San Diego’s long-stalled cruising season is picking up momentum, as Holland America launches its first cruise this weekend since the pandemic early last year shut down all sailings.
The 2,650-passenger Koningsdam, which has never before escorted passengers on a cruise from San Diego, was open Friday to members of the media for tours before passengers begin embarking Sunday. COVID-19 vaccinations are required, and cruise ship staff will be encouraging passengers to sanitize their hands before entering dining and drinking venues.
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As Holland America and other cruise lines ramp up over the next several months for San Diego’s October-June schedule, they will be gradually be increasing their capacities. By design, many ships are cruising from U.S. ports at well under 100 percent occupancy to help the crew and passengers adjust to new sailing protocols, including mask-wearing at all times except when outdoors or when eating and drinking inside. The Koningsdam will be sailing at 70 percent occupancy.
The Disney Wonder recently returned from its first San Diego sailing that left a week ago on a short trip to Mexico.
Holland America, which home ports in San Diego during its cruise season, is the most active cruise line here.
Of its 11-ship fleet, Holland America has three vessels back in service — the Koningsdam being the third — and by the end of the year, when the Zuiderdam will be departing on a Sea of Cortez voyage, there will have been six back in service, Holland America spokesman Erik Elvejord said.
Here’s a look inside the 12-deck ship.