Make us your home page
Instagram

Carnival launches its Tampa to Havana cruise

TAMPA — Port Tampa Bay CEO Paul Anderson couldn't stop himself from dancing Thursday as a band performed the mambo aboard the ship Carnival Paradise.

It was a party, after all, a celebration of Carnival Cruise Line's first-ever journey to Havana that would launch later that day.

It wasn't the first cruise to sail from Tampa to Cuba — a distinction belonging to Royal Caribbean, which did so in April — but there was much for Port Tampa Bay and Carnival to be happy about.

With more than 2,400 passengers, the Paradise was to be the most populated cruise ship to ever dock in Havana, boasted Carnival executives.

And the Paradise marks yet another link in Havana and Tampa's centuries-old relationship cemented by Cuban immigrants who helped to found Ybor City and its cigar industry in the late 1800s.

"We have all heard the stories locally of how grandparents and great-grandparents took steamships — the precursors of today's cruise ships — to Havana for a pleasurable weekend, back from the days of the Roaring '20s to the early '50s," said Anderson, who wore a guayabera for the occasion.

To help further document the history of Tampa's Cuban culture, Carnival donated $25,000 to the Ybor City Museum Society.

"They said it was going to be a big check, but I didn't know it was going to be that big," said a stunned Chantal Ruilova Hevia, CEO of the museum society.

But the biggest moment of the day, quipped John Heald, Carnival's brand ambassador, was the unveiling of a Cuban sandwich made by the cruise's senior chef for the occasion.

It was 10 feet long and contained 5 pounds of sliced ham, 50 pounds of pork, 6 pounds of swiss cheese and 1 gallon each of dill pickles, mustard and mayonnaise.

"Ladies and gentlemen," Heald said. "This is officially the world's largest ever Cuban sandwich at sea."

Contact Paul Guzzo at pguzzo@tampabay.com. Follow @PGuzzoTimes.

Carnival launches its Tampa to Havana cruise 06/29/17 [Last modified: Thursday, June 29, 2017 8:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas licensing board asks Sen. Jack Latvala for $500,000 loan

    Local Government

    The troubled Pinellas County agency that regulates contractors wants Sen. Jack Latvala to help it get a $500,000 lifeline from the state to stay afloat.

    State Sen . Jack Latvala, R- Clearwater, is being asked to help the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board get $500,000 from the state so it can stay open beyond February.  [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  2. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally

    Business

    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  3. Tampa Club president seeks assessment fee from members

    News

    TAMPA — The president of the Tampa Club said he asked members last month to pay an additional assessment fee to provide "additional revenue." However, Ron Licata said Friday that the downtown business group is not in a dire financial situation.

    Ron Licata, president of the Tampa Club in downtown Tampa. [Tampa Club]
  4. Under Republican health care bill, Florida must make up $7.5 billion

    Markets

    If a Senate bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 becomes law, Florida's government would need to make up about $7.5 billion to maintain its current health care system. The bill, which is one of the Republican Party's long-promised answers to the Affordable Care Act imposes a cap on funding per enrollee …

    Florida would need to cover $7.5 billion to keep its health care program under the Republican-proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.  [Times file photo]
  5. Amid U.S. real estate buying binge by foreign investors, Florida remains first choice

    Real Estate

    Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate recently skyrocketed to a new high with nearly half of all foreign sales happening in Florida, California and Texas.

    A National Association of Realtors annual survey found record volume and activity by foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. Florida had the highest foreign investment activity, followed by California and Texas. [National Association of Realtors]