Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, continues to grow as a destination for cruise ships. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

It seems like most days there is a huge cruise ship anchored in the bay at Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. While there are days without a ship, they are becoming fewer.

In 2018, the port at Cabo San Lucas saw just more than 431,000 cruise ship passengers. This compares to five years earlier when the number was just less than 186,000.

Some of the ships having Cabo as a port of call include Royal Princess, Carnival Miracle, Seabourn Soujourn, MS Eurodam, Disney Wonder and Norwegian Bliss.

The ships are big money for this sector of Baja California Sur.

“For the entire 2014-15 cruise year, the estimated 211,410 cruise passengers who visited Cabo San Lucas spent a total of $18.2 million (U.S.) in Cabo San Lucas,” according to Business Research & Economic Advisors. That same year the 41,100 crewmembers who visited Cabo spent about $2 million.

Business Research & Economic Advisors conducted surveys of passengers and crew to ascertain the data for various cruise locations. While Cabo is growing in popularity with the cruising public, the Caribbean remains the No. 1 destination in the world.

The firm studied 35 ports in 2014-15, discovering that “cruise tourism generated $3.16 billion in direct expenditures, 75,050 jobs and $976 million in employee wages.” The report goes on to say, “The $22.4 million in total cruise tourism expenditures in Cabo San Lucas generated direct employment of 373 residents of Cabo San Lucas paying $2.5 million in annual wages.”

The area benefits from cruise ships paying port fees, taxes, needing navigation services, utilities and supplies. Collectively, the ships in 2014-15 spent $2.2 million in Cabo.

Those opting for a ship with a stop in Cabo are mostly from the United States, United Kingdom and Canada; with the average age being 59, and more than half being older than 65. Average income is $104,500. This is all data from Business Research & Economic Advisors for the 2014-15 season.

Passengers in Cabo must take a tender to shore. There is no cruise terminal at the dock, as is common in other locales. Passengers come out at the marina where they are confronted by an array of entrepreneurs hawking their wares or offering excursions.

Ninety percent of the passengers and 33 percent of crewmembers in 2014-15 got off the ship in Cabo to visit the area. The study found that they spent $22.4 million on “cruise tourism expenditures.” Most of the money was spent on shore excursions, food and beverages, watches and jewelry, and clothing. Most of the excursions are in the Los Cabos area, but some ships offer bus trips to Todos Santos for the day. While there are organized outings by the ships like scuba diving, plenty of people put together their own excursions.

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