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travellerin1984

Help me to choose! Cruise from Tampa or San Juan?

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Hi!

 

We have a very pleasant problem. We are planning our winter cruise in January 2021 and have such hard time choosing which alternative to choose. I appreciate any comments... 

 

A) Two weeks back to back on Summit from Puerto Rico. Probably one week in oceaview cabin and one week in aqua class. As you might know the itineraries are port intensive. 

 

B) 11 nights on Constellation out of Tampa in Sky suite. It would be our first time in suite. It is five seadays and 11 nights so it is a more about the ship than the ports. 

 

We have visited most of the ports before but would like to try suite life but I don’t really know if it is worth it. We are a bit hesitant about Tampa because of the weather. Do you guys like Tampa as a pre-cruise destination? We are from Sweden and have been to San Juan but not Tampa. We have travelled quite a lot in US but Tampa would be a new destination. 

 

And how is the suite experience? Would you prefer a longer cruise in a lower cabin class or shorter cruise in suite?

 

We need a bit of advice in this very serious problem of choosing the best cruise.... 

 

 

 

 

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I would pick Tampa. It's a nice place, not suited for an extended stay, but the nearby beaches are great. And sailing under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge is a treat.

 

I am not sure what your concern is about the weather.

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37 minutes ago, hrhdhd said:

I would pick Tampa. It's a nice place, not suited for an extended stay, but the nearby beaches are great. And sailing under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge is a treat.

 

I am not sure what your concern is about the weather.

 

We live in Sweden and have cold winter. My concern is Tampa might be chilly and not warm enough for pre cruise stay... 

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If you are looking for assurance of warm weather, then choose San Juan.  The weather in the Tampa area in January can be a little chilly especially if you are thinking of enjoying the beaches.  Also, the weather on board when you leave and return to port in Tampa (for at least a day in each direction) will be noticeably cooler than in San Juan.  

 

Average high temp in Tampa in January is 71F and avg. low temp is 53F.  San Juan average high temp in January is 81F and low average temp is 74F.  Rain chances are a little higher in San Juan but usually only a brief shower.  We have been to San Juan many times in January and I don't ever recall it raining.

 

Others may disagree.

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Tampa has one of the great sailaways that should be experienced at least once. While it can sometimes be a bit chilly (only requires a light jacket or sweater) sailing under the Skyway Bridge, it is worth it. Tampa has a vibrant downtown, Ybor City is close to the port,  and St Petersburg is similar to a small European city with it's museums and restaurants. I would come in early to enjoy all that the Tampa/St Pete area has to offer. http://www.stpete.org/visiting_the_city/index.php

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The Suite experience on Celebrity is very nice.  Luminae is a very relaxed dining atmosphere where the tables are further apart than Blu or MDR and the service is many steps above.  I personally love the Retreat lounge where we have had a great time interacting with fellow suite guests.  Yes the drinks in Retreat lounge are complimentary but for us it's the social atmosphere that we really enjoy.  The Retreat sundeck would also be available.  It's a private sundeck with a hot tub where you can soak up the sun without crowds or chair hogs (well I'm sure there are hogs but theirs plenty of seating).

 

Both ships are very similar and will have both been Revolutionized by then.  Given your criteria I think it comes down to how much you want to try the suite experience.  Frankly the S2 Sky Suite rooms or balcony are not tremendously bigger than AQ on the "M" class ships, but for us it's Luminae and Retreat that really makes the difference.

 

The B2B out of San Juan you really lose a day due to the turn around in the middle but the weather will be warmer.

 

For me it would probably be the Tampa itinerary because I do like sea days.  Actually I'm booked on the 11 day Southern Caribbean from Tampa on January 4, 2021 in a Sky Suite.   If that's what you pick look me up in the Retreat!

 

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There should be no problem with the weather in Tampa in Jan. We live 50 miles from Tampa, and the winter weather is why we live in Fl.

