Best cruises from San Diego, California


San Diego in California is a cruiser’s paradise.

Almost all the major cruise lines run various cruises from or through San Diego Port, making it one of the busiest in the country.

From all-inclusive cruises to last minute cruises, there are plenty of options for you to choose from.

San Diego offers a unique opportunity to club a city vacation with a cruise.

We recommend you spend a few days in the city before (or after) you get on your cruise from San Diego.

San Diego has 110 Kms (70 Miles) of soft-sand beaches, a world-class zoo, a docked USS Midway Navy carrier, Balboa Park etc.

If your kids are also accompanying you on your cruise, plan in visits to Sea World and Legoland as well.

Cruise destinations from San Diego

The most popular cruise destination from San Diego is Mexico. Cruises to Mexico offer a variety of itineraries ranging from 3 to 14 nights.

Some of the popular cruises to explore Mexico are the 3-night Baja Mexican Cruise, the 19-night Panama Canal adventure cruise, and 23-night Incan discovery cruise.

Next in popularity are Hawaii and Panama cruises from San Diego.

These cruises are more sought after during the autumn and spring months.

A few good Alaskan cruises also sail out of San Diego. Best time to go on Alaska cruise

San Diego’s cruise port terminals

San Diego Port has two cruise ship terminals, which are located on San Diego Bay’s two-mile stretch of downtown waterfront.

Most of the cruise ships dock at the primary terminal called the B-Street Pier & Cruise Ship Terminal.

Get Directions to B-Street Cruise Pier

Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier is the secondary terminal, which besides handling some cruise ships is also a venue for special events.

In case you are flying into San Diego to catch your cruise, you are in luck for the San Diego International Airport (SAN) is only a 10 minutes’ drive from the terminals.

Besides, the area around the terminals has numerous hotels catering to all kind of tastes.

If you prefer reaching the terminals by train, Downtown San Diego’s train station Santa Fe Depot should be your choice.

It is not far from the terminals – just two blocks East.

Best time to cruise from San Diego

If you are planning a stay in San Diego before you board your ship, we suggest you plan your cruise in the March to May window or September to November window.

In the months of October and November, the hotel rates and other expenses come down further.

Weather-wise there is never a bad time to visit San Diego – it is almost always between 60 to 70 degrees.

If your plan is a Mexico cruise from San Diego, any time of the year is good.

It isn’t without reason that more than 6 million travelers visit Mexico’s ports each year.

There are lots of things to do in San Diego for tourists looking for fun.

Best Cruises from San Diego

1. Azamara Quest

Cruise Line: Azamara Club Cruises

Azamara Quest which sails from San Diego is a mid-sized boutique luxury cruise ship. Image:

Azamara Quest ranks foremost among the best cruises that start from San Diego.

The selling point of Azamara Club Cruise ship is that it offers a cozy, intimate feel to the cruisers.

It can accommodate only 690 passengers, so there is no fear of your cruise getting ruined by a crowded, noisy environment.

The passenger to crew ratio is also low, ensuring smooth service.

Azamara Cruise deals are mostly aimed at adults, the highlights being luxurious accommodation, plenty of dining options and a relaxed atmosphere.

Unwind at the spa or enrich yourself at one of the various seminars or wine tasting sessions.

Nights can be spent trying your luck at the casino or at a live performance.

Needless to say, you can just relax at one of the many lounges and bars as well.

Size of Ship: Small
Price of Tickets: High
Overall Rating: 4.4
Health Rating: 5
Best cruise from San Diego for: Singles, Couples

2. Disney Wonder

Cruise Line: Disney Cruise Line

Have you ever dreamt of a floating Disneyland? Well, then the Disney Wonder is your dream come true!

One of the best cruises sailing from San Diego Port, Disney Wonder is indeed a wonderland for the entire family.

Children will love meeting Disney characters aboard this cruise. There are many youth clubs and family areas too.

However, this Disney Cruise Line ship is not all hustle and bustle.

