Caribbean Travel Roundup

Newsletter - Paul Graveline, Editor


Caribbean Travel Roundup
Paul Graveline, Editor
Edition 81
January, 1998

Last Update 29 Dec 97 1300ET

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ST. CROIX BY EDDIE AND GINGER DELLINGER

Getting There

My  husband,  our  two  year  old  son,  and I just returned from a
wonderful  week in St. Croix. We flew USAirways from Greensboro, NC
to  Philadelphia,  then  on  to  St.  Thomas and finally St. Croix.
There  are more direct and less expensive flights to St. Croix from
the  Greensboro  or  Charlotte  area;  however, we were flying on a
frequent  flier  ticket, which limited our choices. When we arrived
in  Philadelphia, we barely had enough time to change flights, even
though  USAirways  had assured me we would have plenty of time. The
plane  departed  no  more that five minutes after we were seated. I
prefer  to  have  more time, especially when traveling with a young
child.

When  the  plane  landed  in St. Thomas, we had to sit on the plane
for  approximately  one hour before departing to St. Croix. I would
have  liked to have gotten off of the plane. We had left very early
that  morning,  were  hungry,  and wanted to get some lunch, but we
were  not  allowed  to leave the plane. Finally, after they cleaned
the  plane  with  us  on  board  and  boarding  more passengers, we
departed for St. Croix.

The  airport  at  St. Croix was very quiet. There were no more than
ten  people  that  departed  the  plane  there.  Since there was no
crowd,  it  only  took  a few minutes to get our Budget rental car.
The  airport  was  under  construction  and it was difficult to get
your  car  close  enough to easily load your luggage. After loading
the  luggage  and securing our child in his car seat, we headed for
the  Buccaneer.  The  roads  on  the island were in good condition.
There  is  actually  a four lane highway on the island, which makes
traveling from Christianstead to Fredrickstead a very short drive.

The Resort

The  Buccaneer was a beautiful resort. We had a two room villa that
had  a  wonderful view of the ocean. The room was very spacious and
was  equipped  with  a small refrigerator which we filled with some
items  from  the local grocery store for our lunches. The maid left
a  bucket  of  ice and a carafe of ice water in our room twice each
day.  We  had a porch equipped with a table and four chairs and two
lounge  chairs.  There  was a yard area outside of the villa, which
provided a very nice play area for our child.

We  did  have  a  couple  of minor problems with the room. The maid
turned  the  air  conditioner thermostat up one evening and when we
returned  it  was  very  warm  inside  the room. We just turned the
thermostat  back  down,  but  for some reason the air condition did
not  work  and  we  did  not realize that it was broken until later
that  night  when  we  woke  up  miserably hot. I opened all of the
windows,  but the front of the villa had large picture windows that
did  not  open so, we did not get much air circulation in the room.
I  contacted  hotel  maintenance  the  next  morning,  and  the air
condition  was  working  by  the  time that we returned to the room
that afternoon.

The  other problem was with the bill upon checkout. We were rushed,
and  I  did  not  have  time  to  look  it over like I should have.
Fortunately,  I  did catch the fact that they had charged me $50.00
more  per  night  than  they  had quoted me. The room was quoted at
$150  per  night including tax and the charges on the bill were for
$195  per night including tax. Once I pointed out the error, it was
immediately  corrected.  Additionally, there was a $17.00 breakfast
charge  on  our bill for a breakfast that was supposedly brought to
our  room. We never had a breakfast in our room. The hotel credited
my VISA after contacting them a couple of times.

The  only  other  complaint  was  with  the maid service during the
first  couple of days. Since we have a small child, the floor is an
area  where we spend a lot of time. The floor in our villa was tile
the  maid  did not do a very good job of sweeping the floor (if she
even  swept  it  at  all)  the  first  three  days we were there. I
contacted  the  maid  service  and  asked that they sweep the floor
when  they  turned  down  the  beds that evening and requested that
they  leave  a  broom  in  the room. After that the floor was swept
each   day,   plus  I  had  the  broom  there  when  I  needed  it.
Additionally,  when  we  first arrived, there were fresh flowers in
our  room,  which  I  thought was a very nice touch. Unfortunately,
there  were no more fresh flowers placed in our room until our last
two  nights  there.  It  would  also have been nice if the TV would
have  been  in the master bedroom instead of the den area where the
couch was made into a bed for our child.

Breakfast  at  the Terrace was included with the price of our room.
We  ordered whatever we wanted from the menu at no charge. The food
was  very  good.  It  would  have  cost  a  little over $30.00 (not
including  tip) for the three of us to eat there each morning if we
had been charged for the meals.

The  resort is spread out over a large area and the main hotel area
and  the  villa  that  we  stayed  in  was  situated on a hill. The
grounds  were beautiful, but it did require a lot of walking (often
uphill)  to  get  from  place  to place. This can get tiresome when
your  32lb  child  decides he can't walk. There was not any parking
next  to  our villa, so we had to park our car at the bottom of the
hill.

There  are  three  beaches at the Buccaneer. One of the beaches was
totally  deserted  with  no  chairs  or  facilities.  It required a
lengthy  walk  to  get to it and I only went there to check it out.
We  did  not  spend any time at this beach. The beach at the Grotto
area  was  nice,  however,  you had to avoid the rocks when getting
into  the  ocean.  There  was  sandy bottom area to go through when
going  out  into  the  ocean.  Lounge  chairs were available on the
beach.  Since this was September, there were very few people at the
resort.  We  only spent a couple of hours one morning at this beach
and  there  was only four other people on the beach besides us. The
other  beach was very nice with plenty of palm trees for those that
desired  shade  and plenty of open area for those that wanted to be
in  the  sun.  Lounge  chairs  were  on  the beach and there was an
activity  hut where you could get towels, floats, snorkel gear, and
children's  sand  toys  at  no charge. The beach area was sandy out
into  the  water  and  the  water  was  relatively calm. There were
kayaks,  paddle  boats, wind surfers, and a sail boat available for
rental   here.  The  person  at  the  activity  hut  could  arrange
activities  such as sailing trips, snorkeling trips to Buck Island,
and  scuba diving; however, we did not use their services. For most
of  the  activities,  you  could  be  picked  up  right at the pier
located  on the beach.. We spent a lot of time playing with our son
on  the  beach.  The most people that I saw on the beach at any one
time  during our eight day stay was fifteen. There were two showers
available   at  this  beach  area  to  clean  yourself  off  before
returning  to  your  room.  There  was  also a restaurant here (The
Mermaid),  which  we  ate at our first afternoon. We had sandwiches
and  our  food  was  good,  but  I  thought  it  was  expensive for
sandwiches.

The  hotel also had two pools, one at the Grotto beach area and one
at  the  main  hotel.  We  only spent one afternoon at the pool. We
have  a  pool  at  home  and didn't want to spend our vacation time
doing  something that we can do at home. It would have been nice to
go  in  the  pool  at  night,  unfortunately, the pools close after
5:00pm.

