When bookings first opened for Virgin Voyages, there was a secret destination included on all itineraries. This was a mystery port that the vessel called at either on the first day or last day. Through process of elimination it could only be either Key West or someplace in the Bahamas.
Yesterday, Virgin Voyages held a press conference in NYC and announced that the secret destination is in fact Bimini, Bahamas.
Some history on that development. Bimini has for generations been a regularly populated island in the Bahamas. Ernest Hemingway even lived there for a few years. It’s 50 miles east of Miami but always lacked a convenient way to get to and from. In 2012 Malaysian gaming giant Genting Malaysia Berhad (Crystal and Star’s parent’s parent company) signed an agreement to develop a large casino and hotel complex on the island for over $200m. That next year they brought in a fast ferry and deployed her on the Miami-Bimini route as well as gambling cruises to nowhere. That was quickly plagued with problems and Bimini Superfast ceased operations in 2016. In the meantime the resort hit a few snags and was never built to the size they anticipated (only 305 rooms). Hilton was brought in to manage the hotel and co-sell rooms.
So after the large ferry service folded, the island was left with a large underutilized pier. The resort also never really took off as planned. Enter Virgin. The quirky upstart line has announced that on days when the Scarlet Lady pulls into Bimini, they will have access to The Beach Club at Bimini. Resorts World will build it and manage it but Virgin pax will be able to use it. Surely RW guests will be able to use it on non-ship days.
“will rival the best beach clubs in Ibiza and Saint-Tropez.”
The Beach Club at Bimini will feature it’s own bar and lagoon-style pool. There will also be complimentary food available.
“Sailors will find areas of high energy and quiet spots for complete relaxation and introspection. Mornings at The Beach Club at Bimini will begin with yoga and meditation as Sailors enjoy the sounds of the ocean. The energy at The Beach Club at Bimini will be gradually amplified as the day progresses and turned back down as dusk”
A few years ago I spoke to a rep from the port and he mentioned that they had a cruise line ‘interested’ so now we know who it was.