Port Tampa Bay Experiences Strong Start to Cruise Season

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With Port Tampa Bay’s cruise season now officially underway, the port can look forward to one of the busiest seasons to date. During December, the port will welcome 29 cruise ship calls, which means Tampa will have welcomed 1.2 million cruise guests onboard 260 sailings throughout 2022. 

For 2023, the prospects look strong for Port Tampa Bay, with six cruise ships homeporting in the city, including vessels from Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, and Celebrity Cruises. 

Port Tampa Bay’s Cruise Season is Officially Underway

In the past week, seven cruise ships sailed from Port Tampa Bay, bringing over 100.000 guests to the city and marking the official start of the 2022-2023 cruise season for the popular cruise port. The busy start this week is a continuation of what has been a busy year for Tampa, with 1.2 million cruise guests on 260 individual sailings visiting this year.

The popularity of Port Tampa Bay is easily explained. Easy to reach, and with several entertainment options in the port’s vicinity, more guests are finding their way to Northern Florida.

Serenade of the Seas at Port of Tampa in Florida
Photo Courtesy: Port of Tampa

Port Tampa Bay President & CEO Paul Anderson: “Cruising from Port Tampa Bay has never been better. Steps from cruise terminals are a new hotel and dining options, breweries, and family-friendly attractions. Nearby beaches and an award-winning airport make Tampa an attractive destination in and of itself. We are so proud of the relationship with our cruise partners, and we realize the importance of this industry on the economy of Tampa Bay and the entire region.”

Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Celebrity Cruises all sail from Port Tampa Bay. During the fall 2022/winter 2023 season, six cruise ships will use Tampa as a homeport in the coming year, offering various options for cruises around the Caribbean and Central America.

During 2023, Carnival Cruise Line will operate two ships from Tampa, Carnival Pride, and Carnival Paradise, with the vessels sailing cruises to the Bahamas, Panama Canal, and the Caribbean. 

Royal Caribbean will operate two ships from Tampa, Brilliance of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas. Brilliance of the Seas will combine the western and eastern Caribbean with cruises calling to Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and the Bahamas. Serenade of the Seas will sail to Belize, Cozumel, Roatan, and Costa Maya.

“Port Tampa Bay and our community are on a roll. It’s so exciting to see all the cruise activity here, especially knowing that the more time passengers spending exploring Tampa Bay, the more they will want to return to America’s best city,” said Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.

Other ships that will sail from Tampa this year or that will call on the city include Norwegian Jade, Celebrity Constellation, and Marella Discovery.

Economic Impact of Cruises

Although not everyone is a fan of cruising, the economic impact that cruise ships have on a port such as Tampa is undeniable. Worldwide, in 2019, an estimated 148.4 million visits by passengers and crew helped generate $72.0 billion in direct cruise expenditures at destinations worldwide.

Port Tampa Bay
Photo Credit: Andriy Blokhin / Shutterstock

Port Tampa Bay’s cruise business shows the port cruise business brings an annual economic impact of approximately $627.8 million, accounting for nearly 20% of the port’s revenue.

Read Also: Tampa Cruise Terminal – Everything You Need to Know!

According to a study by Business Research & Economic Advisors on cruise tourism, a 2,500-passenger cruise vessel with a 1,000-person crew has an economic impact on a homeport of approximately $330,000 per call. 

With 253 cruise ship calls scheduled during 2023, Tampa Bay will be able to continue on the path to success that it started following the global pause in operations. Good news for the port, local businesses, and those working in the cruise industry in Tampa. 

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