Friday, January 19, 2018
Business

AIDA cruise ships will visit Tampa, but not be based here

TAMPA — Whoops.

Four days after the Tampa Port Authority sent out a news release announcing that German cruise line AIDA would make Tampa its newest home port and offer winter cruises for the next two seasons, the authority sent out a head-scratching correction:

Tampa will be a port of call for AIDA Cruises — not a home port.

That means the cruises will only stop in Tampa for the day, not originate from the port.

"We made a mistake," said port spokesman Andy Fobes.

Port officials said they did not misunderstand the original deal with AIDA. They just got the news release announcing the deal wrong. Fobes said it was akin to a "typo."

The news release was looked at by port staff but no one caught the error, officials said. Then it was sent on to AIDA Cruises, which also approved the news release that was sent out Friday.

"Basically, I think it got lost in translation with AIDA, which is a German company," said Edward Miyagishima, who is also a port spokesman.

The mistake was recognized Monday. But a corrected news release was not sent out until Tuesday, port officials said, because they had to wait for AIDA to weigh in.

Port officials said that the Tampa Bay area will still benefit economically from the passengers that AIDA will bring here. They also expect that Tampa could still surpass 1 million cruise ship passengers in the 2015 fiscal year. The record is 974,259, set in fiscal 2012.

"They're still going to be visiting the Florida Aquarium, still visiting Busch Gardens, still visiting the beaches," Miyagishima said.

Jamal Thalji can be reached at (813) 226-3404, [email protected]

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