What Cruise Travelers Need to Know
About Tampa Bay Cruise Parking
You're Taking a Cruise from Port Tampa
The Port of Tampa’s three state-of-the-art cruise terminals provide berths for five cruise ships from Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Line. Each year, thousands of passengers step aboard vessels docked at these terminals, bound for exciting Caribbean destinations. Passengers travel from the U.S., Canada, and other nations to begin their cruises from Tampa Bay. Some fly into highly rated Tampa International Airport and take a shuttle to the port or stay at a local hotel to enjoy the attractions of Tampa before departing or after returning. Others drive to Tampa and park near the port or spend some time in the area before departure.
The Need for Cruise Parking
If you drive to Tampa to board your cruise, you will need a place to park while you enjoy your escape to the Caribbean Sea. Cruise parking is defined as a place for passengers to leave their cars for several days while on a cruise. Not every parking lot or parking garage is suitable for cruise parking. For example, a cruise parking facility must allow stays of multiple days. It must provide ground transportation, usually a shuttle bus, for multiple passengers and their baggage. The ground transport must be available as needed to assure arrival at the designated cruise port terminal in plenty of time for boarding the ship. Importantly, the shuttle must also meet the returning vessel at the right time to provide transportation back to the parking lot for passengers and their luggage. A parking reservation system is a reasonable expectation as well, since arriving at a cruise parking location only to find the lot full could turn a dream vacation into something much less pleasant.
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How to Choose Cruise Parking in Tampa
Clearly not all cruise parking facilities are equally attractive to the cruise passenger. Before choosing cruise parking for your next excursion, you may want to consider and investigate the following cruise parking selection criteria.
Parking in Reasonable Proximity to the Port of Tampa
It’s not necessary to be right across the street from the Port of Tampa terminal, but if money is no object, $15 per day parking is available nearby. Don’t lose the “ChipCoin” they give you while you’re on your cruise, or you’ll pay a $20 fee. You will still have to move your baggage into the terminal from these locations. In some cases, shuttles are available even for these short distances. However, if you’re going to board a shuttle anyway, you might as well relax for a comfortable ride on the shuttle from a nearby parking lot that charges as little as $2.99 per day. A Google search of “Tampa cruise parking” will reveal several discount parking options.
Safety of Your Vehicle
Make sure your cruise parking location is managed by a reputable parking management company; this is the best way to assure your car will be parked in a low crime area with good lighting and frequent police presence. The Tampa Port is very near downtown Tampa , and keeping the entire area vital and safe is a major priority of this well run city. Just make sure to take valuables with you and lock your car when you leave.
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Customer Service Quality
A cruise departure can be stressful enough, what with packing, travel to the port city, finding the parking location, and boarding a shuttle with your luggage. Your cruise parking attendant and shuttle driver ought to ease the strain by being knowledgeable, skilled, friendly, and prompt. They should dress professionally and help with your luggage before you think of it. Their shuttle bus should be clean and comfortable, safely driven, and on time.
Parking prices at the port authority parking garage are relatively exorbitant. Find a better, more competitive price with a leading parking solutions company that caters to the cruise parking market. You should be able to park at a fraction of the daily rate offered by the Port Authority parking areas.
Simple Parking Reservations
You should be able to make a simple parking reservation online once you know your travel dates, the cruise line, and your ship’s name. Run a Google search for Tampa cruise parking, pay attention to the pricing offered in the Google ads, select a reputable parking management company, and make your parking reservation. You’ll know exactly what the cost will be, and your credit card will be charged for that amount. If your plans should change, you can contact the parking company to request a refund. The website will provide instructions on how to be picked up by the shuttle when you arrive. Make sure to write down the phone number in case you need to contact the parking company. That’s all there is to it.
Cruise Parking: The Bottom Line
With a little planning, you can save a lot of cash on parking and get great customer service that will make your departure much easier. When you take care of parking well ahead of your cruise, you can relax and celebrate the beginning of your exciting adventure.