The Bimini Superfast ship // © 2013 Resorts World Bimini
Bimini has long been a favored destination for those looking for a quick getaway from Miami to the Bahamas. Celebrated over the years for its laidback style by celebrities such as Ernest Hemingway and Jimmy Buffet, Bimini has since grown to offer world-class resorts and marinas.
The beachfront Resorts World Bimini, a master-planned resort community of 480 homes and villas, recently added two major features to its resort offerings.
In June, the company opened Resorts World Bimini Casino, which it bills as the closest casino to Florida offering a full-scale, live action gaming experience. The other feature garnering massive attention is the inauguration of the Bimini Superfast, a 32,000-ton entertainment and casino cruise ship that sails daily roundtrip between Miami and Bimini. Resorts World Bimini has been getting an avalanche of inquiries and bookings and is hiring dozens of new reservation agents to handle the demand.
“We refer to Bimini Superfast as a cruise ship, rather than a ferry,” said Mitchell J. Schlesinger, vice president of sales and marketing, Resorts World Bimini.
The 500-passenger Bimini SuperFast can cross the Gulfstream separating Florida and The Bimini Islands in about two hours. The ship is 10 stories high and 669 feet long with a beam of 82 feet, with 180 cabins and an international crew of 300. The German-built ship has been refurbished at the cost of $100 million.
The ship has six restaurants and bars and a party deck. Gamblers will like the fact that they can hit the gaming action once the ship is three miles off the coast of Florida, with live action games that include blackjack, baccarat, roulette, craps, slots as well as a sportsbook.
Upon arrival in Bimini, passengers take a local cruise from the ship to Resorts World Bimini, where they can enjoy the resort’s bars, restaurants, shops, the two-mile Blue Marlin Beach and the resort’s Paradise Beach Club.
The 10-hour Explorer Cruise aboard Bimini SuperFast departs Miami at 9 a.m. and returns at 7 p.m. daily, allowing guests to explore Bimini during the day.
Beginning in late August, the eight-hour Party Cruise leaves Miami at 10 p.m. and returns at 6 a.m. the next morning. During the night cruise guests can enjoy live entertainment, DJs, dancing, dining and gaming.
A third option is a combination of the two cruises — the 20-hour “All Day Cruise,” which departs at 9 a.m. and returns at 6 a.m. the next morning for a full day and night of Caribbean cruising.
Resorts Word Bimini is also offering an Instant Cruising option. Cruise passengers to Resorts World Bimini can now call 888-930-8688 and request “Instant Cruising.” They then provide their name, the number of guests and the date of cruising and phone number. A confirmation number is given immediately to the passenger. On the day of the cruise, guests can arrive as early as 6 a.m. and before 7:30 a.m. to provide their confirmation number, passport and credit cards. Upon checking-in, Instant Cruising passengers are issued passes to board the ship.
Cruises start at $49 during the week and $79 on weekends. All cruises include a complimentary breakfast and dinner buffet in the ship’s Sailfish Bistro and Ponce de Leon Restaurant. Children cruise at half price. Port charges and government taxes are an additional $20 per person.
“We’ll be paying 10 percent commission to travel agents,” said Schlesinger. “We’ll also be offering special travel agent fam rates.”