San Diego, CA, USA cruises

Known as the birthplace of California, with a population of around 1.4m, San Diego enjoys year-round sunny weather that sends visitors and natives flocking to the area’s abundance of idyllic beaches.

Close to the Mexican border and with its history as part of Spanish America until the late 19th century, San Diego’s Mexican influences shine through in the cuisine, architecture and general ambience.

Home to some of California’s most popular tourist attractions, as well as cultural experiences and natural beauty, there is an abundance of things to see and do in the city of San Diego.

European explorers and missionaries settled in San Diego, originally called San Miguel, in the early 17th century. Not long after arriving, the settlers established Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá, now a National Historic Landmark. Their mission was to convert the native inhabitants of the area, called the Kumeyaay people, to Christianity.

When Mexico won independence from Spain in 1821, San Diego belonged to Mexico, and remained a part of the country’s territory until the mid 19th century. Following a brutal battle, it was claimed by the United States as part of the state of California in 1848.

With a rich military history, San Diego is home to many military and naval bases, including the largest U.S. naval base on the west coast, which has a population of over 25,000 people.

To understand more about the history and culture of San Diego, start your visit at the city’s Old Town neighbourhood. Here you will find museums, galleries, cafes, restaurants, and even an artisans market, which takes place every Saturday and Sunday. Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is a historic landmark within the Old Town, where you can find traditional adobe brick houses and watch blacksmith demonstrations.

Balboa Park, sometimes referred to as the Smithsonian of the West, should be on the itinerary for any visitor on a cruise to San Diego. The 1,200 acre park is not only home to the world-famous San Diego Zoo, but it also boasts beautiful gardens, museums and galleries. Casa de Balboa, built in Spanish Renaissance style, is a stunning sight within Balboa Park, made even better at sunset when the kaleidoscope sky reflects off the pools that rest in the shadows of this magnificent building.

Of course, much of the action happens along the water in San Diego. Over 34 miles of water is stretched along the city’s waterfront, and it is here that visitors can eat and drink against the picturesque backdrop. After a delicious meal, stroll along the pathways that line the harbour, enjoying the sea breeze and the sight of white sails against the bright blue sky.

San Diego is well known for being the home of SeaWorld, a thrilling attraction that guarantees fun for everyone. With adrenalin-pumping rides, a scenic gondola that boasts sweeping views over Mission Bay and aquariums that offer an insight into the wonders that can be found under the ocean, SeaWorld San Diego is a day activity that visitors will remember for a lifetime.