Margaritaville at Sea
Disclaimer: This was a hosted trip onboard Margaritaville At Sea. All opinions and remarks below are my own and based on my own experience.
If the title includes Margaritaville you can be pretty sure there is fun involved! I can say this based on experience! When I got the opportunity to sail with Margaritaville At Sea there was zero hesitation.
Combining cruise life, the Caribbean and Margaritaville...talk about a good time!
This cruise line takes off from The Port of Palm Beach which is about 3 hours if you are traveling from Tampa. It's a two night cruise that takes off all week long. We chose the weekend version meaning we boarded Friday and came back on Sunday. (A fun addition to this cruise is an add on called "Cruise and Stay" where you can actually spend a few nights in the Bahamas at a resort)
The boat itself is an older ship but has been updated and refurbished. It actually just recently went through another "refresh" and got some new features. (Funny thing; Elton and I took this cruise over a decade ago when it was called Paradise Bahamas. It was actually the very first cruise we ever took and how we fell in love with cruising!)
When you hear Margaritaville you may think this cruise is for adults only and not exactly a family getaway. You would be wrong! We took the girls and stayed in the Grand Terrace Suite. This was one of the nicest cabin suites we have ever stayed in. I won't mention names but we have stayed in suites on other cruise lines and they do not even compare to what our room was like. There was a large family room/table area and an entirely separate main bedroom. However the star of this suite was the bathroom. It was huge! Double vanity, soaker tub, toilet and walk in shower. We all felt more like we were staying in a hotel room than a cruise cabin. It was sad we only had two days! lol
Back to the kids, the ship has a small pool that we actually did not get to use because it was raining the day we boarded. You aren't going to see multiple pools or waterslides but like I said this is an older ship. However instead I highly suggest booking a resort excursion and swimming in the Caribbean!! Who gets to spend their Saturday just hanging out in the Bahamas?! The ship also provides a newly refreshed kids and teen club plus arcade. Our friend's son loved it! We even saw all the kids at the show on Friday night. Super cute!!
A little something "extra" I did with my girls was take a trip to the spa. It was rainy on Friday when we boarded so this was the perfect way to spend the afternoon. They each got pedicures and I chose to get an aromatic massage....talk about a great way to start your vacation!
The ship's entertainment was wonderful! We never had an issue finding seats in the theater and you did not need to make reservations. On Friday night we watched a Caribbean themed dance show which the girls loved! On Saturday they offered another Caribbean dance and song theater show along with a family friendly comedy show. (Later that night there was also an adult comedy show.)
Dining consisted of the (Included) main dining buffet, the "Cheeseburger in Paradise" burger bar, Fins dining hall and the (extra charge) JWB Steakhouse and Pizza place. We actually ate at all of them! I enjoyed the burger bar, Fins and the steakhouse. All our friends really loved the pizza!! The steak house was one of my favorite meals for sure. Everything was impeccable and if you can splurge for the extra charge I highly recommend!
Other ship amenities are a Casino and Nightclub!
As far as our day in the Bahamas (this was probably my most asked question) we decided on the All Inclusive Beach Day at The Grand Lucayan Resort. However I was definitely torn between the beach day and swimming with the pigs!! There are plenty of excursions you can choose from depending on your ideal day. Beach days, tram tours, snorkeling, piggies, sea turtles ..you name it!
The Grand Lucayan was about a 20 minute car ride from the port. Your shuttle is included. It's a beautiful property with the most amazing beachfront infinity pool!! The resort provided an island breakfast and lunch buffet. Also included was unlimited drinks from the beachfront tiki bar! We arrived at the resort around 9:30 and got picked up by the shuttle around 3pm leaving plenty of time for us to get back on board the ship.
My tips for boarding and debarkation.
There are a few add on's you can choose from to speed up boarding. We used the "Express" pass which got us on the ship maybe 20 minutes before other people in our party. If you arrive at the designated time your email tells you to you should not have a problem waiting to board. Once you arrive it helps to have your bags already labeled with your baggage tickets. Then I suggest checking out the tables set up and making dinner reservations, spa reservations, purchasing drink packages etc. You will be boarding before you know it! We checked our bags and they were at our cabin by 3.
Express Debarkation did not matter much as long as you left early. We are early risers so after a quick breakfast we headed down to leave the ship around 8am and the whole process took about 15 minutes! I imagine if you left a little later the lines could get longer and the express pass would come in handy.
Our experience was all around great! Beautiful ship and decor, large room, wonderful dining options and entertainment and an absolutely gorgeous day spent in the Bahamas!
For Floridians in particular this cruise is a breeze!! We can literally drive to the port and spend the weekend in the Caribbean. That alone is pretty awesome.
If you have any other questions feel free to ask me! Also let me know if you book a cruise with Margaritaville At Sea!!!