Carnival Cruise Line celebrated its 25th anniversary sailing from the Port of Tampa with a reception and luncheon aboard Carnival Legend highlighted by the presentation of a commemorative plaque from Carnival President Christine Duffy to Port Tampa Bay President and CEO Paul Anderson commemorating the milestone.

Carnival Cruise Line was the first cruise operator to recognize the potential of Tampa as a year-round cruise homeport when it launched a schedule of seven-day voyages aboard the since-retired Tropicale in 1994 carrying about 28,000 guests a year.

Fast forward to today and Carnival Cruise Line deploys two ships from Tampa that will carry approximately 240,000 passengers a year from Tampa – nearly a nine-fold increase compared to 25 years ago.

Tampa is an important part of Carnival’s close-to-home ship deployment strategy in which the line positions ships near large U.S. population centers along the East and West Coasts and the Gulf of Mexico. Including Tampa, Carnival sails from 19 North American homeports providing a convenient and cost-effective means for guests to get to and from their cruise. Roughly half of the U.S. population is within a day’s drive of a Carnival homeport and many Carnival guests opt to extend their vacation with a pre- or post-cruise land stay to experience all the city has to offer.

“Tampa is a convenient, centrally located homeport – not to mention a popular vacation destination – and the growth that we’ve experienced at this port is a testament to the wonderful partnership with the Port we’ve enjoyed for the past 25 years,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

“Carnival Cruise Line is truly the pioneer of modern-day cruising throughout the world and from Port Tampa Bay. We value the long term partnership with Carnival and look forward to many more successful years working with them to provide our guests from throughout Central Florida – and beyond – a great vacation experience.” Anderson said.

The 25th anniversary celebration was held aboard Carnival Legend, which arrived in Tampa last month, providing an exciting new choice from this market. The ship features a variety of onboard innovations, including Green Thunder, a drop-down slide that’s one of the fastest and steepest at sea, along with popular food and beverage choices like the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub, Bonsai Sushi serving authentic Asian delicacies, Guy’s Burger Joint developed in tandem with longtime partner and Food Network star Guy Fieri, and a classic American steakhouse. The ship features hundreds of balcony staterooms as well a luxurious health and wellness facility.

Carnival Legend will operate a seasonal schedule of six-, seven-and eight-day cruises featuring top destinations in the western Caribbean, including Cozumel, Costa Maya, Belize, Mahogany Bay, Costa Rica, the Panama Canal and Grand Cayman. The ship will also offer a 13-day Carnival Journeys cruise from Tampa to New York May 3-16, 2020, featuring a partial transit of the Panama Canal, along with visits to Aruba, Cozumel, Limon (Costa Rica), Cartagena (Colombia) and Grand Turk.

Carnival Paradise, which underwent an extensive multi-million-dollar dry dock last year that added all of the line’s Fun Ship 2.0 food, beverage and entertainment options, operates a year-round schedule of four-day “long weekend” cruises to Cozumel and five-day voyages to Cozumel and Grand Cayman or Mahogany Bay departing on Mondays and Saturdays.