A 2-night getaway on board Margaritaville at Sea Paradise might be the ideal booking option for clients who are curious about cruises but want to feel this type of vacation out before they dive into an extended 7-night cruise. Plus, if you add in a land-based stay in either Florida or The Bahamas, you’ve got yourself a nice commission.
“A 2-night cruise is not attractive to a travel partner—it’s short and the total cost when you throw in a commission is just not really worth their time,” says Margaritaville at Sea’s president Kevin Sheehan Jr. But the line’s Cruise & Stay program, which has vacationers staying a couple of nights on Grand Bahama Island at partnering hotels, or its Ultimate Land & Sea Florida Staycation with a stay at Margaritaville Resort Orlando “creates a longer itinerary and a bigger basket size because it’s a full 4- or 6-night vacation.”
“The reality is,” says Sheehan, “as we grow and the product expands and as we introduce longer itineraries, that will make us more and more appealing to travel partners. It’s important for me to establish that relationship with travel partners now so they understand the brand, understand the culture and grow with us. That’s the strategy. It’s a challenge to break into trade, but planting seeds here and there will help us make head waves.”
The 658-cabin ship, which underwent a variety of upgrades earlier this year, takes cruisers from the Port of Palm Beach to the white-sand beaches of Grand Bahama Island, where vacationers have access to an array of excursions including a new West End Stingray Encounter or classics such as Swim with the Pigs and Crystal Beach.
Sheehan tells Recommend that the sailing itself provides an “easy, fun getaway.” Not everyone, he says, can take long vacations, so on the sailing, the ship departs the Port of Palm Beach at 6 PM with a sail away party, then it sails overnight to The Bahamas, where passengers spend the day. They get back on board at 5 PM, then arrive in Palm Beach the following day. “We are a Margaritaville experience, so everything end to end needs to fit the brand. It’s not all Jimmy Buffet music, but it’s a fun, carefree, easygoing atmosphere.”
Margaritaville — From Land to Ocean
“What’s really fascinating about hotels entering the cruise space is you have trade partners who have been selling land-based vacations [he points to the Four Seasons and The Ritz-Carlton] that now have that same brand offering on a cruise experience,” he says, “which I think opens up a really interesting segment of trade that maybe hasn’t even been touched upon. Margaritaville can certainly do the same. We feel as far as transitioning people to the cruise industry a 2-night microcation creates a great opportunity.”
Sheehan reminds travel advisors that they can get on board to check out the product. “We’re in Florida every other day and our sales team is always reaching out,” he notes. And don’t just focus on couples who might want a quick getaway. Sheehan says the ship caters to an array of demographics, including families.
Margaritaville at Sea is introducing 3-night weekend sails, including new Saturdays at Sea experiences, for August through December 2024. Departing Friday and returning Monday, the 3-night itinerary includes a full Saturday at sea, which will feature new dining, entertainment and other experiences, such as a “Bottoms Up Party Brunch” with live music, special menus and drinks. Other Saturday programming will include “Tropic Like It’s Hot” island night with suggested themed attire for passengers; new, complimentary dinner menu at the Fins main dining room; a “Sail Yeah” deck party; pickleball competitions; spa specials; casino promotions; and more.
For more information, visit margaritavilleatsea.com.