Why Are Cruise Ships Back?

I’m writing to bring awareness to the City of Santa Barbara quietly, and with little comment, reversing the ban of cruise ships in our port city. Today, staring down at the port with the massive ship anchored offshore, my friends and I universally groaned at their impact. Then I learned that the Waterfront is going to take on a record number of ships, more than ever before. Here is what we are looking at just over the next few weeks:

09/22/22 — Celebrity Solstice
09/24/22 — MS Regatta
09/27/22 — Scenic Eclipse
09/29/22 — Crown Princess
09/30/22 — Discovery Princess
10/03/22 — Ruby Princess
10/05/22 — Discovery Princess
10/14/22 — Seven Seas Mariner
10/18/22 — Radiance of the Seas
10/19/22 — Discovery Princess
10/21/22 — Royal Princess
10/25/22 — Royal Princess
11/01/22 — Royal Princess
11/07/22 — Koningsdam
11/08/22 — Crown Princess
11/11/22 — Royal Princess 

Spewing carbon pollution into the air and leaving a river of pollution in our oceans, the impact on our community is extensive. What is the cap on these cruise ships? and what is the justification for allowing them in our port at all.

I read the Harbor Master Plan. It talks about the need for recreation, accessibility, and fishing. It does not talk about cruise ships.

If the reason we allow these ships in port is for profit, then why are the majority of ship fees funneled into one harbor tenant’s pocket — not to the city? As I understand it, the Waterfront gets 70 cents for each passenger. That means if a passenger just flushes a toilet while in our town, we have lost money. Unlike hotel guests, these passengers use our parks and beaches, yet they contribute nothing to their preservation.

If we listen to those that argue “we need these ships for the economy,” then look at the data from 2021 when cruise ships were banned. The city took in a record $26 million in TOT taxes. Our economy did fine without them.

Our elected officials need to listen to citizens and ask if they want these ships in our port town. Santa Barbara has an obligation to be carbon neutral by 2030, what sacrifices are our citizens going to have to make to offset the carbon footprint from these pollution machines?


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