We  hired  a  baby  sitter  for our son through the week. The hotel
concierge  arranged  this for us. The lady that stayed with our son
the  majority  of the time was named Gwyn. She was wonderful and my
son  adored  her.  She  would  take him out to play and when he was
through  playing she would bring him in, give him a shower, and get
him  to  take  a nap. He never takes a nap for me, but she was able
to get him to take a nap every day she stayed with him.

The Restaurants

Sunday  was  our  first  full  day.  After  sleeping  in and eating
breakfast,  we  went  to find the dive shop that we would be diving
with  the rest of the week, Anchor Dive Center. We took care of all
of  the diving arrangements for the next day and had them store our
equipment, then we drove down to Cane Bay where we ate lunch.

The  Wall  at  Cane  Bay - We ate lunch at a little bar on the Cane
Bay  beach, The Wall. The food was good and reasonably priced. This
seems  to  be  the  place  that a lot of the locals hang out. After
lunch,  we  went  by the grocery store to pick up some snack foods,
drinks,  milk,  and lunch meat. We ate lunch in the room during the
rest  of  our  stay. We returned to our room and enjoyed the day on
the  beach.  That night we went out to eat in Christianstead. Since
it  was  Sunday,  many  of the restaurants were closed. We ended up
eating  at  Kentucky Fried Chicken. I was not very happy about that
choice,  although  my child loved the food and my husband loved the
price.  That  was  our  only meal at a chain restaurant, except the
one  night we had to get my child a hamburger at McDonalds after we
ate somewhere else.

We  tried  several  different  restaurants  while we were there. We
normally  do  not  drink  alcohol,  so  none of these meals include
alcohol:  No Bones - I had the Jamaican Jerk Chicken which was very
good.  We  ordered  fries for our son. We drank water. The food and
service  was  very  good and the price was very reasonable. Stixx -
My  husband liked this restaurant the best. We had steaks. The food
was  good and the price was reasonable. The tables were outside and
the  view of the ocean was great. My son was entertained by the cat
that  kept  hanging  around our table. Kim's Restaurant - I thought
this  was  the  best  meal  of the vacation. I had conch sautéed in
butter  and  garlic.  It  was  delicious.  My  husband  had curried
chicken,  he  said  it  was  OK.  He  doesn't  usually  like to try
anything  that  is different. We both drank water. Our son held out
for  McDonalds afterwards. The meal for the two of us including tip
cost  a little less than $20.00. Cheeseburger in Paradise - We both
had  cheeseburgers  and  fries.  We ordered some nachos with cheese
for  our  son.  This  was  a  very inexpensive meal and we ate at a
picnic  table  outside.  There  was  live  music. I have had better
hamburgers;  however, the food, although not great was OK. It was a
wonderful  place  for  my  son.  He  could  get up and play without
bothering  anyone  at  another  table. Waves at Cane Bay - The food
was  pretty  good.  I  had shrimp and my husband had steak. Our son
ate  a  little of my husband's steak. We had a total of three Cokes
with  the  meal.  This  meal was a little more expensive, coming in
around  $40.00 including the tip. This was a very romantic location
right  on  the  ocean. In fact, I do not think you could get closer
to  the  ocean  without being in the water. Our son was entertained
by the fish in the natural grotto pool.

Diving

We  did  a  lot  of  scuba  diving. We went with Anchor Dive Center
located  at  Columbus  Landing  in  Salt  River. We had a wonderful
time.  We did five two tank dives and two night dives with them. We
stored  our  dive gear there and each morning when we arrived, they
would  have  our  gear  set  up and already loaded on the boat. The
boat  that  they  used was small and they do not take more than six
divers  at  a  time.  I  like  it  that  way because you get a more
personalized  dive  and  really see a lot more when you are diving.
Wiz,  Steve,  and  Laurie did an excellent job of leading the dives
and   Hank  who  drove  the  boat  could  give  you  all  kinds  of
interesting  information  about  the fish and coral. The diving was
fantastic  and  the  night  dives  were spectacular. We saw tons of
tropical  fish,  octopus, lobster, huge moray eels, a black brotus,
eagle  ray,  and  sting  rays just to name a few. The West Wall and
North  Star  were my favorite sites, although all of the dive sites
were  great.  The  boat  ride  to the dive sites are very short and
they  come back in between dives. I didn't think I would like doing
that,  but  I  really  did,  because it gave us time to look in the
fish  books  and  find  the  things  that we had just seen. I would
highly  recommend diving with Anchor Dive Center. This was the best
diving  we  have  ever  done.  If you decide to go to St. Croix and
dive  with  Anchor  Dive Center, let Wiz know that Ginger Dellinger
recommended them.

Harbor Night

Do  not  miss  Harbor Night. This was on Wednesday in Fredrickstead
when  the cruise ship comes in. We arrived about 9:00pm. There were
people  everywhere. This is the only time I saw a crowd anywhere on
the  whole  island.  There  were  a  couple of bands and some mocko
jumbie  dancer's.  The  stores were open late and there were street
vendors  selling  food  and crafts all along the street. We got two
chicken,  two  steak  skewers,  three  Cokes  and ate for less than
$10.00.  The  food  was  good.  We had a wonderful time. I bought a
mocko  jumbie  doll  for  my  son,  bought  myself a Larimar bangle
braclet,  and two little birds made out of palm leaves for a couple
of  my son's friends back home. My son was amazed at the big cruise
ship  docked at the pier. We stayed until a little after 11:00 when
the  people  started  heading back to their ship and things started
winding down. We had a wonderful time.

Shopping

There  are  several  shops in Christianstead. I spent one afternoon
doing  some shopping and bought a nice watch, a couple of pieces of
Larimar  jewelry  for  gifts and a T-shirt for my son. Gems Direct,
with  a  location  in  Fredrickstead  and Christianstead, seemed to
have  the  best jewelry prices around. It took me about three hours
to  go  through most of the shops in Christianstead. There are some
shops  in  Fredrickstead,  but  I did not go back there since I had
went through a few of them on Harbor Night.

The Island

I  wanted  to  go  to  Point Udall; however when we got to the dirt
portion  of  the  road that led there, it was filled with pot holes
and  muddy  (it  had  just rained). My husband did not want to take
any  changes  since we were in a car instead of a 4 wheel drive, so
I  guess  I  can  say  that  I have almost been to the most eastern
point in the United States.

We  spent  our  last  day driving around looking at the island. The
scenic  drive  that  starts  near  Columbus  Landing  and  ends  up
somewhere  close  to the Westin had some beautiful scenery. In some
places,  the  views  of  the ocean were beautiful. We were going to
try  to  take  Sweeny's  tour of the island that has been so highly
recommend,  but  decided  that  our son might have a hard time on a
tour.  We  didn't  make  it  to the Whim Planation either. A lot of
people  talked  about how beautiful Buck Island was, but we decided
we  had  spent  so  much time under the water and away from our son
that  we  didn't  want  to  do the Buck Island Snorkeling trip. The
fort  in  Christianstead  is  being  renovated, but I did take some
pictures of some very beautiful old churches and buildings.

The  people  were  friendly  and  we never felt threatened. We were
only  approached two times in Christianstead by a person asking for
money.  We  were  never  approached  by  anyone  trying  to sell us
something.  There  was  never  a  crowd  anywhere; however, I would
assume that there are a lot more tourists in the winter.

