Two Royal Caribbean ships in Tampa for the first time, at the same time


For the first time ever, two Royal Caribbean cruise ships were docked at the Port of Tampa, which local officials were celebrating as a "historic day".

Vision of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas were both in port yesterday, which port executives marked as a first for Royal Caribbean.

Paul Anderson, president and CEO of the Port of Tampa port authority, commented on the news, "This is absolutely a beautiful day, a historic day for our port.  We are so proud to be partners with Royal Caribbean."

To celebrate this occasion, a plaque was given to Vision of the Seas' captain, Lis Lauritzen, in a ceremony that took place onboard the ship.

“I’m very proud that we were able to welcome her,” Anderson said afterward.

Vision of the Seas will depart every Saturday through April 11 on seven-day cruises to the western Caribbean. Brilliance of the Seas offers four- and five-day cruises to Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico.

Brilliance of the Seas makes maiden cruise to Tampa


Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas made her inaugural cruise from Tampa, Florida on Saturday and is the ninth ship in the fleet to call Tampa home.

Brilliance of the Seas took her 2,100 passengers on a Western Caribbean cruise itinerary that will visit Key West, Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Roatan, Honduras.

When Brilliance of the Seas returns to Tampa next week, it will begin a series of four- and five-day cruises with ports of call in Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico.

Brilliance of the Seas will offer cruises from Tampa through May 1.

The Tampa Tribune reports to celebrate her first cruise, the Tampa Port Authority arranged a tour of the 12-story Radiance-class ship for authority board members and news reporters.

Royal Caribbean plans to deploy a second ship in Tampa for Caribbean cruises next year.

Royal Caribbean adds second ship to Tampa


Royal Caribbean will add a second cruise ship that will sail out of Tampa starting in the fall of 2014.  Vision of the Seas will be added and offer seven-night Western Caribbean cruises from Tampa throughout winter 2014-15.  Vision of the Seas will join Brilliance of the Seas, which had been offering seasonal four- and five-night Western Caribbean cruises.

Vision of the Seas will sail a nine-night Southern Caribbean itinerary from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on November 6, 2014, to Tampa, with calls at Aruba, Curacao, Grand Cayman and Labadee, Royal Caribbean’s private beach paradise on the north coast of Haiti. Beginning November 15, Vision of the Seas will sail every Saturday from Tampa to destinations in the Western Caribbean, including Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Costa Maya, Roatan (Honduras) or Belize.  

Port officials are excited to welcome an additional ship to Tampa, which has been home port to Royal Caribbean ships since the first ship, Rhapsody of the Seas, called in January 2002.

Vision of the Seas is planned to recieve a refurbishment in September 2013, which will match Brilliance of the Seas' refurbisment that took place in May 2013.

Brilliance of the Seas coming to Tampa in 2013


Royal Caribbean will send Brilliance of the Seas to Tampa in 2013-2014, replacing Jewel of the Seas.

Brilliance of the Seas will offer four and five-night western Caribbean cruises with stops in Cozumel, the Cayman Islands and either Key West or George Town.

Prior to arriving in Tampa, Brilliance will enter drydock in May 2013 and be revitalized to give it a major refurbishment including New onboard dining and entertainment options, revitalized staterooms, and other amenities including Wi-Fi, digital way-finding systems and an outdoor LED video wall.

Royal Caribbean and Universal Studios expand partnership to include Tampa cruises


Royal Caribbean's partnership with Universal Studios Orlando is expanding to include cruises that go out of Tampa, Florida.

Royal Caribbean announced with Universal Studios that that they will start selling vacation packages that include a stay at Universal Studios Orlando along with a Royal Caribbean cruise.  The packages include three or four-night stays at Universal Studios along with four or five-night cruises on Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean will be homeporting Jewel of the Seas in November out of Tampa.  

This new deal is in addition to the partnership the two companies already offer for cruises out of Port Canaveral.

For Royal Caribbean, the expanded deal with Universal is another move into Disney's lucrative family-cruise niche. The Miami-based cruise operator last year struck a separate deal with DreamWorks Animation to outfit some of its ships with characters from animated movies such as Shrek and Madagascar, much the way Disney Cruise Line features popular children's characters such as Buzz Lightyear and Donald Duck.

Tampa declines to raise cruise tariffs


Tampa, Florida port commissioners declined to approve staff recommendations to raise the daily parking garage rates from $14 to $15 and toincrease tariffs by 3 percent on cruse lines.

Raising the tariff would have affected Royal Caribbean because unlike other cruise companies in Tampa, Royal Caribbean does not have a long-term contract with the port that includes payments that can be lower than a tariff arrangement.  While Royal Caribbean may be subject to tariff increases in the future still, Royal Caribbean enjoys the luxury of being able to discontinue service at any time.