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5 minutes ago, deliver42 said:

There should be no problem with the weather in Tampa in Jan. We live 50 miles from Tampa, and the winter weather is why we live in Fl.

 

All relative, of course.  I relocated to Fort Myers  from NY 1 and 1/2 years ago, and when temps went into the 40's last winter, I was still in shorts and a tee while locals were in parkas and boots.

 

The OP is from Sweden so surviving Tampa winter weather shouldn't be an issue.  May not be heading to the beach in it, maybe just the hot tub?

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Just a heads up.  If you are looking at the January 25, 2021 sailing it will end in Tampa on Friday February 5.  The Super Bowl will be held in Tampa on Sunday the 7th meaning hotels, rentals cars, will be very expensive on Sunday.  

We are booked on that sailing but plan to fly home on the 7th.  I would suggest that if you plan to spend time post cruise in the states it be somewhere other than southern Florida.

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I am looking forward to Celebrity sailing out of Tampa. We sailed out of there once on Brilliance of the Seas. I was surprised how long it took to get out of Tampa Bay. I had no idea how large it is. We booked dinner at a specialty restaurant and watched the city and surrounding lights as the sun slowly set... it was a fabulous way to start the cruise. So if you do go with the Tampa cruise... I suggest you try to enjoy dinner at a specialty restaurant seated near a window and enjoy the departure experience. 

 

Temps in Tampa will be lower than San Juan... but compared to Sweden... it will be nice and warm... Many decades ago, while going to college in Minnesota, I was able to spend a month in Tampa/St Pete.... went to the beach every day ... compared to -10-20 degrees F.... it was nice and warm... even when only in the 70s. There aren't many cruise lines going out of Tampa. For us it is an  hour drive... about the same as Port Canaveral .... so a reasonable drive for one day

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 My opinion is to book the Tampa cruise.  I generally go for more days rather than less, but the opportunity to cruise out of Tampa with great itineraries (especially the ABC option) is too good to pass by, especially in a suite.  We just booked a B2B on that ship as soon as we heard about the new deployment.  Also got a Sky Suite, which we are so looking forward to as suite prices have been outrageous as of late.  We got the Sky Suite, with all four perks, for roughly the same price as our original quote of AQ with four perks.  In fact, had we chosen and S2 if would have been $100pp cheaper!!

 

I love Tampa, and am glad to have an option other than FLL or MIA.  It is true that it will not be as warm as San Juan - if that is your primary factor pick SJU.  But it will definitely be warmer than Sweden!  It may or may not be warm enough to swim, but is rarely really cold.  There are a number of nice places to visit while you are there, so I suggest you come in a few days early.  In addition to what is already mentioned, they have a nice large amusement park there, an aquarium, a great casino (Hard Rock), and nice shopping.  I recommend a day trip up to Tarpon Springs, which is a Greek heritage town famous for it's gathering of sea sponges.  Very interesting and wonderful Greek restaurants.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, kearney said:

I am looking forward to Celebrity sailing out of Tampa. We sailed out of there once on Brilliance of the Seas. I was surprised how long it took to get out of Tampa Bay. I had no idea how large it is. We booked dinner at a specialty restaurant and watched the city and surrounding lights as the sun slowly set... it was a fabulous way to start the cruise. So if you do go with the Tampa cruise... I suggest you try to enjoy dinner at a specialty restaurant seated near a window and enjoy the departure experience. 