The Weather

During  the  first  part  of the week we had some rain showers that
only  lasted  a  very short time. The rest of the time it was sunny
and  breezy,  except  when  the hurricane started getting closer on
Friday  night.  The  winds picked up significantly making the ocean
very  rough.  The  hotel  called  all  of the guests together for a
briefing  to  let us know what would take place in case of a direct
hit.  Everyone  told  us  that  the  Buccaneer  was one of the best
places  to  be  on  the  island  if  you  had  to be there during a
hurricane.  They  said  the main building was built with very thick
walls  and  was  very  safe.  All  of  the  shops  and  some of the
restaurants  closed  down on Friday afternoon and all day Saturday.
All  of the boats were docked and tied down. The Anchor Dive Center
closed  up  shop  too.  By Saturday the hurricane was already north
east  of  St.  Croix and the most that the island would receive was
some  wind.  It  did  get windy Saturday night and it was rainy and
cloudy Sunday morning.

 Other Hotels

Tamarind  Reef  - I drove by the Tamarind Reef. It looked nice, but
there was not a sandy beach like I had been told.

Westin  Carambola - We met a couple that was staying at the Westin.
They  said  that it was very nice. We drove out to it and it looked
like  a  very  nice place. It is in a remote location and is a long
drive from Christianstead.

The  Waves  at  Cane  Bay  - This was one of the hotels that we had
thought   about  staying  at,  but  I  could  not  find  a  lot  of
information  about  it  before  arriving. If we had not brought our
child  with  us, we might have stayed here. We talked with a couple
that  stayed  there and they said that the rooms were clean and the
price  was  cheap. A room with air condition was approximately $110
including  tax  and all of the rooms are directly on the ocean. The
three  things that kept me away from this was there was not a sandy
beach  area  right  at the hotel (this is important when you have a
small  child)  and  there  was  not  any  area for my child to play
outside  the  room when he was with the sitter, and the sitter that
they  used was a teenage girl and I preferred to have an older lady
stay with my son.

Going Home

We  had  considered  leaving on Saturday to ensure that we got home
by  Sunday  night  because  of the hurricane. I contacted USAirways
Saturday  around  noon  to see what their flight plans were for our
scheduled  flight  Sunday.  They  said  that  they  had no plans to
cancel  their  flight  for Sunday and we should be fine keeping our
flight  as  scheduled.  Well,  Sunday  morning  it  was a different
story.  Fortunately,  I  called  USAirways  just to be sure we were
leaving  on  time. They informed me that the flight was canceled. I
asked  the  USAirways employee what my options were and he informed
me  that  we  had no options other than waiting until the next day.
It  would  be  at least Monday, or maybe even later if the Monday's
flight  was full. I asked if they were responsible for my hotel for
the  extra  night.  The USAirways employee informed me that we were
on  our own. It was an act of God and they were not responsible for
anything.  There  were  other  airlines that were flying out of St.
Croix  on  Sunday. They did not cancel their flights. USAirways was
flying  that  same day out of San Juan, but not out of St. Croix. I
asked  if  they could put the three of us on a flight out of Puerto
Rico.  They said that they there was availability and they could do
that,  but  we  had  to pay for our flight from St. Croix to Puerto
Rico  out  of our pocket. The concierge made us reservations on the
American  flight to San Juan and then contacted USAirways to get us
on  the  Puerto Rico flight to Philadelphia. Now the story was that
they  did  not  have any seats available. I asked if they had seats
in  First  Class  and  the  answer was yet, but they would probably
have   to   charge  me  additional  for  those  seats.  After  much
discussion,   they   reluctantly   booked  us  in  first  class  to
Philadelphia,  then coach back to Greensboro, NC. The problems with
USAirways  did  not  end there. When we got to San Juan and checked
in  they only had seats for two of us. After telling them that they
would  have to find a third seat and insisting that all three of us
be  in  First Class they finally found another seat in First Class.
I  do  have to say it was very nice flying in first class; however,
that  did  not make up for the extra money I had to spend to get to
Puerto  Rico.  After  finally  getting  back  home  and  contacting
USAirways,  I complained about being left hanging and their lack of
concern  for  customers.  They  would not agree to reimburse me for
the  money  spent  on  the  flight to Puerto Rico, but did agree to
give  me  three $200.00 vouchers good for one year on any USAirways
flight.  So what is the moral of this story. Don't fly USAirways to
St.  Croix  and  if  you  do  get  "shafted" call and complain. The
bright  side is we got home safely, we had a wonderful vacation and
created many memories.

ST. CROIX RESTAURANT GUIDE BY ED BUCKLEY

Updated 12/7/97

This  is  a  fairly  comprehensive list of restaurants on St. Croix that cater
to  our  visitors  and locals alike.  As the restaurant business is always
changing,  I  suggest  that  upon  your arrival onto the island you pick up a
copy  of  'St. Croix This Week' (the pink sheet), or 'Dining in St. Croix' --
both of which contain an up to date listing of restaurants.

If  you  have any specific questions about any of these restaurants
please feel free to E-mail me.

 [71307.2505@compuserve.com] http://www.vidivers.com

Name of Restaurant           BLD       (Phone number)
                    (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
   Location
   Description of food
   "My comments are always in quotes"
   Credit Cards they accept.  None accepted if none listed.


Antoine's in Anchor Inn       BLD       (773-0263)
   58A King Street, Christiansted
   Breakfast includes a choice of 15 omlettes,
   Large salad bar during lunch and
   Swiss/Austrian/Northern  Italian  entrees  and  seafood  during dinner.
   AX, V, MC

Anything Goes Deli            BL        (773-2777)
   Gallows Bay, Christiansted
   Gourmet takeout and deli


Bacchus                             D
   Upstairs on Queen Cross Street between Strand and King streets
   Fine dining, steaks, seafood, lamb.
   "The seafood bisque it the BEST I've ever had anywhere.  It's a
      brand new restaurant and it's very very good."
   No credit cards as of this writing (12/07/97) but they expect to be
   able to accept them soon.

