For the first time in more than a year, two cruise ships are expected to make a regularly scheduled port call in Key West on Saturday.

The 594-foot Azamara Quest will dock early Saturday morning at the city-owned Mallory Pier. The vessel can hold 686 passengers and 408 crew members. John Wells, a Key West ship's agent, said he as told there will only be 435 passengers on board.

The ship and the passenger count complies with the city referendum that states a ship can't bring in more than 1,500 passengers and crew, Key West City Manager Patti McLaughlin said Friday.

The 820-foot Crystal Serenity will dock at the privately owned Pier B. The ship has a total capacity of 1,695 people, 1,040 passengers and 655 crew, and would violate the city's referendum. That ship will be bringing in fewer than 1,040 passengers, about 476, Wells and McLaughlin said.

The arrival of the ships comes as the city has been working on local ordinances to possibly implement the referendums into city regulations. The state Legislature only pre-empted cities from implementing voter referendums, not city ordinances. The city has hired a legal firm to research the issue and has started to mediate between the citizen-group that sponsored the referendums, Safer Cleaner Ships and local pro-cruise ship leaders.

"We are in a tough spot right now," McLaughlin said Friday. "I wish we could have worked something out before the first ships arrived here."

More ships are scheduled to arrive in Key West in December, McLaughlin and Wells said.

For more on this developing story, visit and pick up the Weekend Edition of The Key West Citizen.