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Margaritaville Plans to Rebrand Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line

Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville launches cruise brand
Margaritaville Paradise will be the company's first cruise ship (Margaritaville at Sea)

Published Dec 8, 2021 8:22 PM by The Maritime Executive

Margaritaville Hotels & Resorts is becoming the latest travel and leisure brand to expand its operations to cruise ships. The company inspired by famed singer Jimmy Buffett has formed a new partnership with Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line to rebrand the operation and cruise ship with the distinctive Margaritaville brand.

Departing on her first passenger sailing on April 30, 2022, from the Port of Palm Beach Florida to Grand Bahama Island, the cruise ship currently sailing as the Grand Classica will be renamed the Margaritaville Paradise, continuing to offer 2-night/3-day cruises to the Bahamas. The 52,900 gross ton cruise ship will be the first in the new Margaritaville at Sea brand. 

“To me, the only thing better than being on a beach by the ocean, is to be on the ocean. Now you can follow in our wake,” said singer, songwriter and best-selling author Jimmy Buffett in announcing the new operation.

Buffet’s consumer company began with retail stores and later launched restaurants before expanding about a decade ago into hotel and resort operations. Today the company has over 25 hotels and resorts, two gaming properties, RV resorts, and over 60 food and beverage venues, as well as real estate communities, vacation clubs, and consumer lifestyle products. The brand follows other well-known consumer companies, most notably Richard Branson’s Virgin Group into the cruise industry.

Before beginning its new cruises, the cruise ship which was built by Fincantieri and introduced by Costa Cruises in December 1991 as the Classica, will undergo a multi-million investment. Margaritaville is planning to refurbish the public spaces and 658 passenger cabins to feature Margaritaville’s signature casual style with subtle nautical details and colors influenced by the surrounding sea, sand, and sky. The cruise ship will feature food and beverage options inspired by Buffett, including JWB Prime Steak & Seafood, Frank and Lola’s Pizzeria, Port of Indecision Buffet, LandShark Sports Bar, and Margaritaville Coffee & Pastry Shop as well as the signature designs of the Euphoria Lounge, Sunset Bar, and 5 o’Clock Somewhere Bar. 

“We’re excited about this new partnership as we launch Margaritaville at Sea out of the Port of Palm Beach. This next phase of our evolution, rebranding as Margaritaville at Sea,” said Oneil Khosa, CEO of Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, who will serve as CEO of Margaritaville at Sea. The existing company will provide the marine and technical operations for the cruise ship while the new company will leverage the strength of the Margaritaville brand and marketing along with the customer base for the resorts.

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line was launched in 2016 as the successor to a previous firm that also operated short cruises between Florida and Grand Bahama Island. Bahamas Paradise, which is majority-owned by the family of former Norwegian Cruise Line President and CEO, Kevin Sheehan, started with a single ship, the Grand Celebration, which the company sold for scrap in 2021 during the pause in operations due to the pandemic. The Classica was acquired from Carnival Corporation in 2018. 

 

Margaritaville's signature 5 o'Clock Somewhere Bar

 

Redecorated suite on the cruise ship

 

Design for the cabins on the cruise ship

 

(pictures courtesy of Margaritaville at Sea)