Nearly a million cruise passengers will make their way through the Port of Los Angeles World Cruise Center in San Pedro in the next year, and will find it undergoing state-of-the-art improvements.

Vacationers on four of the world’s major cruise lines — and the environment around the waterfront — will benefit from several upgrades to the inner-harbor facility. Travelers are already enjoying new glass-enclosed gangways that lead from terminal buildings to the cruise ships. In the coming months, further enhancements will include electronic gangways that can reach cruise ships under any tide condition (preventing boarding delays), and rooftop solar paneling for increased sustainability.

For protection of cruise ships as well as the wharf itself, new bumpers will be installed where the two meet; and to decrease nitrogen oxide emissions, new on-shore electrical power systems will allow ships to plug in and avoid running on diesel power while berthed in the harbor.

In all, more than $42 million in long-term improvement projects are scheduled to be completed by 2011; making the center more accessible and contributing to the port’s award-winning environmental initiatives.

Already one of the busiest ports on the West Coast, plans are in the works to add space to accommodate more ships during the busy weekend sailings schedule and improve facilities and navigation for the larger ships that will arrive at the port in the future.