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Tampa, FL

November 8th, 2014
Arrival at 6:00AM

Tampa, Florida is located on the west coaster of Florida in Tampa Bay, near the Gulf of Mexico. The Tampa Bay Area, which includes Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and Brandon, is the fourth largest metropolitan statistical area in the Southeast United States.


Weather in Tampa in early November is usually moderately warm, with highs around 80°F and lows around 60°F. Temperatures in Tampa tend to be fairly stable due to the high humidity. Brief showers and thunderstorms followed by sunshine are common. November is still Hurricane season, so heavy rain and tropical storms are possible.

Getting Around

Tampa's public transit system is the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit, or HART. Hart runs a series of local and express buses, a $0.25 downtown "trolley" bus, and the TECO Line Streetcar System that runs from downtown along the waterfront and to Ybor City.

Taxis are available through Tampa. Cab fare from the cruise terminal to the airport is about $30 with tip (depending on traffic). 

Tampa International Airport

Tampa International Airport is located about 6 miles west of Downtown and 8 miles west of the cruise terminal. It is accessible via the Route 30 Bus as well as car and taxi. The airport has a single landside terminal where ticketing, check in, and baggage drop-off and retrieval occur. People movers connect the landside terminal with the airside terminals where the gates for the various airlines are.

The Route 30 bus stops curbside by the east end of the Red Baggage Claim. The bus runs from downtown, and you can transfer to it from the TECO Streetcar System at Whiting Station if you are coming from the cruise terminal, aquarium, or Ybor City. The bus is $2.00, or you can purchase a 1-day pass for $5.00 that is good for unlimited use of the bus, the TECO streetcar, and the downtown trolley.

Cruise Terminal

Royal Caribbean uses Cruise Terminal 3 in Tampa, which is located at 815 Channelside Drive, Tampa, FL 33602 at the intersection with Cumberland Ave. The terminal is accessible via car, taxi, foot, and the TECO Streetcar.

The Cumberland Avenue Station on the TECO Streetcar is located directly in front of the cruise terminal. You can take the streetcar north to Ybor City or south to downtown, where you can connect to the Route 30 bus to the airport.

The Destination Tampa Concierge Desk in the terminal, located just after customs, offers luggage storage (for a fee), discount tickets to local attractions, and Hertz rental cars. If you're planning on visiting the nearby Florida Aquarium or American Victory Ship, stop here first to get cheaper tickets.

Things to Do

This is just a small sample of things to do in Tampa.Is there something you think should be added? Let me know using the "Contact the Webmaster" link above.

  • The Florida Aquarium - Located right next door to the cruise terminal, the Florida Aquarium features a variety of animal exhibits. If you are coming from the ship, they will hold your luggage for free until 5pm. Highlights include a 500,000 gallon coral reef tank with underwater glass tunnels you can walk through and a free-flight aviary featuring birds, alligators, and otters. They also offer a variety of additional-fee experience including a penguin encounter, a chance to snorkel or scuba dive in their exhibits, and a cruise to see wild dolphins. Make sure to get discount tickets at the Concierge Desk in the cruise terminal.
  • The American Victory Ship Maritime Museum - The SS American victory is one of only 4 fully-operational WWII ships in the country, and the on-board museum features artifacts and exhibits on WWII-era ships. You can also tour most of the ship including the three-level cargo holds, radio and gyro rooms, hospital, galley, weaponry, steering stations, flying bridge, signaling equipment, wheelhouse, mess halls, crew cabins, lifeboats, the Captain's quarters, cargo equipment and the engine. Discount tickets are available at the Concierge Desk in the cruise terminal.
  • Ybor City - Originally Tampa’s Latin Quarter, and once known as the "Cigar Capital of the World", YBor City is one of only two National Historic Landmark Districts in Florida. It features lots of restaurants, stores, pubs, nightclubs, and, of course, cigar shops. Accessible from the cruise port via the TECO streetcar.
  • Busch Gardens Tampa - A combination of a world-class zoo and a world-class amusement park. The animal collection is one of the largest in the country, and features a 29-acre African Serengeti, free-flight aviaries, a kangaroo and wallaby feeding experience, a walk-through tiger exhibit, and a tropical rainforest with chimpanzees and gorillas. Rides include Shiekra, a 200-ft-tall diving coaster, Kumba, a seven-inversion steel coaster, and Cheetah Hunt, a multi-launch family coaster. Busch Gardens is no longer owned by Anheuser-Busch, so they no longer offer free beer. Discount tickets are available at the Concierge Desk in the cruise terminal.
  • Manatee Viewing Center - Located in nearby Apollo Beach, the Manatee Viewing Center is located in the warm-water discharge canal of the Big Bend Power Station. When the weather gets colder, hundreds of manatees (as well as fish, birds, and sting rays)  gather here to keep warm. They have a variety of viewing platforms, a boardwalk through a mangrove forest, and hiking trails. November 1st is the beginning of their season, so there may not be as many Manatees as you would get later in the winter.

Eat and Drink

  • Coming soon... (suggestions needed -- use the "Contact the Webmaster" link above).