Carnival Cruise Line has reached out to guests boarding Carnival Pride at Port Tampa Bay on Sunday, December 17, 2023 to alert them that their embarkation time must be delayed by two hours.
Guests who arrive at the terminal earlier will be asked to return at a later time in order to provide a smooth debarkation for guests leaving the ship, and to minimize crowding at the terminal facilities as more than 5,000 guests move on and off the ship.
Embarkation Delay for Carnival Pride
Due to severe weather overnight that impacted all of Florida, Carnival Pride has been delayed returning to Port Tampa Bay on Sunday, December 17.
Carnival Cruise Line has emailed all guests boarding the ship today to notify them of the delay and advise them of new arrival appointment times. Guests were initially sent an alert to the delay, and later advised of final embarkation times when the ship’s arrival could be confirmed.
“As we communicated earlier, embarkation for you cruise has been revised,” the email read. “Please delay your terminal arrival appointment by two hours.”
This means that travelers who originally had an embarkation window of 12-12:30 p.m. should now arrive at the cruise terminal from 2-2:30 p.m. This will permit adequate time for guests on the previous sailing to debark and depart the port area before new guests arrive.
“In preparation for departure, all guests must be on board the ship no later than 4:30 PM,” the email explains.
Any guests who have purchased Carnival Cruise Line’s transfer services from the airport will have their transfer times adjusted accordingly.
The 88,500-gross-ton Carnival Pride is a Spirit-class ship, able to welcome 2,124 guests at double occupancy, or as many as 2,680 travelers when fully booked with all berths filled.
The December 17 sailing is a 6-night Western Caribbean cruise visiting Cozumel, Belize City, and Costa Maya before returning to Tampa on Saturday, December 23. Carnival Pride is the only cruise ship scheduled in Port Tampa Bay on Sunday, December 17.
What Will Happen Onboard?
When a ship is delayed back to her homeport, crew members onboard will provide additional activities and entertainment for everyone. Breakfast will be served (and later meals if necessary for lengthier delays), and onboard operations will continue as normally as possible.
Guests may be asked to vacate their staterooms and wait in public areas as the ship approaches the terminal. This gives the housekeeping staff more time to turn over cabins so they are ready for embarking guests, and can speed up debarkation so the next cruise is able to begin as quickly as possible.
Depending on the length of the delay, guests onboard may be granted a limited amount of free Wi-Fi use to rearrange their post-cruise travel plans, such as contacting airlines to rebook flights later in the day or to notify friends, family members, or reserved rideshare services of the delay.
Delays Not Uncommon
Weather-related delays into Port Tampa Bay are not uncommon, particularly through the winter months. Fog often develops overnight in the region, and because of tricky channel navigation, cruise ships may be forced to wait outside the channel until the fog has cleared and they can navigate more safely back to the port.
The transit time through Tampa Bay to the cruise terminal is approximately 2.5-3 hours, depending on weather conditions. Because ships cannot enter the bay until cleared, this could mean delays of several hours on very heavy fog days or if other weather conditions close the channel.
It is important for cruise travelers to always be flexible with their travel plans, particularly when poor weather may impact arrival and departure times, ports of call, or overall cruise itineraries. Planning to arrive a day or two before setting sail or remain in the port region the day after a cruise can be a wise precaution in case of delays either coming or going.
Multiple ships have been impacted by the massive weather system that swept from the Gulf of Mexico across Florida and the Bahamas in the past few days. Carnival Liberty, for example, had all her ports of call cancelled and instead had a cruise to nowhere.
Other Carnival ships – and cruise ships from other lines – had ports cancelled, delayed, swapped, and other changes. These alterations are always made in the interests of guests’ safety and comfort, and the crew members onboard take every step to make each sailing as fun and enjoyable as possible even in uncertain circumstances.