North County Around Carlsbad

North County Times

by Barbara Brill - For North County Times

Cruising is one of the fastest growing forms of leisure travel today. Just look at the statistics. Last year, close to 10 million people from all walks of life hit the seas to relax, explore, learn and to have fun on the more than 200 floating cities that stop at a variety of ports around the world. One of those ports is San Diego, where there will be more than 200 stops between this October and October of 2005, and thanks to Patty Mc Duffee, who just a few months ago started her Vista business, Fielday, passengers from the Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruise ships will be heading to Carlsbad starting Oct. 5. Every Tuesday. For the next 51 weeks.

ADVERTISING How fortunate we are that Patty and her partner, E'Louise Ondash, decided to put Carlsbad right at the top of their list when they were putting together their pilot program that focuses on farm, nature and coastal tourism. And, how fortunate we are that John Fox, the vice president of government and community relations for Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruise lines, thought our city was worthy to add to its excursion list for the passengers of today that he said are younger, more active and interested in learning about places that are best-kept secrets. There will be two stops for the six-hour shore excursions on Tuesdays: Bates Nut Farm and the Village of Carlsbad. On the bus ride from the farm in Valley Center, the Royal Caribbean and Celebrity guests will be entertained and educated as they learn about the history of our city and get a chance to taste Carlsbad. Russ Bruhn, who earlier this year started his business, Carlsbad Gourmet, Strawberries-by-the-Sea, will be aboard to pass out samples, gift basket prizes and coupons for his products ---- strawberry candies, sauces and spreads, such as strawberry lavender and strawberry pecan, that are all made with fresh strawberries grown on the fields at Cannon and Interstate 5 and at Tamarack and El Camino Real. The cruisers are scheduled to be in Carlsbad for several hours, arriving around at noon each Tuesday, just in time for lunch. Ambassadors from the Carlsbad Convention & Visitors Bureau will be around town to serve as guides and to offer walking tours. Members of the Carlsbad Village Business Association who have been working on ways to showcase their products and services will be offering prizes and discounts, and Linda's Gift Shop in the Village Faire shopping center will have a tasting table with all of the Carlsbad Gourmet products. These excursions could very well be the shot of adrenaline that is needed for our village, since they no doubt will help financially. In turn, this could prompt some of the financially challenged business owners to make improvements, as well as encourage new businesses to come to town. And, in the long run, millions of dollars could be generated from the new visitors, who just might book their next vacations in Carlsbad or plan business conferences here. There's more good news. Princess, Radisson, Norwegian and Holland American cruise lines have already shown an interest in Carlsbad as a suitable excursion destination for its passengers. Patty and E'Louise also have scheduled some Friday excursions to Bernardo Winery in Escondido, and they are hoping to add in the future some other Carlsbad stops, such as The Flower Fields, our lagoons, the Company Stores. And, there's always Legoland, the Museum of Making Music and the Gemological Institute of America. The possibilities are endless. Barbara Brill, a North County Times columnist, is a freelance writer who has lived in Carlsbad since 1971.