MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The newest casino vessel that calls PortMiami home is scheduled to be christened Friday morning.
The Bimini SuperFast is docked at Terminal F until its new home on the other side of the port is ready later this year.
It’s owned by Genting, the $46 billion casino and entertainment company that has been trying for two years to bring destination casinos to Florida.
Since Genting hasn’t been able to bring a casino to Miami, it will be able to bring a sizeable chunk of Miami to a casino.
The Malaysian company is preparing to launch the Bimini Superfast, a small cruise ship that can transport more than 1,500 passengers from PortMiami to its new casino two hours away in Bimini.
“It’s new. It’s different. It’s a better experience,” Resorts World Bimini President Dana Leibovitz said. “We do have a casino on-board, which is different than most other party cruises. And, it’s going to Bimini.”
The red and white boat can go to Bimini and back in just a few hours time.
An all-day trip or a quick overnight excursion starts at $49 per passenger.
The party premise? Ferry people to and from the Bahamian island for a day or night of fun that begins and ends in Miami.
“It’s a party cruise,” Leibovitz told CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana a day before the ship’s “christening” ceremony. “That’s what we are going after. The party market. Fun, fun, fun.”
More than 1,500 passengers can play poker, blackjack, slots, craps and roulette once the “Bimini SuperFast” enters international waters and continue playing at a casino set to open Friday on the island.
Genting is the same company which purchased the old Miami Herald building in 2011 with grand plans to turn it into a casino.
That idea failed in the state legislature.
But now, Genting is working with Miami-Dade County on a deal to dock the SuperFast at PortMiami to the tune of $7 million a year in rent.
Genting will also foot the bill for renovations to the long-vacant Terminal H. Those will run about $10 million.
Commissioners still have to approve the agreement next month.
In a statement, deal architect and board Vice Chair Lynda Bell, said “nurturing this kind of international relationship and trade partnership is critically important to help stimulate economic development at a much needed time in our economy.”
Even though the vessel only pulled into port a few days ago, it’s already sparked some interest.
“It sounds very interesting and fun,” Liz Martis said. “I’m not a big gambler. I’m not the type of person to visit casinos, but for those folks that like that, I’m sure they would love to have another place to go.
Leibovitz said Bimini is the perfect location.
“Bimini is a fantastic, magical place. A lot of people in Miami have heard of Bimini, but they’ve never been to Bimini,” he said. “This gives them a fantastic opportunity to go.”
Some locals are excited about the possibilities, and what they mean for the city.
“The fact that there’s going to be a casino there is great for Miami,” Robert Joseph Martinez said. “Hopefully, it will be like the Hamptons of Miami when it’s all done.”
Bimini SuperFast will offer 2 trips a day. One will set sail at 9 am and return by 7 pm. The other trip leaves port at 9 pm and returns to Miami at 5 am.
The base price is $49 per passenger for a roundtrip, but cabins and overnight stays are extra.
The inaugural sailing was set for Friday, but it’s been postponed pending final clearance from the Coast Guard.
The number for reservations is 1-888-930-8688.