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Here are 5 things to know about cruising out of the Port of Tampa Bay.

I recently took a cruise out of the Port of Tampa Bay for the first time. I normally drive all the way to Port Canaveral or the Port of Miami, but I decided to stay closer to home this time.

My cruise was the first weekend in December, just a short Thursday to Monday morning jaunt to Mexico and back. I chose to board Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas. I know it may sound strange, but I love cruising by myself. The rate for this itinerary for a solo cruiser was really good, so I decided to do it. I live in the Channelside area, so I was really excited to get on a ship that I usually see every morning when I am driving to work. The ship was so clean and I felt very safe with all the COVID protocols before boarding and while sailing. There were a lot of out-of-towners on the ship but I was also surprised to find a lot of my fellow cruisers were from the central Florida area.

Below is my quick list of things to know about cruising out of the port of Tampa Bay. I hope you find this helpful and give it a try one day!

  • 1. Easy to Get To

    Being centrally located in the Tampa Bay area, the Port of Tampa Bay is easy to get to from the surrounding areas including Pinellas and Pasco counties.

  • 2. Smaller Ships

    Because the ships will have to enter the Gulf of Mexico by going under the Sunshine Skyway bridge, the ships that leave out of the Port of Tampa Bay are smaller. This makes for less crowds on the ship during your cruise. It is also super cool around 3 hours into the cruise make sure you are standing at the front of the ship on the highest deck and watch as you and the ship just squeeze under the iconic Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

    Sunshine Skyway Bridge

  • 3. Many Cruise Lines to Choose From

    Many cruise lines leave out of the port of Tampa. More ships mean more options for you. Some of the cruise lines include Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines.

  • 4. Parking is Easy

    There are many options for cruise parking around the port. Depending on where you decide to park you can even take the free TECO Street Car to the Port Terminal your ship is leaving out of. The most popular place to park is at Channelside Parking Garage. You can purchase your parking on the Port of Tampa Bay website before you leave for your cruise and even pay in advance.

  • 5. Do The Prep Ahead of Time

    Depending on which cruise line you choose, most of the time you can fill out all of your passenger information and health checks on their app or their website. Do this before you leave for the Port of Tampa Bay. This will make boarding a breeze and get you in vacation mode before you know it!

  • Listen:

    Hear more about cruising out of the Port of Tampa (3:09) on the Experience Tampa Bay in 10 Minutes or Less podcast. Explore Tampa Bay hidden gems (:54) and discover all the amazing food coming to the Florida State Fair (5:53).

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