Caribbean Travel Roundup

Newsletter - Paul Graveline, Editor

Caribbean Travel Roundup
Paul Graveline, Editor
Edition 75
May 15, 1997

Last updated 13 May 97 1800ET

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The  following  information  is  provided  by  Frank Barnako who owns 
property which he'd like to rent. You can check it all out at:

For  the  most  relaxing  vacation  of  your  life,  stay at Over the 
Rainbow  Our  management  company  has  produced  a  new web site for 
Beyond  the Sea, a spectacularly sited 2-1/2 bedroom property. Please 
take a look at:

 New Park Service visitors center

A  contract  for  construction  of  a  new $3.5 million National Park 
visitors  center  could  be  arranged  by  Labor  Day, according to a 
report  by  Tradewinds  editor Tom Oat. The project would include two 
buildings  each  4,500  square  feet,  and  would  be  built near the 
current  visitors  center.  Funds  for  the project reports Oat, will 
come   from   Hurricane  Marilyn  recovery  monies.  A  Park  Service 
spokeswoman  explained  that  because  of  the  age  of  the  current 
visitors  center, building new was more economical than repairing the 
old facility.Hyatt sues for $100 million. (5/6/97)

A  lawsuit  filed  in  St.  Thomas  District court reportedly alleges 
Finland's  Skopbank  "plotted"  against  the  Hyatt Corp. in removing 
Hyatt  from  managing the former Hyatt Regency hotel on St. John. The 
Virgin  Islands  daily  News  reports Hyatt is asking $100 million in 
damages,  claiming  Skopbank  planned  to  "use"  Hyatt to repair the 
property  after  Hurricane Marilyn and then get rid of the management 
company  so  Skopbank  could  sell the hotel "in good shape." Hyatt's 
attorney  is  quoted saying he expects the case may get consideration 
next  year  and  that,  in the meantime, Hyatt has no plans to regain 
its  management  of  the  resort.  St.  Croix  consultant  working on 
floating condos (5/6/97)

Paul  Kruss  is  part  of  a team developing a $6 billion condominium 
project,  which  is  really a floating city. The Virgin Islands Daily 
News  ran  a  piece  about  the  venture  which is being developed by 
Engineering  Solutions  Inc.  of Sarasota, Fla. Kruss, an engineering 
consultant,  says the 4,300 foot-long ship (1400 football fields) and 
25   stories  high  will  house  21,000  residential  and  commercial 
condominiums.  Plans  are  for the ship to circle the globe, dividing 
its  time  at  sea  (25%)  and  in  ports of the world's major cities 
(75%).  Condos  start  at $450,000 for a 900-square foot unit with as 
water view.(4/29/97)

Coral World will, return

Three  investors  have  purchased the underwater "zoo" that was Coral 
World  on  St.  Thomas, but which was destroyed by hurricane Marilyn. 
Plans  are  to  restore and expand the tourist sight by next winter's 
season.  St. John architect Glen Speer is part of the rebuilding team 
and  explained  "we're looking at creating a new Coral World ... more 
content,  more interactive displays." Investor Henry Wheatley agreed, 
and  added  "The heart of the operation will always be the underwater 
observatory,  where  visitors  can  see  marine  life in a completely 
natural setting."(4/29/97)

Westin purchase of St. John resort moves forward

The  Virgin  Islands Industrial Development Commission has reportedly 
approved  a  tax  benefits package for Westin Hotels and resorts, the 
company  that  has  agreed  to  purchase  the  former St. John Hyatt. 
Meanwhile,  a  U.S.  District  judge  has  dismissed  a  suit against 
Skopbank,   brought  by  Hyatt.  He  has,  however,  agreed  to  hear 
complaints  by  Skopbank  relating  to  Hyatt's "refusal to leave the 
premises  for  more  than  a year after" a ruling that Skopbank had a 
right to the bankrupt property.(4/22/97)

 Yacht Haven due for sprucing up and sale

The  eyesore  that has become the Yacht Haven Hotel and Marina on the 
waterfront  at St. Thomas is on the market, reports the Daily News. A 
Dallas-based  management  company  and  sales  agent  for "distressed 
properties"  is  running,  and  marketing,  Yacht Haven. An executive 
with  the  firm  says  there have been expressions of interest in the 
property  from  almost a dozen off-island people and companies. Yacht 
Haven   was   badly   damaged   by   Hurricane   Marilyn   in  Sept., 

