LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Royal Caribbean is returning to the Port of Los Angeles for the first time in 10 years.
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The Navigator of the Seas arrived Friday to much fanfare for its first passenger sailing out of Los Angeles. The massive cruise ship will leave the Port of Los Angeles with passengers Friday night, not just for the first time since the pandemic — but for the first time in a decade.
The arrival of the Navigator of the Seas – which boasts the largest waterslide at sea, a renovated pool deck, and new nightlife venues – heralds a new phase of cruise travel for the Port of Los Angeles.
“We will have more than 200 sailings on schedule for 2022, and that’s the most we’ve had since pre-recessionary days,” said Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of LA.READ MORE: Authorities Investigating Fatal North Hollywood Shooting On Monday Evening
Royal Caribbean pulled out of Los Angeles years ago due to low demand for its sailings. But when the pandemic shut down the cruise industry entirely, Royal Caribbean reassessed their itineraries and found opportunity in Los Angeles again.
“It’s obvious to recognize that people are excited to be traveling again,” Royal Caribbean Vice President Russell Benford said. “And cruising has proven to be one of the safest options out there.”
The influx of cruise ships is expected to be an economic boon for the Los Angeles waterfront. Port officials say a busy cruise weekend with three or four ships in port can bring as many as 20,000 travelers, generating more than $1 million in economic activity.MORE NEWS: Undisclosed Forensic Evidence Found In Search For Heidi Planck
Currently, the Navigator of the Seas is only sailing at about 50% capacity to ensure that all COVID-19 safety protocols can be followed. Royal Caribbean says they hope to welcome even more people on board in the coming months.