There are seven areas designated only for adults, the most popular among them being the Quiet Cove swimming pool.

The nightclub and lounges section is also earmarked for adults.

There are six onboard restaurants, one of them reserved for adults only.

Staterooms are generously furnished, with the smaller cabins also accommodating four passengers. Disney Wonder has ports of call in Alaska, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Size of Ship: Medium
Price of Tickets: High
Overall Rating: 4.35
Health Rating: 5
Best cruise from San Diego for: Families with children, large groups

3. Celebrity Eclipse

Cruise Line: Celebrity Cruises

This Celebrity Cruises ship is one of the most affordable cruises from San Diego.

It can accommodate a whopping 2,850 passengers, so even last minute cruises are possible aboard this large vessel.

Introduced in 2010, Celebrity Eclipse was renovated in 2015 and has a spanking new feel to it.

Almost 90 percent of rooms have balconies. Premium accommodation includes specialty dining and butler service.

There are 11 onboard restaurants, so you can eat something different every day of your cruise.

Your cruise itinerary can include relaxing by the pool, attending cooking lessons, shopping, theme parties and live performances.

There are youth clubs to keep children of all ages entertained.

Size of Ship: Large
Price of Tickets: Medium
Overall Rating: 4.3
Health Rating: 5
Best cruise from San Diego for: Singles, couples, families with children

4. Celebrity Infinity

Cruise Line: Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Infinity ships which depart from San Diego head out either on Pacific Coastal cruises or Eastbound Panama Canal cruises. Image:

One of the cheap cruises leaving from San Diego, the Celebrity Infinity features in numerous attractive family cruise deals.

Highlights of a cruise in Celebrity Infinity is the rooftop terrace, which was the first in this fleet, and an Italian steakhouse.

There are numerous other restaurants as well, and a wine bar.

There are four kinds of accommodation, ranging from budget cabins to expensive suites.

Onboard entertainment team of this cruise has something to offer to cruisers of all age groups. There are many youth clubs for kids.

For adults, the main draw is the Canyon Ranch Spa Club, which is the hallmark of all Celebrity Cruises.

Enrichment courses are also available onboard.

Size of Ship: Medium
Price of Tickets: Medium
Overall Rating: 4.15
Health Rating: 5
Best cruise from San Diego for: Singles, Couples, Families with children, large groups

5. ms Nieuw Amsterdam

Cruise Line: Holland America Line

Almost all Holland America Line ships have an art collection. But ms Nieuw Amsterdam probably has the best collection among the fleet.

The total worth of the exhibits is more than three million US dollars and has works of famous artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

One of the fine experiences abroad this cruise is the self-guided walk through these artworks.

Most cruise deals for ms Nieuw Amsterdam are aimed at mature cruisers, though youth clubs are also there.

You can relax by the pool or at the spa, or enrich yourself with various courses.

The photography lessons run by Digital Workshop are a favorite among cruisers.

There are nine restaurants and all categories of staterooms.

This cruiser has ports of call in Alaska and the Caribbean.

Size of Ship: Large
Price of Tickets: Medium
Overall Rating: 4.15
Health Rating: 5
Best cruise from San Diego for: Singles, Couples

6. Jewel of the Seas

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean International is known for running large cruise ships. But the Jewel is one of the smaller ships of the fleet and offers less crowded cruises. It accommodates 2,702 passengers.

One of the best affordable cruises from San Diego, Jewel of the Seas has more spacious cabins than its sister ships.

The largest suites are more than 1,000 square feet and generously furnished.

Your cruise itinerary must include the whirlpool and six swimming pools on deck.

There is mini golf green and a rock climbing wall for the sportier cruisers.

Evenings can be spent at the casino or theatre.

There are eight restaurants, including five specialty venues. There are 13 lounges and bars.

