Calling All Parrotheads

So, I’m sitting in my home office pounding away at my latest SOFREP article when my wife, who happens to be about 15 feet away at the time, sends me a text. “Hey, check this out!” she says. This time, it wasn’t another funny cat video. It was a link to a local news station, and the headline read:


“Margaritaville at Sea Offers Free Cruises for Active/Veteran Military, First Responders, Law Enforcement Officers & Teachers: ‘Heroes Sail Free’ Program Includes Nurses, Educators”


Below the title was a photo of a cool-looking cruise ship with a Parrot at the bow and a general tropical theme. Something you probably don’t know about me is that I’m highly skeptical, “Yeah,” I think. “Probably some BS gambling cruise that goes out long enough for me to lose all my money then comes back.” But, and I don’t say this very often, I was wrong.

Something you might know about me is that I research the crap out of just about everything. I have a knack for finding the truth. As it turns out, this was the real deal. And we shouldn’t be too surprised; many businesses have gone out of their way to thank the military, veteran, and first responder communities in recent years.

“It’s five o’clock somewhere”; Margaritaville at Sea in port. Screenshot from YouTube courtesy of Tony at La Lido Loca

It’s like when I first learned about Vet Tix, the program to hook veterans up with free tickets from everywhere, from theme parks to concerts, to comedy clubs to major sporting events. I’ve been to Daytona 500 four times courtesy of Vet Tix… I’ll have to do a whole write-up on them later. My point is that this is a legit opportunity to enjoy the Margaritaville lifestyle a little bit without paying the cruise fare.

Ok, So What’s the Catch?

Something else to admit here while I’m being transparent. I’m a bit cheap. I don’t want to pay more for anything than I absolutely have to, so when I got the Margaritaville representative on the phone, one of my first questions was, “So, what’s the catch?”. There is no “catch,” but you do have to cover associated port taxes and gratuities for the staff. Fair enough, they’re feeding me for three days and taking me to another country; I can’t expect zero out-of-pocket expenses.

My wife and I both qualified for the zero fare promotion (she’s a nurse), and our expenses to book the trip were $176.88 to cover port taxes and $59.80 (for both of us) to cover pre-paid gratuities. That’s a grand total out-the-door price of $236.68 for a three-day, two-night micro cruise vacation from Florida to the Bahamas. In addition, if you happen to be a disabled vet like me, you don’t have to pay for parking in any cruise ports in the state of Florida. That will save you about $20 a day.

Tony from La Lido Loca tells us about his experience on Margaritaville at Sea. If you are into cruising, be sure to subscribe to his YouTube channel. He is a great guy and always puts out loads of helpful content. Video courtesy of YouTube and La Lido Loca

Who Qualifies for the Offer?

Basically, anyone who qualifies to be a member of GovX. That’s the platform they use to verify your service. And “service” is a broad term here; vets, active military, police, teachers, nurses, paramedics, EMTs, and others qualify. Please realize this is not an exhaustive list. Be sure to check it out yourself; you might be pleasantly surprised.

It’s quick and easy to get verified and doesn’t cost you anything. I had my wife vetted in literally five minutes; all it took was a copy of her nursing license uploaded to them. For prior service, they’ll want to see your DD214. Here is the site I visited to first learn about the cruise, and here is a link to the Margaritaville at Sea website.

Where does it Go?

The cruise is roundtrip from Palm Beach, FL, to Freeport, in the Bahamas. I know, I know…not everyone lives in Florida. Fortunately, I’m about a two-hour drive from the port, so it’s not an issue for me. Keep in mind, though, that this offer is good through the end of next year. So if you plan on visiting some of our Florida attractions before then, why not tack on a three-day cruise for less than the price of a day at one of the parks? Something to keep in mind.

When I’m I going?

Well, I’m not saying exactly, but it will be before the beginning of October. Yeah, I know, that kind of narrows it down a bit. Why? Because if you book before October 4th, they upgrade you to an oceanview room for free. All meals and non-alcoholic drinks are included, as are shows in the main theater and access to the gym and spa.

The sail away party at the pool. Screenshot from YouTube and La Lido Loca.

If you prefer to wait, I’ll be writing up the story of how my trip went sometime around the end of the first week of October. It will be nice to get away for a couple of days. We’re not expecting high luxury or gourmet food, but rather an inexpensive weekend getaway and a day walking about the port of Freeport in the Bahamas, enjoying some conch fritters and a beer or two.

If you could use a couple of days away, you might want to look into it.

DISCLAIMER:  I’m not selling anything here. This is not an ad; I’m just trying to put out some info on an opportunity. I don’t have any stake in the cruise line, and they don’t have any idea I’m writing this. Makes no difference to me whether you go or not. But if you do, and you see me onboard, be sure to come up and say “hi.” I’ll be the guy in the Wayfarers wearing a ball cap with a rolled brim, chomping on a cigar.