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I sailed out of Tampa a few years ago on the Dawn; I loved it! I was used to the congestion of Boston; in Tampa I was able to get right into the building and taken care of quite quickly. I also loved the city; the area I stayed is beautiful. 

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We have sailed out of there and loved it. But, one problem that can occur is heavy fog. Our coming into port after a Panama cruise was delayed by about two hours. Plenty of passengers who had earlier flights had to find new flights home at extremely high last minute prices, if they could find a flight at all.

So, the one piece of advice that I would give is to make sure that you get an afternoon flight home and not cut it close as you may have in the past.

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11 minutes ago, cruisekitty22 said:

Anyone sail out of Tampa? Is it really that bad?  I was looking at a cruise next year and my travel agent said its not a good port to sail out of. Why?

 

 

Why did your travel agent say it was a bad port to sail out of?  Just curious.

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Love sailing out of Tampa.  We were on the Constellation (Celebrity) a few years ago.  Tampa is a convenient road trip from ATL.  Spent a pre-cruise day exploring the little city and water front area.  We were really impressed with Tampa as a whole and with the ease of the port in general.  Have a March 2021 booked leaving out of Tampa.  Not sure why your TA has that opinion.

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You need to ask or travel agent the specifics on his statement.

 

Having cruised from many different ports and having flown into and out of many different airports, I can state that Tampa cruise port and Tampa airport (now my "home" airport") are among the easiest to navigate and use.

 

If your agent is referring to the season of the year when fog may develop because air temperature, water temperature, and wind conditions are in the combination to allow fog, keep in mind that fog can occur in any seaport under the right conditions.

 

In Tampa, conditions can occur usually from December - February, but not every day (more clear than foggy).

 

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This has to just be a personal opinion and maybe she or a past customer had a bad experience.  The terminal is small and cannot easily accommodate the passengers getting off and on a ship at the same time.  When a ship has disembarkation happening late, arriving passengers stack up outside in the hot sun... or rain... with no shelter.  That is the only problem I am aware of.

 

Every port has its critics...

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I live in Tampa Bay and have sailed out of here multiple times. It’s worse than a few years ago. Last time I had to take all of my computers, tablets, etc. out of my luggage just like at the airport. That was aggravating.  So I recommend keeping those in a separate bag. Other than that and the long lines the port is fine. Lines weren’t worse than some of the other ports I’ve used.

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On 4/5/2020 at 7:43 AM, cruisekitty22 said:

Anyone sail out of Tampa? Is it really that bad?  I was looking at a cruise next year and my travel agent said its not a good port to sail out of. Why?

Have sailed out of Tampa three times, always flew in the day before and never had a problem. Its a nice port, the only thing that was a PITA is for easy walk off. Coming off the ship they would not let you use the escalator and they only had one small elevator. Not sure if things have changed

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We sailed the Last sailing of the Dawn out of Tampa on March 8th and it wasn’t terrible. They didn’t allow boarding till 12:30 due to some coast guard drills (probably coved-19 preparedness stuff). It is a small terminal so there is not a ton of seating but if it had been a normal embarkation it would probably have been fine. They were allowing the use of the escalator for our debark as long as you had one hand free to grab the railing (you could only have one bag with you to use the escalator not two). The activities around the port are very accessible with Sparkman Wharf right at the dock, the Riverwalk right across water street and Ybor city a quick walk or trolley ride away. For those driving in, parking is right across from the terminal and you can find online deals for $50 for the week. 

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We have sailed out of Tampa twice and prefer it to our closest ports (Port Canaveral and Miami). Much less crowded than Miami and we were able to safely and inexpensively park very close to the port. We will not do that in Miami as there are numerous reports of car damage and theft when not parking right at the Port.

 

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My first cruise ever was out of Tampa.  When my kids were young, Tampa and St. Petes were our favourite goto places for a family vacay.  We spent a few Christmas/New Years vacays there.  

So when we an opportunity to cruise out of Tampa, we grabbed it.  Got there a day early, roamed around with the car and took TICO down to the water front and stopped at the "warehouse" area (not sure what it's called) and had a snack and a flight of beers.  Was a really fun way to start our cruise on the Star. 

