Tampa Cruise Port is located on the western coast of Florida. The city of Tampa is 40 miles away from Orlando, direction West. Regency Cruises and HAL were the first lines to commence operating voyages from Tampa Cruise Port in the 1980s. Carnival Cruise Line included the port in 1994.
Tampa cruise port
In 2017, Tampa Port for the first time was poised to handle vessels carrying around 1 million cruise passengers. The number was impressive, considering the height limitations of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge (180 feet / 55 m) and the strong competition from larger and better positioned around Florida cruise ports.
Beside the Skyway Bridge's height limitation, the cruise port also has a navigating problem as it is prone to fog. Larger cruise ships also experience difficulties to maneuver due to port's shallow waters and narrow channels.
- The port's cruising season is mostly in the period November through April. Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Holland America offer regular roundtrips out of Tampa. Their ships here have passenger capacity between 1,000 and 2,600, and generally operate on Western Caribbean itineraries.
- Port's strategy is not bringing in the megaships, but rather attracting smaller and recently refurbished ships with itineraries to easy-to-reach destinations.
- In 2016, the cruise port handled a total of 813,800 passengers.
- During 2017's first quarter (winter season) the cruise port had scheduled 239,301 passengers (3% increase over 2016). The number of cruise liners homeported in Tampa was also increased - from 5 (in 2016) to 7 (in 2017). One of the new vessels based here for turnaround / roundtrip operations was Royal Caribbean's Empress of the Seas - among the not so many vessels with itineraries that include Havana Cuba (starting April 2017).
- In 2017, Holland America's MS Oosterdam replaced in Tampa the smaller MS Ryndam (now Pacific Aria). Another newly refurbished and upgraded ship returning for roundtrip Tampa based itineraries was Carnival Pride (starting January 2017), after nearly 3 years (in 2016 was homeported in Baltimore).
- In 2017, Carnival announced adding cruises from Tampa to Cuba to its 2017-2018 Caribbean itinerary program on Carnival Paradise (starting June 2017).
- For fiscal year 2017, Port Tampa Bay reported a record operating revenue of USD 55,4 million. The port's previous records were USD 51,3 million (2015) and USD 49,2 million (2016). The increase was mainly due to additional cruise activities, new and expanded facilities leases, as well as increase of commodities import (petroleum, cement, steel).
- In 2017, the cruise port handled a total of 961,000 passengers. Also in 2017, the port signed with RCI a 5-year agreement (optional 2 more years). The port guaranteed min passenger numbers, while RCI spent around USD 2 million in Terminal 6 upgrades.
- In 2018, Carnival Miracle started from Tampa year-round 7-day roundtrip itineraries.
Port Tampa cruise ship schedule includes roundtrip itineraries the whole year round. The most common are the 7-day Western Caribbean itineraries visiting Key West Florida, Roatan Island Honduras, Cozumel Mexico, Grand Cayman and Costa Maya Mexico.
Highlights: Theme Parks, Aquarium, Museums
Tampa cruise terminal
Tampa port has 3 cruise ship terminals.
Cruise Terminal 2
In the late 1990s, Cruise Terminal 2 creation was incorporated in the Garrison Seaport Center scheme. The terminal offers facilities like customs, cab rank, restrooms, a snack shop and a luggage carts. It has only one wharf.
There is a parking area located at the Channelside multi-storey car lot. It is across the street.
Terminal 2 serves exclusively Carnival Cruise Lines ships.
Cruise Terminal 3
Tampa Cruise Port Terminal 3 was built in 2002. The terminal offers facilities like fast security and luggage carts. The embarkation and disembarkation of passengers is streamlined. It has only one wharf.
There is a parking area located at the Channelside multi-storey car lot. It is across the street. Tampa Cruise Port Terminal 3 serves Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean and Holland America Line.
Cruise Terminal 6
Tampa Cruise Port Terminal 6 is located half a mile away from Terminal 3, direction North. In 2011 it was renovated. It has only one wharf.
There is a parking area at the site. Terminal 6 serves Holland America Line. Parking: is USD 14 daily (Port Authority subject to change).
Tampa tours, shore excursions, hotels
City Tours and Shore Excursions
- Get a taste of Florida wildlife on this 2.5-hour sightseeing tour from Tampa. You'll visit Croc Encounters and learn about this sanctuary's conservation efforts and make a stop in Clearwater Beach to see the aquarium where the famous dolphins, Hope and Winter live. For groups of 6 or more please contact The Entourage Tours if you wish to be picked up from your location?
The Entourage Tours Wildlife PM Tours - Tampa | Book Now
- Florida Aquarium: discover the great variety of sea life. You will see Wetlands, Ocean Commotion, Bays and Beaches, Dragons Down Under and Explore A Shore exhibitions. It is next to Tampa Cruise Port Terminal 3.
- SS American Victory: this cargo ship served during the World War II, the Vietnam War and the Korean War. Currently it is a museum docked near the Florida Aquarium. Discover galley, cargo equipment, food hall, lifeboats and the bridge.
- Channelside Bay Plaza: center with many eateries, bars, retail outlets and entertainment places.
- Tampa’s Riverwalk: across the Garrison channel you will be able to see SS American Victory, Florida Aquarium, Channelside Bay Plaza, Tampa Cruise Port Terminal 2, Teco Line Streetcar, Tampa Bay History Center, Florida Museum Of Photographic Arts, MacDill Park, Tampa Museum of Art and Kiley Gardens.
- Ybor City: styled in Cuban way with narrow alleys, brick buildings and iron railings. It has a unique charm with its flamenco dancers and cigars made by hand.
- Henry B Plant Museum: discover the interesting life of the famous railroad tycoon.
- Busch Gardens Theme Park: located 8 miles away from Tampa Cruise Port, direction North.
Port Tampa cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from Tampa, Florida. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.
The Tampa cruise port map is interactive. It shows the port's exact location, along with the real-time cruise ship traffic (if any) in its vicinity - today, and right now. By zooming-out you can see other cruise ship ports located near Tampa, Florida.
If you lose the Tampa location on the map, simply reload the page (also with F5 button). This feature is integrated with the CruiseMapper's cruise ship tracker tracking the vessels' current positions at sea and in ports.
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