Genting, the Malaysian resort conglomerate that is attempting to build the world's biggest casino in Miami, is working on another project at the moment called Resorts World Bimini and—along with a bright red cruise ship and flock of seaplanes to get there—marketing it heavily to Miamians. We recently took a media trip over there, and here's what we saw. Do check out Part One: To Bimini By Flying Boat and Part Two: Resorts World Bimini & Miami's Future.
4:00 PM Friday: After having spent two days and one night at Resorts World Bimini, a formerly sleepy resort on an even sleepier island that's being marketed heavily to Miamians with a major dose of casino action, our press group finally boards a tender that take us to the Bimini SuperFast, a ship that is the main mode of transportation between Miami and the island. Bimini and Miami are only 48 nautical miles apart, and the ship, true to its SuperFast name, is designed to zip across the Gulf Stream at 30 knots. Still, with everything that's involved, the actual length of the journey is closer to three hours out to Bimini, and slightly less time for the return leg due to the northern flow of the Gulf Stream.
The ship has three passenger levels positioned atop a vast warehouse-like space, with cargo bays opening to the back. This space is for small boats and other vehicles which the ship will carry across the Gulf Stream in rough seas.
5:00 PM: The ship shudders as it picks up speed but the vibrations soon decrease dramatically and the ride becomes very smooth. First stop, our cabin. Although the ship is used for day trips to Bimini and all night party cruises, there are fully fitted out cabins that passengers can book for some private space. They have bathrooms, TVs, and beds. We're sharing a corner suite that doesn't feel cramped at all. Another room just to the aft, where we stow our luggage, is smaller but well laid out.
5:30 PM: After a quick walk around the ship, we're taken up to the bridge, usually off limits for passengers. Miami's skyline is already visible, although apparently there's still enough time for dinner.
6:00 PM: Before dinner: Drinks at the casino bar and gambling with complementary casino cards on lanyards.
6:30 A ride on the Bimini SuperFast comes with a complementary buffet meal on the top deck, but for an additional charge ($25) passengers can dine in the ship's restaurant Ponce de Leon with white table cloths, waiters, the whole shebang. I had a shrimp cocktail which literally contained two shrimp, but my lamb chomps were rather nice.
By the time dinner was wrapping up, we were already back in Miami and cruising down Government Cut to the PortMiami turning basin, and docking at the port. We were taken to a private, windowless room with some poker tables and a few other people including the president of the company and some other random special people. This basically puts us at the front of the line to get off the boat. We get off as the sun goes down, and bam, we're back in Miami.
· Part One: To Bimini By Flying Boat [Curbed Miami]
· Part Two: Resorts World Bimini & Miami's Future [Curbed Miami]