Tampa, FL

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Explore Tampa, FL

Wide beaches and urban adventures are at your fingertips when you book a Carnival cruise from Tampa, Florida. Welcome to one of Florida’s busiest ports— near the historically Cuban district of Ybor City, the aquarium, city shopping, and local art museums are all in easy reach. Busch Gardens, one of Florida’s epic theme parks, is a short drive north of port for cruises from Tampa.

  • Enjoy a hand-rolled cigar in Ybor City, a hotbed of Tampa’s Cuban culture.
  • Take a mini-safari among the animals at Busch Gardens before your cruise from Tampa.
  • Step into a surreal universe at the Salvador Dalí Museum.
  • Collect shells by sunset on the beaches of St. Pete and Clearwater.
  • Canoe or kayak down the meandering Hillsborough River.


Things To Do

Local Attractions

Spellbinding beaches, surreal museums, and modern boutiques are all within easy reach of your Carnival cruise from Tampa. While in Tampa, be prepared for chance encounters with animals on land and sea, from a safari truck at Busch Gardens or on a bay boat tour from St. Petersburg. Come nightfall, 7th Avenue in Ybor City heats up Latin style.

  • Spot the domes of the Henry B. Plant Museum rising across from downtown.
  • See paintings of drooping clocks and distorted faces at St. Petersburg’s Salvador Dalí Museum.
  • Watch for jumping dolphins and soaring pelicans on a boat tour of Tampa Bay.
  • Spy schools of neon fish swimming in a coral reef in the Tampa Aquarium.
  • Head to Ybor City for a dose of Latin-tinge.

Fun Facts

  • Cuban immigrants founded Ybor City as a cigar-making center in the 1880s.
  • The Tampa Bay Hotel, which cost $2.5 million to build, hosted the likes of Teddy Roosevelt and Babe Ruth in its heyday.
  • Numerous major league baseball teams hold spring training in the area, but the New York Yankees have been here the longest, starting way back in 1925 in St. Petersburg. They now play at Tampa’s George Steinbrenner Field.

Within Walking Distance

Ybor City, the most atmospheric neighborhood in Tampa, Florida, is just north of the cruise terminal. For an introduction to the city’s cigar-making legacy, start with a rolling demonstration at the Gonzalez y Martinez Cigar Factory. At the Ybor City Museum State Park, local stogie history is on full display.

Around the Port Area

Meet penguins, sea otters, and sharks at the Florida Aquarium on the waterfront south of where cruises from Tampa depart. The aquarium emphasizes local habitats and features a dramatic simulation of a reef dive. Just across Channelside Drive from the cruise terminal is the Channel District, filled with shops, restaurants, and movie theaters.

Beyond the Port Area

The riverside Henry B. Plant Museum, inside the colossal Victorian-era Tampa Bay Hotel, is the city skyline’s defining feature. Railroad magnate Plant built the hotel as a resort palace and today the museum recreates the history of this Gilded Age relic. The collections of the Tampa Museum of Art, in a silver structure across the river from the Plant Museum, hold a range of art from Greek antiquities to modern artists like Chuck Close and Cindy Sherman.

Gallery

St. Petersburg is Tampa, Florida’s sister to the west. Boat trips leave from the lively St. Petersburg Pier. On your tour of Tampa Bay, you’ll most likely spot wild dolphins, fat manatees, flying pelicans, and various shore birds. Close to the pier, the Dalí Museum has more works by the Surrealist master than any other collection.

The number one attraction near your cruise from Tampa is Busch Gardens to the north. Truck along the plains of a transplanted Serengeti, see cheetahs race in front of you in the blink of an eye, and ride twisting gravity-defying roller coasters. For more low-key thrills near Busch Gardens, paddle the Hillsborough River on a canoe or kayak through the Wilderness Park, a preserve known for alligator and ibis sightings.

Beaches in Tampa

Caribbean Beaches

Tampa’s nearest beaches are on the west coast of St. Petersburg. The white sands occupy a series of barrier islands, starting in the south with Pass-a-Grille and St. Pete Beach; moving up north to Redington Beach and Sand Key Park; and culminating in the white sands of Clearwater Beach. Caladesi State Park Beach, accessible only by ferry, is renowned for its wide-open sands and snorkeling.

Shopping in Tampa

shopping

To purchase aromatic cigars, check out 7th Avenue in Ybor City, lined with shops selling renowned brands. Atmospheric Hyde Park Village is a cluster of 50 stores in a historic neighborhood. Shops here include upscale men’s and women’s clothiers as well as chocolate shops and pet boutiques.

Dining in Tampa

The top place to eat is Bern’s Steak House, where the massive cuts find their match in the wine list’s length. It’s in Hyde Park, home to the best eclectic local restaurants. Centro Ybor has tempting restaurants in the middle of the Ybor City and is the scene of comedy clubs and live music. Columbia Restaurant in Ybor does double duty, with delicious Cuban food and sultry flamenco shows.

Things to Do

TRAVEL TIPS

  • Cruises from Florida set sail from the Port of Tampa Cruise Terminal, at 1101 Channelside Drive, Florida’s largest port and just outside of downtown Tampa.
  • Getting around downtown Tampa is a breeze, with a collection of streetcars, trolleys, taxis—even water taxis—ready to serve you. Rent a car if you want to reach the beach or Busch Gardens.
  • Enjoy warm, tropical weather when you book a Carnival cruise from Tampa, Florida. Even in January, highs in this city on the Gulf of Mexico average around 70 degrees .