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Will Newport Beach Become Port Of Call For Cruise Ships?

NEWPORT BEACH (   Newport Beach is an easy-going community, but that could change if the city becomes a port of call for large cruise ships.

The idea of bringing major cruise liners – such as Carnival – to the upscale coastal city was recently proposed to the Newport Beach Harbor Commission.

During a public comment period, the owner of a travel company asked commissioners to consider allowing ships to anchor a mile and a half from shore and tender passengers to the beach.

While the idea is just being tossed around, residents are already talking about what would happen if there's suddenly a huge influx of tourists.

Some say it would help local businesses during slower winter months, but others, such as lifelong resident John Vyn, say it would be too crowded.

"We can't put another person on the Peninsula because the parking spaces are all full," Vyn said. "You try to put another 1,000 or 2,000 people here and it would be absurd."

His wife, Carol, doesn't want the city to lose its quaint vibe.

"I think it's a small-town community that enjoys the beach life, but the more people you bring in, the less quality you have," she said.

Others, however, said it could be feasible because it wouldn't be a daily occurrence.

"A cruise ship would be awesome because that would be like a scheduled thing and they could prepare for large crowds," resident Scott Spencer said.

George Brown, a tourist, thinks it would be a great embarkation port.

"Well it's not a bad spot to stop, Newport Beach. You've got Balboa just down the way and stuff like that. Plenty to do. Plus, if they offered it where you could catch the cruise ships here, that would be pretty cool," he said.

A formal proposal has not yet been submitted. Newport Beach's city manager says officials are open to the idea, but won't offer an opinion until they see a plan.

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