If you’re going on a cruise out of Tampa and need some helpful advice about the Tampa cruise port, we’ve got you covered.
This cruise port currently serves cruise passengers sailing on Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Celebrity Cruises.
Here is everything you need to know about Port Tampa Bay and some tips to help make your embarkation day as easy and smooth as possible.
We’ll start with the gritty details about directions, cruise parking, hotels, and various other information that you should know while making your plans. We’ll even provide some help in getting from the Tampa International Airport to the cruise terminal.
Info About Cruise Terminals
Port Tampa Bay has three terminals for cruise ships. All three have ample parking nearby, complete with valet services available through the port’s official parking vendor, Carpark. Located nearby, and within walking distance from terminal #3 and #6 are the Sparkman Wharf and The Florida Aquarium.
The cruise terminal you sail from will depend on which cruise line you’re traveling with. You should always check with your cruise line to make sure which terminal they are using for your cruise.
- Terminal #2: Carnival Cruise Line
- Terminal #3: Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International
- Terminal #6: Various cruise lines
Port Tampa Bay is located at 1101 Channelside Drive, Tampa, FL 33602. However, each terminal has its own address, so if you are driving directly to the terminal it is important to know what address to use in your GPS or map program.
- Cruise Terminal 2: 651 Channelside Drive (Parking Garage is at 810 Channelside Drive)
- Cruise Terminal 3: 815 Channelside Drive (Parking Garage is at 810 Channelside Drive)
- Cruise Terminal 6: 1333 McKay Street (Self-Parking Lot is at the same address)
If you have any questions about any of the terminals you can call 813-905-7678 or call toll free at 800-741-2297
The Port Tampa Bay offers a 75-minute Educational Harbor Tours for passengers free of charge on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 9 a.m. You must make reservations for the tour in advance by calling 813-905-7678.
Visit the port’s website for more information.
When it comes to official port parking, many ports will charge an outrageous amount ($20 per day and up), simply because of the convenience. This will often force people to look for parking elsewhere so they can save money.
Port Tampa Bay parking is one of the few exceptions to this. Their standard rate for parking is $15 per day, with a flat upgrade of $20 for valet parking. If you have an oversized vehicle, the port charges double the standard rate.
You can pre-pay for parking online as well. Simply visit the port’s webpage on Tampa cruise parking, select the cruise line you’re sailing on, select the date of your departure and you will have 3 options. You can choose self-parking, valet parking, or oversized vehicles parking. Since you selected your particular cruise the system knows how many days you need to pay for. As mentioned earlier it’s a flat rate of $15 per day but sometimes there are promotional rates.
Of course you don’t have to pre-pay for your parking. You can also just show up at the port and pay there, just in case you totally forgot that little detail in the cruise planning process.
Parking is free for the disabled (including disabled veterans) as the following conditions are met:
- Foot and hand control modifications
- Wheelchair lift and ramp
- Disabled Veterans license plate with vehicle registration
Other Off-site Parking Options
Although Port Tampa Bay has some of the best official parking rates, it can weigh a little heavy on some budgets. Therefore, here are a few other parking options near the cruise port that could possibly let your wallet breathe a little easier. Some of these parking lots are so close to the port you can practically walk to your cruise terminal.
Park 4 Cruise
http://park4cruise.com/ | 800-720-9150 | 1016 Channelside Drive
Park 4 Cruise offers parking that is very close to the port of Tampa. The Orange Lot, which is adjacent to all three cruise terminals, is as low as $10.50 per day (plus 7% sales tax and a $4 processing fee). This parking lot is practically on the premises of the port itself, being less than a quarter mile away. Their website says they are only 300 steps to the terminals from their parking lots, so that’s hard to beat. They will also shuttle you for free to and from the Tampa cruise terminal.
241 Car Services
https://241parking.com | 877-886-1583 | 122 Channelside Drive
241 Car Services are located as close to the cruise terminals as the port’s official parking lots and at much cheaper rates. Depending on your ship and the length of your cruise, you’re looking at paying roughly $7 to $9 per day, including tax and a $5 service fee.
They will also provide you with free shuttle service and luggage assistance and will give you a free car wash while you’re gone.
https://www.myparkconnect.com/ | 813-334-1303 | 107 N 11th St
Just .3 miles from the Channelside Bay cruise terminal in Tampa, Park Connect has no hidden-fees in their pricing. The cost is $10 per day plus tax and again, there are no service fees. Park Connect offers covered parking areas, free cancellation up to 24-hours before your cruise and an easy to user interface for pre-paying for parking.
Getting to Port Tampa Bay
No matter how you plan to arrive into Tampa, you need a way to get to the port. Driving yourself is easy enough, you just have to find a place to park.
However, if you’re not driving, there are other various ways to get to the port, especially if you’re flying into the Tampa airport.
Getting to the Tampa Bay Port from Tampa International Airport
The cruise port is only 10 miles from the airport and is one of the easiest and most accessible cruise ports in the US. The trip will take 17-20 minutes depending on traffic
While there are taxis available in Tampa, they often charge a flat $30 and up for the short ride from the airport to Port Tampa Bay. If pinching pennies is your preference, consider, instead, using a ridesharing service like Uber or Lyft.
Booking a ride is as simple as downloading the app and choosing a driver. The estimated cost for Uber or Lyft is about $17-$21. But keep in mind that is just an esimate based on the time of the writing of this article.
Cruise Line Transfers
For the sake of convenience, many cruise lines will offer transfers for their passengers from the Tampa airport. Although this is a great service, it can get expensive if you’re traveling with a lot of people. Also, your shuttle is only going to be available on cruise day, so if you fly in the day before you’ll have to seek alternate means of transportation.
