Norwegian and Margaritaville Expand Partnership

Photo credit By Dave Jones

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) passengers will have more opportunities to declare, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” in true Parrothead fashion as the cruise line is expanding its exclusive partnership with Margaritaville — a multifaceted brand masterminded by music legend Jimmy Buffett.

Margaritaville at Sea is opening onboard Norwegian Getaway Sept. 18, then on Norwegian Breakaway Oct. 9, as revealed by Andrew Stuart, NCL’s President & Chief Operating Officer, during a press event at Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort in Hollywood Beach, FL.

In addition to these ship-based venues, Stuart also announced that two Landshark Bar & Grills — another Margaritaville brand — will be opening on NCL’s private Caribbean islands. Harvest Cay’s location is opening Nov. 16 and Great Stirrup Cay’s during summer in 2017.

These expansions are part of NCL’s $400 million “Norwegian Edge” program, which has transformed the company’s ships, its private destinations and culinary offerings.

“When we first launched Margaritaville at Sea, on Norwegian Escape, it absolutely blew us away. The demand for that venue, was beyond anything we’d ever seen. So we knew we had a partnership that made sense,” Stuart said. “So we’re super-excited to be talking about how we’re expanding the partnership.”

Norwegian Breakaway sails year-round from New York to Caribbean destinations and Getaway sails from Miami to the Caribbean as well.


Norwegian Cruise Line Confirms Margaritaville at Sea Will be a la Carte

Dawn at Margaritaville at sea and waitress Agthea Ragina photo by Dave Jones

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Norwegian Cruise Line has confirmed that Norwegian Escape’s Margaritaville at Sea — a previously complimentary dining venue in partnership with musician Jimmy Buffett — will now operate as a speciality a la carte restaurant, a month after opening.

Margaritaville at Sea has proved a huge hit from the moment the ship debuted in Southampton, U.K. on October 27.

By the time the ship officially launched in Miami on November 9 we reported waiting times of more than an hour — prompting President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Frank del Rio to hint that a fee would be introduced.

In a press conference onboard Norwegian Escape on November 10, Del Rio said: “for business and crowd-control reasons [introducing a la carte pricing is] always a possibility”.

Vanessa Picariello, Sr. Director, Public Relations at Norwegian Cruise Line confirmed: “The first Margaritaville at Sea aboard Norwegian Escape has proven to be extremely popular. We have listened to our guests’ feedback regarding the overwhelming demand and, in an effort to deliver the highest quality experience, we will be implementing a la carte pricing at the restaurant as of the ship’s November 28 sailing”.

The possibility of a charge first came to light on the Cruise Critic Message Boards when TracyE stated that “while this venue was free on the TA, beginning November 14th, there will be a la carte pricing”.

In a subsequent thread, the decision to charge has angered many members, including Lily815 who complained that “they are changing the rules… again. It is beyond frustrating” and MalervyC who stated that “[Margaritaville at Sea] was a big draw for us to book this cruise”.

Sample prices from the menu (pictured below) include burger and fries at $9.98 and fish tacos at $6.99, excluding an 18% gratuity.

There’ll be booze in the blender on Norwegian Escape

By Tom Stieghorst
Singer Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant will make its cruise debut on Norwegian Escape as part of an exclusive deal, Norwegian Cruise Line said.

Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Kevin Sheehan made the announcement at a company rally in Miami where Buffet entertained employees.

In a news release, Norwegian said its exclusive partnership with Margaritaville Holdings extends to Norwegian’s island destinations, including the new Harvest Caye in Belize and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas, as well as other ships in the fleet.

There are currently over a dozen Margaritaville locations in the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean, including one at the Grand Turk Cruise Center developed by Carnival Corp.