Port of L.A. sees record number of travelers

SAN PEDRO, Calif. "It was very orderly. Things went very smoothly. I'm very impressed how they moved people into the ship, off the ship and get us through customs," said Donna Felix, a cruise ship passenger.

Approximately 17,000 passengers in one day is a new record, up from the old record of 14,500. The Port of L.A. says it was prepared to handle the large volume of travelers.

"We had a little wait, about an hour wait. We were supposed to leave around 8:30, and now it's about 10," said a cruise ship passenger.

The Royal Caribbean returned from a seven-day Mexican cruise with 31,050 people on board. The Golden Princess and The Star Princess were each dropping off and picking up 2,700 passengers for a cruise to Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand.

"It wasn't that bad. You can see the traffic coming in, but then again, it went smoothly," said another cruise ship passenger.

According to a study by the Menlo Consulting Group, more than 1.2 million cruise ship passengers embarked and disembarked at the Port of L.A. in 2005. The estimate this year is just under 840,000 because of the weakened economy.

The study's authors expect a two- to three-year period of little or no growth in the port's cruise ship activity followed by a recovery period in the industry.

"Getting off wasn't a problem at all, not a problem at all. It was perfect. It is every time," said Sue Guzman, a cruise ship passenger.

On Sunday, the local economy benefitted from travelers visiting local restaurants and nearby hotels.

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