Carnival cruises return to Tampa following 20-month hiatus

Carnival’s Pride set sail from Tampa over the weekend, marking the cruise line’s return to Port Tampa after 20 months.

Carnival is the third cruise line to resume operations from Tampa since the CDC’s no sail order shut the industry down in March of 2020.

Passengers onboard for the seven-night Western Caribbean tour were required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Everyone over the age of 12 was also required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

Safety measures onboard also require masks in certain areas of the ship, but Carnival VP of Guest Operations Sarah Reno said guests can expect the same onboard experience that they’ve come to expect on a Carnival cruise.

"It’s a very free environment," Reno explained. "Everyone’s having a great time."

Cruise Director Frankie Portera says guests can expect the same activities and entertainment as before, but masks will be necessary in crowded spaces.

"Obviously, we don’t want to shut down for another 16-18 months. So any guest that comes on board, we ask them to mask up in the crowded lounges and then we have a good time," said Portera. "The activities are still running for us so we’ll have the shows, the theme nights, the parties. From our side, nothing much is changing too much."

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Like other ships, the Pride is also running at a lower capacity, giving the 1600 passengers on board a lot more room to spread out and relax.

Carnival says they plan to have all ships back at sea by March. They’ll add a second ship to Port Tampa in March.

Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Carnival have now all resumed cruises from Port Tampa. Norwegian will set sail again from Tampa on December 8.


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