Are you looking for a family vacation that combines the excitement of a cruise with the convenience and flexibility of a land-based destination?
Look no further than Tampa, Florida! With its warm climate, cultural diversity, and easy access to the Gulf of Mexico, Tampa is the perfect destination for families looking for a port to kick off a memorable cruise vacation. Keep reading to learn what cruise ships leave from Tampa and more!
Why Cruise From Tampa?
First, Tampa offers a variety of attractions and activities that families can enjoy before or after their cruise. For example, you can visit the Busch Gardens theme park or the Florida Aquarium or explore the historic Ybor City district.
Plus, Tampa’s location on the Gulf of Mexico means you can enjoy water-based activities such as swimming, boating, and fishing. So families have many options for extending their vacation and making the most of their time in Tampa. (We list more top Tampa attractions below.)
Second, Tampa has an array of cultural diversity that might surprise you! For instance, many people are unaware of Tampa’s strong Italian heritage. Combined with its rich Spanish and Cuban heritage, Tampa offers quite a melting pot of unique and vibrant cultural experiences that you may not find elsewhere. Families can explore the city’s diverse neighborhoods, sample international cuisine, and attend cultural events such as the Gasparilla Pirate Festival or the Cuban Sandwich Festival.
Finally, Tampa’s convenient location makes it easy for many families to embark on a cruise without having to travel far from home. The port is easily accessible from the airport and major highways, making it a convenient starting point for families who want to drive or fly.
Which Cruise Ships Leave From Tampa?
Port Tampa Bay hosts three cruise terminals, and several cruise lines choose Tampa as an embarkation point for various ships. These include Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Celebrity, and Norwegian. While not all ships will homeport from Tampa year-round, you will always find several options available. Ships leaving from Tampa also sail a variety of itineraries, including the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and the Panama Canal.
Royal Caribbean Cruises from Tampa
Although Royal Caribbean operates many of the world’s largest cruise ships, ships sailing out of Tampa must pass under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge as they enter the Gulf of Mexico. Thus, Royal Caribbean relies on some of its smaller vessels when sailing cruises from Tampa. These ships also tend to be a little bit older than the rest of the Royal Caribbean fleet.
For the sailings currently scheduled for 2023 and 2024, Royal Caribbean has selected ships from the Radiance Class and Vision Class.
Royal Caribbean Radiance Class Ships
These ships have beautiful glass elevators for exterior viewing, 2 level dining rooms with large glass windows, and plenty of balcony staterooms. A selection of excellent restaurants offering the best cuisine with meals for the whole family.
For entertainment, there are 3 pools, whirlpools, and a fantastic waterslide for the kids. For the more energetic, there is a rock-climbing wall or a surf simulator for the surfers and, for the family, a mini golf course. A theater, spa, bars, and casino are on board for adult entertainment.
The Royal Caribbean cruise ships sailing from Tampa in the Radiance class are:
- Radiance Of The Seas – This is the lead ship in the Radiance class. It was first launched in 2001 and most recently refurbished in 2016. The ship received some additional updates in 2021. The 12-deck ship can accommodate 2,466 passengers and 894 crew.
- Serenade Of The Seas – first launched in 2003. It was refurbished in 2012 and 2017, and it received additional updates in 2022. It can accommodate 2,476 passengers and 832 crew.
Royal Caribbean Vision Class Ships
The ships in the Vision Class are the smallest of the Royal Caribbean’s fleet. If you are looking for a more intimate cruising experience, opt for a ship in this class. These cruise ships have the usual pools and whirlpools for swimming and lounging on the deck and a rock-climbing wall.
You will have a choice of restaurants for dining and casual buffets, and each ship will have a specialty restaurant.
The Vision Class Cruise Ships leaving from Tampa are:
- The Grandeur Of The Seas – This is the smallest cruise ship of the Royal Caribbean fleet. The vessel was launched in 1996 and it was most recently updated in 2017. The ship can accommodate 2,440 guests and 760 crew members.
- The Enchantment Of The Seas – was built in 1997 and refurbished in 2017. It can accommodate a maximum of 2,746 passengers and 770 crew.
