Port Tampa Bay in Florida has been gearing up for this weekend for months: cruising is finally back.
Royal Caribbean International’s ship Serenade of the Seas has the honor of being the first cruise ship to depart Tampa since March 14, 2020 back when the cruise industry shut down due to the global pandemic.
The vessel is scheduled to sail from the port’s terminal 6 on Saturday, October 16.
Port Tampa Bay’s Director of Communications Lisa Wolf-Chason told Tampa’s News Channel 8 that other cruise lines will join Royal Caribbean in sailing from the western Florida city in the coming months.
“We’ll have Celebrity [Cruises] back for the first time in 10 years. They’ll be sailing their Constellation ship with us in November,” she said. “Carnival Cruise Line will be sailing with us in November and then in December we’ll have Norwegian.”
According to port officials, the cruise industry makes up 20 percent of its income, or $7.5 million. Every 3,000-passenger vessel generates over $300,000 of spending in and around Tampa Bay.
From Tampa, Serenade of the Seas will spend the fall and winter operating mostly four and five-night voyages to the western Caribbean.
Features and amenities on Serenade include a pool with retractable glass roof, a solarium, Adventure Ocean kids’ club, a rock climbing wall, sushi and cupcake-making classes, a mini golf course, outdoor movie nights, an English Pub, Vintages wine bar, and the Schooner piano bar.
Dining highlights include Chops Grille steakhouse, Japanese cuisine at Izumi Sushi & Hot Rocks, Italian at Giovanni’s Table, Park Cafe, and Café Latte-Tudes.
After spending the winter homeported in Tampa, Serenade of the Seas will head north to Alaska for the summer 2022 season.