After a long hiatus, Carnival resumes Tampa cruises this weekend

The Carnival Pride will sail at about 70% capacity, according to the company.

click to enlarge SERGEY/ADOBE

Carnival Cruise Line is about to make good on a year-and-a-half-old promise it made to Tampa when it said, “We Will Be Back.”

Today, the cruise giant, which has been absent from Tampa Bay since the onset of the pandemic, announced that this weekend, its 7-day western Caribbean cruise will once again depart from Port of Tampa starting Sunday, Nov. 14.

The voyage will utilize Carnival’s 2,124-guest, 963-foot long Pride vessel (pictured), which first sailed out of Tampa in 2014.

Carnival’s not the first cruise line to resume sailing out of Tampa Bay, however. Last month, Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas sailed out of the port at 50% capacity.

AnneMarie Matthews, a Sr. Director, Communications at Carnival, told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that the Pride vessel is sailing at about 70% capacity.

What’s more is that in accordance with CDC recommendations and Carnival’s “Have Fun. Be Safe” protocols, about 95% of guests on board Carnival cruises are fully vaccinated, with only original vaxx records, a digital certificate from a health care provider or the government being accepted as proof.

“The small number of unvaccinated guests are mostly made up of small children,” Matthews added.

Until the new year, Carnival’s health protocol also makes exceptions for Tampa cruisers with sincerely held religious beliefs and “teens and adults with a medical condition who can provide written confirmation from their medical provider that they cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.”

What’s more is that all unvaccinated Carnival cruisers must present a negative PCR COVID-19 test, taken within 72 and 24 hours prior to the sailing date.

Unless they book a “Carnival sponsored bubble-tour,” unaxxed guests also cannot go ashore unaccompanied at ports of call.

But the many dining options on the Carnival Pride do include a Guy Fieri burger concept, so unbuckle that belt and settle in, Tampa Bay! Tickets to take a Carnival cruise from Tampa to Cozumel, Belize, and Costa Maya start at $279.

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