Port Tampa Bay is currently moving ahead on a USD 10 million project to renovate its 3 cruise terminals.
Construction will start next May and include interior improvements and adding of escalators in Cruise Terminals 2 and 6. Cruise Terminal 2 will also be refurbished and upgraded to be able to handle transit itineraries, and not only roundtrips without passengers embarking from non-US ports.
In 2018, for the first time in its history the cruise port hit a million passengers, with 4 cruise lines: Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and Holland America offering 4- to 14-day itineraries to Mexico, Cuba, western and southern Caribbean.
While industry's mega-liners (with capacity up to 6000 passengers) can't pass under Sunshine Skyway Bridge, the cruise port managed to grow its cruising business by nearly 1/5th since 2016 by bringing in smaller vessels.
To keep up with the growth, the board of the port voted in December to negotiate a building services agreement with Gilbane Building Company, which was the highest ranked of 5 firms that bid on the project. In 2019, the top-ranked company is due to submit a guaranteed maximum price for the 2nd phase of the new project.
Project's Phase 1 (May-October 2019) and Phase 2 (May-October 2020) are both during off-season. Phase 2 involves works at Cruise Terminal 3, including adding a second escalator and renovations to terminal's processing area in order to meet the requirements of the US Customs and Border Protection agency.