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Bimini Beach Club


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Does anyone know the exact location of the Bimini Beach Club? I've asked, but all they said was "North Bimini, a short ride from the port". We're trying to figure out walking / golf cart rentals, so we can see more of the island during our stay.

 

They did, however, confirm that "all food and basic bevvies" are included at Bimini Beach Club as well.

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Based on the location looking at google earth, I thought maybe they bought the Luna Beach club. But they were smart to use that as a buffer from the residential area further down the beach. Should be an amazing experience!

 

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I've been to Bimini a few years ago when there was a fast ferry (the one today is different) service between Miami and the island as part of a casino comp.  The deep water pier was built rather quickly to accommodate the ferry, intended to bring guests to the casino and its new resort hotel branded as a Hilton.  At the time, there was a tram/shuttle service between the pier, hotel/casino, and their beach club which I believe was also up at the north end of the island.  A resort fee was added to hotel guest accounts (as a fee ineligible for comping) that was said to include the complimentary shuttle service.  

 

The morning that I was leaving, I was on a shuttle that made it's way up to the beach club before driving to the pier.

 

This is NOT a walk I would suggest taking.  I'm not even sure that they will allow guests to walk on foot from where the ship will dock, along the long narrow road to land (as you see in the satellite image provided.)  

 

It only makes sense that VV has contracted with the resorts shuttle service to provide for the ... once a week?... ship's visit to the island.

 

I'm pretty sure most of this infrastructure was built by Genting to support their Resorts World Casino.  Initially, when the casino first opened and the hotel was not yet built, the fast ferry used tenders to bring guests ashore and that was problematic.  Some of their Day Cruises to Bimini (intended for gamblers) would arrive to bad weather, so passengers never got ashore.  That's when the pier was built.  

 

When I took the trip and we docked at the pier, it was late night.  I vaguely remember a makeshift, warehouse immigration, followed by separate queues on the pier to wait for a shuttle, depending upon your destination.  Noone was allowed to walk the long narrow stretch, and there was a guard at the one end.

 

 

As far as golf cart rentals....

 

If you look at the first image provided and image moving east along the long corridor from ship's docking to land and continue in that direction until you see the circle in the road, then continue east to a marina area, this is where there used to be  --and probably still are--golf cart rentals.  I'm pretty sure it's a stop for the resort trams, since there's a few restaurants and shops there.  Incidentally, it's where customs and immigration were set up when the fast ferry used tenders.  Even then there was a shuttle up to the casino.

 

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That's exactly where I suspected it would be, thank you for confirming! Good info about the long pier as well. The island is pretty small, so our thinking is that we will take some kind of shuttle to the end of the pier, then walk down to the southern end of the island, walk back up, and end up at the beach club towards the evening. Might stop by the ship first, drop off some stuff, and then take their transportation out to the beach club.

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9 hours ago, 70KToM said:

That's exactly where I suspected it would be, thank you for confirming! Good info about the long pier as well. The island is pretty small, so our thinking is that we will take some kind of shuttle to the end of the pier, then walk down to the southern end of the island, walk back up, and end up at the beach club towards the evening. Might stop by the ship first, drop off some stuff, and then take their transportation out to the beach club.

 

If you've been on Caribbean cruises in the past, you may have expectations of disembarking, walking along the pier and into either a village or huge Duty Free building, exiting to locals ready to pounce with their own tour and/or transportation offerings.  And let's not forget a Diamonds International in plain site.

 

Not so in Bimini.  That pier was built for the Resorts World Casino, so its super fast ferry could whisk boat loads of people daily the short 50 mile trip from Miami.  There were never plans for guests to spend any time at or around the pier; simply get them off the ship and to the resort.

 

I noted in a previous post that when I arrived there was a warehouse immigration.... well when I gave it more thought, that was actually on the ferry.  I recall that once docked, the immigration officials came on board and set up shop to do the immigration process in the vehicle/cargo space of the ferry as part of disembarkation.  Point is, there isn't space on the small pier.

 

I've looked at the current Google Maps satellite image, it it looks the same.  The rectangular pier is divided up into areas for cargo storage with a clear space where it appears the currently servicing ferry is docked.  (Tripadvisor guests reviewing the Hilton mostly note the ferry service is a disaster.  On point here is immigration leaving.  But that's with luggage, and hopefully as a cruise ship just day guests, it will be as smooth and carefree as other Caribbean ports.)

 

If VV is contracting to use the Resort's shuttle service, then it may be point-to-point:  pier to beach club without stops.  (Remember, they've got a couple of thousand people to move, and given the long visit, many people may make multiple trips.)

 

If you're lucky, they'll stop at the Fisherman's Village which is due east of the pier, and just east of the round-a-bout in the road.  That's where there is/were golf cart rentals (current reviews on TA price them at $75/$85 a day) and a few shops and restaurants.  From there the shuttle would head north past hotel, casino, on the way up to the beach club.

 

I did read somewhere a comment that it took 45 minutes to walk from the southern tip of the island up to the Hilton hotel.

