Margaritaville at Sea Cruise Tips

margaritaville at sea cruise

Did you know that the Margaritaville brand of restaurants and resorts, now has a cruise ship?

The Margaritaville-at-Sea Paradise is the only 3-day and 2-night cruise sailing from the Port of Palm Beach, Florida to Freeport, Grand Bahama Island. 

On this floating island vacation, you can relax, unwind, enjoy the entertainment and frozen concoctions, soak up the sun, and cruise for a quick & easy escape!

Keep in mind that yYou get what you pay for and the value for what you pay is really good and cheaper than a staycation at a hotel for 2 nights, plus food, and travel. 

Below is what you can expect on board and tips to make your sail more enjoyable!

Travel Tips for Sailing on the Margaritaville Cruise 

Travel Tips for Sailing on the Margaritaville at Sea Cruise Ship - what you can expect on board and tips to make your sail more enjoyable.

Get the Express Boarding Pass & Chill Packages

This is literally your "License to Chill" right from the start of your trip at embarkation. The lines at the Port of Palm beach were long to check in, however, with our Express Add-On we got to not only skip the line outside but go straight inside the customs area to a separate check-in section. This saved us at least an hour and eliminated the stress and annoyance of waiting in line when you just want your vacation to start. The same VIP express experience applies for disembarkation too. 

Now, I'm not big on doing paid upgrades, but this one is worth it. Some of the Chill packages come with WiFi for 2 devices and other fun additions like the JWB Steakhouse dinner for 2, which is my next tip and recommendation. 

My friends also splurged for the Champagne Breakfast and raved about their Huevos Rancheros, pastries, Bloody Mary's and overall experience. We regret not doing this since the breakfast buffet was crowded and basic, similar to a setup at a Spring Hill Suites setup or something similar at a comp hotel breakfast. 

Dine in the JWB Steakhouse

I was really impressed with our meal at the JWB Steakhouse. We had a package for two to dine at the specialty dining restaurant and chose to dine there on our first night onboard. I ordered the Ribeye and my husband had the filet, which both of us enjoyed. 

You can make your reservation for either night of your stay in the port, just after the check-in area. Look for the dining table before boarding the ship and do try and request a window seat if you're able. 

If you didn't book a steakhouse package at booking, you can still do so once on the ship and they will charge to your folio.  

Fins Dining Room

If you'd rather not pay the extra $55 for the specialty dining per person upgrade, you won't be disappointed with the main and complimentary dining room - Fins. Our group ate there on the second night and also enjoyed our appetizer, entre and dessert there too. No complaints and the dining room was nicely designed too. 

To dine here there are two seatings at 6:00 p.m. or 8:45 p.m. on each night of the cruise. We had no problem sitting at 6 p.m., but saw a long line for the later seating. We chose the earlier one though so we wouldn't miss the entertainment that night. 

Don't Forget about the Coffee Shop

Regular coffee is provided at no extra charge in the mornings in the Port of Indecision Buffett, but if you're looking for a more Starbucks-like experience there is a Margaritaville Coffee Shop counter where you can order a latte or cappuccino at an extra cost, but it wasn't too expensive. I did this the morning before disembarking. 

Margaritaville at Sea Coffee Shop

Bring Your Own Lanyard

I wore dresses or bathing suits the whole time without pockets and I didn't want to carry a purse, so I was glad I had packed my own lanyard to attach my room key and charge card. 

After receiving our key, I went to the Guest Services area and they kindly punched a hole in mine to attach to my lanyard clip, or you can buy a lanyard with a clear sleeve to slip your key in. My husband was fine putting his in his short pockets. 

Cabins are Spacious & Newly Renovated 

Although it's an older ship (small pools, low ceilings, no balconies) and you'll have some Love Boat episode flashbacks, I was very impressed with how nicely the rooms were redone and how spacious and modern they were with a flat-screen TV and bright furnishings. 

You can view our Ocean View Room Tour in my Instagram highlights here.

It's been a while since I sailed without a balcony room, but honestly, I didn't miss it. The window in our Ocean View cabin was large and with how limited your time is on the ship, we didn't spend much time in our room just to shower and sleep. 

Meanwhile, our friends had an interior room, which had even more space than we did, and they were quite impressed with it too. 