Summer vacation promotions

A  New York travel package wholesaler, Travel Impressions reports its 
summer  business  to the VI's this year is up almost 250% from a year 
ago,  thanks  to  discounts  being  offered  by  island  hotels.  Bob 
Siefert,  manager  at the Renaissance Grand Beach Hotel and president 
of  the  St.  Thomas/St.  John Hotel association, told the Daily News 
"We're  offering  rates  lower  than  any in the last 13 years." Even 
Caneel  Bay  Resort  on  St.  John is offering a deal; one night free 
with a six night stay.(4/22/97)

New St. John newspaper

A  free  paper,  St.  John  Times,  is  being  published by June Bell 
Barlas.  She  previously  owned St. John's Tradewinds and sold it ten 
years  ago.  The  Virgin  Islands Daily News quotes Barlas saying she 
went  back  into the business because "I was approached by people who 
wanted   an   alternative."  The  co-owner  of  St.  John's  Katydids 
advertising   agency  is  concerned  whether  both  publications  can 
prosper.  Keryn  Bryan is quoted saying "People have such a stringent 
budget, they will have to make a choice."(4/15/97)

Selengut's new challenge

The  founder  of  Maho  Bay  Camps  intends  to expand his "eco-tent" 
resort  on  St. John. Stanley Selengut has five such units, and hopes 
to  put up as many as 30 more by next Winter's season. The "high-tech 
tents"  have  composting  toilets  and solar power, reports the Daily 
News, and cost as much as $35,000 each.(4/15/97)

Airlines add service

American  Airlines  has  agreed  to add a Miami-St. Thomas flight for 
the  summer,  if  the  VI  government and others, including hotel and 
other  tourism industry participants, put up $300,000 for advertising 
and  promotion.  American  would administer the marketing program. VI 
Gov.  Schneider  and  island  hotels have already pledged $250,000 of 
the  total.  The  islands'  travel  commissioner says he will ask St. 
Croix  hotels  to  contribute the remaining $50,000. Meanwhile, Delta 
Airlines  will  continue  twice-daily  flights  to  the  island  from 
Atlanta  until  May  15,  then  cut  back  to  one per day during the 
Summer,  and  resume two flights a day a month earlier than expected, 
Oct.  28  The  island's acting tourism commissioner and the president 
of   the   St.   Thomas-St.  John  Hotel  Association  visited  Delta 
executives  in  Atlanta to "sell" the islands. The Hotel assn.'s John 
Siefert  is  quoted  saying "(Delta) looked at what was happening and 
said 'OK, that makes sense.'"(4/15/97)

Restaurant reviews

(While  surfing  the  travel  newsgroups, we found a number of people 
sharing info about restaurants on St. John.) Here they are:

*  Emari  ...  "Our  favorites include Morgans Mango. The Roma on the 
second  floor  near  Wharfside  is good too, but smoke filled. At the 
Coral  Bay  end,  Miss  Lucy's was delicious and for quick eating try 
Vi's  little  stand.  Same  thing  on  the  corner  in  Cruz Bay, the 
barbeque   pit  had  great  chicken.  We've  eaten  at  most  of  the 
restaurants  that  were there 3 years ago, our last visit to St. John 
and  we really never had a bad meal, some were just outstanding! Have 
fun and with we were there.

*  Kevin  Malo  ...  "Miss  Lucy's  is  a MUST, but Alfred, the chef, 
recommends  making  reservations for dinner...a bit out of the way if 
you're  staying  in  Cruz  Bay, but well worth the extra effort! Also 
worth  dining  at  in  Cruz  Bay  is  the  Fish Trap...fresh seafood, 
prepared  in  a  variety  of  interesting  ways,  all  of  which  are 
delicious!  I  dined  at the Fish Trap twice during my week-long stay 
on  St.  John. The coconut cake is to die for...not bad Key Lime pie, 
either.  Enjoy  your  stay on St.'ll think you've died and 
gone to Heaven...IMHO. Kevin"

*  Tim  ...  "I agree, the food at the Fish Trap was very good. Also, 
be  sure  to try out the Lime Inn, which is also right in town. Great 

*  Paul  Fuchs  ...  "I've  been  living  at the Coral Bay end of the 
island  for the last 5 months. I concur that the barbeque pit in town 
(Cruz  Bay)  is great. I go for the ribs instead of the chicken - you 
can  also  get  half  and  half.  Probably the best restaurant on the 
island  is Chateau Bordeaux with a spectacular view overlooking Coral 
Bay. The only complaint I have ever heard about it regards the tab."