Bandanna's                         D      (772-2950)
   Seaview Farm Inn, (south of Frederiksted)
   New  steakhouse  featuring  impressive selection of steaks from 6oz filets
   to  16 oz rib eye.  Also veal chops, salmon, and burgers.  Open Wed-Sat.
   AX, V, MC

Blue Moon                      LD         (772-2222)
   Strand Street in Frederiksted
   Lunch Tue-Fri, Dinner, Tue-Sat, Sun Brunch
   Waterfront  dining  with  live  jazz.   Food  includes pastas, island specialties,
   and vegetarian.
   Reservations needed.
   AX, V, MC, DC

Bombay Club                   LD        (773-1838)
   5A King Street, Christiansted
   Steak,  Chicken,  shrimp,  fish,  sandwiches, and several daily specials.
   "Great  roasted  garlic  and  brie.   My favorite entree is the stuffed crab"
   Air conditioned dining in the bar or patio.
   AX, V, MC

Breezez                     BLD       (773-7077)
   Club St. Croix Condos
   Salads, sandwiches, burgers and pastas for lunch while seafood, including
   their flaming rum lobster, is their dinner specialty.
   Reservations suggested
   AX

Cafe' Sol                   BLD
    Strand Street in Christiansted
    Pizza, lasagne, calazones, pastries.
    "The  pastries  are  wonderful.  On Friday and Saturday nights there's live
    entertainment including a great jazz band on Friday"

Cafe Du Soleil                D         (772-5400)
   Prince Passage on Strant Street, Christiansted
   Local fish, lamb, lobster, shrimp.
   "Great Sunday brunch.  Excellent place to catch a sunset."
   AX, V, MC

Cheeseburgers in Paradise     LD        (773-1119)
   East End Road
   "Wonderful  cheeseburgers,  burritos, chicken, pasta and daily specials.
   A real favorite hangout for the locals especially on weekends."
   Live music Thu-Sun
   MC, V

Columbus Cove                 BLD       (778-5771)
   Salt River Marina
   Continental  &  Caribbean  cuisine,  seafood, and pasta, steak, sandwiches.
   Great home made deserts.


Comanche                      LD        (773-2665)
   Strand Street, Christiansted
   Seafood, Prime Rib, duckling, local fish, steaks
   Reservations Requested
   AX, V, MC

Company Street Pub            LD        (773-6880)
   Company Street
   Snacks, Sandwiches, salads, daily specials
   "French Dip and Curly fries are wonderful."
   Open till 4am

Cormorant Beach Club          BLD       (778-8920)
   Cormorant Beach Beach Hotel
   Continental  &  Caribbean  Cuisine including salads and gourmet sandwiches
   for  lunch and a great Caribbean Night Buffet on Thursdays with a floor
   show.  Good Sunday Brunch spot too.
   Reservations Requested
   AX, V, MC, DC

Cultured Pelican              LD        (773-3333)
   Coakley Bay Condos
   Pasta, veal, and italian dishes along with an excellent stuffed lobster.
   Also a great Sunday Brunch.
   "One of the best views on the island"
   V, MC

Deep End Bar                  LD        (773-4455)
   Tamarind Reef Hotel
   Light fare, sandwiches, salads

Down By the Bay               BLD       (773-2918)
   Chenay Bay Beach Hotel
   Continental & West Indian Cuisine
   Different  theme  night  every  night including two west indian buffets
   weekly.

Duggan's at the Reef          LD        (773-9800)
   Teague Bay, East End
   Quiche,  flying  fish, soups, sandwiches and daily specials for lunch, rack
   of lamb, filet, mignon, veal and lobster for dinner
   "Great  setting  at  the east end of the island.  Chicken verde pasta and
   lobster putanesca  is excellent."
   Reservations Requested
   AX, V, MC

The Galleon                   D         (773-9949)
   Green Cay Marina
   French, Italian, lobster, Chateaubriand, breast of duck.
   "The best rack of lamb on the island."
   Reservations Requested
   AX, V, MC

Greathouse at Villa Madeline  D         (778-7377)
   Teague Bay, East End
   International, Continental cuisine
   "Gourmet  dining  and  an  excellent  view  from the top of the mountain"
   AX, V, D, MC

Harbormaster                  BLD       (773-2035)
   Hotel on the Cay, Christiansted
   Seafood, burgers, sandwiches and a Tuesday night Beach Barbecue buffet
   with  a  limbo  show,  broken  bottle dancer, fire eater, mocko jumbie and
   steel band.
   Reservations for the buffet.
   AX, MC, V

Harvey's                      LD        (773-3433)
   11B Company Street, Christiansted
   West  Indian  cuisine  including  local  fish,  creole,  ribs, chicken, lobster
   and lamb stew.

Hideaway                      BLD       (773-4042)
   Hibiscus Beach Hotel
   Right   on  the  beach  serving  steak,  seafood,  sandwiches. Wednesday night
   barbecue night with live music and limbo contest.  Friday night five
   course  dinner and show by the Caribbean Dance Company. Jazz on Saturday
   night.
   Reservations required for special nights
   AX, MC, V

Indies                        LD        (692-9440)
   55-56 Company Street, Christiansted
   Caribbean & International Cuisine, Seafood.
   "This is the place I recommend first for seafood.  There's also Sushi on
   Wednesday and Friday nights."
   Reservations Suggested
   AX, V, MC

Kendrick's                    D        (773-9199)
   King Cross Street, Christiansted
   Dinner served on Tuesday thru Saturday nights
   "This  is  my  top  choice  for  fine  dining  on  the  island. Contemporary &
   Nouvelle  American  cuisine,  including  pastas, seafood, duck, pork loin
   and a great wine list." .
   Reservations a must for dinner
   AX, V, MC

Lost Dog Pub                   D        (772-3526)
   King Street, Frederiksted
   Pizza  nightly  5-10pm,  plus  Wed-Sunday  a selection of pasta dishes and
   other traditional Italian-American cuisine.
   "Don't  let the looks of the pub fool you. (Though it's a great hangout)
   Behind  it  is a beautiful courtyard that hosts the restaurant. Best
   pizza in the west."


Luncheria                     LD        (773-4247)
   6 Company Street, Christiansted
   "My  favorite  all  around  restaurant for their cheap and good Mexican Food
   and the best frozen Margaritas ANYWHERE.  Their $1 margarita is extremely
   'tart'  to cover the vast quantity of tequila that gives it the kick of a
   mule.  Three or four of these and you'll see things that aren't there!"

Mahogony Room                 D         (778-3800)
   Westin Carambola Beach Resort
   Fine Dining, Seafood
   AX, V, MC, D, DC

Marina Bar                    BLD       (773-0103)
   King's Alley Yacht Landing
   Continental breakfast, light fare
   AX, MC, V, D

No Bones Cafe                 LD        (773-2128)
   Gallows Bay, Christiansted
   Seafood,  grilled steak and chicken, homemade desserts prepared by the
   self  proclaimed  resident  gypsy,  Chef  Tomas.  Great seafood chowder too.
   "My  favorite  is  the Flying Fish and Chips with really really cold beer
   (which  always  makes  a  place rate highly on my list).  Their steaks are
   highly  acclaimed.   If  you like hot (spicy) food, ask them to spice it to
   a  level  15  (that's  on the 1-10 scale) It's the hottest food I've ever
   been served in a restaurant and I search out hot foods wherever I go"
   Reservations Requested for dinner
   AX, V, D

Nolan's Tavern                LD        (773-6660)
   Estate St. Peters, Christiansted
   West Indian Cuisine
   Conch Specialties
   Reservations Suggested

Off the Wall                  LD        (778-2227)
   Cane Bay Beach
   Grilled food, pizzas, subs, mexican, all served in an extremely casual
   atmosphere right on the beach with a great sunset view.  "Great place to
   stop  in  for  a snack and a drink if you're out touring around the island
   or after a day of diving at Cane Bay."

