Bimini or Bust!

Wynwood District Miami
Wynwood District Miami // Photo by felixmizioznikov/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

 

Maverick
Maverick sails from Miami to Bimini each day and the ride takes 2.5 hours one way.

 

Laid-back, low-key Bimini, the closest island group in the Bahamas to South Florida, is just a high-speed ferry ride away now that the Balearia Bahamas Express completed its maiden voyage on the Maverick from Miami to Bimini. The new route operates each day from Miami—2.5 hours each way to and from Bimini.

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Ferry to Bimini

Passengers on the Bimini line are pampered on a smaller ship (than the line’s other ferries) with a capacity of 358 passengers divided into two sections. First class holds 84 and economy holds 274 passengers. Vessels are designed to be modern, catamaran-style ships with onboard cafeterias that offer cold snacks for purchase.

Guests make the crossing in aircraft-style seating and have views from large windows. First class, set on the top deck, comes with leather seats and offers priority boarding as well as disembarking.

The ferry—131 feet in length and 31 feet across the beam—leaves PortMiami daily at 9 a.m. and arrives at Government Dock in Bimini by noon.

Passengers then depart Bimini at 5 p.m. and arrive back in Miami around 8 p.m. The vessel’s top speed is about 30 knots or just under 35 miles per hour.

Desire a longer stay? The Bimini Big Game Club is one option in historic Alice Town. The Bimini Bay Resort on North Bimini boasts Bahamian-style architecture, beaches and water sports. Bimini Sands Resort & Marina is home to Neal Watson’s Bimini Scuba Center, newly opened in January this year.

Who’s Balearia?

While the name Balearia isn’t well-known to most Americans, the company is a highly experienced European ferry operator.

In the U.S., Balearia’s first ferry route, begun in 2012, sails daily between Port Everglades, FL, and Grand Bahama Island. Passengers sail on the 443-passenger Pinar del Rio—with 75 travelers in first class and 368 in economy class.

The first class section features priority boarding and disembarking; large, wide airplane-style seats that recline 75 degrees; and two 52” TV screens.

Pinar del Rio also has an onboard cafeteria for snack purchases, a full-service bar, a duty-free shop, 29 multi-denomination slot machines, and free Wi-Fi service (when available based on location).

Balearia will provide advisors with access codes so they may log into the company’s website and make reservations for either of the Bahamas routes with special industry rates.

Generally, the ferry company needs a brief description of the agency, what the main target market is and whether the agency conducts business on a B2B or a B2C basis.

It will also ask for agency or company name, mailing address, telephone number, fax number, contact person’s name, e-mail for confirmations, tax ID (or government issued number), method of payment—either client’s credit card or corporate credit card, and choice of remuneration—commissionable or net. Once your account has been set up, you’ll be able to make reservations in two different ways: by logging into www.ferryexpress.com or by calling the ferry’s call center at 866-699-6988 and identifying yourself as a travel professional and giving your client number issued upon registration.

Contact Pablo Aviles ([email protected]; 786-280-6861), the ferry’s commercial representative in the U.S.

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