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Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Port of Tampa Gets a Star

ONE OF AMERICA'S MOST POPULAR DEPARTURE PORTS FOR WESTERN CARIBBEAN CRUISES IS TAMPA, FLORIDA. THIS WARM GULF COAST PORT OFFERS YEAR ROUND CRUISES WITH ENOUGH VARIETY THAT THERE'S SURE TO BE SOMETHING TO FIT ANYONE'S BUDGET.

The vast majority of cruises from Tampa sail itineraries to the Western Caribbean. Ports of call often include the world-class snorkeling reefs around the Cayman Islands and the wild fun of Cozumel.

IT'S OFFICIAL: NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE (NCL) WILL OFFER ITS FIRST CRUISES FROM TAMPA IN OCTOBER 2011 ON A STAR; THE NORWEGIAN STAR. NCL will bring the 2,240-passenger Norwegian Star to the port of Tampa for seven-day itineraries to Western Caribbean destinations in Honduras, Belize and Mexico.

The 965-foot-long ship will depart on Sundays and will stop in Roatan, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; and Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico. The cruise will also include two days at sea. Launched in 2001, the Star holds 2,240 passengers. It will be the largest ship sailing from Tampa, slightly larger than the 2,124-passenger Carnival Legend.

"Norwegian Star home porting in Tampa for the first time will give the more than eight million residents in the north and central Florida region a chance to experience freestyle cruising," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian's CEO, in a statement.

NCL is the third-largest U.S. cruise company and is also known for aggressive fare discounting. Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) pioneered "Freestyle Cruising''.

Freestyle Dining: No set dining times, no assigned tables, a relaxed dress code and more restaurants than days in the week on every ship, so you can enjoy whatever you're hungry for, whenever you're hungry.  

Freestyle Fun: How do you have a good time? Pools with slides, Wii" on two-story screens, modern fitness centers, expansive spas, fun kids and teens programs,

wine tastings, an always-exciting casino and more are all waiting for you on board.

Freestyle Accommodations: Flexible accommodations ranging from the affordable to the over-the-top opulence of the largest Suites & Villas at sea to a Balcony Stateroom with a view. Norwegian Cruise Line has the widest selection of accommodations at sea, including more family-friendly interconnecting staterooms and suites than anyone else.

NORWEGIAN STAR IS SCHEDULED TO SAIL FROM TAMPA BETWEEN OCTOBER 16, 2011 AND APRIL 8, 2012. There will be 27 sailings during that period, according to the Tampa Port Authority. Interior cabin fares for the inaugural October 16 sailing from Tampa start at $429pp, Oceanview $679pp, Balcony’s $929pp and Suites range from $929pp to $6,509pp according to the current rates and availability listed Norwegian Cruise Line website.

Norwegian Star Highlights: On board she features 14 delicious dining options, 9 bars and lounges, a sprawling spa, an always-exciting casino, plus tons of fun for kids of every age. So whether it's sipping margaritas or exploring Mayan ruins, this ship offers it all.

From traditional fine dining to endless buffets with custom-order action stations, there is a host of delicious options included in your cruise fare. For an additional cover charge, you’ll have access to a world of possibilities including gourmet French, Japanese Teppanyaki and an upscale steakhouse – 14 different dining options in all.

Second City® comedy troupe, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a sports court, bars and lounges of all kinds, pools, hot tubs, kid’s centers, teen discos and more are all on board and included in your cruise fare.

The four cruise lines sailing from Tampa are Carnival Cruises, Royal Caribbean Int’l, Norwegian Cruise Lines, and Holland America Cruise Line covering a wide range of cruise prices, personal preferences and lifestyles.

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