Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond
U.S. - Canada

Tampa Bay Cruise Port Guide

Tampa Bay cruise port
Carnival Inspiration at Port Tampa Bay. Credit: Wikimedia

Tampa is a rising player in cruise embarkation ports for the Caribbean because of its nearby airport, major attractions and the development of Port Tampa Bay.

It also has become the home port for ships from Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line.

Nearby Attractions

Visitors who plan to leave from Tampa and return there on a cruise will find a major shopping, dining and entertainment venue at Channelside. Entertainment options include an IMAX theater, the Florida Aquarium and an outdoor plaza with concerts.

Busch Gardens Tampa, 10165 N Malcolm McKinley Drive, is a 335-acre theme park with rides, shows, roller coasters and animal encounters. Other major attractions in the city include Florida Aquarium, Glazer Children’s Museum and Tampa Museum of Art.

Good beaches require a little driving because Tampa the city is tucked inside Tampa Bay.

Clearwater Beach, about 40 minutes west of the cruise docks, is an easy and popular choice. Caladesi Island State Park is just north of Clearwater Beach and takes 50 minutes to get there.

The closest beach to the cruise docks is Ben T. Davis Beach, about 25 minutes away on Old Tampa Bay. Route 60 going west from the docks will take visitors to Davis Beach and onward to Clearwater Beach if Davis isn’t appealing enough.

Terminal Location and Directions

Tampa Bay Cruise Port Map

The port has three terminals numbered 2, 3 and 6. Carnival docks at Terminal 2, 651 Channelside Drive; Norwegian and Royal Caribbean dock at Terminal 3, 815 Channelside Drive; and Holland America docks at Terminal 6, 1333 McKay Street. The zip code for each is 33602.

Port Tampa Bay is located nine miles from Tampa International Airport, which makes it a quick ride via taxi or rental car

Some visitors may land at Orlando International Airport if they find the flights there are less expensive or if they plan to spend time at Universal Studios or Disney World. The distance from the airport to the cruise terminal is 86 miles.

Orlando drivers should take I-4 west to exit 1. Go south on 21st Street, right on Adamo Drive / Highway 60 then left onto Channelside Drive.

Visitors taking I-275 should go on I-4 east to exit 1. Travel south on 21st Street, right on Adamo Drive (Hwy 60) and left onto Channelside Drive.

From the Tampa airport, follow the signs to I-275 North, which will merge with I-4 East. Travel on I-4 East to Exit 1, go south on 21st Street and turn right on Adamo Drive (Highway 60). Take a left onto Channelside Drive.

Terminal Parking

Parking is located across the street from Terminals 2 and 3 and adjacent to Terminal 6. It offers both valet parking and self-service parking.

The port Web site at provides a link for visitors to pre-pay for their parking.

Parking prices at flat fees based on the number of days, but they average about $15 a day. A seven-day pass for self-parking costs $105 (subject to change). Expect to pay about double the rate for oversized parking. Valet parking costs about $20 more.

Local Weather

Tampa monthly rainfall
Average Tampa monthly rainfall in inches. © 2021 Scott S. Bateman

Tampa suffers from the same heavy rains during the summer as the rest of the Caribbean.

Average rainfall historically peaks during the rainy season from June through September according to the U.S. National Weather Service. August is the worst month with an average of seven inches.

The dry season goes from October through May with an average of about two to three inches of rain per month.

Average high temperatures range from 70 degrees Fahrenheit or 21 Celsius in January to 90 Fahrenheit or 32 Celsius during the summer months.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
August 16, 2021

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