Cruise line launches ‘all-you-can-sail’ unlimited pass for two-night trips

The ‘Ultimate Paradise Pass’ can only be used to book between 24 and 72 hours of sailing

The ‘Ultimate Paradise Pass’ can be used to sail on the Margaritaville at Sea Paradise. Photo: The McBride Company

Benjamin Parker©

A US cruise line is offering an unlimited sailing pass in a move it described as “completely new” to the industry.

The ‘Ultimate Paradise Pass’, costing US$899 (€828), means passengers can travel on as many non-consecutive two-night voyages as they like aboard the 658-cabin Margaritaville at Sea Paradise before the end of the year.

The operator, in partnership with Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant chain, sails from Palm Beach, Florida, to Grand Bahama Island, the northernmost of the islands of the Bahamas.

Kevin Sheehan Jr, president and CEO of Margaritaville at Sea, said: “The ground-breaking Ultimate Paradise Pass will give avid cruisers a new way to experience unlimited getaways to the Bahamas. It’s perfect for a quick escape after a stressful work week or for a whole new adventure at sea.”

The pass is valid for two people in an inside or ocean-view stateroom, subject to availability. Only around 500 passes are being sold in the first run, and the cruise line said it expects to sell out in the coming days.

Those holding the new pass will also get exclusive sneak peeks of new onboard activities and behind-the-scenes access on certain cruises. The company added that those with the pass will be able to purchase discounted upgrades, packages and excursions.

However, the pass doesn’t cover taxes, fees, port expenses, tips, fuel charges or any expenses on the ship that would be charged per cruise – such as a booking fee of about US$20 (€18.40).

Passholders can only book between 24 and 72 hours ahead of sailing, which curtails much advance planning. If a plus-one can’t make the trip, a solo cruiser would have to pay an additional US$159 (€146) “single supplement”.

While subscription models may be new to cruise, airlines have been trialling them for some time.

US budget carrier Frontier Airlines launched a GoWild! all-you-can-fly offer from $599/€551 for domestic flights this winter, with lots of T&Cs – including blackout dates, and the inability to book and confirm flight tickets until the day before departure.

Alaska Airlines has an annual subscription program, Flight Pass and Flight Pass Pro, with travellers able to hop on nonstop flights on select west coast routes in California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah.

Alaska's Flight Pass starts at $49/€45 a month, plus taxes and fees, and allows one round trip every two months for the year. Flight Pass Pro, which grants more flexibility, starts at $199/€183 a month.

Margaritaville at Sea Paradise began sailing under its current name in 2022, and is the company’s sole ship. Previously it was known as Grand Classica, Costa neoClassica and Costa Classica.

Its maiden voyage took place in December 1991.