Port of Call San Diego in Southern California
What’s not to like with a near perfect year-round temperature, 70 miles of coastline and beaches, a major U.S. Naval Base, an interesting historic area and world famous Balboa Park that features 17 museums, numerous galleries and performing arts venues including the incredible San Diego Zoo. It isn’t hard to fall in love with San Diego.
Popular with cruise lines for trips up the coast, over to Hawaii and south through the Panama Canal this is a world class port of call.
Where Your Ship Docks
Most cruise ships will dock right downtown at the B Street Cruise Pier. The pier features a cruise terminal with public facilities. Across the street from the pier are a number of good hotels and just another block up is a rapid rail stop. A little over a half mile south of the terminal is Seaport Village with an interesting collection of shops and restaurants also on the water. The aircraft carrier Midway Museum is also nearby along with a number of other historic ship exhibits.
San Diego has an economical public transportation system featuring a light rail system that includes over fifty area stops. Just two blocks from the pier is a light rail stop where you can catch a trolly down to Old Town for a fare of $2.50. You can purchase one to 30-day passes for the transit system right from your smartphone and use them immediately using the Compass-Cloud app.
The U.S. Dollar is the accepted currency with credit and debit cards welcome almost everywhere. Changing foreign currency can be a challenge with facilities available mostly at the airport.
OLD TOWN was the original historic heart of San Diego. Created in 1769, Old Town San Diego was California’s first settlement with only a mission and a fort. Stroll the lush gardens or browse at one of the many specialty shops for treasures from around the world. To get to Old Town by Trolley take the Green Line that runs right along the waterfront.
First and foremost is The San Diego Zoo, one of the best zoos in the United States. It is a non-profit zoo and wildlife sanctuary featuring over 3,500 rare and endangered animals representing more than 650 species and subspecies, and a prominent botanical garden with more than 700,000 exotic plants.
San Diego is also home to one of the SeaWorld parks along with the Birch Aquarium at Scripps. Birch Aquarium is a public exploration center of the world-renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. Sitting on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the aquarium features more than 60 habitats of fishes and invertebrates from the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest to the tropical waters of Mexico and beyond.
In addition to the zoo and aquariums San Diego has a lot more to offer. There is a good hop-on hop-off bus that travels all around the city and out to Coronado. Coronado sits right in the middle of the harbor and often is referred to as an island but actually is attached at the southern end to the mainland. It is also features a Naval Air Station, a Naval Amphibious Base and is home to the Navy SEALS. If you want to rub shoulders with a SEAL stop in at Mc P’s Pub, a local hangout founded by an ex-SEAL more than a few years ago. It’s not far from the “The Del” (Del Coronado Hotel) a famous hotel on Coronado beach.
If you are catching a cruise from San Diego we recommend allowing a couple of days extra to see this beautiful city. Balboa Park is worth a whole day itself and try and fit in a visit toSeaport Village, with its waterfront shops and restaurants, located just south of the cruise pier. For good food try the Little Italy neighborhood or all along the waterfront for great seafood.