Margaritaville Takes Paradise to the High Seas

“The only thing better than being on a beach by the ocean is to be on the ocean,” says Jimmy Buffet. If you agree, Margaritaville at Sea has just the laid-back, flip-flop and pop-top kind of summer vacation you may be dreaming of—overlaid with the “casual luxe” service and amenities Margaritaville Hotel customers have come to love. 

The first ship, Margaritaville at Sea Paradise, debuts May 14, sailing year-round out of West Palm Beach on two night/three day excursions. If you need a little more sun and sand, though, sign up for the 4- and 6-day Cruise and Stay program packages that include a few nights at an island hotel.

At Seatrade in Miami this past week, chief commercial officer Francis Riley told us the new ship will include elevated room decor, pillows and mattresses; the 5:00 Bar; the high-end dining at JWB Prime Steak & Seafood; the valet service; the kids club; “plus of course what you’d expect in terms of entertainment, including the new show we launched today written by Jimmy Buffett.” There’s a theater, a spa, a fitness center, a casino, lots of bars and music, and yes, a kids club. In addition to the steak house there’s a pizzeria, a sports bar, a coffee and pastry shop—and of course the signature 5 o’Clock Somewhere Bar and the buffet. 

Margaritaville at Sea Paradise
Margaritaville at Sea Paradise

With just 659 cabins on 10 decks, life is easy and unrushed. The headline show, offered on every sailing, is brand new, written just for this ship by Jimmy Buffet and produced by Frank Marshall.

It’s a great new option for anyone who loves the Margaritaville brand, cruising in general or Jimmy Buffet—but it’s especially worth considering if you love all-inclusive resorts but want to avoid the hassle of international travel and megaships this summer, want just a short break, or have never tried a cruise at all. 

“Just because someone takes a 14-night vacation at a Margaritaville Hotel doesn’t mean they don’t also want this,” Riley says. The first sailing is “on course to be sold out.”

Prices starts at less than $457 for the four-night program–“significantly less than an all-inclusive in the Caribbean,” he notes—and $685 per person for the six-night Cruise and Stay. 

For the snow birds in the group, meanwhile, Margaritaville Hotels & Reports has just opened in New York, and this month also announced that it will be opening a resort village in the Poconos in Pennsylvania. There are currently 28 resorts in the group, in 7 countries. This is the first ship but more are planned. 

I’m not sure there’s sponge cake to nibble. But there’s surely shrimp beginning to boil.

Margaritaville at Sea

Cheryl Rosen
Cheryl Rosen
Cheryl's 40-year career in journalism is bookended by roles in the travel industry, beginning as executive editor of Business Travel News in the 1990s and most recently as editor in chief of Travel Market Report. She also was a reporter and editor for publications in the financial services, business and technology sectors, including InformationWeek, The Journal of Accountancy and Institutional Investor, whose quarterly journals she continues to edit. Her articles about the life and business of travel advisors have appeared in major trade publications, and she produces Cheryl Rosen's Group for Travel Professionals, a news and support group for travel advisors on Facebook.

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