Sailing out of Tampa for the first time on Inspiration MAY 30. Past cruises have always been out of Port Canaveral. Is there anyone whose been to both who can share any major differences between the two. I've read some reviews that seem unfavorable to the Tampa Port Authority and it seems like Customs in Tampa is more strict (seems common that there are lots of delays clearing customs.) We've never had a problem at Canaveral.
ALSO, We live in Tampa and I'm very excited about sailing under the Skyway Bridge. Was wondering what time of day we could expect to pass the bridge. Anyone recall how long it look to get out of port or if it was neat passing under the bridge? I've heard there's not much room between the smoke stack and the top of the brdge.
Basing this on a single cruise out of Tampa last year, it takes about 3 1/2 hours to get from the pier to the Skyway Bridge. Unfortunately, as we passed under the bridge, I was in the Dining Room eating dessert.
On this next cruise, I plan to be on the Promenade or Lido as we reach the bridge. I want to check out the funnel clearance for myself. I hear the stack noises echo real nice under there.
Sensation 2/03 I disembarked, but never really left the ship.
Enchantment 9/03 Just had to go back.
Inspiration 3/04 Just have to go back again, and again, and again...
I live in St.Pete. I have sailed out of Port Canaveral 5 times. It is great becasue it is easy to get to and park once you are there. It is 150 miles from here. I have not been out of Tampa yet but will when I go on the Sensation in October. I think it will be a let down after 8 times on RCI but it is with a group. It will be like satying at the Days Inn after being used to the Hilton. I like Canaveral because you can see the ocean from the pier and you are out in minutes. From Tampa it can take hours. Depending on the time fo year, by the time you get to the skyway, the sun may have already gone done. However, best case would be sailing off into the sunset after passing under the Skyway. It is a narrow channel and can take awhile if there are other ships heading out or in.
Dave the Wave AKA- Diamond Dave
Song of America Dec '90
Starship Majestic May '89
Sovereign X 5
Majesty Jul '01
Enchantment X 4
Regal Empress Dec '02
Mariner May '07 April '08
Grandeur Feb '08
Inspiration Oct '08
Radiance of the Seas Oct '10
My husband and I just returned from our first cruise out of Tampa on the Inspiration
We were at the back of the ship, up on the top deck that has the smoke stack, and we think it sailed under the Skyway Bridge around 7 p.m. It was unbelievable how close the smoke stack cleared the bridge. It was well worth watching.
We sailed this past September out of Tampa and are sailing again this May.
You pull into the port entrance with your car where they have dogs sniffing around everything and I mean EVERYTHING. Your luggage is taken by the porters and then you drive about 2 blocks to the parking lot and walk back to the port entrance. Parking was $10 a day.
We, like the others, were in the dining room when we passed under the Skyway bridge. We had really wanted to see that and in May we will not miss it! The ship left promptly at 4pm and we had early dining room seating, so I would venture to guess that the ship went under the bridge at about 6:30pm.
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2010 RCCL Oasis Of The Seas
2009 RCCL Freedom Of The Seas (so nice we did it twice)
2008 RCCL Freedom Of The Seas (!!wow!!)
2007 Carnival Glory (Super Bowl - Bears vs Colts)
2005 Carnival Sensation (again)
2004 Carnival Sensation
1993 Celebrity Horizon
1991 Celebrity Meridian
We sailed out of Port Tampa May 2003. We drove to the port and park across the street in the inclosed parking garage.
When my DH drove the van in to let me out and unload our luggage we never saw any dog anywhere. Porters ask for our names and cabin # and then check our luggage to make sure the tags were correct, then said , you can wait over there by the door while your DH parks the van and then off you'll go.
Walked right in just showed our doc and passport and went right up stairs and there were more people that just looked at our papers and directed us on to the carry on luggage scanner. Then on to the check in counter and then sat with everyone else waiting to be called to board.
Right as you board they look at paper and passport again and then take your picture for you sign & sail card. Then on to the ship you go after you have your picture made with the Carnival Photo folks for your boarding Photo souviner.
All in all it was fast quick and easy for us. We have sailed out of Orlando and it was our first cruise, seems like we were in lines and lines forever.
Carnival 1993 Bahamas
Carnival Sensation 2003 Grand Cayman Cozumel
Carnival Victory 2004 New York to Canada
RCI Mariner 2005 St. Thomas St Marteen
NCL Star 2006 Seattle to Alaska
NCL Pride of Aloha 2007 Hawaii Island Hopping
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I live about 15 mins. from Port Canaveral, but took a cruise on the Sensation last November out of Tampa.
I did not like it compared to Canaveral. It took forever to get out to open waters and the ship was 2 cruises away from going into dry dock to get spiffed up. She really needed it and I think that put a damper on things for me because she was so dirty. I understand she's all spiffed up now though.
Also, 2 days out...I came down with that horrible cold and upper respiratory thing that everyone NOW is still getting (they should have a special name for that cold!)...so, unfair as it is, I'm holding it against Tampa! <G>
Seriously though, I think Canaveral is much easier to get to, parking is easier, it's much faster and boarding seemed to be much faster as well as disembarkation.