I've stayed in Tampa a few times. The Westshore Doubletree offers a free shuttle service. The Marriot is only about a half mile from the pier, but will run you about $200-$250 a night. The last trip I stayed at the Wyndham Westshore. I booked it on Hotwire and paid $78/night for four of us. It was about a $10 taxi ride to the pier. Chase Suites is further out on the bay and they also offer a shuttle service. The last time I stayed there it was free and they also offered a free breakfast. Hope this helps.
I too am sailing on the Gradeur (Dec.17th)! I live locally, so I can give you a few ideas on places stay. Just go to their offical websites for more information.
Downtown Tampa (where the port of Tampa actually is)...they have a trolley and a water taxi that can get you around town if the hotel doesn't provide transportation to the port, which being so close I don't know why they wouldn't. But, even a taxi ride would just be the minum fare , cause the cruise ship is less than a mile away from the following hotels. By the way Channelside entertainment complex is a great place in downtown Tampa to hang out at the night befor your cruise!
Downtown Tampa Hotels: Sheraton Riverwalk- overlooks the University of Tampa and is situated right on the Hillsborough river. Tampa Waterside Marriott hotel and marina- My favorite Wyndham Harbor Island- This is very nice too and Harbor Island is home to alot of very expenive house and condos. This hotel also has a marina and some rooms may overlook the carnival cruiseship dock.
Of course, their are also lots of other areas to stay in and around Tampa. The Westshore area (you could shop and dine at the Westshore Mall). Grand Hyatt- very nice....had my prom there many years ago! Wyndham Westshore Hotel
Busch Gardens area...you can visit MOSI or Busch Gardens before your cruise. Doubletree Guest Suites Tampa near Busch Gardens- I like this one. Hampton Inn & suites
Best Western Suites
Ybor city area.... Hampton Inn and suites
Have fun on your cruise!
Mmketeer....sailing....RCCL-Grandeur 12/2 & DCL-Wonder 2/2/06[/b]