Royal Caribbean brings bigger ship to Port Tampa Bay to handle Cuban tourism traffic

TAMPA — The number of U.S. visitors to Cuba is down 40 percent for the first quarter of this year, but the outlook around Port Tampa Bay’s cruise ship terminals remain upbeat.

It’s optimistic enough that Royal Caribbean International on Monday launched a new, larger ship, the 880-foot-long Majesty of the Seas, in response to increased demand for sailings to Havana. Through October, Majesty of the Seas will offer four- and five-night cruises from Tampa to Havana that include day or overnight stays.

The Majesty of the Seas can carry more than 2,700 passengers. By comparison, last summer Royal Caribbean used its smallest cruise ship, the 1,602-passenger Empress of the Seas, for its first summer of Tampa-to-Cuba cruises.

“We saw a demand and we took advantage of that, and…

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