The Tampa Port Authority has announced that AIDA Cruises will homeport two of its ships in Tampa—AIDAvita for the 2014/15 and AIDAmar for the 2015/16 cruise season.

As part of AIDA Cruises’ new Caribbean butterfly route, providing customers with unique new cruise experiences and destinations, the AIDAvita will begin sailing the first of four Western Caribbean cruises from Tampa in December 2014, and then the following season, in 2015, AIDAmar will sail seven cruises out of Tampa.

AIDA Cruises’ entry into the Tampa market means that the Port of Tampa will now home port ships from five of the world’s most popular cruise lines.

AIDAvita, the second ship in the AIDA fleet, was launched in 2002, and has a 1,266-passenger capacity and crew size of 384.  Launched in 2012, AIDAmar, a Sphinx Class ship, has a 2,194-passenger capacity and 609 crew.

"AIDA Cruises’ announcement to come to Tampa is a milestone for us, not only at the port, but for all of our tourism and economic development partners in the region,” Paul Anderson, TPA president and CEO, said. 

“We are thrilled to welcome AIDA to Tampa Bay and we know this will be the beginning of a long and rewarding relationship with this fine cruise line that has recognized our strong and distinct market and has decided to be a part of the growth we are experiencing in the region,” he said.