Traveling from Orlando
If you live in Orlando, or you decide to fly into Orlando instead and go visit one of the various parks there before your cruise, getting to Tampa for your cruise can be tricky as the two cities are roughly 90 miles apart.
For this we recommend getting a one-way car rental. You should be able to find rates as low as $50-$60 for a car.
If cheaper airfare is the reason you’re considering flying into Orlando, factor in the extra transportation costs between Orlando and Tampa. $100 or more on rental cars (round trip) could end up costing you more than flying into Tampa.
Park & Cruise Hotels Nearby
For those of you that prefer having an extra day or two buffer before or after your cruise, you’re in luck because there are several hotels nearby that offer cruise packages, free parking, or free shuttle service.
601 S Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa FL 33609 | 5 miles from cruise port
This hotel features a “park and cruise” package that gives you free shuttle to and from the cruise port, up to 2 weeks of free parking, and a 10% discount at the hotel spa. Be sure to let them know at check-in that you wish to use their free shuttle service to reserve your seat.
1301 E 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605 | 1 mile from cruise port
Along with a free hot breakfast and Wi-Fi, if you book this hotel’s Park and Cruise package, you’ll receive free roundtrip transportation to the cruise port, as well as parking for up to 7 days.
101 E Tyler St, Tampa, FL 33602 | 1.5 miles from cruise port
Residence Inn’s “Fly Here, Cruise There” package provides guests with shuttle service from the hotel to the cruise port, along with free internet and breakfast. This package accommodates 2 people. Additional passengers will cost an extra $10 each.
1700 E 9th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605 | 1.5 miles from the cruise port
While staying at this hotel you will enjoy free access to the hotel’s fitness center and various other amenities. They do not have a specific cruise package, but they do offer free parking, as well as a free shuttle to anywhere within a 3 mile radius, which includes the cruise port.
Top Things to Do in Tampa
If you’d like to do some sightseeing before you ship out, go out to dinner, or visit an attraction or two, Tampa certainly does not disappoint. Although Orlando may be the tourist and theme park hot spot, Tampa has a few things up its sleeves as well.
The city of Tampa has over 2,000 restaurants in and around downtown Tampa, offering a variety of cuisines and menus to satisfy any one’s culinary cravings. Here are just a few of the tops ones we think you should check out before leaving on your cruise.
Located in the heart of the Ybor city district where you’ll find a large Latin community is the Columbia Restaurant. They have been in business since 1905 and they make a mean Cuban sandwich on fresh Cuban bread.
Fourth Street Shrimp Store
If seafood is your style, come on over to the Fourth Street Shrimp Store. Originally just a shrimp store, over the years since it first opened in 1984 it has evolved into one of the best seafood restaurants in Tampa Bay.
Eddie & Sam’s NY Pizza
Featuring the best New York style pizzas anywhere other than New York is Eddie & Sam’s, located on Twiggs St in Tampa. They even use water shipped directly from New York to make the dough more authentic.
The only pizza restaurant that can possibly rival Eddie & Sam’s is Cappys, offering the best in both New York style and Chicago deep dish, as well as a variety of salads and subs.
Take an extra day to sleep in a little bit and enjoy being on vacation. When you wake up, head on over to the Brunchery located in South Tampa. There you’ll find the best in comfort food, including steak and eggs, Belgian waffles, French toast, and so much more.
If you have severe allergies and need a menu that’s gluten-free, you can either go to The Columbia for their gluten-free options, or try out The Refinery. Here the menu changes every week, so you’ll always be able to get something different. And on the menu each week are tasty gluten-free options.
Attractions in Tampa
Along with tasty restaurants, Tampa has plenty of attractions to offer. You won’t want to miss out on any of these, so plan your trip accordingly so you can experience as much as you want.
Busch Gardens Tampa
Anyone who’s ever been to a Busch Gardens knows just how much fun it is. You get to visit some of your favorite countries within the park and each one provides different cultural elements to enjoy. The Tampa Bay Busch Gardens features various countries found in Africa, such as Egypt, Morocco, Nairobi, and so much more.
Additionally, you’ll find some of the best theme park rides here, including the SheiKra, which is only located at the Tampa Bay Busch Gardens. This 200-foot tall floorless dive coaster provides an extreme thrill for anyone willing and able.
Located within walking distance from the cruise terminals is Sparkman Wharf. Here you will find all you could ever want in dining and shopping, as well as an open-air biergarten that includes over 24 taps of Florida craft beer, all with a breathtaking waterfront view.
The Florida Aquarium
Also within walking distance of the port (on the other side) is the Florida Aquarium for anyone fascinated by underwater creatures. Visit a large variety of animal habitats from otters, sharks, and octopuses, to seahorses and turtles. They house many exhibits, a splash pad for the kids, and a 4-D theater.
Henry B. Plant Museum
Henry B. Plant was the mastermind behind building the Tampa railway system in the 1800s. This, along with the port, helped Tampa to grow into the bustling metropolis that it is today. He also built the Tampa Bay Hotel, which is now the University of Tampa’s Plant Hall, where the museum is located.
If you’re looking for another great place for the family that’s educational and filled with animals, come over to the ZooTampa at Lowry Park. If you come on the weekend, at 1pm you can stand eye-to-eye with a giraffe and feed them some lettuce. You can also visit a variety of other animals, all safely behind glass enclosures.
Planning your next cruise doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Understanding the city you’ll be traveling to and the logistics involved will give you a great start to making trip planning as painless as possible.
Luckily, transportation, parking, and lodging is very easy to find here, and won’t cost you too much (depending on the options you go with). Additionally, Tampa is filled with rich history, dining, and entertainment for anyone in your group to experience and enjoy. Plan to stay for an extra day or two so you can enjoy as much as can before shipping out on your cruise.
We hope that your trip to Tampa is filled with fun, and that you and your family have a safe trip there and back.