 

Temps in Tampa will be lower than San Juan... but compared to Sweden... it will be nice and warm... Many decades ago, while going to college in Minnesota, I was able to spend a month in Tampa/St Pete.... went to the beach every day ... compared to -10-20 degrees F.... it was nice and warm... even when only in the 70s. There aren't many cruise lines going out of Tampa. For us it is an  hour drive... about the same as Port Canaveral .... so a reasonable drive for one day

We live 80 miles southeast of Tampa and have just about the same weather. January normally is cool and in the 70s but it can sneak into the low 80s or if a cool front moves in you can have frost in the AM with highs only in the low 60s. I wouldn't count on taking a dip in the gulf but if you just want to relax on the beach on a warm day your chances are pretty good. We love Tampa, lots to do and see and like others have stated it's a great sail from the port out to Tampa Bay and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

We are originally from Chicago and have lived in Florida for 27 years but if we ever decided to move to large metro area, it would be in the Tampa Bay area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by MISTER 67

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Be advised that the port at Tampa can be closed because of fog in the winter months. Many cruises have been delayed either in embarking or disembarking, sometimes losing a day off either end of a cruise.  Flying all the way from Sweden, I would opt for San Juan. Especially if you have never been there. 

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We have sailed out of both, but with the political situation in PR, I would opt for Tampa.  But OTOH, Old San Juan (close to the docks) is lovely with its colonial architecture.  Tampa's winter climate is quite mild to warm, esp. compared to ours in Michigan!

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8 hours ago, Atwell said:

If you are looking for assurance of warm weather, then choose San Juan.  The weather in the Tampa area in January can be a little chilly especially if you are thinking of enjoying the beaches.  Also, the weather on board when you leave and return to port in Tampa (for at least a day in each direction) will be noticeably cooler than in San Juan.  

 

Average high temp in Tampa in January is 71F and avg. low temp is 53F.  San Juan average high temp in January is 81F and low average temp is 74F.  Rain chances are a little higher in San Juan but usually only a brief shower.  We have been to San Juan many times in January and I don't ever recall it raining.

 

Others may disagree.

 

We stayed a week in January 2018 in North Redington Beach, FL which is on the gulf coast at the beach directly west of Tampa.  The high temps during the week were: Jan 14 = 57F, Jan 15 = 64F, Jan 16 = 70F, Jan 17 = 63F, Jan 18 = 50F, Jan 19 = 54F, Jan 20 = 59F.  Now you may think that is beach weather but we prefer temperatures at least 80F at the beach.  The low temps got down to 32F on Jan 18.  We thought it was too cold for either the beach or the pool.  Granted, this was probably an unusually cold spell but it hit right during our vacation time and we were expecting warmer weather.  From there we went to Naples, FL and then over to Boca Raton, FL.  It was a little warmer there but not that much, although it was much warmer and more pleasant than at home in Ohio.  In San Juan, the high temps on the same dates were : 84F, 81F, 84F, 82F, 84F, 82F, 82F.  The Tampa area is a wonderful place but if you are concerned about chilly weather in January, then go to San Juan where warm weather is a given.

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Posted (edited)

I would go for the  11 nights on Constellation in a sky suite.  We just booked one from that port...a one day fog delay is just a risk.  There much  to do in and around Tampa...city has a great airport. Also not far from St Petersburg...great beaches, sea life,  art and museums....

 

We are not that keen on San Juan..we stop there as a port rather than to start and end a cruise,  Last few times we stayed on the ship...not that much to do that we have not  done already

.....and other issues..hopefully  by now resolved..(?)

 

It will be our first suite in many yrs of cruising,  Very excited! But keep in mind that some of the S2 locations....all on deck 6 are not the best...Try for an S1 or better if you can.  Finances dictated that  we book an S 2 but happy to be in a suite!

Edited by hcat

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, BarbinMich said:

We have sailed out of both, but with the political situation in PR, I would opt for Tampa.  But OTOH, Old San Juan (close to the docks) is lovely with its colonial architecture.  Tampa's winter climate is quite mild to warm, esp. compared to ours in Michigan!

 

We drive from Mi and and driving to Tampa will save us an extra motel night and more reasonable parking.   Plus we don’t have to drive thru FL with all the crazies on the freeways going to Miami or Ft Lauderdale Plus the hotels are cheaper.  