Size of Ship: Large
Price of Tickets: Medium
Overall Rating: 4.15
Health Rating: 5
Best cruise from San Diego for: Singles, Couples

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7. ms Eurodam

Cruise Line: Holland America Line

If you are looking for cheap cruises that sail from San Diego Port, opt for this Holland America Line ship.

ms Eurodam can accommodate 2,104 passengers and 878 members of the crew.

One of the highlights of this cruise deal is the large array of cuisines on offer. From delectable seafood to more casual fare, ms Eurodam will spoil your taste buds.

There are various enrichment courses, swimming pools, and sports arenas to keep you busy.

Nights can be spent at live performances or the lounge bars.

Access to the Blues Club is part of the cruise packages.

Accommodation is spacious and has six categories to suit all budgets.

Size of Ship: Large
Price of Tickets: Medium
Overall Rating: 4.15
Health Rating: 5
Best cruise from San Diego for: Singles, Couples

8. ms Oosterdam

Cruise Line: Holland America Line

If you love music, we recommend ms Oosterdam for your cruise holiday from San Diego. Image: Sebastian Wessels /

Introduced in 2003, this ship was modernized in 2016. It can accommodate up to 1,916 passengers.

This is a vibrant ship and is part of many attractive cruise deals to suit all budgets.

There are six categories of staterooms and cabins.

ms Oosterdam has a huge swimming pool, a relaxing spa, and a sprawling fitness zone.

Numerous youth clubs attract the younger cruisers.

There are seven restaurants plating up everything from seafood to Italian cuisine.

If your cruises package has more than eight nights, do try out the Master Chef’s Table Pop Up.

There are various enrichment courses that can be included in cruise itinerary.

Size of Ship: Medium
Price of Tickets: Medium
Overall Rating: 4.1
Health Rating: 4.5
Best cruise from San Diego for: Singles, Couples, families

9. ms Westerdam

Cruise Line: Holland America Line

Launched in 2004 and renovated in 2017, the Westerdam is one of the best cruise that departs from San Diego.

When abroad this ship, your cruise itinerary must include the Rijksmuseum at Sea.

This unique floating museum boasts of breathtaking pieces of art from all over the world.

There are 8,000 pieces of art, so make sure you make several trips to the museum!

The Explorations Central is an exhibit that is geared towards people who love to travel.

There are also many swimming pools and a spa where you can unwind.

Onboard ms Westerdam you can enjoy the theatrical events and try your luck at the casinos.

There are six categories of accommodation, which cater to even those looking for a cruise vacation on a budget.

Size of Ship: Medium
Price of Tickets: Medium
Overall Rating: 4.0
Health Rating: 4.5
Best cruise from San Diego for: Singles, Couples

10. ms Zaandam

Cruise Line: Holland America Line

This is one of the best affordable cruises that start from San Diego. Ms Zaandam is quite popular among older cruisers.

Cruise deals focus on relaxation rather than activity, so it is the perfect place to beat the stress of everyday life.

There are sports arenas, but the highlights are the enrichment courses which will offer you a slow-paced but fruitful vacation.

Cooking classes and photography lessons are extremely popular.

All cabins come with a vanity space and a sitting area. Rooms are cozy and well equipped.

There are eight restaurants which offer everything from casual fare to exotic seafood.

ms Zaandam has ports of call in Alaska and other destinations.

Size of Ship: Medium
Price of Tickets: Medium
Overall Rating: 4
Health Rating: 4.5
Best cruise from San Diego for: Singles, Couples

There are three other cruises leaving from San Diego. Two of them are run by the Holland America Line and one by Norwegian Cruise Line.

They are affordable cruises and offer the perfect escape from the stress of a bustling life in the city. So, pack your bags and set sail!

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Shubhajyoti Sengupta: He is an active adventurer who loves to push himself physically and mentally while exploring the world. His travels are usually to natural environments or remote locations which include active physical activities and experiences he has never tried before. He loves backpacking and independent traveling with a low budget. Favorite Cities: Reykjavik, Kathmandu, Hanoi, Phnom Penh, Capri

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