Picnic in Paradise            D         (778-1212)
   West end of Cane Bay
   "Even though the name says picnic, it's because they used to be a deli.
   It's excellent dining in a great seaside setting now with fresh seafood,
   pasta, pork, and lobster."
   AX, V, MC, D, DC, CB

Rainbow Beach Club     LD        (772-0002)
   Serving daily from 11:30 on.
   Burgers, sandwiches, salads, hot dogs.
   "Great place to spend an afternoon at the beach or watching the sunset.
   Tell Wild Fred that V.I. Divers sent you."

Roget's Cafe                  LD        (772-1100)
   In the former Royal Dane Hotel, Frederiksted
   Fresh seafood and steak and nightly specials and a dessert
   special--flourless chocolate cake.
   AX, V, MC, D

Saman Room                    BLD       (778-3800)
   Westin Carambola Beach Resort
   American,  West  Indian  dishes.   "Their Friday night Pirate's Buffet
   including  an  Island  Show  and/or Sunday brunch are not to be missed."

Saloon                        LD        (772-BEER)
   Market street a block from the water, Frederiksted
   Airconditioned  bar  with  burgers, nachos, chicken sandwiches, and salads.
   AX, V, MC, DC

Sea Top Restaurant    LD      (773-3836)
   Atop St. Croix by the Sea Condos just west of Christiansted.
   Open 7 days, 1130-230 for lunch, 630-9 for dinner.
   Fine  cuisine,  both local and continental, with an emphasis on seafood
   and steak.
   AX, V, MC

Serendipity Inn               LD        (773-5762)
   Mill Harbor Condominiums
   Soups,  salads, sandwiches for lunch, fish pasta chicken, steak au poivre
   for  dinner.   Tuesday  night-fried  chicken,  Wednesday night-Italian night,
   Friday night-barbecue.  Sunday brunch.
   AX, MC, V

South Shore Cafe              D         (773-9311)
   Corner of routes 62 and 624
   Fine  seafood  and  vegetable entrees featuring homemade pasta, also prime
   rib, lamb, and daily vegetarian specials.
   V

St. Croix Chophouse           D
   King's Alley, Christiansted (above the Brew Pub)
   Second  floor view of the harbor, featuring a good selection of steaks
   and lamb.

Stixx                         BLD       (773-5157)
   Pan Am Pavilion (Waterfront),Christiansted
   Seafood,  continental  cuisine,  pizza, pasta, burgers, salads, lobster
   "Excellent view of Christiansted harbor and great food"
   AX, V, MC

Tivoli Gardens                LD        (773-6782)
   Strand @ Queen Cross Street, Christiansted
   Continental  cuisine & seafood like shrimp curry, coquilles St. Jacques,
   and lobster.
   Reservations requested
   AX, V, MC

Tommy T's                     BLD       (773-2985)
   53B Company Street, Christiansted
   American, Steak, Seafood, Sandwiches, Salads

Top Hat                       LD        (773-2346)
   52 Company Street, Christiansted
   Continental  cuisine,  Scandinavian  Specialties  including  a smorgaasbord
   selection  of hors d'oeuvres and salad bar.  Black angus steaks and fresh
   local seafood.   (Normally closed for the summer)
   "The  Chef is one of two on St. Croix who have been featured on the
   Discovery Channel."
   Reservations Suggested
   AX, DC, V, MC

Tutto Bene                    D         (773-5229)
   2 Company Street, Christiansted
   Southern provincial Italian
   AX, D, MC, V

Wahoo Willy's                 BLD       (773-6585)
   Hotel Caravelle, Christiansted
   Right  on  the water with a great view of Christiansted harbor. Caribbean
   & Contemporary World Cuisine, Pizza
   "Chicken zingers and a frozen lime daiquiri, Mmmmmm)
   AX, D, V, MC

Waves at Cane Bay             D         (778-1805)
   Near Cane Bay at the Waves at Cane Bay Hotel
   Fresh  seafood, steak, pasta, chicken, and vegetarian specials.
   "Great food, an excellent view right on the water"
   AX, MC, V

Wonder Wings                  LD        (713-wing)
   In Market Square on Company Street, Christiansted
   "It's  a fast food place but if you want good HOT wings this is the
   place.  I like the "To Hell and Back" which is the hottest."

ST.LUCIA BY JIM HANSEN

Just  got  back from 17 days in the eastern and southern Caribbean.
Started  with a 3 night cruise on Royal Caribbeanout of San Juan to
St.  Thomas,  and  St.  Martin,  then  flew  back to St. Martin for
another  night, then two nights on Saba, 6 nights at St. Lucia, and
3  nights  at  Bequia. I Scuba dived at Buck Island off St. Thomas,
Saba,  St.  Lucia,  and  Bequia.  I  will  limit this report to St.
Lucia,  but  will  be happy to answer any other questions regarding
my trip.

St.   Lucia,   located   in   the  southeastern  Caribbean  between
Martinique  and  St. Vincent, is roughly 20 miles long and 10 miles
wide.  Fodor's  book  describes  it  as  "an island of breathtaking
vistas  -  its  trademark  Pitons, enchanting bays and sandy coves,
sleepy  villages,  endless banana plantations, and a corkscrew road
that  winds  along  the  coast, cuts through dense jungle, and dips
into  deep mountain ravines - St. Lucia is self-described as simply
beautiful".  If  one  is  looking for gambling or shopping, this is
not  the  place  to go, although there are about 24 duty free shops
where the cruise ships dock at Pt. Saraphinein Castries harbor.

The  island  is  mostly  original  (undeveloped),  with most of the
newer  development and resorts being in the northwest part north of
Castries.  I  stayed  at  the  Wyndham,  at  Morgan  Bay,  north of
Castries.  It is a good central location to visit other resorts, is
35  minute  drive  to Marigot Bay, and about a two hour drive south
to  Soufriere  area  with the volcano, mineral baths, and botanical
gardens, and the Anse Chastanet resort.

I  rented a car from Avis for $55/day - Nissan Sentra with auto and
air.  My  daughter  got  married at the Wyndham on a Saturday (most
resorts  will not perform a marriage on a weekend). The Wyndham was
excellent  in  all  respects. We visited the Windjammer Landing and
liked  the  Wyndham  better.  We  drove  the road from Rodney Bay &
Gross  Islet  down  to  Soufriere,  scuba  dived at Anse Chastanet,
visited   the   volcano   and  Botanical  gardens,  mineral  baths,
waterfall,  etc.  I  was  told  that tourists are quite safe on the
island,  that  there are extreme penalties to locals for any crimes
against  tourists,  since  the  government  is  trying  to  promote
tourism.

One  of  the most beautiful spots on the island is Marigot Bay. had
lunch  at  Doolittle's  (service took an hour with just 6 people in
the  restaurant).  If  I  were  going to stay at Marigot Bay, would
stay  at  the  Seahorse  Inn - a B&B owned and operated by a lovely
German  couple.  The inn overlooks the bay, has it's own boat dock.
They  have  a  web site at http://www.seahorse-inn.com or can be e-
mailed at seahorse@candw.lc

On  my  next  trip  to St. Lucia, will probably not rent a car, and
take  boats  or water taxis to other areas of the west coast of the
island,  and  land taxis or buses to interior areas. There are many
all  inclusive  resorts  on  the  island such as Sandals, Le Sport,
etc.