 

I transferred 2 cruises and booked a third all moving up to a suite with all the perks because the prices were about the same as on the Equinox  with 2 perks and in AQ 

 

the cost is still a little more but is is it offset by the travel savings.

 

We sailed out of Tampa years ago on Carnival.   We loved Carnival and had a lot of fun.   It was a 7 cruise  and cost $599 for a balcony.   We were sitting on the balcony and watching people coming aboard.   It was hilarious.  The passengers were carrying garbage bags, trash cans, cardboard boxes, coolers and etc.   it was what they were using for their luggage.   

 

I think that were the only passengers not traveling in a family reunion from Georgia.  

 

The cruise was a riot.  People were yelling form one balcony to the other instead of using their phone.

 

In the MDR there were yelling across the tables,  yelling to the servers that they wanted more food,  they would grab stuff off of the trays as the servers walked by.  

 

We walked by a lounge that was closed for a private event.   I made a comment to someone standing outside that  it must be a special occasion and they said it was and invited us to join them.  We did and were treated very nice.  Had a lot of fun and even had a few drinks.  I offered to pay and they said it was covered.

 

Honestly where can you have a family reunion for 7 days at  $599 pp or less depending on the cabin where you get food, room, and transportation.   

 

It was one one of our most memorable cruises.   While on board the presidential election was in process and Obama was elected President.   The party really got wild.   

 

It was a very wild wild time and experience.  Glad it happened as it was an experience and adventure but for the record I said that I will never book another cruise out of Tampa that is very cheap for obvious reasons.  

 

Just out of a whim I booked a X cruise and my wife asked why.  As soon as we walked on board and got that glass of bubbly and seen the atrium,  we went WOW. I booked a AQ for the so call healthy menu  and my wife was hooked on Celebrity and all of the amenities of AQ and we have sailed X ever since.  

 

I would be leery about sailing out of San Juan.   Too many unknown factors involved.

 

 X also has some promos on some cruises for the residents of San Juan to sail.   I hear that those cruises are basically a big party and all the women are dressed with the latest fashions, tight fitting clothes and as my daughter would say why bother type, it s a younger crowd.   Good eye candy for the men. 

 

 

Happy cruising 🌊🚢🇺🇸🌅

 

Edited by miched

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17 hours ago, travellerin1984 said:

Hi!

 

We have a very pleasant problem. We are planning our winter cruise in January 2021 and have such hard time choosing which alternative to choose. I appreciate any comments... 

 

A) Two weeks back to back on Summit from Puerto Rico. Probably one week in oceaview cabin and one week in aqua class. As you might know the itineraries are port intensive. 

 

B) 11 nights on Constellation out of Tampa in Sky suite. It would be our first time in suite. It is five seadays and 11 nights so it is a more about the ship than the ports. 

 

We have visited most of the ports before but would like to try suite life but I don’t really know if it is worth it. We are a bit hesitant about Tampa because of the weather. Do you guys like Tampa as a pre-cruise destination? We are from Sweden and have been to San Juan but not Tampa. We have travelled quite a lot in US but Tampa would be a new destination. 

 

And how is the suite experience? Would you prefer a longer cruise in a lower cabin class or shorter cruise in suite?

 

We need a bit of advice in this very serious problem of choosing the best cruise.... 

 

 

 

 

 

I vote for Tampa simply because of the Sky Suite.  I prefer the islands in the Eastern Caribbean over the Western, but for me going in a Suite with Luminae would outweigh the ports.  We've sailed in a Sky Suite once and absolutely loved it.  It was a great experience for a special occasion.  As for the weather in Tampa in January, chances are it's going to be nice, but we do get cold fronts to push south. I live in Fort Myers with is about 120 miles due south of Tampa and on average we get a few cool spells a year and a cold spell ever few years.  In the event you do hit a cold spell here in Florida once you sail a day south of Tampa you're in the tropics and the temperatures will be perfect for the beach.  Just remember, not matter what weather you hit in Tampa, it's going to be better than home is Sweden.  🙂

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I did some googling about the fog issues in Tampa. Although it has occasionally wrecked havoc with cruise schedules, it seems to only be a serious problem about once or max twice a year. (Based on the news articles I found when searching.)