Shampoo, condition, body wash, and soap are all provided in your bathroom. We also had two robes hanging in our closet, which I took advantage of. 

Plugs and Hairdryers

There are even two USB ports and a USB C port too. A hairdryer is provided specifically for their voltage, so do NOT bring your own because it will blow a fuse. Trust me, I know! 

Boat Drinks are not to be missed

Honestly, how disappointing would it be if a Margaritaville cruise had bad margs? Well, no worries, because the drinks were great, especially their blended concoctions like the infamous margarita, pina colada and painkiller, after all, as Jimmy Buffett sings "it's five-o-clock somewhere."  

I also appreciated that they carried bottles of Josh Cellar wines, which I had with dinner. The by-the-bottle price was reasonable too.

You can purchase before sailing or while on board a drink package of 5 or 10 drinks per person, which includes drinks up to $12. There is another package for higher-end drink options too. We both had a 5-drink package and then charged the extra two drinks we ended up ordering to the room. 

You will need to pick up or purchase your wristband for your drink package once on board the ship in the Euphoria Lounge. Some folks had multiple wristbands - more power to them. 

Explore Your Shore Excursion Options

The cruise line offers several shore excursions for your day in Freeport, Bahamas from swimming with pigs to dolphin encounters or resort day passes. There isn't much to do at the pier except a few stalls for shopping, so you'll either want to stay on board or book a shore excursion. 

But unlike other cruises that I've been on, you can't book your tour ahead of time only once you check-in. If you're a type A planner, this part is a bit frustrating. I didn't like the uncertainty, but two of our friends were able to book the excursion they wanted easily at an all-inclusive resort once they got there. 

We wanted something more adventurous though and booked through Trip Advisor for a day of Kayaking and more. It was more expensive ($160 each) than the Margaritaville shore excursions, but this island experience was amazing and made our entire trip!! Instead of being with a big group, it was just four of us, so it felt like we were getting a private tour. We were picked up at the pier in a lovely SUV, then took a boat ride out to the kayaks on Sweetings Cay, spent time on a private beach, went to a Turtle Park and had lunch too. The water was so clear we saw sharks, stingrays, sea stars, and more without goggles even. We still had time to get back on board and do some shopping too. 

Pre-Sale Spa Credit

Save 10% on Spa and Salon services when you purchase before you board. If you plan on pampering yourself with a spa treatment during your sail, you might want to take advantage of the $90 Pre-Sale Credit worth $100. I did and my credit was applied to my Sweedish Massage service, which was excellent. 

You can book your spa time and treatment before boarding at the Spa area kiosk as well. I chose a late afternoon appointment on the second day after our shore excursion, which was perfect. 

BOGO for Cops, Teachers & First Responders

Active and veteran military, first responders, law enforcement officers and educators sail free on Margaritaville-at-Sea, they just have to pay for the second guest, taxes, gratuities, and port fees. If this applies to you claim your cruise offer here.

Thus, you'll spot a lot of cops and teachers gone wild ;) Other friends who went on a previous sailing said the teachers were hooking up with the cops, not that I can blame them, lol.

Travel with Friends 

Since it's such a short trip, there isn't time to make friends, which is why I'm thankful we traveled with two other couples making a fun group of six. The best part of being with a group is that you can eat together, and take in a show, but still do your own thing too - dancing, casino, etc. 

But Leave the Kids at Home 

Granted this is just my personal parenting recommendation, so take it with a lost shaker of salt ;)

While there were a couple of kids on board (maybe like 20 total), the activities are geared toward adults. And frankly, many of the guests are there to party. You'll see bachelorette parties, girlfriend trips, and singles looking to mingle, etc. This is why I'm glad we were there for a couples' getaway and that my boys stayed behind. 

The ship does have a kids camp though, but it looked small and boring and there is an hourly charge per child that would add up costing you. And as I said before, the pools were tiny with no lifeguards. Plus, the women that were by the pool were scantily clad and everyone is drinking it up, so again I'm very glad I didn't have to worry about what my kids would see or having to entertain them too. 

Oh, and we could hear the bass of the music in our cabin until midnight, which was when we were heading to bed so that was fine, but again not for little ones. 

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