What to Know About Free Margaritaville Cruises for Military

Margaritaville at Sea offers free and discounted cruises to first responders, educators and the military.
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Written by Carissa Rawson
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Edited by Meghan Coyle
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We all know that it takes a lot to serve, which is why it’s exciting when businesses recognize it, too.

Margaritaville at Sea — yes, like the song — is one such offer, as its Heroes Sail Free promotion rewards military members with a free cruise each year. Let’s take a look at the details.

What are Margaritaville at Sea Heroes Sail Free cruises?

The Margaritaville at Sea cruise line maintains two ships that sail exclusively throughout the Gulf of Mexico to destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico.

While you don’t have the same level of choice in itinerary as you would with competitors, there’s not much to complain about if you’re taking advantage of the Heroes Sail Free cruises.

Each year, eligible guests are able to take advantage of free sailings to the Bahamas, where they can swim, chow down and tan to their heart’s content.

How to get a Margaritaville free cruise

Margaritaville at Sea discounts aren’t limited to just those in the military. A number of other occupations qualify for the free Margaritaville cruise as well.

Eligible occupations include military, first responders, law enforcement, fire fighters and educators.

Discounts are available only to qualifying passengers who are verified through the the GovX ID or Shop VCS platforms.

Before claiming your free sail, you will confirm eligibility and select your cruise of choice.

Things to know about Heroes Sail Free Margaritaville cruises

While the Margaritaville at Sea Heroes Sail Free promotion is generous, there are a few strings attached. You’ll want to be aware of these before starting to book.

  • Heroes Sail Free fares are valid only for inside staterooms.

  • You must be a member of either GovX or ShopVCS.

  • Heroes Sail Free staterooms can only be booked online.

  • Heroes can book unlimited sailings each year.

  • You must sail with at least one paying passenger in the same room.

  • There may be blackout dates. 

  • Taxes, fees, port charges and tips are not included. 

  • One free Express Pass is included per cabin.

  • Guests receive two welcome drinks per cabin. 

Margaritaville at Sea Ultimate Paradise Pass discounts

If you’re the kind of person who cruises frequently, you may prefer to opt for an Ultimate Paradise Pass. Margaritaville at Sea is currently offering its Ultimate Paradise passes at a great rate for those who are registered through GovX.

Called the Heroes Paradise Pass and featuring the same benefits as the Ultimate Paradise Pass, this pass can be a great option for regular cruisers. The Ultimate Paradise Pass normally retails for $999, so this represents a significant discount.

As you can see, the Heroes Paradise Pass allows you to sail as many times as you’d like this year. The pass also includes double occupancy — and you must bring a guest with you when you travel.

However, you’ll also want to be aware of a few things:

  • Booking fees: $29.99 per stateroom for weekday departures (Sunday to Wednesday) and $49.99 per stateroom for weekend departures (Thursday to Saturday).

  • Must call 800-814-7100 to reserve your room. 

  • Pass blackout dates: May 25, 2024, Aug. 30, 2024, and Dec. 31, 2024.

  • Bookings cannot be made back to back.

  • Only valid for two-night sailings.

  • Includes: 10% off packages and excursions (booked on board), 10% discount for retail purchases (excluding food, beverage, casino and spa purchases).

Before purchasing the pass, even at $299 for the year, you’ll want to crunch the numbers to make sure that the figures add up. Because you’re still on the hook for booking fees, port charges and gratuities, you’ll want to factor those in to find the number of times you’ll need to cruise to break even.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Pay your taxes and fees with a card such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve® to be eligible for the complimentary travel insurance it offers.

Margaritaville at Sea free cruises, recapped

It’s great to see a business recognizing the efforts of so many, especially since its promotion offers a free cruise to first responders, educators, military members and more.

If you’re looking to sail once per year, take advantage of the Heroes Sail Free offer to score a free cruise. Otherwise, consider investing in the Heroes Paradise Pass to sail all year long for just $299 upfront.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are some of the best travel credit cards of 2024:

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