South Florida is no stranger to casino cruises and party boats. They leave from Port Everglades and Bayside Marketplace, taking people to the open waters to party. In the case of casino cruises, boats actually head three miles out to international waters, where U.S. law no longer applies.
But with the Bimini SuperFast, Genting (yes, that Genting) has taken the party boat and injected it with enough steroids to make A-Rod happy.
Already operating day cruises that take tourists on the two-and-a-half-hour journey to Bimini, Genting launched its evening cruises shortly thereafter to capitalize on the fact that South Florida, and the people who visit, like to party.
But can partying on a cruise compete with a city that already offers plenty of vice?
Well, for one, the SuperFast offers Vegas-style gambling, which isn't even available at the parimutuels in the county. And the drinking age is 18 and older, meaning teenagers can imbibe legally on the boat. Throw in some of Miami's best DJs, like Irie and Laz, and top it off with the novelty of partying out in the Atlantic Ocean, and you might have something going.
Genting invited me to come aboard the Bimini SuperFast's evening cruise back in August, when the company's chairman, Kok Thay Lim, was celebrating his birthday. It was an odd journey with a few hiccups, but somehow Genting pulled it off. (Full disclosure: My entire journey, down to meal and drinks, was paid for by Genting.)
The Malaysian company may not have gotten the green light from lawmakers in Tallahassee to develop the former Miami Herald site into a gambler's paradise, but it's obvious that Genting isn't giving up on South Florida -- even if that means they have to lure them all the way out to Bimini.
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Check out the video from my August voyage below, and read this week's Metro for the entire play-by-play aboard the Bimini SuperFast's evening cruise and what it could mean for Miami and Bimini's gambling future.