*  Robert  Cooke...  "My wife and I vacationed on St John last summer 
and  tryed  to  eat  at  as  many  different  places  as we could. We 
recommend  The  Lime  Inn  (Wednesday night is shrimp night) and Cafe 
Roma  for  Italian.  On  the  low price end go to Joes Dinner and The 
Barrcuda  Bistro.  (both  are  great for breakfast). The Fish Trap is 
another good place."

*  Brad...  "We  were  there  last  November  and had one of the most 
spectacular  meals  of  our  lives  at  Asolare.  Its on the hillside 
overllooking  Cruz Bay and has open balcony seating. We arrived early 
and  sat  on  the  railing  with  a  beautiful view of the Bay and St 
Thomas  in the background. The food was 4/5 star Thai style elegantly 
served.  This  is a pricy place but IMHO worth every penny if you are 
with  someone special. Make reservations, 809-779-4747, arrive around 
5:00 and wear a little no-see-um repellant."(4/15/97) 




In  Feb.  1997  our family (2 adults + 2 kids ages 7 and 5) stayed at 
The  St.  James Club in Antigua. Below are some thoughts which may be 
helpful  to  those  who  are  considering  a  family,  or non-family, 

General Info. -

The  St.  James Club is about a 40 minute taxi ride from the Airport. 
It  is  a  large, all-inclusive resort situated on a peninsula on the 
Southeastern  side  of the Island. There are two beaches, and several 
freshwater swimming pools.

Beaches -

On  one side of the peninsula is a very pretty beach on the Caribbean 
Sea.  It  is  well  shaded  with  rope hammocks and chaise lounges. I 
think  it is usually a calm beach, but the week we were there a large 
storm  was  barreling through the Caribbean. This made for very windy 
conditions  in general, and which caused the Caribbean to be somewhat 
choppy.  I  was  able  to take my 7 year old snorkeling, but there is 
really  not  too  much  fish  life (and no coral) within a reasonable 
swimming  distance  from the beach. It was a sand/grass bottom. There 
is  a  reef,  which  normally cuts out the chop, which on calm days I 
think  would  take  at  least  15  minutes  for  an adult to reach by 
swimming from the beach. 

On  the  other  side  of the peninsula is another beach which is on a 
lagoon.  This  beach  is  shaded  by  a number of thatched umbrellas. 
There  was  an  adequate  supply of chaise lounges. The water here is 
extremely  calm,  even  with  the  windy  conditions  we experienced. 
However,  although there is some small fish life, the water is not as 
clear  as  on the Caribbean side. The Lagoon beach has small sail and 
paddle  boats,  and  snorkeling equipment, for use without charge for 
guests on the all-inclusive plan. 

Private  operators  also supply water skiing, fishing, snorkeling and 
SCUBA  excursions,  for  an  extra  charge. I took my son fishing one 
afternoon.  The  charge was $40 per hour for the boat, divided by the 
number  of persons on the boat. The snorkeling reef is supposed to be 
half-decent,  but  several people who took the short trip told me the 
visibility  was poor due to the storm stirring-up the sand. I am sure 
SCUBA  was similar that week. I heard reports from repeat guests that 
ordinarily the snorkeling is good. 

 Rooms - 

Lodging  is  either in motel-like rooms in the main building area, or 
in  villas  situated  along  the  lagoon  beach.  I  do  not have any 
information  on the motel-like rooms. The villas are situated so that 
there  is  a  beach villa, and then several rows of villas going back 
from  the  beach. We stayed in a very pretty two bedroom beach villa, 
which  was  about  25  yards  from  the water. We were told that most 
villas  are  privately owned and may be furnished differently to suit 
the tastes of each owner. 

The  beach  villa  was  very convenient since we could watch the kids 
playing  on  the beach or in the water from inside the villa, or from 
the  patio  which  faced the beach. I would suggest this for families 
with  small  children.  The villa had two bathrooms, a small kitchen, 
and  a  living  and  dining  area. There was also a large patio which 
faced  the  beach,  which contained a table with umbrella and chairs, 
and several chaise lounges.

