River of Lights returns to Tampa for the holidays

A yellow water taxi covered in Christmas Lights

Sure, you can wait at your house hoping carolers swing by your neighborhood to fill you with holiday cheer. But where’s the fun in that? In the city of Tampa we cruise while we carol. Pirate Water Taxi, my favorite way to navigate the stretch between Sparkman Wharf and Armature Works, is bringing back it’s fabulous River of Lights ride.

You will pass beneath low bridges to enter the beautiful Hillsborough River for a one-of-a-kind tour of lighted bridges and downtown Tampa.


Pirate Water Taxi Captains will entertain riders with a whimsical narration and you can join in for a sing a long of Christmas carols. If you’re not feeling merry, you’re not doing it right.

Rides begin November 29, and will continue on select nights through December 30. Each cruise lasts about 50 minutes and depart at 6pm, 7pm, 8pm, 9pm and 10pm.

How much does a River of Lights cruise cost?

River of Lights cruises run $28 for adults, and $18 for children. Tickets can be purchased in advance online.

Hot chocolate, Christmas cookies, beer, wine and water are available for purchase on board Pirate Water Taxi. Sing-along with Dickens Carolers and get in the holiday spirit.

Board the River of Lights at the Tampa Convention Center, located at 333 South Franklin Street.

Need more holiday cheer? Tampa’s Winter Village officially opens this week, AND the city is showing Christmas Classics at Curtis Hixon Park this week and next.

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