Let me say before you really get into everything I’m going to write about, I am a very experienced cruiser. My husband is less so but has only been on top of the line ships with me. For someone’s first cruise, it probably wouldn’t be as bad for you. This cruise offers plenty of discounts for sailing as well as lower rates than the more well known ships.
When I saw that Margaritaville was going to open a little cruise line, I laughed and thought, “what does Jimmy Buffet know about owning a cruise ship?” I then saw they offer a “heroes sail free” deal which allows military, first responders, and teachers to sail for “free” in an inside cabin with only a $25 upgrade to an ocean view room. We did do the upgrade for the window just to make sure we didn’t feel any sickness or trapped since we’ve never done an inside cabin.
Starting with the port, I received a few emails (truly not many which made me a little nervous) about our upcoming voyage and what to expect. The emails stated that valet was available for $22 a day BUT not that it was required. There was in fact no self parking and we had to use the valet services (in theory that’s ok, but it would have been nice to know that before). At check in, there were 20 windows available but ten or less were actually operational. This made the check in process very long and disorganized. If you plan on taking this cruise, I would highly suggest paying for the express check in to avoid that mess. One thing about this line is that they don’t have an app or an online account for you to create. You can’t add your photo or documents ahead of time to save yourself some time at check in. Our check in person also didn’t add in the detail of my husbands green card extension in the system so before the ship launched, we had to disembark and go back to check in for them to make a note that he was in fact legally allowed to be in the USA as well as sail.
Moving on to the stateroom, I found it to be well decorated and on theme and I felt it was more spacious than other ships I’ve been on which I loved! The bathroom was quite small as all ships are and the shower didn’t have a door but only a curtain. For me, I didn’t really care but my husband was not really happy with that so I felt it was worth mentioning. This is an older ship, refurbished from an old cruise line. That’s not really a problem but with some aspects you could tell she was a bit aged.
There are plenty of on board activities such as one show a night (same show both nights), meeting the Margaritaville mascot parrot, casino, pool, spa, kids activity center, piano bar and comedy club. Unfortunately, we got to experience just about zero of these activities because we became incredibly sick on night one. We only caught some of the show because we left early due to it being incredibly cheesy. The actors were talented, could sing and dance but the story and all of that involved was cheesy and we just wanted to eat and get back to the room to sleep. The show was definitely on theme with Margaritaville so as long as you’re buying into everything, you’ll enjoy it.
Now the most important aspect of a cruise (other than safety), the food. The food was 100% unsatisfactory. The ice machines in the buffet were almost always broken, which is a lot for only 48 hours on a cruise. The food tasted cheap and of poor quality plus, it really just didn’t taste good. This statement is unfortunately true for both the buffet and fine dining room. The pizza was alright and the ice cream machine was good. As I mentioned, we were sick the whole first night. Without getting too much into detail, I was so exhausted from being up all night, I stayed the entire next day not enjoying the Bahamas but in bed. I honest to God was afraid to eat the food after the first day’s experience. Was it a “24 hour” flu or food poisoning? No idea but I won’t try this cruise again to find out. To add the cherry on top, the morning we were leaving, we were getting breakfast at the buffet, my husband got a cup of coffee and when he sat down, he noticed it had lip stick marks on the cup!!! And there was gum on the side of the table. That isn’t cruise quality to me at all.
The one thing I can truly say about the cruise that met cruise standards was the staff. Everyone was kind and helpful, they did their jobs very well and have absolutely nothing to do with everything mentioned (other than the cup cleaning).
I wish I could say this was better than it was but I’d say this cruise was a 3 out of 10. I gave it a shot but we are 100% only sticking to the major cruise lines in the future. Our motto was pretty much “this is why we don’t try new things” after this “vacation”.
I very much hope you all get to travel and have a safe, happy, and healthy 2023. Enjoy the journey.