Tag-Archive for » Jimmy Buffett «

Ships to Margaritavilles Quite A Contrast

Comparing Margaritaville in Falmouth, Jamaica at four in the afternoon with Margaritaville in Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos at high noon is not exactly like comparing — as Jimmy Buffett himself would say — papayas and mangos.

Nonetheless, it does beg a question…

What was Jimmy thinking?

In our family, which has two "parrotheads" and at least a couple who are on the verge, it's almost sacrilegious to question this Pirate Past Sixty. Do so at your own peril. However, having stricken two more of his 35 restaurants from our personal Buffett List, the one on the dock of the bay in Jamaica left us wondering.

Margaritaville-FalmouthIt's a great layout, maybe the best of the eight or so we've seen, and its accessible to Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas, which drop by once a week with 6,000 or so potential parrotheads. It has an open-air restaurant accompanied by a bar, plus a pool with a swim-up bar, plus the inevitable gift shop, plus a pleasant pathway that link them all.

The day we were there the only thing missing was a crowd.

Granted, Allure was 90 minutes away from "all aboard," so many passengers were already back on the ship by 4 p.m. But we were told Margaritaville wasn't busy at all — "Everybody stayed on the ship to watch the World Cup" — and that it's only open when a cruise ship arrives, which is two or three times a week. There's even a three-story building that apparently was going to be a hotel (at a cruise port?) but now is destined to house, among other things, a British pub.

Now there's a match for you…mushy peas and margaritas.

Margaritavillew-Grand TurkEnter Grand Turk. This is Carnival country, and that Margaritaville is about the same distance from the Freedom as the one in Falmouth was from the Allure. The Freedom, we should add, carries half as many people as the Allure…and this place was jumping. There were people everywhere, in the restaurant, the bar, the pool…especially the pool. It was hard to see the water for the flesh.

It was so busy — this was at 12 noon — that it was hard to get a sense of the complex's layout. The music was loud and not much came from the Cheeseburger in Paradise and Fins playbook, but lots of reggae, mon, and some pop that had everybody from waiters to drinkers to bathers singing along. Karaoke, yes, but not the Jimmy song Too Drunk To Karaoke even if some of the patrons were.

Yes, at noon.

In both restaurants, the food was good, the prices were up there and the service was, well, laid back at best. Now we all know Jimmy Buffett doesn't go barefoot because he can't afford socks, but if Jolly Mon Sing is an appropriate lyric in Grand Turk, then in Falmouth the most fitting lyric just might be Wasting Away in…Jamaica.

Today at Phil Reimer's portsandbows.com: Silversea set for spectacular 2016 Odyssey

Carnival Conquest
7 nights
July 27, 2014
Miami (return): CozumelBelizeRoatanCosta Maya
Inside: $429
Cost per day: $61

Aye, Cruisemate! Pirate Incidents Down in Somalia

In another century, pirates shaped the world. This was especially true in the waters of the Caribbean, on ships that were still hundreds of years removed from the cruise ships that take tourists on what to many is the ultimate vacation — the Pirates at seaCaribbean cruise. Pirates are extinct there, as they have been pretty well everywhere but in Pittsburgh's baseball stadium, Johnny Depp's movies and Jimmy Buffett's lyrics.

Except Somalia.

While there has never been a serious confrontation between a cruise ship and Somali pirates, the threat of one has caused cruise ships to avoid these waters. The recently released Tom Hanks movie, Captain Phillips, only makes people more apprehensive about being possible target practice for pirates, yet we are now being told that pirate attacks are at a seven-year low.

Pirate Flag,jpgIronically, a couple of weeks ago we met two people who were in a five-boat convoy — not cruise ships — that was approached by a pirate ship last year off the coast of Somalia. On one of the five boats (not theirs) were some Texans, who were armed, as Texans are wont to be. The "incident" was nothing more than a sail-by, as things turned out, and no shots were fired…by either side.

Nevertheless, we're like most people. Listening to this couple tell the story is as close as we'd ever like to come to Somali pirates.