Destinations Of The Royal Caribbean Ships Sailing From Tampa
Below are some destinations you can look forward to when taking a cruise on one of the Royal Caribbean Ships departing from Tampa. Note that Royal Caribbean offers many options for shorter cruises of 4 and 5 nights.
- Cozumel, Puerto Costa Mayo in Mexico
- CocoCay, Nassau, and Bimini in the Bahamas
- Key West
- Belize City in Belize
- Roatan in Honduras
- Labadee in Haiti
- Falmouth in Jamaica
- George Town in Grand Cayman
Norwegian Cruises from Tampa
Norwegian Cruise Line will start offering sailing from Tampa in November of 2023. The ships currently scheduled to sail from Tampa are the Norwegian Jade and the Norwegian Jewel. These ships are small in size but large in terms of entertainment and recreation options.
Norwegian’s Jewel Class ships are smaller-sized cruise ships offering excellent accommodation and entertainment. There are lovely pools and whirlpools for the whole family, a basketball court, and driving nets for golf.
You can dine at several restaurants, and multiple lounges and bars are available for adults. You can enjoy a relaxing massage at the spa or watch a show in the theater or play the slots in the casino.
- The Norwegian Jade – This ship was built in 2006 and was refurbished in 2017. It can accommodate 2,402 passengers and 1,037 crew.
- The Norwegian Jewel– This ship was launched in 2005 and refurbished in 2021. The ship can accommodate 2,376 guests and 1,032 crew.
Destinations Of Norwegian Cruise Ships Sailing From Tampa
Norwegian Cruise Line sails from Tampa to beautiful destinations like:
- Cozumel, Costa Maya in Mexico
- Roatán, Honduras
- Harvest Caye, Belize
- Puerta Plata, Dominican Republic
- St. Thomas, U.S Virgin Islands
- Oranjestad Aruba
- Willemstad, Curacao
- George Town, Grand Cayman
- Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Carnival Cruises from Tampa
Carnival Cruise Line scheduled four of its ships to sail from Tampa at various points in the year. These include Carnival Legend, Carnival Pride, Carnival Paradise, and Carnival Spirit. This summer, Carnival Paradise will sail different itineraries throughout the Caribbean and the Bahamas. Starting in November, both Carnival Legend and Carnival Pride will sail the Caribbean. Towards the end of the year, both Legend and Pride will also sail some select Panama Canal cruisings. In April 2024, the Carnival Spirit will sail a one-way Panama Canal cruise from Tampa.
Celebrity Cruises from Tampa
Starting in the fall of 2023, Celebrity Cruises will have the Celebrity Constellation sail a variety of itineraries from Tampa. These include the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Mexico, and New Orleans.
Recap on What Cruise Ships Leave From Tampa
The following eleven ships will have at least one sailing that leaves from Tampa in 20203:
- Celebrity Constellation
- Carnival Legend
- Carnival Pride
- Carnival Paradise
- Carnival Spirit
- Norwegian Jewel
- Norwegian Jade
- Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas
- Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas
- Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas
- Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas
Things To Do in Tampa Before or After a Cruise
Whether you’re interested in history, art, nature, or entertainment, there’s something for everyone in Tampa:
- Adventure Island Tampa Bay: a water park with slides, pools, and a lazy river
- Busch Gardens Tampa Bay: a theme park with roller coasters, animal exhibits, and live shows
- Florida Aquarium: an aquarium showcasing marine life from around the world, including sharks, sea turtles, and otters
- Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park: a park with a playground, splash pad, and outdoor concert venue. The park is within walking distance of the Riverwalk and the Glazer Children’s Museum.
- Glazer Children’s Museum: a museum with interactive exhibits and activities for children of all ages
- Tampa Riverwalk: a scenic walkway along the Hillsborough River with parks, restaurants, and cultural attractions
- Tampa Museum of Art: a museum with a collection of modern and contemporary art, as well as traveling exhibitions
- Ybor City: a historic district with Cuban-influenced architecture, restaurants, and nightlife
- ZooTampa at Lowry Park: a zoo with over 1,300 animals, including tigers, elephants, and manatees
As you can see, several major cruise lines have ships that leave from Tampa, giving you plenty of options to book a cruise out of this popular homeport.