Imagine nibbling on sponge cake, and watching the sun bake your fellow Parrot Heads almost any time you want, as many times as you want, for one low price. Who gets to live like this? You do, with the Ultimate Paradise Pass from Margaritaville at Sea.
What is Margaritaville at Sea?
In case you haven’t heard of it, Margaritaville at Sea is the latest addition to the Margaritaville empire, themed around Jimmy Buffet’s chart-topping 1977 hit song. (Yes, it’s that old!) Joining the lineup of hotels, casinos, restaurants, and bars, Margaritaville at Sea is a cruise line launched in 2022. As of now, the cruise line operates just one ship, the Margaritaville at Sea Paradise. Because, what else would you call it?
The ship runs a non-stop roundtrip schedule from one particular harbor: Palm Beach, Florida to Freeport, on Grand Bahama. Most cruises are two-night itineraries with listed fares ranging from about $170 to $500. Not a bad deal if you’re looking for a quick getaway and a lovely cruise.
If you’re looking for several quick getaways, and have a flexible schedule, the Ultimate Paradise Pass may be for you!
What is the Ultimate Paradise Pass?
Think of it as a season pass for cruising. With the Ultimate Paradise Pass, you can go back to the island on the same boat an unlimited number of times for the rest of 2023, with a few provisos that we’ll cover in a moment. Perhaps best of all, you can bring a friend or spouse on every trip, for free!
With the Ultimate Paradise Pass, you can book unlimited non-consecutive 2-night sailings from Palm Beach through December 31, 2023. Of course, there are a few blackout dates (five, to be exact), and bookings are subject to availability.
You won’t exactly be living the suite life, though. Rooms are limited to the best available Ocean View or Inside Staterooms, and you don’t get to select your room. They are assigned at check-in from available inventory.
Which leads us to the next, and perhaps hardest to manage proviso: Cruises can only be booked 24 to 72 hours before departure. Essentially, the Ultimate Paradise Pass is a way for Margaritaville at Sea to fill vacant staterooms at the last minute. You can generally find these deals on your own, on most cruise lines. The Ultimate Paradise Pass is a steeply discounted rate only if you have the flexibility to cruise often.
While it’s true that your Plus One sails for free, you will have to pay a single supplement if you choose to sail solo. That will add $159 to your cruise fare.
What is not included in the Ultimate Paradise Pass?
The Unlimited Paradise Pass covers your cruise fare, but does not include mandatory charges, such as port fees and taxes, crew gratuities, and a fuel supplement, all of which must be paid when you make your reservation.
Also not included are drinks packages, excursions, and any onboard shopping you are likely to do. However, your pass includes a 10% discount on packages, excursions, and retail purchases. That includes optional Signature Packages for an extra bit of pampering. Not included are discounts on food, beverage, casino and spa purchases. Sorry, but that cheeseburger will be full price, even in paradise.
One last note: Because you can’t reason with hurricane season, if your booked cruise gets postponed or cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances – like a hurricane – you will not receive a refund on your pass purchase. Any additional charges will be refunded.
How much does this cost, and how can I get my Ultimate Paradise Pass?
Really, aren’t the changes in attitude that accompany changes in latitude priceless?
The Ultimate Paradise Pass is $899. That’s as many two-night Bahamas cruises as any captain and kid can stand, for just under $450 per person, plus those mandatory fees and charges. At that rate, you just may have found you a home away from home!
You can purchase a pass directly from Margaritaville at Sea. Note that availability is limited. Only 500 passes were made available for 2023.
Is the Ultimate Paradise Pass worth it?
You’re probably wondering if that price is worth it.
Let’s do a little math. The lowest published fare we could find for two people in an inside cabin is $338. So, three trips and you’ve come out ahead. If you get lucky and land an ocean view stateroom on the upper decks (the most expensive of the included staterooms), that’s a value of $568. On their own, those are not terrible prices to take off for the Bahamas and be home come Monday!
So yes, you could definitely get your money’s worth out of an Ultimate Paradise Pass even with just a few trips. It’s obviously more of a bargain if you plan to sail frequently to the Bahamas, and have the flexibility to book a getaway with little warning.
It’s not a bad deal. But is it the best deal?
Other Margaritaville at Sea Deals
There are more fins in the water, so to speak. Here are a few other deals you may want to consider, especially if you only see yourself taking a Bahamian cruise once or twice.
- Birthday BOGO
- Margaritaville at Sea is celebrating its first sail-iversary with a Buy One, Get One Free offer! Similar to the Ultimate Paradise Pass, your plus one sails free, but this sale includes every cabin on the ship. Cruise fares range from $84.59 to $542 per person. Valid on cruises throughout 2023. No end date is given, but the sale likely ends on 5/31/23.
- Heroes Sail Free
- Margaritaville at Sea offers a free vacation for First Responders, active and veteran military members, and teachers! The offer is limited to one vacation per year, and only the qualified family member sails free; their plus one pays full fare, making this essentially a BOGO type offer. Cabin choice is limited to inside and ocean view staterooms.
- Student Discounts
- College students who are members of XNow can save up to 40% on their cruise, and receive a $25 on-board credit per guest. This applies to all cabin types, but there is a 150% single supplement if sailing solo.
- Cruise Certificates
- This reactive offer is not advertised on the site, but we were presented with an opportunity to purchase a Cruise Certificate for $299. The option popped up when we started navigating the cabin selections, and backed out to select a different date. The offer guaranteed an oceanview stateroom for two at a later date. That’s better than any price we saw on the site. It is limited to Sunday through Wednesday departures. If you want it, you can’t be in the slow lane; accept it when it’s presented. Try as we might, we could not get the offer to show again without closing out completely and starting over.
Pros and Cons of the Ultimate Paradise Pass
While it is a good deal, there are a few pros and cons you should consider.
Boats, Beaches, Bars, and Ballads
Okay, you caught us: That’s the name of a Jimmy Buffet album. Parrot Heads may have already spotted more than a dozen Jimmy Buffet song references in this post! Did you catch them all? (Get our Jimmy Buffet – Margaritaville at Sea Spotify Playlist with all of the songs referenced in this post!)
When you think about it, that nicely sums up what the Ultimate Paradise Pass offers! You’re on the ship for three days, acting as your transportation to the Bahamas, and your hotel while there to enjoy the beaches. And you have plenty of dining and drinking options, because it’s always 5-o’clock somewhere!
That said, you don’t need the Ultimate Paradise Pass to enjoy all of this. Because we’d have to fly into Florida, trying to time flights with the short booking window seems like a long shot, so we probably would not be able to take advantage of the potential savings. We’d be better off booking one or two cruises independently.
And that’s the thing: Your milage may vary. For us, the cons outweigh the pros, but we’d encourage anyone who likes to cruise, enjoys the Bahamas, or just wants options that don’t involve a ton of planning, to look carefully at the Ultimate Paradise Pass.
If it looks like a bargain to you, get your pass before they’re all gone. And then live like it’s your last day!
Okay, we’re done with the Jimmy Buffet song references now.
Thanks for reading along. Check out the video below for a sneak peek at Margaritaville at Sea!