Margaritaville at Sea inaugural sailing delayed 2 weeks
Jimmy Buffett fans hoping to get a taste of the island life the acclaimed musician so often sings about will have to wait a bit longer for their cheeseburger in paradise.
Buffett's latest foray into the cruise industry – Margaritaville at Sea – was scheduled to set sail on April 30 but, as a result of shipping delays, has been pushed back two weeks to May 14.
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The sailing will take place on board the Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line's Grand Classica, a 30-year-old, 1,680-passenger ship that is being rebranded as the Margaritaville at Sea Paradise.
Related: Bahamas cruise guide: Best itineraries, planning tips and things to do
In fact, the Grand Classica's final sailing leaves the Port of Palm Beach in Florida on April 16 and returns April 18. That leaves less than two weeks to overhaul the ship and hit the original April 30 launch of Margaritaville at Sea. Even without delays, that's a tight turnaround.
COVID-19-era cruise ship delays are not unheard of, but most have been new-builds, not dry dock remodels. Oneil Khosa, CEO of Margaritaville at Sea, said in a statement, "Due to global shipping delays and in an effort to ensure the very best onboard experience, we have made the decision to postpone our first passenger sailing until May 14." Khosa also apologized for the inconvenience caused to guests and thanked guests and Margaritaville at Seas's business partners for their patience.
The ship will receive the full Parrothead treatment, with a multimillion-dollar refurbishment including Margaritaville-themed bars, nautical-inspired cabin decor and the phrase "Where it's always 5 o'clock" emblazoned on the hull.
As a result of the delay, six sailings in early May were canceled. Affected guests were given the opportunity to cancel and receive a full refund or rebook on any future sailing and receive a complimentary cabin. Any money held on the original booking for the stateroom charge will be provided as an onboard credit.
Each trip on Margaritaville at Sea is a two-night, three-day "offshore resort experience" from the Port of Palm Beach to Freeport, Grand Bahama Island. Pricing begins as low as $169 per person for an interior cabin (based on double occupancy) and includes all meals (excluding specialty dining), select nonalcoholic beverages, live entertainment and supervised kids programs. Shore excursions, alcoholic beverages, soft drinks and Wi-Fi require an additional fee.
Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville-themed businesses also include hotels, timeshares, all-inclusive resorts, bars and restaurants.