TAMPA, Fla.— Port Tampa Bay officials were extremely pleased to welcome the beautiful cruise ship AIDAvita into port yesterday, one of six port calls that AIDA Cruises will make in Tampa this busy 2014-2015 cruise season. AIDAvita, its captain and crew, were presented with a plaque and gift from port executives, a commendation from the Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners, and an official welcoming from tourism officials during an on board ceremony to celebrate the cruise line’s first-ever visit to Tampa Bay.
The cruise vessel AIDAvita was launched in 2002, and has a 1,266-passenger capacity. The ship’s first call to Port Tampa Bay represents a departure from typical port calls into Tampa, as AIDA Cruises has added Tampa Bay as a unique experience for their guests—largely German tourists. This move adds to the cruise line’s itinerary diversification, as well as that of Port Tampa Bay as a thriving cruise port.
The striking design painted on AIDAvita with bright red lipsticked lips on the bow and large eyes on either side of the ship provides a distinctive look that is recognized around the world as the most beautiful smile on the seven seas and represents the vibrant and active yet casual vacation experience with variety, diversity and high quality of service AIDA is famous for.
Wednesday’s arrival of the German cruise ship represents AIDA Cruises’ new Caribbean butterfly route, providing customers with unique new cruise experiences and destinations, the AIDAvita has begun sailing the first of six Western Caribbean cruises with calls to Tampa. AIDA Cruises’ entry into the Tampa market means that Port Tampa Bay now enjoys cruise passenger activity from five of the world’s most popular cruise lines.
The AIDA Cruises port calls will expose German tourists to bay area attractions such as The Florida Aquarium, Busch Gardens and Tampa Bay’s world famous beaches. The cruise line is “the embodiment of casual cruising.”
“AIDA Cruises’ initial port call at Port Tampa Bay is a milestone for us, not only at the port, but for all of our tourism and economic development partners in the region,” Paul Anderson, port president and CEO, said. “We are thrilled to welcome AIDA Cruises to Tampa Bay, and we know this will be the beginning of a rewarding relationship with this fine cruise line that has recognized our distinct market and has decided to be a part of the growth we are experiencing in the region,” Anderson said.
Upon its departure from Port Tampa Bay, the port authority provided a fireworks display in the early evening to celebrate the ship’s first port call and subsequent sailings.
About AIDA Cruises
AIDA Cruises is one of Germany’s fastest growing and most successful tourism businesses. As a cruise line and tour operator, AIDA Cruises currently operates and markets a fleet of 10 of the most modern and environmentally friendly cruise ships in the world. The ships are operated in compliance with the highest international quality, environmental, and safety standards. By 2016, the AIDA fleet will have grown to twelve ships that will be offering voyages in the Mediterranean, all around the Canaries, in the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Caribbean, in North and South America, in the Persian Gulf, and in Asia. The fleet’s trademark is the characteristic smiling lips on the prow of the ship. AIDA provides casual cruises that are compatible with the lifestyle of active, open-minded guests of every age. For more information visit www.aida.de
About the Port Tampa Bay
Port Tampa Bay is the largest economic engine in west central Florida, supporting nearly 80,000 jobs and generating almost $15 billion in annual economic impact. The port handles a wide array of bulk, break bulk, containers and roll-on/roll-off cargoes, and is a top ten cruise homeport and shipbuilding and repair center. The port was recently voted “Simply the Best” for world-class customer service in a Logistics Management Magazine reader poll. For more information, visit www.tampaport.com.