Port Tampa Bay breaks passenger records with six cruise ships in one weekend

The refurbished Carnival Paradise returned to Port Tampa Bay last week, contributing to a record-breaking weekend for passenger traffic. Photo courtesy Port Tampa Bay
The refurbished Carnival Paradise returned to Port Tampa Bay last week, contributing to a record-breaking weekend for passenger traffic. Photo courtesy Port Tampa Bay
Published April 2 2018
Updated April 2 2018

TAMPA — With six cruise ships calling at Port Tampa Bay on Saturday and Sunday, the port saw a record-breaking weekend for passenger traffic.

A total of 29,167 passengers passed in or out of the port over the weekend, the first weekend that the port has seen six cruise ships over two days, officials announced Monday.

The previous single-weekend record was 22,960 on Feb. 17-18.

On Saturday, the Carnival Paradise, Carnival Miracle and Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas saw a single-day record of 15,800 passengers board or disembark. (The previous one-day record was 13,972 on Feb. 17.)

Sunday, the Norwegian Dawn, Holland America’s Rotterdam and Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas brought or left with 13,367 passengers.

In 2017, the number of cruises sailing out of Port Tampa Bay rose 26 percent.

With new improvements to Terminal 6, the port can handle more passengers.

For the week from March 25 through Sunday, the port saw a total of 50,256 passengers, a number that included the return of the Carnival Paradise on March 26.

"We never had a ‘week count’ before, but we feel certain this is the highest passenger number ever for one week because of the return of the Carnival Paradise in the mix, which was refurbished for a month and returned a week ago," port spokeswoman Samara Sodos said in an email to the Tampa Bay Times.

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Contact Richard Danielson at rdanielson@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times

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