- A travel vlogging couple’s TikTok aboard a Margaritaville at Sea cruise went viral for showcasing ship conditions.
- Several commenters dubbed it the “Spirit Airlines of the Sea.”
- John Fain and Laura Notarnicola told Insider that they had fun — but probably wouldn’t go again.
A trash can full of used toilet paper, a rusted shower drain, and an unusual smell wafting through the cabin.
If there was a “Spirit Airlines” in the ocean, the Margaritaville at Sea Paradise cruise might be it, TikTok users said, after travel content creators Laura Notarnicola and John Fain posted a clip on Thursday of their two-night cruise to the Bahamas.
The video, with over 7 million views as of Tuesday, features a botched version of the “Home Alone” main theme, showcasing the Jimmy Buffet-themed ship’s features, empty decks, and margaritas.
Multiple commenters dubbed the ship the “Spirit Airlines of the sea,” a reference to Spirits’ reputation as one of the worst-rated airlines.
“I think my favorite comment was ‘I’d rather go to work,'” Notarnicola told Insider.
Fain added: “Or the one that says ‘the only thing wasting away at Margaritaville is this ship.'”
Fain told Insider that he believed the video took off because of the Margaritaville name, but also because of a “stereotype” that cruises are “petri dishes.”
“I think the mixture of the brand name versus what people think cruises are and it actually being disgusting was a perfect storm for the video to really pop off,” Fain said.
Fain and Notarnicola, a couple who have been posting travel vlogs and reviews on their account @travelspree since 2020, told Insider that it was their first time going on the cruise, but they don’t think they would go on it again. Notarnicola said she wouldn’t recommend people going on it for their first time because it might end up “putting you off of cruising in general.”
Fain said that the couple’s decision to hop on the Margaritaville at Sea cruise was partly motivated by comments on their YouTube channel. Although they had heard rumors about the 30-year-old ship, they went in with an open mind, saying that they had recently moved to Florida — the ship sails from Port of Palm Beach — and also wanted to get away for the weekend.
What they experienced instead was “jarring,” Fain said.
“It felt like we were in another universe type of thing, or on a movie set of what a cruise should be and not exactly what we’re used to on a cruise,” Fain said.
The couple said from the get-go the valet parking situation was confusing, the food wasn’t amazing, and there were some unsanitary aspects of their stay — including a trash can full of used toilet paper they say was there when they arrived.
“I was trying to show how outdated the bathrooms were. And then that was like a nice little surprise next to the toilet.” Notarnicola said.
They also said that despite the cruise’s cheap price, the add-on expenses for dining and drinks actually ended up costing them a lot. They also said that despite the name, they believed the margaritas tasted like “straight-up juice.”
“That’s probably like the least quality cruise that we’ve been on,” Notarnicola said. “But we still managed to have a good time. And obviously, we’re still thankful that we’re able to go and do things like this. We realize we’re very fortunate. But yes, compared to all the other cruises probably not the best.”
Margaritaville at Sea did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.