ST. MARTIN BY GARY SNYDER

We  just  returned  from  2 weeks in Paradise. Here's a summary. It
started  off  bad.  The  first  week we were staying at my friend's
timeshare  in  the  Royal Palm. When we arrived at 5 PM we couldn't
check  in  because  someone  else  was  booked in his room which he
owns!  Five  other  parties  had the same problem. They didn't even
have  any  other  rooms  so  they put us up in the Flamingo for the
night.  The  next  morning they got us in but it wasn't in the room
my  friend  bought.  After  many  discussions my friend got another
free  week.  Weather  - 83 - 95, partly cloudy all days but 1 which
was mostly cloudy, very breezy on the east side.

Beaches  - Cupecoy - alot of sand had washed away and it was pretty
rocky  early.  Every  day  more  sand came back and it was 75% back
when  we  left. Someone has bought all the property above the beach
and  the northern end was being cleared behind the concrete wall. I
hope a hotel doesn't get built there!

Orient  -  windy.  Many  new chalets being built at Club O. The new
wooden  food stands all seem to be operating. The owner of Paradise
Cafe  (closed),Byron,  has a food stand. It's 2 buildings down from
Pedro's.

Bay Rouge - nice with plenty of sand.

Maho  (airport  beach)  -  Another sand problem early. No sand It's
coming back now. The Millenium is set to partially open in Dec.

Food - Mario's - the best ($50pp w/apps,dessert and drinks)

Messilina's - great Italian & classy ($50pp w/same)

Le Bistro Gourmand- good & quiet ($50pp w/same)

Richard's  Crepere  -  Exc.  on the water ($8pp w/drinks) Rainbow -
Great and very friendly ($35,apps,dessert)

Boathouse  -  OK,but  prices  have  risen ($25 w/ drinks) Cheries -
good to people watch ($25 w/drinks)

Mark's  Place  -  Not  as  good  in  food or the new place ? (a new
steakhouse  across  from  Lightning  Casino) - lots of meat for the
price.

Best things to do - get a suntan, snorkel, eat great food

What's  new  -  Julianna  airport  is scheduled for expansion crime
seems  to  be  up  judging from the papers no United States papers-
problems   w/  distributor  clean  up  in  Simpson  Bay  lagoon  is
scheduled  Mullet,  Port  de Plaisance, Dawn Beach closed gas $2.70
per  gallon  Reverend  T-Bone  at  Belair  on days Sunset Bar (Maho
Beach)  crowded late PM's Surf Club South back in full swing Good $
exchange rates

That's  all  folks.  Had a great time. Hoping to head back in April
if not sooner.

ST. MARTIN (WITH DOG) BY RENDELL DAVIS

My  wife  Christine,  our miniature dachshund Dunkel, and I were in
St.  Martin  from  November  20  through November 27.  This was our
first trip back since Hurricane Luis.

TRAVELING  WITH  OUR  DOG We have found that the French-side of St.
Martin,  like  France itself, is an excellent destination to travel
with  a  dog.   The  French are much more accommodating toward dogs
than  are  Americans.   On  the  French-side,  our  dog was able to
accompany  us  everywhere,  and  I  do mean everywhere -- including
into  restaurants  and onto beaches.  (The Dutch-side was less dog-
friendly.)

I  recommend  flying  with  your  dog only if it is small enough to
take  into  the  passenger  cabin.  Our dog travels in a soft-sided
"Sherpa"  bag  that fits under the seat in front of us during take-
off  and landing.  Although the airlines will transport larger pets
in  airplane  cargo  holds,  I  have  heard too many horror stories
about  pets  dying  in  cargo  holds  for me to ever be comfortable
about transporting my pet that way.

American  Airlines  charges  $50 each way for transporting a pet to
and  from  St.  Martin.  Be sure to reserve passage for your dog in
advance.   All  airlines  limit  the  number  of  dogs allowed in a
passenger cabin at one time.

Before  traveling  to  St.  Martin  with  your  dog, check with the
French  and  Dutch  embassies  concerning  entry  requirements.  We
carried  with  us  an  international  health  certificate  from our
veterinarian  and proof that our dog had been vaccinated for rabies
at  least  one  month,  and not more than one year, prior to entry.
(Curiously,  in the four times we have traveled with our dog to St.
Martin  or  St.  Barths,  immigration  and customs authorities have
never asked to see the required documentation.)

CLUB  ORIENT We stayed at Club Orient, a naturist resort located at
the  south  end  of  Orient  Beach.  This is a wonderful place!  We
have already decided to stay there again next year.

Much  has  been  written here (and elsewhere on the Web) about Club
Orient,  so  I  won't  go  into  much  detail.   If  you  want more
information  about  Club  Orient, a good place to start is the Club
Orient site at http://www.clubo.com.

Some  have  complained  about  the  high  winds prevalent at Orient
Beach  this  time  of  the year.  Just be careful what you ask for!
In  my  view,  the high winds at Orient Beach are a blessing, not a
curse.   In the entire time we were at Club Orient, I saw no flying
insects,  and found no need to use insect repellent.  The wind just
swept  the  little  critters  away.   (This is in sharp contrast to
other  locations  in the tropics, where I have sometimes been eaten
alive by insects.)  The wind also kept us comfortably cool.

A  word  about  Club Orient's clothing-optional policy.  If you are
offended  by  the  nudity  of  others,  you  obviously shouldn't go
there.   But don't worry whether you will be comfortable being nude
yourself.   You can simply choose to wear clothes.  Christine found
that  she  preferred  wearing clothes when not on the beach, so she
did.

We  had  chosen to stay at Club Orient not because of its clothing-
optional   policy,   but   rather   because  of  its  location  and
facilities.   In  making  our choice, we had started with a list of
hotels  in  St.  Martin  that permitted dogs, and then narrowed the
list  through  a  process  of  elimination.   (Among the other dog-
friendly  hotels on our list were the Simpson Beach Marine Hotel at
Nettle  Bay,  the  Beach  Plaza  Hotel  at  Sandy  Ground,  and the
Pavilion  Beach Hotel at Grand Case.)  In retrospect we now realize
that  the  clothing-optional  policy  was a major plus.  It clearly
contributed  to  the  laid-back, friendly, non-glitzy atmosphere of
Club Orient.

Most  of  our neighbors at Club Orient appeared to be couples above
the  age  of  40.   However,  two  of  the  chalets nearest us were
occupied   by   families  with  children,  which  was  not  at  all
inappropriate.  The environment was quite wholesome.

EXCHANGE  RATES  In  past trips to St. Martin, we had conducted all
our  transactions  in  dollars.   This  time,  we  found  that  the
exchange  rates  offered  by  many  restaurants  and  stores on the
French-side  were so poor that it made sense to convert our dollars
into  francs,  so that we could make purchases in francs.  Although
the  official  exchange  rate  was  about 5.9 francs to the dollar,
many  restaurants  and  stores  employed a 5.0 francs to the dollar
exchange rate.

