Catalina Island welcomed Disney Wonder to the port of Avalon for the first time on Thursday, March 31. In accordance with maritime tradition, the inaugural call was celebrated with a plaque exchange ceremony featuring local officials, community leaders and shipboard staff. Held on the rooftop patio of the Catalina Island Conservancy’s Trailhead center, the location offered sweeping views of Avalon harbor.
The ceremony was celebrated by a group of dignitaries, including Avalon Mayor Anni Marshall, Mayor ProTem Cinde Cassidy, City Councilmembers Lisa Lavelle and Michael Ponce, Love Catalina Island Tourism Authority President and CEO Jim Luttjohann, Harbormaster Orne Carstarphen, Avalon City Manager David Maistros, and more.
“We are incredibly excited to welcome Disney Wonder to Catalina,” said Luttjohann.
“Following a difficult two years for tourism due to the pandemic, we’re thrilled to see this partnership finally come to fruition,” said Luttjohann.
“Among the city revenues hit hardest in the pandemic, were harbor fees due to the cessation of cruise ships calling on us,” said Luttjohann.
“From ziplining and hiking to wildlife and submarine tours, the island offers so much for families to explore while onshore, and we are looking forward to welcoming Disney cruisers for many years to come.”
Long Time Catalina Island Cruise Liaison David Creigh said: “today’s inaugural visit culminates a conversation started 18 years ago in Miami at the Seatrade Conference. Some things just take time but are worth the wait.”
The 2,713 passenger Disney Wonder ship will sail from Catalina to Ensenada.
Catalina Island has become a regular port of call for cruise ships from around the world. Cruise ship visits are important to the off-season Island economy.
Before the pandemic, there was controversy surrounding the quality of life for residents and the need for visitors to support the Island’s visitor-serving economy.
To view the complete cruise ship schedule, visit www.lovecatalina.com.
Love Catalina serves as the official Tourism Authority for Catalina Island.
For more information, please visit www.lovecatalina.com.