Sunday, June 21, 2009
It's Carnival Time in Tampa's Port
There is almost always frenetic activity in and around the Port of Tampa on Sunday afternoon as the cruise ship passengers arrive and begin to board. The Carnival Legend, which flies the flag of Panama, is one of Carnival's "Fun Ships." Three cruise lines sail in and out of our port including Holland America,Royal Caribbean and the Carnival ships including the Inspiration. The Legend is in Carnival's Spirit class and was launched in 2002. It is 963 feet in length, its beam (width) is 103 feet and it carries a crew of 960. A somewhat smaller ship than some, it holds 2,124 passengers on 12 decks and a real plus for many, 80% of of its cabins are on the outside. If fun is its theme, then it should deliver with restaurants, a wedding chapel and 16 lounges. Its atrium is nine stories tall. Just about now we can hear the horns blow for final boarding. The ship, with its distinctive red, white and blue whale-shaped tail of a smoke stack, will sail at 4:00. Although these size ships seem to move like a turtle (or a manatee), the Legend has a 22 knot cruising speed, so it can really move for an 88,500 ton behemoth. From our terminals in Channelside it will sail into the Western Caribbean including calls at Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize, Isla Routan and then return to Tampa - a 7-day cruise. (That always bring to mind Gilligan's Island and its theme song, "Just a Three-Hour Tour.") Sailing now as it is in late June it is before our hurricane season heats up in August and September. Even these ships have been known to change course to avoid the major storms that will visit our state, the Gulf of Mexico and the islands. By my watch it will push off from our cruise dock in 5 minutes...right now! It is always a awesome sight to see them sail.