 

Upon further thinking, it would be my guess that all the aquatic shore excursions would leave from Fisherman's Village which has a marina.  It could be that's the staging/meeting point for all excursions.  I remember a few queues for different shuttles (hotel guests, villa guests) so they might have beach club and shore excursions.  Also note that they are selling a $15 hop on hop off excursion stopping at 8 points, and the ones they mention, I'm pretty sure are all south of the pier, where you want to go.

 

Now if anyone had thought about spending time at the Hilton Resort or Resorts World Casino... this is for you.  There website is elaborate with plenty of short video clips of how beautiful it's supposed to be.  I was last there about three years ago when the hotel first opened.  The design of the hotel allowed them to open it in phases.  My room was beautiful, but the pools were not yet open.  I was there to gamble.  After reading recent reviews (and there are many of them) the resort is not being cared for.  The casino is only open Thursday to Sunday.  And only a few of the eight restaurants are open.  18% gratuity and 12% VAT is added to just about everything.  The hot tubs aren't operational and the 5th floor adults only pool is ice cold.  The main pool's water was reported by a few as not the crystal clear you'd expect.

 

That's a shame because I have to believe there's more than a few that would decide to avoid the crowds at the beach club for a quiet day at the pool.  Hilton could easily have offered a number of dine and play options that included a meal and access to their facilities.  

 

If you were planning a side visit, read the December 2019 to February 2020 reviews first.

 

Let me finish by saying that what I've written is based upon my experiences visiting Bimini twice, and what I've read.  How VV handles the experience may be different than my suppositions.   I'll find out for sure in 37 days.

 

(Alternatively, you could call VV to find out, but I'm sure the answer to your question will be:  "It will all be in the app.")

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3 hours ago, rbt001 said:

I've looked at the current Google Maps satellite image, it it looks the same.  The rectangular pier is divided up into areas for cargo storage with a clear space where it appears the currently servicing ferry is docked.  (Tripadvisor guests reviewing the Hilton mostly note the ferry service is a disaster.  On point here is immigration leaving.  But that's with luggage, and hopefully as a cruise ship just day guests, it will be as smooth and carefree as other Caribbean ports.)

One thing that stands out to me is it appears the dock is constructed to only allow ships to dock stern-first.  This works fine for a ferry which typically has a ramp in the stern to load and unload vehicles, but I'm not sure how a cruise ship could use this.  Perhaps they are doing some modifications to allow a side-loading ramp that would fit a cruise ship.

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51 minutes ago, timf2001 said:

One thing that stands out to me is it appears the dock is constructed to only allow ships to dock stern-first.  This works fine for a ferry which typically has a ramp in the stern to load and unload vehicles, but I'm not sure how a cruise ship could use this.  Perhaps they are doing some modifications to allow a side-loading ramp that would fit a cruise ship.

At first it seemed to me that surely we'd dock, but now I'm not so sure after spending time on the internet.

 

The pier looks to be only 400 ft on it's long side.  Scarlet Lady is more than twice that length.  I also saw some shots of a cruise ship anchored offshore, quite a distance from the dock.  That pier was built for the casino's ferry which as a previous poster pointed out, docked stern-first.

 

So maybe we will be tendered. 

 

Actually now I'm hoping it's in the planned sailing from NYC south to head over to Bimini for a practice run.  Otherwise the morning of March 27th could be quite the entertainment.

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rbt, that's amazing information, thank you!! I wish you worked for them, because this is far more helpful than what I was able to get out of them. I've definitely been in a range of different ports, like ones in South America and Asia, where you're in the middle of fishing boats, or in an industrial harbor where you're not permitted to walk, or where it's a good walk down the pier like in Ha Long Bay where it was about a mile to get down the pier and to the exit station (we just walked since people were waiting an hour due to shuttle shortages). Sounds like this will be the smallest dock though, so as you said, it may be shuttles only, and there may be a considerable wait.

 

The hop on hop off shuttle would be absolutely perfect, assuming it goes continually throughout the day and isn't just a single run with 20 minute stops or so? 

 

Sounds like there's a good likelihood we may have to start at the club, and that would definitely be a little longer, though we're happy to do more walking. 5-8 hours of walking in a day is fairly standard for us when we're traveling, so other than some added exhaustion from the heat, I'm confident it would be manageable if we did have to walk all the way from the club and back. That shuttle sure sounds attractive though haha

 

One stop we'd like to make is at a place called Joe's conch shack, which allegedly routinely has huge piles of beautiful conch shells lying on the beach out back, simply discarded. We figured (assuming there are no import restrictions), we could fill up a bag of those as souvenirs for the kids.

 

God I hope they're doing a practice run of Bimini haha

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2 hours ago, timf2001 said:

One thing that stands out to me is it appears the dock is constructed to only allow ships to dock stern-first.  This works fine for a ferry which typically has a ramp in the stern to load and unload vehicles, but I'm not sure how a cruise ship could use this.  Perhaps they are doing some modifications to allow a side-loading ramp that would fit a cruise ship.

A ha!  The ARE going to Bimini March 13-14. (Found it on Instagram)

Whew!  

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