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Ybor City and Tampa’s long, rich history and natural connection to Cuba make it the perfect place to start your cruise vacation experience, exploring the natural beauty of old world Cuba. The first cruise from Tampa to Havanna in more than 50 years aboard the Royal Caribbean Empress of the Seas started on April 30, 2017. On June 29, 2017, Carnival Cruise Lines' Paradise will make it's call upon the island nation.
Carnival Sails to Cuba from Port Tampa Bay:
Port Tampa Bay was pleased to mark the first departure of the Empress of the Seas to Cuba, which happened in April, during a recent ceremony at the port.
The Empress of the Seas will homeport in Tampa for the 2017 summer season – the cruise line’s first ever summer program from Tampa – offering a series of four- and five-night sailings including port calls to destinations in Cuba.
Passengers and special guests, including local travel agency partners, were treated to a live band playing Cuban-inspired music and Cuban coffee inside Cruise Terminal 3, the home terminal for Empress of the Seas while she home ports in Tampa.
“Today’s embarkation out of Tampa is truly historic for Port Tampa Bay, and we are thrilled that Royal Caribbean has chosen Port Tampa Bay to offer sailings to Cuba from the United States. We now have three Royal Caribbean ships in 2017, which is exciting for cruise passengers seeking new and innovative experiences all year long, for the very first time,” Paul Anderson, port president and CEO, said. We are excited to welcome the Empress of the Seas with the fanfare she deserves, and we look forward to continuing to be a great partner with Royal Caribbean for years to come,” he said.
“The Tampa Bay market has always been important to us, and the entire family at Royal Caribbean is excited to give our guests great year-round options to travel on one of our beautiful ships from a world-class port like Port Tampa Bay,” Michael Bayley, President & CEO, Royal Caribbean International, said of the new and exciting service. “We are thrilled to introduce culture-seeking travelers to Cuba from Tampa and we look forward to continuing to grow our business in Tampa for years to come.”
The Empress of the Seas joins the 2,543-passenger, Brilliance of the Seas, and 2,416-passenger Rhapsody of the Seas for 2017. The three ships will offer a variety of four-, five- and seven-day itineraries. Empress of the Seas will finish the season with a variety of four- and five-day itineraries.