The Tampa Port Authority officially welcomed Norwegian Star to Tampa during a plaque exchange ceremony commemorating Tampa as Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest homeport. In addition to attendance by port officials and local tourism leaders, more than 100 travel agents, together with media representatives, enjoyed a guided tour of the Freestyle Cruising® vessel. The 2,348-passenger ship is sailing a series of seven-day Western Caribbean cruises through April 8, 2012 with stops in Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras; Belize City, Belize; Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; along with two relaxing days at sea.
“The addition of Norwegian Cruise Line is very exciting for us and a testament that Tampa exemplifies a strong and growing cruise market. We look forward to a long and rewarding relationship with our new cruise partner,” said Richard Wainio, port director and Tampa Port Authority chief executive.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s presence will result in the addition of an estimated 130,000 guests to the Port’s growing passenger numbers, projected to reach a total of 950,000 passengers arriving and departing via Tampa this coming year. Over the course of the season, it is estimated that passenger and crew spending resulting from Norwegian Star will have an impact of over $8 million on the local economy.
Norwegian Cruise Line will continue to make Tampa its home again next year when Norwegian Dawn will replace Norwegian Star in November 2012.
Tampa Port Authority (www.tampaport.com ) administers Florida’s largest and one of the nation’s most diversified ports, handling a wide mix of bulk, break bulk, RoRo and containerized cargoes, and is also one of the nation’s premier cruise home ports, as well as a major center for shipbuilding and repair. The Port of Tampa is the largest economic engine in west and central Florida, generating nearly 100,000 jobs and some $8 billion in economic impact.