SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- It's full speed ahead for the cruise industry. The number of cruises departing out of San Francisco is expected to break a record this year. More people are booking cruises now than any other time of the year.
Booking are way up according to the Cruise Guy, Stewart Chiron.
"All the ships now are fully operational. The occupancies are almost at or exceeding 100%," Chiron said.
Rich Yee of South San Francisco goes on a cruise once every two years. However, his last cruise in 2020 ended in tragedy.
Three people died aboard the Coral Princess after contracting COVID during a trip to South America.
RELATED: South San Francisco man dies after contracting COVID19 on cruise ship, daughter pleads for medical attention for mother
Rich lost one of his best friends on that trip, Wilson Maa of South San Francisco.
"Best man at my wedding, City College days. I knew him quite well," Yee said.
Despite his experience, he plans to one day go back on a cruise.
"I still would go on a cruise, yes," he said.
But he will be extra cautious.
"I would go with the idea that I still would get it. I would just be very careful," Yee said.
COVID vaccines and boosters are no longer required except for at a few destinations in Asia.
Andre Coleman of the Port of San Francisco says the city is expecting its second straight record year for cruises.
"Coming out of the pandemic in 2022, folks were excited to cruise again," said Coleman.
He expects 116 ships to cruise out of San Francisco this year. That's three more than last year's record season.
He says each trip contributes about $500,000 to the local economy.
Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.
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