Tampa Building Varied Itinerary Portfolio

More itinerary choices out of Tampa are on offer for passengers, according to Greg Lovelace, director of marketing and business development for cargo and cruise at the port.

Lovelace said new and improved destinations in the Caribbean are driving the port’s business, pointing to Norwegian’s Harvest Caye in Belize as an example. Norwegian has also added a pile of music charter cruises out of Tampa. And this summer, Royal Caribbean International will move the Empress to Tampa for sailings to Cuba.

‘Good Destinations’

Carnival Cruise Line is making adjustments too, adding the Pride to Tampa for a program of seven-day cruises in addition to their four- and five-day offerings.

In 2018, Carnival will reposition the bigger Miracle to Tampa to sail year-round seven-day cruises.

“It’s important for us to have good destinations while competing with other homeports,” said Lovelace. “These ships and itineraries keep our brand new and exciting. People are looking for new things to do.”

In addition, Royal Caribbean, which has two ships seasonally at the port, added a repositioning voyage from Tampa to Barcelona to end the season.

Holland America Line has brought in bigger tonnage, with the Oosterdam leaving Fridays, while Cruise Terminal 6 (one of three facilities) is expanded for the 2017-2018 season.

Extend the Season

Lovelace said the potential to build up the homeporting business lies in extending the season.

“Even if it’s coming in earlier and staying a bit later, it has a substantial impact,” he said, “certainly converting more ships to year-round is a good opportunity for us to grow the business here.”

With a handful of AIDA transit calls, the port has come together with community partners to plan each visit.

“We formed a welcoming group to guide guests coming off the ship that haven’t booked shore excursions,” Lovelace explained, adding that some of the welcome team even speak German.

For 2017-2018, Lovelace said it will be another strong cruise season in Tampa.

“Tampa is proving to be a mainstay homeport for the Caribbean. Ultimately, the cruise lines determine whether it’s a good market or not, and all indications are that Tampa is a good market with stability.”

Get an in-depth, behind the scenes look at the North America cruise market and the ports that make it happen in the 2016-2017 Winter edition Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine. Subscribe today.



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