LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Cruise ships are back in business in Southern California!
Carnival's Panorama is setting sail Saturday morning from the Port of Long Beach.
The voyage marks the first ship in California to hit the open sea with passengers in nearly a year and a half.
City officials say the cruise ship industry is a major component of the local economy in Long Beach, because there are more than 21,000 jobs in the entertainment and hospitality sector
"We get over 600,000 passengers that come into Queen Mary Island, there at the Carnival Cruise terminal, and they visit our attractions and amenities and they stay in our hotels, so the impacts of not having tourists means we don't necessarily have jobs," said John Keisler, the city's economic development director.
Authorities believe the Panorama's trip is expected to bring a big boost to the local economy and open up more jobs for people.
"There's millions and millions of dollars of additional spending that's associated with maintaining the cruise ship industry and so it ends of totaling in the tens of millions of dollars of direct impact to the city," Keisler said.
Local business owners in the area say they rely on the tourism the cruise industry brings to survive.
Dawna Bass, the owner of Under the Sun Restaurant, says she thinks half of her customers are cruise ship travelers.
"We constantly would have flight attendants and people that work on the cruise ships and things like that, they would come in here all the time," Bass said.
But with the exciting news of Saturday's departure, there is also some hesitancy."
"The pandemic, we're still in the middle of it, you know, so it's kind of scary in terms of people can come from all over, but ultimately what we can do is just, you know, do the best we can with keeping things as clean as possible and just dealing with it as it comes," Bass said.
Bass hopes that in the future, people decide to keep supporting the small businesses in Long Beach.
"We need people to understand how it helps the local community when you are supporting local businesses," Bass said.
The Panorama is hosting a celebration Saturday morning prior to leaving for its week long journey to the Mexican Riviera.