Port commissioner Pat Allman and port president and ceo Paul Anderson exchanged plaques with Capt. Lis Lauritzen. Tugboat fanfare saw off Vision of the Seas when it departed on its first cruise from the port.
This marks the first time Royal Caribbean is basing two ships in Tampa simultaneously; previously the line has operated one seasonal vessel, starting in January 2002.
Vision of the Seas will offer seven-night western Caribbean cruises, while Brilliance of the Seas sails four- and five-night jaunts. Vision of the Seas departs Saturdays to destinations including Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, Roatán or Belize, while the Brilliance four-night cruises call at Cozumel and the five-night option adds Grand Cayman or Key West.
'Royal Caribbean is a very important partner, offering a quality cruise experience to their guests and significant economic value to the port and our region,' Anderson said.
In total, six cruise ships now homeport at Tampa and, counting transit calls, this will be the busiest winter season in history, according to port officials.