 

I'm willing to risk it! Booked for a Tampa Constellation holiday cruise.

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Superbowl for 2021 football season is held in 2022 in LA.

 

image.png.285869777162e50b4c0e8b75f28e8213.png

We were booked on the Friday Feb 31, 2020 Silhouette cruise out of FLL.   The SuperBowl is in Miami on Sunday Feb 2.  Hotels were VERY high.  The Embassy Suites on 17th street was $1400 starting Thursday night.  Delta flights were also 4 to 5 times higher than earlier in the week flying into FLL and the same for outbound flights Mon-Wed after the game. 

 

My point is that it's not just Sat/Sun of the game but prices will be 2-5 times normal from about mid week before to mid week after the game.

 

After doing tons of research and doing some creative travel plans like flying to Orlando and driving to FLL and finding a hotel who wasn't gouging pricing, Celebrity cancelled the cruise in May due to extending the drydock to accomodate taking the ship to Spain and back for the Revolution because of the drydock accident in the Bahamas.

 

 

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18 hours ago, travellerin1984 said:

Hi!

 

We have a very pleasant problem. We are planning our winter cruise in January 2021 and have such hard time choosing which alternative to choose. I appreciate any comments... 

 

A) Two weeks back to back on Summit from Puerto Rico. Probably one week in oceaview cabin and one week in aqua class. As you might know the itineraries are port intensive. 

 

B) 11 nights on Constellation out of Tampa in Sky suite. It would be our first time in suite. It is five seadays and 11 nights so it is a more about the ship than the ports. 

 

We have visited most of the ports before but would like to try suite life but I don’t really know if it is worth it. We are a bit hesitant about Tampa because of the weather. Do you guys like Tampa as a pre-cruise destination? We are from Sweden and have been to San Juan but not Tampa. We have travelled quite a lot in US but Tampa would be a new destination. 

 

And how is the suite experience? Would you prefer a longer cruise in a lower cabin class or shorter cruise in suite?

 

We need a bit of advice in this very serious problem of choosing the best cruise.... 

 

 

 

 

I have booked us for what are probably the same b2b on Summit that you are looking at. I have spent much time in Florida, though never in Tampa. I have had several trips in/out of San Juan. I will always opt for San Juan, much more interesting than Florida. Though I am not that pleased with these new Summit offerings, I found it hard to put together a decent 14-day trip. So that b2b may well get swapped out for some Alaska time...

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9 hours ago, jelayne said:

Just a heads up.  If you are looking at the January 25, 2021 sailing it will end in Tampa on Friday February 5.  The Super Bowl will be held in Tampa on Sunday the 7th meaning hotels, rentals cars, will be very expensive on Sunday.  

We are booked on that sailing but plan to fly home on the 7th.  I would suggest that if you plan to spend time post cruise in the states it be somewhere other than southern Florida.

I don't think Ft. Lauderdale should be "busy" because of the super bowl. 

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49 minutes ago, DebInAntigua said:

I did some googling about the fog issues in Tampa. Although it has occasionally wrecked havoc with cruise schedules, it seems to only be a serious problem about once or max twice a year. (Based on the news articles I found when searching.)

 

I'm willing to risk it! Booked for a Tampa Constellation holiday cruise.

This year or next?  We're looking at the Dec 23rd, 2020 cruise from Tampa.  

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We experienced the 14 days San Juan and the rates kept falling so I kept moving up. Ended up one week in an S1

and another in a Royal. So you might do better than you think. 

 

If you end up not moving up in San Juan treat yourself to more restaurants during your OV week. 

 

I hope you have a wonderful cruise, no matter what you choose.

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