Vision of the Seas/Image courtesy Royal Caribbean
On the heels of the bad press surrounding Royal Caribbean's handling of a bay area couple's medical situation, some good news for Tampa Bay residents and tourists from the cruise giant.
Beginning in the fall of next year, the 70,000 ton Vision of the Seas will be joining bigger sister, Brilliance of the Seas in her new, seasonal home port, Tampa.
The recently refurbished and upgraded Vision will help the cruise industry in Tampa see over 1,000,000 passengers in 2014.
Here's the complete Press Release:
TAMPA, Fla.-The Tampa Port Authority and Royal Caribbean International are pleased to announce that the cruise line will be deploying a second ship at the Port of Tampa beginning in the fall of 2014. Royal Caribbean International has been operating one ship at the Port of Tampa, during winter cruise seasons, since January 2002. Brilliance of the Seas, which will sail seasonally four- and five-night Western Caribbean cruises, will now be joined by a second Royal Caribbean ship, Vision of the Seas, which will offer seven-night Western Caribbean cruises, sailing from Tampa throughout winter 2014-15. Vision of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas' winter 2014-15 cruises from Tampa are now open for sale.
"It is extremely exciting to see Royal Caribbean International's continued support of the Tampa cruise market by adding an additional vessel to our thriving home port. Royal Caribbean is a very important partner, offering a quality cruise experience to their guests and significant economic value to the port and our region," Paul Anderson, port president and CEO, said.
Vision of the Seas will sail a nine-night Southern Caribbean itinerary from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on November 6, 2014, to Tampa, with calls at Aruba, Curacao, Grand Cayman and Labadee, Royal Caribbean's private beach paradise on the north coast of Haiti. Beginning November 15, Vision of the Seas will sail every Saturday from Tampa to destinations in the Western Caribbean, including Grand Cayman, Cozumel (MX), Costa Maya (MX), Roatan (Honduras) or Belize. The 915-foot ship has a capacity of 2,000 guest, double occupancy, and a crew of 742. Previously announced, Brilliance of the Seas also will sail from Tampa in winter 2013-14 and 2014-15 on four-night cruises to Cozumel, and five-night Cozumel itineraries, which additionally call at Grand Cayman or Key West.
"We look forward to having two our most recently revitalized ships, Brilliance of the Seas and Vision of the Seas, sailing from Tampa in 2014," said Adam Goldstein, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International. "The Port of Tampa has been a great partner for more than a decade and we look forward to continued growth with the Tampa Port Authority in the future."
There will now be six cruise ships that homeport in Tampa. The projected passenger throughput with the sixth ship will be just over 1 million passengers, the largest throughput in the port's 31-year history as a cruise port. Port officials are excited to welcome an additional ship to Tampa, which has been home port to Royal Caribbean ships since the first ship, Rhapsody of the Seas, called in January 2002.
With Brilliance of the Seas having just undergone an extensive revitalization in May 2013 and Vision of the Seas to also be revitalized in September 2013, guests will enjoy more dining options, exciting entertainment and innovative amenities for which Royal Caribbean is known. In addition to Broadway-style musical revues in the main theater, guests also will be WOW'ed by the new aerial-acrobatic entertainment production, which spans throughout both ships' multi-story Centrum. All staterooms and bathrooms will be completely refreshed and new Royal Family Suites will offer another stateroom choice to cater to every member of the adventurous family. Vision of the Seas' guests will enjoy eight restaurants, including new Park Café gourmet deli, which is complimentary, and Chops Grille, Izumi Asian Cuisine, and the exclusive Chef's Table experience for 16 guests, which include an additional charge. Brilliance of the Seas' guests also have choices of Rita's Cantina and Vintages Wine and Tapas Bar, as well as the King and Country Pub, for an additional charge.
Through the cruise line's ongoing fleetwide revitalization program, Vision of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas offer guests some of the more popular concepts that were introduced aboard Royal Caribbean's ground-breaking Oasis-class ships, such as new digital signage, bow-to-stern Wi-Fi service, new flat-panel televisions in every stateroom, an oversized LCD movie screen overlooking the main pool, Concierge and Diamond Lounges for suite and Crown & Anchor Society loyalty member guests, and the Royal Babies and Tots Nursery for the youngest guests ages six to 36 months.
Royal Caribbean International is an award-winning global cruise brand with a 40-year legacy of innovation and introducing industry "firsts" never before seen at sea. The cruise line features an expansive and unmatched array of features and amenities only found on Royal Caribbean including, jaw-dropping, Broadway-style entertainment and industry-acclaimed programming that appeals to families and adventurous vacationers alike.
Owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE/OSE: RCL), the cruise line sails 21 of the world's most innovative cruise ships to the most popular destinations in the Caribbean, Europe, Alaska, South America, the Far East, and Australia and New Zealand. World renowned for its friendly and engaging Gold Anchor Service, delivered by every staff and crew member, Royal Caribbean has been voted "Best Cruise Line Overall" for 10 consecutive years in the Travel Weekly Reader's Choice Awards.
In addition to being a U.S. top ten cruise homeport, the Port of Tampa is one of the nation's largest and most cargo-diverse seaports. The port handles a full array of cargoes, from building materials to petroleum products, for the entire west/central Florida region. The port is the largest economic engine in the region, supporting about 80,000 jobs and generating $15.1 billion in annual economic impact. For more information about the Port of Tampa, visit www.tampaport.com.