SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Officials with the Port of San Diego say San Diego is California’s third busiest port behind Long Beach and Los Angeles.
"We're very, very excited," said children boarding the Disney Wonder ship.
Families and friends were eagerly waiting in line Friday to board a cruise ship for the first time in a very long time.
"We are so excited. We’ve been waiting for this a whole year now. It's cancelled on us. We're so excited," said Janet, a ship passenger.
"I feel super excited. I've never been on a cruise before. I'm excited to experience a cruise," said a young passenger.
The Disney Wonder and Grand Princess are the first sailings out of San Diego since the pandemic began.
"It’s a wonderful day! Since March 2020, cruises have been shut down in North America," said Cruise Manager, Adam Deaton.
Officials say health and safety is the port’s top priority.
"There are additional measures to create a safe and fun voyage. Every guest 12-years-old and older has been tested 72 hours prior. In Disney, they are tested the day of the cruise," said Deaton.
If guests are unvaccinated, they must provide a negative PCR test result before embarkation day. Everyone must wear a face mask while inside the cruise ship terminal. Some guests have mixed feelings about the new guidelines.
"I wish it wasn’t like that because it takes the magic away," said ship passenger Janet Jones.
"I would like to see those who have recovered from Covid because science shows that that is good enough, that it is okay to cruise," said ship passenger, Janet Kuchar.
"It’s one of the safer vacations right now with a sterile environment," said Deaton.
Despite the new changes, cruises are making a positive impact on the economy.
"Each one that begins and ends in San Diego puts $2 million in the local economy. It's a good deal for San Diego and a great boost," said Deaton.
To ensure social distancing, the cruise lines now have a passenger appointment system for check in and screening times. The port will be fully cleaning and disinfecting the terminals as much as possible.
WATCH RELATED: San Diego's top stories for Oct. 1, 2021 at 6 p.m.