is correct.
    And ACHOO isn’t. ‘Slowing down the spread/flattening the curve’ as ACHOO suggests is actually even more likely to give a virus a chance to mutate. That’s how viruses work. Virology 101.

  11. I live here and like seeing a boat out there every once in awhile. I have no interest in going on one, but it’s actually low impact tourism on sb. They don’t use much water or add to the traffic. It’s a tourist destination… and this is a very mild and low impact way to bring 1500 people to sb for the day.
    Once a week for 6 months sounds good… win-win!

  12. I’m no virologist and don’t pretend to be. But my understanding is that viruses mutate when they replicate. The more they replicate, the more they mutate. That could happen a lot in a short period of time, or the same amount over a long period of time. Ideally we will get a vaccine that prevents transmission. Until then, stopping transmission by other methods seems like a wise move.

  13. Wrong. They only replicate within people they’ve infected. The whole premise of flatten the curve is tamping down the infection rate, through vaccination and nonpharmaceutical interventions. The fewer people who are infected, the less chance for variants to arise. The shorter the infection in an individual, thanks to vaccination, the less chance for a variant to arise. That is truly basic virology, which you don’t understand at all.

  14. 1105am – You are right…it is apples to oranges! The cruise ships are requiring vaccination and negative tests while the bars and nightclubs are doing neither. So it truly is apples to oranges…just the complete opposite of the way you are stating it.

  15. BC, wrong. That number is so inflated, the local business need the money? Which business are you referring to? It’s not retail as we hardly have any. So they will line up at what…Marshalls? Or buy some sunglasses from the christian guy, or maybe something from World Market? A deck of cards from the Game Keeper? Food and drink? They already pay for that on the ship and they get as much as they want. Our restaurants aren’t all that good anyway. I have sat down with the business director at the waterfront. he’s delusional and thinks millions are spent on retail in town. although he couldn’t produce any evidence of this, nor did he have data to back it up.
    Want to know what I think? Ok i didn’t think so, but i’m going to tell ya anyway…i think that guy is getting paid by the industry lobbyists to bring the boats to town.
    I’ve talked to several restaraunt owners and know what? They haven’t ever seen 1 cruise ship customer. These are places on lower State near the beach, and places along downtown state too.

  16. You are exaggerating a little bit, but only a little bit. If it wasn’t clear a year ago, it’s quite clear now. Covid19 is becoming endemic and sooner or later most people will be exposed periodically. New vaccine variants to address new disease variants will help just as the do now for the influenza strains that circulate continually but eventually we will move back to life as it was with a few adjustments. For one thing, I suspect that mask-wearing for sick or vulnerable people will not be so stigmatized in our society in the future. Second, there will now be another vaccination that we are going to be encouraged to take every year. On a positive note, what we have learned from addressing Covid19 may result in effective vaccines for the common cold and in more viable treatments for routine viral infections.

  17. I would love another 1,000 people a week to come visit. Let them experience our wonderful town. Tourists bring much needed revenue to our local businesses and city coffers. Many who come by ship will come back later. I’ve taken many cruise and generally drop a couple hundred $ at every port of call.
    Covid is of no concern at all. Get on with your lives. Live with Covid not in fear of it.

  18. Floating Petri dishes. Maybe the next tsunami will take one out. Great idea for a disaster movie. I own a business on State Street and have watched in the past how the passengers are placed on shuttles right at the harbor and taken all around town, the mission etc. and have very little time to actually shop and spend money here. I’ve seen it time and again.

  19. I am a contractor that works on container ships and mostly cruise ships. I can tell you that nothing is cleaner than a cruise ship galley, restroom or cabin. The lengths they go to protect against the virus and to board the ship is annoying at times but I don’t let it bother me. I do not consider cruising my type of vacation however if you ban cruise ships then how about flying? Or hotels?

  20. DAVID – “Covid is of no concern at all.” – Tell that to the spouses, children, parents, siblings, friends of the 842,873 people who have died from it in the US as of January 12. Who the he** do you think you are?

  21. No herd immunity so far. Those that are infected get reinfected. How many shots (pun) will it take for us to develop herd immunity from exposure? We know that death and serious illness is much more associated with the unvaccinated (including those with a hx of covid itself). Deny science/medicine and learn the lessons of the plague years all over.

  22. Duke : Typical “whaddabout this” comparing apples and oranges. Bars and restaurants are already here, employ locals, pay taxes. Floating bars, restaurants don’t, and are also proven disease vectors. Who needs to add contamination, pollution and extra crowds?

  23. Curious to hear from the folks who disagreed with my 9:15am comment. What do you disagree with? The fact that 842,873 people in the US are dead from COVID or that their spouses, children, parents, siblings, friends should might have been concerned? Come on, man up and tell us what’s wrong there.

  24. I think you nailed it Shasta! Want to live in a place that ferociously fights against change and innovation? Want the join a community that ostracizes anyone who dares to think differently? Are you a dedicated believer in NIMBYism? Do you like to get all authoritarian and force other people to comport with your beliefs? Santa Karen is the city for you!

  25. SacJon: It was the added “Who the he** do you think you are?” sentence that was offensive. In my opinion, unnecessary and petty. It’s a comment board for commenting, and not a dialogue back-n-forth kind of thing. Adding questions in comments is a cry for a response….and that response is often just another piece of fodder to be mocked. I made my living as an artist for many years, and never once did I ask anyone if they liked it or what they thought about it. When someone bought my art, I assumed that they liked it. If they did not buy my art, I never assumed that they did not like my art.

A Trip to the Gibraltar Dam

Major Traffic Collision on Hwy 101 near Gaviota