The Port of Tampa set a single-day record for passenger throughput on Sunday, November 20, when an estimated 12,623 passengers embarked and disembarked on three cruise ships, making it the single busiest day on record at the nation’s eighth-largest cruise port.

Well into a successful winter cruise season, the Port welcomed three ships, the Carnival Legend, Norwegian Star and Holland America Line’s Ryndam, on a day marked by smooth operations at the port’s three cruise terminals. Tampa’s robust cruise activity bodes well for what the port authority projects to be a record year for number of passengers—around 940,000.

With continued growth, the port is projected to reach one million passengers annually in the next few years.

Cruise lines have continued to see Tampa as a strong market, reflected in the arrival of a new customer and several upgraded vessel deployments in recent months to serve this demand.  Last month, the port welcomed Norwegian Cruise Line, which began home port operations in Tampa with the Norwegian Star, in October. Carnival Cruise Line home ports two ships year-round in Tampa, the Carnival Legend and Carnival Inspiration. Next month the Carnival Inspiration will be replaced by Carnival Paradise. Recently, the Port of Tampa welcomed a new ship, Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas, replacing Radiance of the Seas.  Ships sailing from Tampa offer an assortment of Caribbean itineraries.

Tampa cruise passengers enjoy the convenience of excellent highway access from across the southeastern US, close proximity to one of the nation’s best airports, excellent nearby options for shore-side entertainment, and abundant parking just steps away from the cruise terminals. 

 Recent aesthetic refurbishments to two of the terminals also have helped enhance the overall cruise experience.

“This is an exciting time for us at the Port as we see a flourishing cruise business, owing to the positive guest experience offered, as well as a continued rise in popularity of Tampa as a home port of the cruise lines,” Richard Wainio, Tampa’s port director and chief executive, said.