Big Boats, Big Money

Sapphire Princess cruise ship drops anchor for the day off the coast of Santa Barbara, CA Dec. 19, 2010
Paul Wellman

Despite the rain, nearly 4,000 passengers and crewmembers spent 12/19 shopping around town during the fifth stop of the Sapphire Princess—of Princess Cruise Lines—in Santa Barbara. South Coast business owners said they welcomed the swarm, as each couple reportedly spends an average of $200 per port visit. In order to capitalize on a potential influx of tourism dollars, city officials and cruise line operators have decided to ratchet up big boat visits to the area: In the next year, seven more cruise ships are expected to drop anchor off Santa Barbara’s shores. Only 12 ships have visited Santa Barbara in the previous eight years.


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