Best cruises from Tampa March 2021 |

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Cruises from Tampa

Top 4 cruise lines offering adventures through the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.

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Downtown Tampa skyline view from the harbor at dusk

Sunny Tampa is a wonderful place to kick off a cruise if you’re looking for a Caribbean getaway — or if you want to check the Panama Canal off your bucket list.

Six cruise lines depart from the Port of Tampa, including Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and MSC Cruises…but we’ve narrowed it down to just four to help streamline your planning. These cruise lines are known for offering great value, with mid-tier pricing, plenty to do onboard and restaurants with glowing reviews.

When will cruises from Tampa start again?

Right now, cruises are scheduled to resume from the Port of Tampa in the spring of 2021. However, this is subject to change as the coronavirus pandemic evolves, so be sure to check in with each cruise line to confirm the exact dates.

  • Most cruise lines are offering penalty-free change and cancellation policies because of uncertainty due to COVID-19 — review the terms and conditions before booking to make sure you’re on board with the details.

Best cruises from Tampa

Port of Tampa Bay is relatively small compared to other cruise ports in Florida, but it’s still got quality itineraries for a sunny getaway.

Best for cruises from Tampa to Key West: Royal Caribbean

Craving some Key Lime Pie? Sink your teeth into laid-back living, with Royal Caribbean itineraries that swing by Key West, CocoCay and Nassau from Tampa.

Most of these trips are scheduled from December through April. As cabins start at under $500 per person, families might favor these for spring break getaways.

  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • Price matches
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners, Discover Card
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for cruises to the Panama Canal from Tampa: Carnival

See Mexico and Costa Rica before sailing through part of the Panama Canal, a 48-mile man-made waterway that's considered one of the seven wonders of the modern world. Expect entertaining days at sea with a comedy club, live music and more. This is also a great choice for families in need of retreat, as an adults-only lounge and a camp specially designed for kids is included.
  • No free room service
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners, Paypal, Carnival EasyPay, Gift Card, Discover Card, Debit, Western Union, Cheque
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for Caribbean cruises from Tampa: Norwegian

NCL has routes that go to the western Caribbean — Belize, Honduras and the eastern edge of Mexico, or to the southern Caribbean — Aruba, Barbados, St. Maarten, Antilles and Puerto Rico. While you won't see many summer options, its cruises are perfect for folks looking to escape the wintertime blues. The vast majority of trips are scheduled from December through March.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners, Discover Card
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for short cruises from Tampa: Royal Caribbean

While three-day cruises from Tampa are rare, Royal Caribbean offers a four-night getaway that'll take you to Cozumel and back. Prices start at under $400/person, dining included and plenty of options for entertainment including a climbing wall, mini golf course, live entertainment and shops on board. If you can squeeze in one more day, you'll find ample itineraries for five-night cruises with a rich handful of palm tree-dotted destinations.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • Price matches
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners, Discover Card
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

How we chose these cruises

When choosing cruises for this list, we looked at the quality of routes available from each cruise line, prioritizing well-paced itineraries with port stops at key destinations around the region.

We also considered onboard dining and weighed the number, variety and overall quality of restaurants against passenger reviews. And we weighed cabin amenities against each price point, looking for cruise lines that are known to deliver the highest value.

Additionally, we sought out customer reviews on travel websites and personal travel blogs, considering first-person experiences and each company’s overall reputation.

How to find last-minute cruises from Tampa

Check leading travel sites like TripAdvisor and Expedia that make it their business to scout last-minute cruise deals. Enter your travel dates into the search bar, select Tampa as your departure city, and click to see cruises with last-minute fares available.

When is the best time to cruise from Tampa?

You’ll find the widest range of itineraries available for cruises from Tampa in December through April — snowbird season. Still, fares are likely to be more expensive during this time due to increased demand. Airfare and accommodations may also be pricier.

For budget travelers, the cheapest time to cruise from Tampa is May to early June, and late August through early November. These off-season months have a lower demand overall, which makes for cheaper fare — with weather that’s still lovely for a sail.

Getting to the port for your cruise from Tampa

The Tampa cruise port is about 10 miles southwest of the airport — a 20- to 25-minute drive, depending on traffic.

From Tampa International Airport, you can get to the cruise port via:

  • Ride-hailing app. Uber and Lyft abound in Tampa.
  • Taxi. Taxis will be available at the airport.
  • Shuttle. Check to see if your cruise line or hotel offers shuttles to and from the airport. Otherwise, browse third-party options.
  • Public transportation. Take the SkyConnect passenger train to the Skyconnect Rental Car Facility. From there, walk to the Airport Rental Car Facility bus stop and hop on the 60 East to Downtown bus.Get off at Jackson St @ Brush St and walk about a half mile to the cruise port terminals. The whole trip will take you about an hour, and will cost $2.

To find cheap flights for your cruise from Tampa, consider flying with a budget airline. These low-cost carriers fly into Tampa International Airport:

  • Allegiant
  • Frontier
  • Southwest
  • Spirit
  • Sun Country

You could also search for cheap flights into Orlando, FL, which is about a 1.5 hour from Tampa. Greyhound buses regularly run between the two cities.

Traveling during COVID-19
The CDC advises postponing travel to protect yourself and your family from getting or spreading COVID-19. If you plan to travel during the pandemic, monitor the risk assessment levels for your destination when planning your trip, before departure and on arrival. Follow safety measures that include wearing a mask in public, social distancing and washing your hands. If you are diagnosed with, have symptoms of or are waiting for test results for COVID-19 — or are otherwise at risk of illness — do not attend gatherings or travel for 14 days.

Bottom line

Tampa is more low-key than bustling Miami or Orlando, providing an easy-in, easy-out port experience. Before booking your getaway above the waves, browse coupons to save money on your fare.

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