Cruises from the Port of Tampa are back with Royal Caribbean becoming the first cruise line to restart operations. Serenade of the Seas is the first cruise ship since March last year sailing from the city with guests onboard. The vessel has already been sailing this year in Alaska, where she started operation on July 19.
As with all Royal Caribbean ships, Serenade of the Seas will be sailing with a maximum 50 percent capacity to start, meaning there will be between 1,000 and 1,500 passengers onboard, out of a possible 2,490, in addition to its crew of more than 800.
Guests boarding the 90,090 gross ton Serenade of the Seas today are sailing on a five-night cruise to the Bahamas. Ports of call include a day in Nassau in the Bahamas and a day in Perfect Day at CocoCay.
In October 2021, the Royal Caribbean cruise ship will be alternating 5-night cruises with 4-night cruises that call in Perfect Day at CocoCay. From November, these 4-night cruises will include a call in Cozumel, Mexico, while the 5-night cruises will call in Costa Maya and Cozumel.
On December 31 Serenade of the Seas will be sailing on a special 8-night holiday cruise that will take the ship to ports such as Cozumel, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; Puerto Costa Maya, Mexico before returning to Tampa, Florida.
Serenade of the Seas started operations back in July when she set sail from Seattle, Washington, July 19. She was the first large international cruise ship to resume sailings to Alaska from Seattle, without stopping in Canada.
Since then, the cruise ship has made several successful sailings in the northern state, which means that the guests onboard experience a ship firing on all cylinders.
Port of Tampa Looking Towards a Positive Future
So while Serenade of the Seas has been operational for several months, she is the first cruise ship to start operating in Tampa Bay. The port is one of the few ports in Florida without cruise traffic this year.
During an event celebrating the return of cruising to the area on the morning of October 16, port officials and Royal Caribbean executives are celebrating the return of cruising, not just with the Royal Caribbean ship but more vessels in the coming months including from Celebrity Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line.
The first ship in 19 months means the port has been putting the final touches and paint on the terminal building, ensuring a warm welcome for guests. Lisa Wolf-Chason, a spokesperson for Port Tampa Bay, said to ABC Action News this would be the start of an economic boost for the town:
“We celebrate the return for not only ourselves, but for all of the tourism and small business-related industries. This is truly a great time to celebrate and spend time in Tampa in and of itself. So, we’re really excited that Tampa will get this big boost in tourism from the cruise business.”
The cruise industry’s return to Tampa is celebrated for a good reason. While the port itself saw revenues drop $7.5 million; also, previously, each cruise ship call with ships carrying 3,000 passengers or more brought in $334,000 to the local economy on average.
Serenade of the Seas will remain in Tampa until Summer 2022, at which point she will be repositioning to her summer itinerary in Alaska.