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Spotlight: Tampa

Port Tampa Bay, referred to as “Big Guava,” is one of the premier cruise port destinations in the South.  Just a short distance from Tampa International Airport, one of the nation’s top-rated airports, as well as having an excellent interstate highway system, the city provides those sailing into and out of the port in Tampa convenience and accessibility.  Big Guava offers an enjoyable destination to explore prior to or following one’s cruise.

The shopping, museums, including the U.S. National Historic Landmark, the Henry B. Plant Museum, Tampa Museum of Art and Museum of Science & Industry, Bush Gardens, Florida Aquarium as well as   the Cuban-influenced Latin Quarter of Ybor City with flamenco dancers and hand-rolled cigars allow visitors a vast array of experiences on Florida’s Gulf Coast.  Along with Tampa’s attractions, luxury hotels and casual as well as upscale dining options are in close proximity of Port Tampa Bay.  Furthermore, Florida’s west coast climate, award winning beaches found in Tampa and nearby Clearwater add to the overall appeal of the ever-growing tourist destination.


Busch Gardens

Who knew?  Although disputed by those in Miami, Tampa historians consider the city to be the birthplace of the Cuban sandwich; the “Historic Tampa Cuban Sandwich” influenced by the Italian immigrants living next to the Cubans and Spaniards in Ybor City years ago adds Genoa salami to the sandwich consisting of Cuban bread, ham, roasted port, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard.

Ybor City – a historic neighborhood in Tampa

Even in closer proximity to the port is Channelside Bay Plaza.  Channelside, the outside venue in which visitors enjoy music, shopping, dining and imbibing, is ever-developing.  Florida Aquarium is adjacent to the plaza with its 20,000 aquatic plants and animals. 

The Florida Aquarium

Port Tampa Bay features state-of-the-art modern design.  The comfortable cruise terminals include passenger-friendly information centers, on-terminal parking and superior security.  Cruise lines sail out of three efficiently run terminals

Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America, Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian Cruise Line serve the nearly one million passengers sailing out of Tampa with four to fourteen day sailings.  The majority of the cruise itineraries are to the Eastern or Western Caribbean.  

Ship sailing under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge

Royal Caribbean recently announced Empress of the Seas will sail out of Tampa to Cuba for two sailings – April 30th for a seven-night cruise and May 20th for a five-night voyage.  Following, Empress will homeport in Tampa for the summer season and offer four and five-night trips to Cuba.  The recently renovated Empress of the Seas will add Cuban flair to its sailings serving cortaditos and café con leche.

Special Needs Group is pleased to provide service to those cruising out of Tampa.  In addition, SNG can also provide Hotel pick-up and delivery at the start or close of a cruise.  For more information, please visit us at



Travel Agent – December 2016 Newsletter Full Article



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