 

Many fond memories of that area.  Kapok Tree INN restaurant/gardens? Anyone? 

 

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I really enjoyed sailing out of Tampa. Parking is really close, and you can even use valet for only a little more than the regular charge. One issue that your travel agent might be referencing is that you are somewhat limited by the size of ships that can sail because they must be small enough to pass under the Skyline Bridge. You will never be able to book one of the larger ships like The Escape there so it limits your options to some degree.  However, if you like the midsized and smaller ships, I think it is a nice option.

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On 4/6/2020 at 6:50 PM, busyone said:

One issue that your travel agent might be referencing is that you are somewhat limited by the size of ships that can sail because they must be small enough to pass under the Skyline Bridge.

 If I were a TA that would be my reasoning. As they introduce larger ships with more activities I don’t think I could do Tampa again. My first couple cruises were out of Tampa because it’s close to my in-laws. We took a 10 more out of Port Canaveral and Miami all large ships. Last April we took a royal out of Tampa and to be honest it was kind of boring. We don’t sit at the pool all day or casino so kind of lame. Most activities the ship offered were geared toward an older crowed who could sit there and do very little. We watched cakes being maid, towel folding demos, and played trivia. By mid week I was wishing I was on at least the breakaway. Please understand we are very active and never sit still for more than 20 minutes. If relaxing is your thing and you enjoy a book with a frozen drink then Tampa is perfect. Like most have said the port, parking, and city are probably the easiest and all positive.

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Tampa is the only port I would not sail from again. I found the onsite traffic or security personnel unfriendly and we were not able to be dropped off in front of the terminal so we pulled luggage from a dropoff point and across the street. 

 

Entry point wasn't well marked as lobby is upstairs, no greeters or security to point directions. The waiting area was also on the older side, could use a refresh. 

 

Fog isn't really the issue, it's the fact that ships go under a bridge so if it is too foggy, visibility can make it impossible to safely navigate. Therefore delays are more likely from Tampa. We were delayed boarding and returning. Not NCL's fault but a feature of the port location. 

 

There's an active retail area at the port, perhaps they care more about that economy than the cruise experience.

 

I have cruised from Miami, Port Canaveral, Tampa, New Orleans and Barcelona. 

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1 hour ago, Nola26 said:

 

 

Fog isn't really the issue, it's the fact that ships go under a bridge so if it is too foggy, visibility can make it impossible to safely navigate. Therefore delays are more likely from Tampa. We were delayed boarding and returning. Not NCL's fault but a feature of the port location. 

 

 

 

 

While the Sunshine Bridge does impose a height restriction for the ships which can pass underneath it, the fog is the problem.

 

The channel from the bridge into the port is narrow and twisting and is bordered by shallow water to either side.

 

When fog cuts the visibility, the channel is may be too dangerous for navigation or, in lighter fog,  may restrict ship traffic to one vessel in the channel at a time.

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Fog is an issue in Tampa depending on the time of year and other factors. We planned so sail on a Sunday for a NYE cruise in 2019. The two ships that meant to sail on  the previous  Saturday could not due to fog. They finally sailed on our sailing day.

We went from a 4 PM sailing to a 2 AM sailing. Lines were incredible. The sad thing was the cruise line gave no information. We found out what was happening from the port police.

Other than that, take a look at the Port of Tampa website. They can have 3 ships sail and each cruise line has a terminal. Parking is very close. We  usually valet park. It is a bit more but we just pull  up to the terminal, they take our luggage out and off goes our car.  I do not know why a TA would say this is not a port to sail from. We have sailed out of Tampa at least 7-8 times and with the exception of the NYE fog one year, we had good experiences. There are some good hotels nearby if that is your choice.

We had 2 Tampa sailings planned in April and May this year but with the Covid situation, they will not sail.

 

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On 4/6/2020 at 6:21 PM, Homosassa said:

Unfortunately, The Kapok Tree (and its sister The Peter Pan Inn in Urbana, MD) are no more.

 

Both were very special places.

Wow, I have not thought of the Kapok Tree for years, we used to go there alot when our children were small.  It was a neat place.

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