This City in California Is Essentially Banning Cruise Ships — Here's How

Monterey voted to stop offering city services to cruise ships coming into its terminal.

The Princess Cruises Grand Princess cruise ship heads past the Point Bonita Lighthouse to a port in Oakland, CA

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The city of Monterey in California has effectively banned cruise ships after voting to terminate city services for them.

The city, which sits along the coast about two hours south of San Francisco, voted to stop offering city services to cruise ships coming into its terminal, according to the city of Monterey. The move doesn’t outright ban the ships, but does make it extremely difficult for them to visit. 

The Monterey City Council voted 3-2 in favor of ending the passenger landing services, according to the Monterey Herald

“Folks don’t want to come here and visit Monterey and take a picture with a cruise ship in the bay,” Mayor Tyller Williamson said at the meeting, according to the paper. “We want to be able to enjoy the natural environment. …This is about our beautiful community, our natural environment…this is about taking care of this little piece of the planet that we have.”

Cruise ships haven’t visited Monterey since the city suspended them due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the paper noted. Now, the ban will effectively be permanent. 

Before the pandemic, Monterey saw about a dozen cruise ships each year with the ships typically stopping there on sailings to Alaska and Mexico, Travel Weekly reported.

Currently, several ships are scheduled to visit the port, according to CruiseMapper, including the Discovery Princess and Celebrity Solstice in March and April as well as the Brilliance Of The Seas in April, and the Oceania Regatta and Radiance Of The Seas in May.

Monterey isn’t the first cruise town to tell ships they’re not welcome. In November, the town of Bar Harbor in Maine approved a citizen’s petition to cap daily disembarking cruise visitors (including both passengers and crew) to no more than 1,000 people total. That cap will likely have a large impact since CruiseMaine has estimated 95% of passengers arrive on ships with a capacity exceeding 1,000.

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