Cruises from Tampa

Tampa is one of the premier cruise port destinations in the South. Having sailed my Phillip Rhodes Offshore 40 sloop Siskiwit for over 24 years and served as a navigator on 4 ships in the US Navy, I have a unique appreciation for ships and those who cruise on them.

Erehwon Retreat is less than 5 miles from the Port of Tampa and we frequently host guests before or after completing a cruise.  Multiple cruise lines have already reaped the benefits of homeporting their ships at Port Tampa Bay. Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Paradise and Carnival Miracle, Royal Caribbean International’s Brilliance of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas, and Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Dawn will all sail out of the city, enabling cruise travellers to explore multiple destinations across the Caribbean and Central America.

Celebrity Cruises

Joining these ships is Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Constellation, which will operate 10- and 11-night roundtrips from Tampa beginning November 2020. Following a 14-night transatlantic crossing from Barcelona, Spain, Celebrity Constellation will begin sailing three unique itineraries, including a 10-night Eastern Caribbean escape that calls at San Juan, Puerto Rico; Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; and Samana, Dominican Republic.

The vessel will also provide 11-night Southern Caribbean voyages with visits to Key West; Kralendijk, Bonaire; Oranjestad, Aruba; Willemstad, Curacao; and George Town, Grand Cayman.

Alternatively, guests can opt for an 11-night ‘Touch Canal’ itinerary that will take them to explore Cozumel, Mexico; Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; the Panama Canal; Colon, Panama; Cartagena, Colombia; and George Town.

MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises has added Port Tampa Bay to its winter 2020 cruise itineraries too. For the first time, MSC Armonia will sail from the port, providing year-round voyages to breathtaking destinations, including Progreso, Costa Maya and Cozumel in Mexico, as well as Key West and the brand’s new Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve in The Bahamas.

Holland America Line

Holland America Line will also be returning to homeport in the city after a one-year hiatus. Throughout winter 2020, Veendam will sail 7- and 14-day itineraries to Key West; Samana; San Juan; St. Thomas; St. John; George Town; Willemstad; Oranjestad; Costa Maya; Castries, St Lucia; Banana Coast and Mahogany Bay, Honduras; Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala; Belize City, Belize; Philipsburg, St Maarten; and Basseterre, The Bahamas.

Where Should I Stay When Cruising From Tampa

Port of Tampa Cruise Ship Terminal

Where Should I Stay When Cruising From Tampa Erehwon Retreat

November kicks off the winter cruise season.  This is the busiest time of year for Port Tampa Bay and Erehwon Retreat’s more complicated booking season. Each season we host a few cruise line passengers for a week’s visit preceding or following a cruise out of Port of Tampa.

From our historic perspective, the Port’s single largest embarkation took place in 1898.  Tampa received 30,000 troops bound for the Spanish American War. The initial wave, which included Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, departed on June 7 with 16,000 troops. The Tampa Bay Hotel was used as Rough Rider Officer Quarters. The Rough Riders were recruited mainly in San Antonio;s Hotel Menger bar.  They were  trained in front of the Alamo. In my prior life managing the NY City Joffrey Ballet, whenever the company played San Antonio we stayed at the Hotel Menger.  I knew the story that they departed for the east by train, but that’s where the story stopped.  When I opened Erehwon Retreat I discovered their destination was Tampa.

Where Should I Stay When Cruising From Tampa Erehwon Retreat

Where Should I Stay When Cruising From Tampa Erehwon Retreat

Port of Tampa Cruise Services

Where Should I Stay When Cruising From Tampa Erehwon Retreat

Carnival’s ships operate year-round four- and five-day cruises to the western Caribbean, including the popular destination at Mahogany Bay. Currently, the line also sails seven-day itineraries during the winter season and these will be offered year-round commencing January 2018.

Royal Caribbean’s two ships will provide four-, five- and seven-day cruises in the winter. And, for the first time, Royal Caribbean will operate four- and five-day summer cruises when Empress of the Seas begins sailing from Tampa on 30 April.

Meanwhile, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Jade, will offer itineraries ranging from four to 12 days that will include a stop at its new island destination, Harvest Cay in Belize.

Rounding out Port of Tampa’s passenger offerings, Holland America has increased its passenger capacity by replacing a long favorite among Erehwon Retreat guests, the Veendam, with the Oosterdam.

2017 saw a 6% growth in passengers to a total of 813,934 over 188 sailings.

September 22-23, 2018 Port of Tampa celebrated it’s 1 millionth cruise passenger.

Unique Accommodations for Cruise Passengers

Where Should I Stay When Cruising From Tampa Erehwon Retreat

Erehwon Retreat is located just 4.6 miles from the Port of Tampa Cruise Ship Terminal; we coordinate our two properties during winter cruise season to turn over the same day arrival/departures of Saturday and Sunday. This allows cruise ship passengers to easily enjoy an evening show at The Straz Center for the Performing Arts, visit Ybor city, the historic Cigar District discover Disney or Harry Potter

With a host who is a sailor and ex US Navy, one of the subtle differences of staying at Erehwon is having special amenities for guests preparing for sea or returning to land.

There are adjustments to avoid land sickness for some, and we know how to prepare our property so that guests rest peacefully in our 1920’s environment. Old Seminole Heights is Tampa’s first suburb (1911) and has been designated as a National, State and local Historic Landmark District.