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NEWS: Carnival Cruise Line celebrates 25 years of sailing from Tampa

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Carnival Cruise Line celebrated 25 years of sailing from Tampa on November 10th, 2019. The milestone was commemorated with a plaque from Carnival President Christine Duffy to Port Tampa Bay President and CEO Paul Anderson.

Carnival President Christine Duffy and Port Tampa Bay President and CEO Paul Anderson
 Left to right – Port Tampa Bay President and CEO Paul Anderson, Captain Allen Thompson – president of Tampa harbor pilots association, Carnival President Christine Duffy, Carnival’s Director of Port Operations Carlos Estrada, and Port Tampa Bay’s Senior Director of Business Development Greg Lovelace

The service first launched in 1994 and currently services 294,000 passengers a year from Tampa, nearly 9 times the original load. Tampa is an important part of Carnival’s “close-to-home ship deployment strategy in which the line positions ships near large U.S. population centers along the East and West Coasts and the Gulf of Mexico.”

“Tampa is a convenient, centrally located homeport – not to mention a popular vacation destination – and the growth that we’ve experienced at this port is a testament to the wonderful partnership with the Port we’ve enjoyed for the past 25 years,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. 

Carnival Legend

The 25th anniversary celebration was held aboard Carnival Legend, which arrived in Tampa last month, providing a new choice from this market. The ship features a variety of onboard innovations, including Green Thunder, a drop-down slide that’s one of the fastest and steepest at sea, along with food and beverage choices, such as the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub, Bonsai Sushi serving Asian delicacies, Guy’s Burger Joint developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri, and a classic American steakhouse. The ship features hundreds of balcony staterooms as well a luxurious health and wellness facility.

Carnival Legend will operate a seasonal schedule of six-, seven-and eight-day cruises featuring top destinations in the western Caribbean, including Cozumel, Costa Maya, Belize, Mahogany Bay, Costa Rica, the Panama Canal and Grand Cayman.

The ship will also offer a 13-day Carnival Journeys cruise from Tampa to New York May 3-16, 2020, featuring a partial transit of the Panama Canal, along with visits to Aruba, Cozumel, Limon (Costa Rica), Cartagena (Colombia) and Grand Turk.

To learn more about Carnival Cruise Line, visit them online at Carnival.com

Carlos Eats

November 11, 2019 |

Riding the Cross-Bay Ferry from Tampa to St. Petersburg

Comments Off on Riding the Cross-Bay Ferry from Tampa to St. Petersburg

I had the pleasure of riding The Cross-Bay Ferry this past weekend from Downtown Tampa to Downtown St. Petersburg. It is perhaps the most innovative transportation solution I have witnessed in the Tampa Bay area and much needed.

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The price is fair at $ 8 one-way for adults ($ 5 with student ID, military ID, or seniors) and the time of the actual trip is efficient as well, easily beating the amount of travel time you would drive from Tampa to St. Pete (probably even better if consider daily traffic on I-275 and I-4). You can also avoid costly hourly parking rates on both sides of the bay at the same time, especially when there are festivals and sports games.

The initial trip was a little confusing because we had to locate the departure point which is behind the outdoor bar area at The Florida Aquarium in Channelside (there was a sign outside the Aquarium that helped us locate it).

I think the website could better explain where you’re departing and arriving from and maybe include that information with your receipt/boarding pass.

Once we were on our way it was great though. There was plenty of comfortable seating available on-board and the outdoor deck was breathtaking.

The Cross-Bay Ferry is equivalent to a ferry you might board in a big city like San Francisco to get to Sausalito for a fraction of the price. I would hope that it can grow its use in the future and become a standard part of the Tampa Bay Area.

You get all the views of beautiful Tampa Bay for a great price and can get to the walk-able Downtown St. Petersburg easily. We saw Beer Can Island, The Manatee Viewing Center, skylines of Tampa and St. Petersburg, dolphins, birds, and more. The overall travel time was a little over 30 minutes with about 50 minutes total for boarding and disembarking.

A cool touch to add  for the future would be a captain or recording narrating the trip across the Tampa Bay area – pointing out key landmarks. It might be something that tourism bureaus on both sides might consider adding for tourists, even if its just one of those headphones you can listen to like at a museum. I knew most of the landmarks as a local and was pointing them out to friends myself.

Parking in Downtown Tampa is FREE on the weekends and there are several options in Ybor City for parking as well. Here are some tips for parking in Downtown St. Pete as well.

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Food and beverages are available for purchase on the Cross-Bay Ferry as well like most ferry ships including alcoholic beverages for those of age.

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I highly recommend riding the Cross-Bay Ferry and cannot wait to ride it again. Transportation solutions like this are what Tampa Bay needs to grow the region and make it a better place to live and visit.

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FAQ:

  • Service animals are allowed on-board, otherwise a case-by-case basis for pets
  • Strollers can be accommodated with no additional fee
  • Restrooms are available on-board
  • No smoking is allowed
  • Luggage on-board is limited to 2 suitcases and 1 small personal item
  • The Cross-Bay Ferry runs 7 days a week except some holidays

Website: http://thecrossbayferry.com/

Carlos Eats

March 22, 2019 |
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