Port Tampa Bay just took Tampa luxury travel to a whole new level!
This has been a year of milestones for the Port in Tampa luxury travel The biggest comes just two weeks before the close of its fiscal year, as Port Tampa Bay welcomed its millionth cruise passenger in a single year. This is the first time in the port’s history that the million-passenger mark has been reached.
On Sept. 17, the fiscal year passenger count hit 1,000,524. Port Tampa Bay broke the news on Twitter the Sunday afterward. That count grew even higher as three more ships called at the port over the weekend. The following Monday, the port projected that its year-end total would reach land around nine percent higher than last years at 1.04 million!
Earlier in the year, Port Tampa Bay set another all-time record for a single weekend, welcoming over 29,000 cruise passengers over the 2018 Easter weekend!
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What’s To Come For Tampa’s
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Paul Anderson, President, and CEO of Port Tampa Bay said that “The port plans to build off this milestone with new destinations.”, he added that “The cruise ships continue to get bigger and that cruise lines have been investing money into retrofitting the ships.”
Tampa’s port hasn’t let its size stand in its way. Though the larger 5,000-6,000 passenger ships won’t fit under the Sunshine Skyway bridge, there are other ways to get more passengers onto Tampa cruise ships.
Instead, using smaller, refurbished ships and convenient cruise destinations has helped to increase Tampa’s cruise ship industry by around 20 percent in the past two years.
Anderson acknowledged the great value that cruise ships add to the local economy, “It’s a $400,000 economic impact for every ship that [..] embarks out of Tampa.”
Currently, four major cruise lines sail out of Tampa Bay. They are Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Holland America, and Norwegian Cruise Lines. Cruise passengers can embark on 4-14 day cruises to destinations like Mexico, Cuba, and the Caribbean.
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The Record Has Been Set!
The port was looking forward to hitting the million-passenger mark well before it actually happened. “We are on the cusp of that 1 million cruise passenger number, which we so long sought here,” John Thorington, Port Tampa Bay’s vice president of government affairs and board coordination, said.
“The itineraries are very important. We are primarily a western Caribbean destination here and one of the destinations that have been added that’s very popular in Havana, Cuba. Havana has really complimented the other ports.”
Big Changes For Good
Within the past year, the major cruise lines have made big improvements with Port Tampa Bay in mind. Carnival added 20 cruises to Cuba.
It also gave the Carnival Paradise a huge makeover, adding a water park, almost 40 new staterooms, and nearly 100 balconies. Port Tampa Bay is also now home to the Carnival Miracle’s only year-long program.
Carnival isn’t the only cruise line to introduce new things in the Tampa area. Royal Caribbean answered customer demand for cruises from Tampa to Cuba by adding the 880-foot-long cruiseliner—the Majesty of the Seas—to its rotation.
Anderson is looking forward to what the future holds for Port Tampa Bay in the wake of its first million-passenger year, “This milestone shows that Tampa is truly a world-class destination for cruise passengers,” he said. Tampa luxury travel is the way to go!
But it’s not just cruise passengers that enjoy a trip to Tampa. With attractions like Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and the best Tampa beaches within an hour’s drive, there’s something here for everyone. Visitors can enjoy great shopping, restaurants, and cultural spots like museums and art exhibits on the Tampa Riverwalk.
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Plan For Your Tampa Trip Now!
Visitors come from all over to sail out of Port Tampa Bay. The next time you’re in town, try these tips to make the most out of your trip.
#1 Don’t wait until the last minute to plan your transportation.
Once you’ve made your cruise ship reservation, move on to figuring out how you’ll get there.
- Will, you drive or catch a ride? If you’re traveling a long way, it may be best to fly to the TPA Airport.
- Traveling with a group of friends? Consider a party bus rental. Everyone can ride together and no one gets worn out from all that driving before your trip.
- Flying into TPA airport? Book a Tampa airport shuttle. Your professional chauffeur will be waiting when you land. You will get to port with plenty of time to get on board and get settled in. When your cruise is over, your limo transportation will be ready to take you back to the airport or hotel.
#2 Don’t let fuel costs cut into your cruise budget.
Gas prices in Tampa are high. We’re talking almost $3 per gallon. Riding with a limousine service is often much cheaper than driving your own vehicle. Modern limousine cars are comfortable and have great fuel economy. Plus, you don’t have to worry about whether there have been any accidents in the parking lot.
#3 Avoid flying into TPA airport too close to your port call time.
Why not come early and enjoy a few Tampa events while you wait? From concerts to sporting events, there’s always something going on. Check Ticketmaster for upcoming events and to grab tickets.
#4 Don’t pay outrageous parking fees.
Book a limo reservation to get you from the airport to your hotel or cruise port. Airport and cruise port parking can be expensive. Prices range from $5-20 or more per day. Forget getting seasick. Multiply that by how many days you’ll be at away and estimating your bill can make you feel nauseous.
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