Carnival Elation
4 nights
December 5, 2013
New Orleans (return): Cozumel
Inside: $249
Cost per day: $62

Norwegian Epic: Calling All Pirates

News bulletin (well, news item): Norwegian announces new line-up for Legends in Concert on the Epic

This is a recycled headline, because Norwegian changes its "Legends" cast every few months, and this announcement is about the cast that boards the Epic in November. But this time, it is a little different.

The performers who are the subjects of the "tribute performers" are Michael Jackson, Donna Summer and…Jimmy Buffett?

Norwegian can't be serious.

Anybody who plays Jimmy Buffett, like almost anybody who sees Jimmy Buffett, is called a parrothead. That's okay except that one of the quirky things about parrotheads is that they're obsessed with the lyrics crafted by The Man, and his lyrics often focus on pirates (seven songs, and counting). When they're not singing along to "A toast to Columbus, Arawaks and Caribs To pirates and patriots, rascals and thieves" from Autour de Rocher, they're reading about them in one of Author Buffett's books, A Pirate Looks At Fifty. Sometimes, he even induces them to dress as pirates.

And they're going to take these people to sea? Either they won't go, or they'll think their ship doesn't have a hope of returning. Or they'll think it's worth the risk.

It happens that one of these people lives in our house. She would think it's worth the risk because she thinks almost anything is when it comes to anything to do with Jimmy. Even when it's not really Jimmy, just a Jimmy wannabe.

In Norwegian's case, the tribute performer's name is Barry Cunningham and he must be good, which will just give her and her fellow parrotheads another reason to throw caution to the wind and go on the Epic.

Cunningham must be good, because he's the only Jimmy Buffett clone in the Legends in Concert stable which, by the way, has 16 Elvis Presleys and three Michael Jacksons. Impersonators of the King of Rock and King of Pop are plentiful…but not so much the King of Pirates.

Cunningham, who must be close to Buffett's age (65), has spent a lifetime performing in concert halls, clubs, lounges, showrooms, cruise ships…where would they like him to perform? He's also performed as Neil Diamond and Elvis, but expect him to stick to parrotheads and pirates when the Epic sails out of Miami.


Jimmy has a lyric for that, too, from his hit Everybody's Got A Cousin In Miami:

"It's hard to believe the city started as a trading post
Home to the Seminole, pirate and pioneer…"

Pirates? You didn't expect pursers, did you?

Norwegian Epic
13 nights
October 21, 2012
Barcelona, Ponta Delgada, St. Thomas, Miami
Inside: $549
Cost per day: $42

A Celebrity conceived on Celebrity

I live with a Parrothead. I should say I’m married to a Parrothead…and before everybody gets all over me for spousal insolence, Nancy happily confesses to being a Parrothead, because that’s just what Jimmy Buffett fans do.

Today, from an article I read in the Charleston Daily Mail comes a funny tale about a Jimmy Buffett fan who became much more.

His name is Tom Watt, and 15 years ago he took a break from his carpet-cleaning business to sail on one of the Celebrity Century’s first cruises, embarking in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The story’s too long to re-tell in a blog like this, but the short version goes is…

Watt had a solo acoustic act that played church gatherings and nursing homes around Pittsburgh in the ’70s. On that Celebrity cruise, he became a celebrity. The band that was playing invited him on stage a night after they met, and he sang “Margaritaville.” The audience thought he was the real thing. So did the cruise line executives, who asked for autographs and — despite Watt’s denials that he was Jimmy Buffett — insisted his anonymity was safe with them, as they sent nightly bottles of champagne to his table.

Home from the cruise, he filled in for a Caribbean-themed musician at a bar one night, and was offered a job. That was the beginning of the end of cleaning carpets. The end came when he saw an audience going bananas to Margaritaville while watching a Buffett impersonator one night near Virginia Beach.

He became, officially, a Buffett impersonator and tours the country as “The Buffetman.” Not only does he sound like Buffett, whom he has met (once), Watt looks like him, too. He’s had women walk up to him and pose for a picture that her husband takes, and walk away without saying a word.

That could be my Parrothead.

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