Why go to Tampa?
Ybor City, one of only two National Historic Landmark Districts in Florida, is a streetcar ride away
There's a ton to do nearby, but the humidity can zap energy; stay hydrated
Tampa, and its surrounding cities, offer sports, sun, museums and attractions for everyone in your party
Tampa Cruise Port Facilities?
The Channelside complex is just a short walk from the terminal. Everything you could possibly want is close at hand -- from multiplex cinemas to shopping, the Florida Aquarium and plenty of places to dine, be it fast-food or a waterside bistro. There's even a complimentary, 75-minute educational catamaran tour around the port on Wednesdays on Thursdays, although reservations are required (813-905-7678). There is a tourism information kiosk, a spacious passenger lounge, and parking garage with valet parking.
Good to Know?
Don't waste time straightening your hair as Tampa tends to be extremely humid, especially in the morning hours. Additionally, the summer months see more rainfall than average. Tampa has enjoyed a substantial dip in crime rates during the past several years, and now averages about that of any major U.S. city. Take safety precautions you'd take in any city.
The Tampa International Airport (TPA) is 5 miles from downtown. Amtrak services Tampa, arriving downtown at Union Station on Nebraska Avenue. Travel time from the airport via most modes of transportation is about 20 minutes. St. Petersburg is a 30-minute drive from the Tampa airport.
For seeing the sights, it's highly recommended that you rent a car. All the majors, such as Avis and Hertz, are at the airport in the red baggage claim area and across the walkway in the blue baggage claim area. Parking is relatively easy around Tampa, whether you choose street parking or the many garages.
Shuttle vans, such as Bay Shuttle and SuperShuttle provide service 24/7, leaving from all four quadrants of the baggage claim level and providing services to a number of outlying destinations.
Taxis need to be called, though you'll generally see some lined up near the hotels, the performing arts center and terminals. Two reliable taxi companies to call are Tampa Bay Cab (813-251-5555) and United Cab (813-253-2424).
The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) operates Tampa area buses, trolleys and the TECO Line Streetcar System. HART's Route 30 runs buses from the airport to downtown, leaving from the east end of the red baggage claim area.
The TECO Line Streetcar System takes visitors back in time in replicas of Tampa's streetcars of the 1920s. The streetcar system whisks you on a 2.4-mile journey between downtown area hotels, the shops and restaurants of Channelside, the Port of Tampa and cruise terminals, the Florida Aquarium, and the Ybor City historic district. You can travel the entire line in only 22 minutes, giving you plenty of time to sightsee before your ship sails.
The rubber-tire In-Town Trolleys circulate around downtown and the Hyde Park Village shopping area. The In-Town Trolley connects with the TECO Line Streetcar System at the striking Southern Transportation Plaza at the southern end of the streetcar line, only a short ride from the cruise terminals.
Visitors can take advantage of the 1-day unlimited ride fare card. If your stay in Tampa will last a little longer, you can purchase a 3-day unlimited ride visitor pass, available though HART facilities and select hotels.