Nor  were  credit  cards the solution.  Most restaurants and stores
refused  to  charge  credit  card  transactions  in  francs.   They
insisted  on  charging  such  transactions  in  dollars.  (The only
places  we  found  that  would  charge  credit card transactions in
francs  were  the  Brasserie  de la Garre restaurant in the Marigot
marina   and   (for   amounts   over  $10)  the  Supermarche  Match
supermarket on the north side of Marigot.)

BUDGET  CAR  RENTAL  This  was the third time we rented from Budget
(in  Sint  Maarten),  and  I have some good news and some bad news.
The  good news is that Budget will now efficiently pick you up from
the  airport  and  deliver  you to its office near the airport.  No
need  any longer to walk to the Budget office to get your car.  The
other  good  news  is that Budget's prices are still quite low.  We
paid  only  $138 per week (plus 8% tax) for a compact car.  The bad
news  is  that  the  quality of Budget's cars has declined sharply.
The  lot  next to its office now looks like a junkyard.  The car we
rented  was  dented  or  scraped on every fender, door, and bumper,
and  had  over 41,000 miles on its odometer.  While we were waiting
to  pick  up  our  car,  another customer came in to complain about
mechanical  problems  with his car, and was told that no other cars
were  available.   Unfortunately,  I  am not sure whether any other
rental agency on the island is, on balance, a better choice.

NO-NAME  BAKERY IN MARIGOT This bakery without a name is located at
the  intersection  of  Rue  la Liberte and Rue Palais de Justice in
Marigot,  very  near  the  post  office.  Not only are the pastries
here  excellent,  but  also  there  is  a  small  cafeteria serving
delicious  salads  and  sandwiches  at  lunch.  The prices are very
reasonable:   only  $2.50  to  $3.00 for a pastry, and even less if
you  pay  in  francs.   The  cost  of  salads  and  sandwiches  are
comparably  low.  But get there early, if you want lunch.  By 12:30
p.m.  all  the tables are taken (primarily by local residents), and
many items are sold out.

TALK  OF  THE  TOWN  This  seems  to be the best of the "shacks" in
Grand  Case.   When  driving  into  Grand Case, turn right when you
reach  the  road  along  the  harbor.   The  "shacks"  are  a short
distance  up  the  road on your left.  In its pre-Luis incarnation,
Talk   of   the   Town   had   a  wonderful  view  of  the  harbor.
Unfortunately,  the  locations of the "shacks" have been rearranged
so  that only two of the six "shacks" in Grand Case now have a view
of the harbor, and Talk of the Town is not one of them.

Talk  of  the  Town is the real thing.  Local ethnic cuisine at its
best.   A wide assortment of foods are available.  If going for the
first  time,  I  would recommend getting the ribs, rice-and-peas, a
johnny  cake,  and  perhaps  some corn-on-the-cob.  By the way, the
prices  are  rock  bottom.   A platter of baby-back ribs costs only
$4,  rice-and-peas  only  $2,  and a johnny cake only 50 cents.  Be
sure  to try some of the yellow hot sauce on the ribs.  (If you are
traveling  with  your  dog,  he or she will enjoy helping you clean
all the meat off the ribs.)

ST. MARTIN BY TED SAWYER

We've  enjoyed  the  many  excellent  trip reports for the past few
years, so this contribution is long overdue.

Recently  returned from seven glorious days in St. Martin. Rented a
car  from  Hertz  @  $198  plus  tax. The '95 Corolla was in better
condition  than those previously rented from Roy Rogers but it sure
wasn't the '97 model promised by US reservations.

Stayed  again  at  the  conveniently  located  St. Tropez on Orient
Beach  (great  for  early  A.M.  walks  and close to Grand Case for
dinners. Also a nice pool for late night skinny- dipping :)

Spent  many days at Club O with lunch at Papagayo. During our stay,
high  tides significantly narrowed the beach and sent some waves up
towards  Papagayo's deck. The warm sun was beautiful but occasional
clouds were most welcome. Got a lot of reading done.

An  aircraft carrier was in P'burg so many sailors and accompanying
Shore  Patrol  trekked  out  to see the wonders of Club O, spending
the  day  drinking  beer  at  Papagayo. Some even ventured into the
water.

We  had  many  great  meals  at  Grand  Case beginning with Bistrot
Caraibes.  Salmon, roast duckling and a good Riesling came to about
$83 including tip.

Dinner  another night was at a Lolo called Au Coins des Amis. Roast
chicken,  ribs,  rice,  salad and beers cost about $20 for 2. There
are  now  6  Lolos  where  there used to be 2 or 3 on Bld. de Grand
Case  before  Hurricane  Luis.  The folks are friendly and eager to
serve  and  what  can  you  say about the price. It's a nice change
from haute cuisine.

Drove  down  to Marigot early one morning for shopping and lunch at
La  Samanna  which we discovered was closed for repairs until later
in  the  month.  No  evidence  of  Speed  2 construction at Marigot
harbor.  Marina  Royale  appeared  in  good shape but the shops are
obviously  looking  forward  to the high season. BTW, what happened
to the white French police ? All returned to France ?

>From  La  Samanna, we continued drive to P'burg for lunch, past the
Mullet  Bay  Golf  Course. A letter to the local paper wondered why
the  highest  rates of $108 for 18 holes were charged to time share
and  hotel  residents.  Two  guys on the plane down had packed golf
clubs. We wondered if they played every day.

Did  the  shops  at  P'burg,  picked up a faux Rolex and lunched at
Passagrahan  (sp?).  Bought  some  Grand  Marnier  and  2 small oil
paintings.

Dinner  at  Alabama is always a great treat. Excellent ambiance and
service.  Dinner  for  2  with  a modest Muscadet and tip was about
$87. Complimentary after dinner liquer was a nice touch.

The  Rainbow  Restaurant  hosted by the lovely Andrea was a special
occasion.  Amazingly,  Andrea  remembered us from our many previous
visits  to  Astrolabe at the Esmeralda Resort where she had worked.
Perhaps  we have the same channeler <G>. We arrived early enough to
have  choice  seats  overlooking the spotlighted bay looking to the
lights  of  Anguilla.  Veal,  salmon,  profiterolle and a bottle of
Zinfandel, and tips came to $112.

The  night before we left, we ate at L'Escapade. A great experience
-  I  thought  it  was  the  best  meal  of the week. The lights of
Anguilla were still there.

We  missed  the St. Martin Day celebration but got caught up in the
traffic  tie-up  caused  by  the 2nd Annual Grand Prix Cycliste St.
Martin - a 4 day cycle race.

Twenty  five  pounds  heavier  (NOT) we returned to Boston. Looking
forward to next April.

ST. MARTIN BY DON PARKER

My  wife  and I recently returned from a most wonderful trip to St.
Martin.  We  went  on  the  occasion  of  our  10th anniversary and
splurged  a  little  more  than  normal  for  such a trip given the
nature of the occasion.

