News reports relating to the cruise industry, specific cruises, cruise lines, ships, and ports, and related news.

Ultimate Paradise Pass: Is Margaritaville at Sea’s Pass Right for You?

Ultimate Paradise Pass: Is Margaritaville at Sea’s Pass Right for You?

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.

Margaritaville at Sea offers the Ultimate Paradise Pass for unlimited sailing on Paradise, via TravelLatte.

Margaritaville at Sea’s cruise ship Paradise
Photo: Margaritaville at Sea

What is Margaritaville at Sea?

Note: This post was originally for 2023’s inaugural season, but has been updated for 2024. While the Margaritaville at Sea Ultimate Paradise Pass is still available, pricing for 2024 is $999 per pass. While there is no mention of the Ultimate Paradise Pass on the site’s “Offers” page, you will find it here. Other changes have been made at Margaritaville at Sea, like the introduction of a second ship!

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 2024, 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, 2024. 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.

A photo of Jimmy Buffet appearing on the Margaritaville at Sea cruise ship Paradise, on TravelLatte.

Jimmy Buffet, working off his cruise fare with a special appearance on the Margaritaville at Sea Paradise
Photo: Port of Palm Beach

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 (about $95), crew gratuities, booking fees, and a fuel supplement, all of which must be paid when you make your reservation. Booking fees for 2024 are $29 per cabin for sailings departing Sunday through Wednesday, and $49 for departures on Thursday through Saturday.

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 $999. That’s as many two-night Bahamas cruises as any captain and kid can stand, for just under $500 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.

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?

Margaritaville at Sea cruise ship Paradise entering the Port of Palm Springs, via TravelLatte.

The Margaritaville at Sea Paradise ports at Florida’s Port of Palm Beach
Photo: Port of Palm Beach

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.

The Offers Page
First off, be sure to check the Offers page at Margaritaville at Sea for any new or limited-time promotions, which frequently offer one or more free fares for your sailing party. Think Kids Sail Free or Birthday BOGO. Keep in mind, the deals below may or may not be available at any given time.
Heroes Sail Free
Margaritaville at Sea offers a free vacation for First Responders, active and veteran military members, government employees, and teachers! The offer is limited to one vacation per year, and only the qualified family member and first guest sail free. Cabin choice is limited, and there are a limited number of qualifying cabins on each cruise. Note that you must be a valid GovX member to qualify.
Heroes Sail Free BOGO
A second option for Heroes is the Heroes Sail Free BOGO. One major difference is that this offer applies to all Margaritaville at Sea ships/sailings (whereas the free cabin only applies to Bahamas cruises). The Hero, in this case, gets the free room, while additional guests pay full fare. The offer is limited (specific staterooms, black-out dates may apply), but available through 2025.
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.
Solo Sailors
Yes! Finally, solo sailors get some love! Or, at least, a discount program. The Solo License to Chill Package starts at just $169. It’s your gateway to adventure. Even if by “adventure” you just mean Margaritas by the pool. Many of them, because your License comes with 5 drinks, and a discount on more. Oh, plus a $75 spa credit and tons more good stuff. Check it out, then say “Hello, Adventure!”
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.

Pro Con
  • Multiple cruises, one price.
  • Competitively priced.
  • Low break-even point; your cost is recovered in as little as two cruises.
  • You get a discount on add-on packages.
  • 10% discount on excursions and retail purchases.
  • The Port of Palm Beach is a smaller, less crowded port with just one cruise line plus shipping traffic.
  • Mandatory fees are not included, and are charged per cruise. This amounts to at least $175 per cruise.
  • You don’t get to select your stateroom.
  • There is no option for balcony and suite upgrades.
  • If you cannot use your pass during particular dates (for example, due to weather events or port closures), you won’t get a prorated refund.
  • You cannot book far in advance; the limited booking window is just 72 to 24 hours in advance of your cruise date.
  • With the short reservations window, it makes most sense if you live within driving distance of Port Palm Beach, or can take advantage of fare sales that correspond to your sail dates.

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!