The Tampa Port Authority is pleased to announce that Royal Caribbean International (RCI) will enhance and expand its deployment season in Tampa beginning in the fall of 2010, with a larger vessel, the Radiance of the Seas.

Launched in 2001, the 90,000 ton Radiance of the Seas holds 2,500 passengers and will offer passengers more space than previously offered by RCI in Tampa. The Radiance will replace Grandeur of the Seas, the 74,000-ton/2,446-passenger Vision class ship that has called at the Port of Tampa since 2005. With more berths and an expanded season, Radiance of the Seas will increase Royal Caribbean’s capacity in Tampa compared to Grandeur of the Seas’ previous deployments. The enhanced service will offer 44 sailings from the Port of Tampa, compared with 28 sailings the year prior.

Itineraries will include a four-night sailing, calling at Cozumel, Mexico, and a five-night sailing that adds Costa Maya. The ship’s 2010 season will kick-off with a seven-night Western Caribbean sailing on October 9, calling at George Town, Grand Cayman; Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; and Belize City, Belize.

“It’s exciting to see a strong and growing cruise market here in Tampa, and Royal Caribbean’s decision to enhance activity at the Port of Tampa is a great and fitting response,” Richard Wainio, Tampa’s port director and CEO, said. “Cruise is a very important part of our business and a critical link in Tampa Bay’s tourism sector,” he said.