The newest ship in Margaritaville at Sea‘s fleet is on her way to Florida to begin the cruise line’s first-ever sailings from Tampa, Florida. The ship has finished an extensive renovation and rebranding and is just about ready to welcome her first guests with a new tropical vibe and longer itineraries.

The ship’s updating was done at the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where she has been undergoing massive upgrades and retheming that began on January 10, 2024. Several projects were completed while the ship was in wet dock, and the official dry dock refit began on March 12, 2024.

After more than two months, the ship is now on the move and sailing for her new homeport in the Sunshine State.

Margaritaville at Sea Islander Departs for Florida

“The Margaritaville at Sea Islander is on her way to Florida!” the cruise line announced on Sunday, May 19. “Today, Islander left the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Northern Ireland after an extensive reimagining and has begun her three-week journey across the Atlantic to Port Tampa Bay, finishing the final flourishes along the way.”

Updates while the ship was in dry dock included redesigning and rebranding the ship’s public areas to match the Margaritaville theme with bold tropical colors and signature venues.

Guests will be able to enjoy The 5 O’Clock Somewhere Pool, the Port of Indecision Buffet, the Fins Up Fitness Center, the Hot Hot Hot Nightclub, and much more. And don’t forget a selfie at the Flip Flop Atrium!

Read Also: Cruise Lines Pay Tribute After Passing of Iconic Margaritaville Singer Jimmy Buffet

The ship’s hull has also been repainted for the new look with tropical colors, palm trees, and parrots, and a variety of behind-the-scenes technical updates were completed to ensure the ship is operating at peak efficiency.

Margaritaville at Sea Islander Departs for Florida (Photo Credit: Margaritaville at Sea)

Final interior design work is being finished while the ship sails without guests on her way to Tampa. This is commonly done when ships leave refit operations ahead of their sailing debut dates.

The 85,619-gross-ton, Spirit-class Margaritaville at Sea Islander is the former Costa Atlantica, originally built for Costa Cruises in 2000. The ship has been refit several times, and was sold to Margaritaville at Sea in late 2023.

As the ship is now ready to join her new cruise line, there will undoubtedly be a christening ceremony to bring her into service in style. While details of such an event have not yet been released, the cruise line has announced that Savannah Buffett will be the godmother for Margaritaville at Sea Islander.

Margaritaville at Sea Islander will now homeport year-round from Port Tampa Bay, a new embarkation point for Margaritaville at Sea. The cruise line has previously only offered departures from West Palm Beach, with short sailings to the Bahamas.

The new ship, however, is expanding the cruise line’s offerings not only from a new homeport, but also with longer itineraries. Margaritaville at Sea Islander will offer primarily 4- and 5-night cruises to Cozumel, Key West, and Progreso, depending on the departure date and cruise length. Her inaugural sailing will depart on Friday, June 14, 2024.

Margaritaville at Sea Islander on the way to Florida (Photo Credit: Margaritaville at Sea)

In 2025, the ship will also begin offering select 6-night sailings to all three ports of call, as well as 7-night cruises that include extra visits to hotspots such as Belize, Grand Cayman, and Jamaica.

Margaritaville at Sea Islander can welcome 2,114 guests at double occupancy or up to 2,680 travelers when fully booked. Onboard are nearly 900 international crew members to ensure everyone has a fantastic, fun cruise on every sailing.

The cruise line’s first and smaller vessel, the 52,926-gross-ton Margaritaville at Sea Paradise – which recently failed a CDC health inspection – is continuing to offer 2-night Bahamas sailings from West Palm Beach.

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