We  stayed  at  the  Esmeralda  Resort  in their Presidential suite
which  had  it's  own  swimming pool, full kitchen, huge great room
with  20+  foot  vaulted  ceilings and teak balcony overlooking the
ocean   and   Orient   Bay.   The  accommodations  were  absolutely
beautiful.  As  a  matter  of  fact, our suite was over 1200 square
feet!  The  beach  area  at Esmeralda is perfect in that it is much
more  quite  than the other end of Orient beach. Most all the women
were  topless and some men and women were completely nude. The nice
thing  was--no one cared what you did as long as you respected each
other. And everyone did just that.

We  ate  at  the  Esmeralda's  restaurant, the Astrolabe, the first
night  and  had  a wonderful meal. All of the other evenings we ate
in  Grand Case at various restaurants. We had great meals at Caribe
Bistro,  Le  Tastevin, and L'Alabama but by far our favorite was Le
Pressoir.  As  a  matter  of  fact  we  ate  at  Le  Pressoir twice
including our last dinner.

Driving  in  St.  Martin can be interesting; some of the locals are
rather  maniacal.  However,  from  the  Esmeralda it is not too bad
going  back and forth to Grand Case if you go the "back way" around
the  airport.  My  only  avoid  would  be Philipsburg and the whole
cruise  ship  crowd.  We made the mistake of driving over there one
day  and  were  not at all impressed. We much preferred the relaxed
nature  of the French Side of the island. We plan on returning next
year  to  do  the  same  thing  again--less  Philipsburg.  The trip
embodied just the relaxation my wife and I were looking for.

ST. MARTIN BY THOMAS ROBERTSON

My  wife and I returned last Sunday from a 2 week stay at the Royal
Islander.  After  reading  all the prior trip reports over the last
couple  of  years,  we really have nothing new to add. So with that
in mind, here goes.

Flights--AA  out  of Philly through San Juan and return were great.
On-time,  smooth flights, and best of all the planes were not full,
giving us plenty of room on all 4 legs of the trip.

Weather--Couldn't  be  better.  Brief showers (few minutes only) on
just 2 days as far as we know. If it rained, it did so at night.

Restaurants--I  don't drive past Marigot at night so that rules out
a  lot  of great restaurants for dinner, but still we had our share
of  good  meals.  Best  dinners were at Mario's (twice) and La Rosa
Too  (twice).  Except for the desserts, we thought that La Rosa Too
was  just  as  good as Mario's and far more convenient to the Royal
Islander.  Since I love desserts, however, and Mario's had specials
to  die for, I have to give it the nod in a close race. We also had
a  good  meal at LaGuna by the airport. Very good entree there, but
the  minestrone soup was a different story. Adequate meals were had
at  the  Boathouse  and  Bavaria,  a  German  restaurant  near  the
Pelican.  The  Rum  Boat,  well the best I can say about it is that
its  next  door  to  the  Royal  Islander,  but  to  be  fair  they
specialize  in  seafood  and we are not seafood lovers. Leave it at
that.

We  had  good  lunches  at  Cherie's, Turtle Pier, Braissarie De La
Gare,  La  Belle  Epique  and the Green House. We had a not so good
lunch  at  Kon Tiki on Orient Bay, but that may have been caused by
what  we  ordered. We both ordered a lobster salad, and that's what
we  got,  but  it  was  more  like a tropical fruit salad with some
lobster.  The  lobster  itself  was  good but the fruit drew flying
insects  from  up and down the beach. Very uncomfortable to say the
least,  and  this  caused us to cancel plans for additional lunches
on the beach.

Bars--Cherie's  and  Surf Club South, of course, but we also had an
enjoyable  Happy  Hour  at  Don  Carlos  with  friends (they served
pretty  good--and  free--ribs)  and an enjoyable time at the Sunset
Beach  Bar  at  the end of the runway. Dominoes, I think, delivered
free  pizza  to patrons the night we were there. Whoever, the pizza
was  good.  Last but certainly not least, we made a couple of stops
at  the  Cliffside  Bar, one of which was at sunset. Unfortunately,
no  green  flash that night, but Nina swears we missed it by just a
day or two. Great time there, and nice people.

Casinos--Did  most  of  our  play  at  the  Casino  Royale in Maho,
although  we  did  try  the Atlantis (did not particularly like it)
and  the  Dimond Casino in town. We play video poker mostly and the
machines  were  vintage  Atlantic  City 1980's, meaning poor payoff
schedules.

Odds  and  Ends--Yes,  we  did  visit  the Butterfly farm. Tour was
interesting  but  it was a one time thing for us. What is not a one
time  thing  for us is a cruise on the Lady Mary. We did the dinner
cruise  and  thought  it was a real highlight of our trip. The food
was  good, the entertainment was good, and the open-bar drinks were
flowing,  but  the best part of the trip was the ship and the crew.
It  was  so  peaceful  cruising  in  the  lagoon  in  the darkness,
silently  gliding  by  the  big  villas  on  the  shore.  We  had a
wonderful  time. Suggest if you go to reserve one of the two tables
on  the  stern, right by the bar. We plan on a daylight cruise next
year. Well that's all folks.

ST. MARTIN BY LEO VALENTI

Just  returned from our 6th trip to paradise and I must admit, it's
better  than ever. The island seems cleaner (Take pride Don't throw
it outside) signs posted in several locations seem to be working.

Enjoyed  our  week  at  the  Sapphire  so  much  that  we purchased
another.  Week  #46  also  in  Villa #6 that we will be renting for
1998. So if anyone out there is interested please reply.

Restaurants  tried  this  time  were  Spartico,  LaMason Surlaport,
Ilnetunno,  Kontikki,  La  Bistro Gourmand, and Antoine's. All were
very good. Beaches visited: Orient.

On  Monday  11/24  we  visited and the night before a ship had sunk
off  Saba,  as a result there were tar balls in the water. Reminded
me  of my youth on the Jersey Shore. Fortunately it cleared up in a
day or so.

Other  beaches  visited  were  Cupecoy  Bay Longe, Friars and Grand
Case. All were wonderful.

Casinos:  Atlantis  continues to build and add on. They now offer a
nightly  Buffet for 9.95 which isn't bad. They are getting ready to
open  the  stores  behind  the casino along with an outside Bar and
Disco.  They  are  putting in a new road to The American University
of  the  Caribbean  next  door.  The  Casino  Royale has opened the
upstairs Sports Bar. Great place to bet and watch The NFL.

Shopping:  Philipsburg  is  booming, they had 5 cruise ships docked
on Wed. Glad we weren't there.

Marigot is still our favorite.

Note:  US  Air Sat Flight from Phily was completely full both ways.
Great  Non Stop Direct under 4 hr flight gets you into SXM at 1:15.


Rented  our car again from Explorer for $150.00 and picked up right
outside  counter at Airport. Taxi Driver's now seem satisfied after
1  day  Blockade  of Buses near Orient Beach. The Cruise Lines have
now   promised   them  more  business.  Still  no  U.S.  Newspapers
available on the Island. Problem with distributor still exists.

The Caribbean Travel Roundup is available worldwide via Compuserve and INTERNET and is distributed internationally through the facilities of America Online, GENIE. Selected features appear on Prodigy.

Contact:
Paul Graveline
9 Stirling St.
Andover, MA 01810-1408 USA
Home (Voice or Fax) 508-470-1971.

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