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Sunday, May 03, 2009 

Cruising into Santa Barbara

With the Swine Flu frenzy afloat, several cruiseships have decided to stop off at Catalina Island and Santa Barbara instead of their intended itinerary, Mexico. Imagine passengers surprise to find that instead of cheap T-Shirts, trinkets and tequilla they were expecting, they were met with overly inflated prices for everything. Well...guess it's good for tourist biz dollars.

Approximately 5,000 passengers will be spilling from the two ships over the course of the weekend, some from the Sapphire Princess on today, May 2, and the rest from the Star Princess on Sunday, May 3. A third ship will be stopping in Santa Barbara on May 10, as part of its regularly scheduled itinerary.

...Downtown business is also preparing itself for this windfall, as the cruise industry estimates that the average visiting couple from a vacation ship spends approximately $200 in one port of call. While this is expected to provide a welcome economic boost, Chamber of Commerce President Steve Cushman reminds pointed out that the extra tourists wouldn’t necessarily mean an uncomfortably crowded downtown: The average weekend in Santa Barbara during tourist season sees roughly 40,000 visitors. - SB Indy

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