Food - 

There  are 4 restaurants. One on the Caribbean beach is only open for 
lunch.  We  thought  the  food  was  generally  good. Breakfast was a 
buffet  in  the  main  building area, with a good variety of choices, 
including  fruit.  Lunch was either a buffet at the same location, or 
waitress  service  on the beach. Dinner was either at a dockside or a 
hillside restaurant. 

Although  each  dinner  restaurant had a children's menu, it was very 
limited  and  poorly  designed,  i.e. hot dogs, peanut butter & jelly 
sandwiches,  grilled cheese sandwiches. Children could order from the 
main  menu, which usually contained selections of salad, pasta, fish, 
chicken  or  other meat. Also, dinner was not served until 7:00 P.M., 
which  we noticed caused many children to be hungry and/or very tired 
by  the  time dinner was served. In speaking with one family later in 
the  week,  we  were  told  that  the  dockside restaurant will serve 
dinner  to  children earlier than 7:00 P.M. if you asked. This is not 
made known to guests.

Also,  although it was acceptable to wear informal or beach attire at 
breakfast  and  lunch,  dinner  was  more  formal. Men must wear long 
pants  at dinner, a requirement which we thought was rather "stuffy". 
There  are  two  weekly affairs where men are required to wear sports 
jackets,  one  of  which  was  the  manager's  cocktail  party.  This 
requirement is not mentioned in any brochure. 

On  the  two  nights  when  more  formal  clothing is required, it is 
possible  to  eat  in  an  on-site  alternative  restaurant  to avoid 
wearing  a  sports jacket. In general, it appeared that the resort is 
trying  to reach a middle ground between those guests who like to get 
dressed-up for dinner, and those who would like to be less formal. 

The Island - 

We  hired a driver one day to take a drive to the Western part of the 
island.  Roads  are  in  poor  condition, and poorly marked. Hiring a 
driver  is  only slightly more expensive than renting a car. Our trip 
took  us  through  typical  small West Indies towns, and a small rain 

We  stopped  at  a  road-side  market  and  purchased  locally  grown 
pineapple,  which  was delicious. The Western side is the lee side of 
the  island.  We  stopped  and  swam at two beaches, which were calm, 
typically  turquoise,  and  beautiful. One beach, Darkwood Beach, has 
decent  snorkeling  near an area of rock formation which was about 15 
feet from the beach.

We  briefly saw several other hotels/resorts during the day-trip. The 
Curtain Bluff is on a calm, beautiful beach. 

Kids Activities -

One  of the reasons we chose St. James was that it had supervised day 
children's  activities. We thought the kids might like to participate 
in  some  of  the  activities.  The first day we took our kids to the 
kids  center.  We met a very nice Antiguan woman who was in charge of 
the  Center  that  day.  It  appeared  that  there  were  some indoor 
activities,  such as crafts, available for the kids. There was also a 
small   outdoor  swing-set  which  was  appropriate  for  very  small 
children- up to about 3 years old. 

We  were told that the kids were taken outside for various activities 
if  they  wanted.  Our  kids  were  not  interested in staying at the 
Center,  and  wanted  to go to the beach. They never went back to the 
Center because they were having too much fun at the beach. 

One  afternoon the Watersports Center at the lagoon beach did arrange 
some  beach  races  for  kids.  Other  than  that we saw no organized 
activities  for  kids  on  the beach. Although there were a number of 
families  with  kids, it may have been that no kids took advantage of 
the  Kids  Center the week we were there. Also, every day there is an 
organized volley ball game at the lagoon beach. 

Staff -

Without  exception  we  found the Resort staff , beach entrepreneurs, 
taxi  drivers,  and other Antiguans to be some of the friendliest and 
most  accommodating  people  we have experienced in the Caribbean, or 
elsewhere.  For  example,  our villa was about a 5 minute walk to the 
main  building  or  the  dockside  restaurant. Most evenings the kids 
were  too  tired  after  dinner  to  make the walk back to the villa. 
Sometimes  they  were even too tired to walk from the room to dinner. 
There  is  a  golf  cart  shuttle  service  available. We were always 
promptly  picked-up  and  taken  to  our destination, without feeling 
that a tip was expected. I could list other numerous examples. 

Conclusion - 

We  had a very enjoyable family vacation at the St. James Club. As is 
true  with  most  resorts,  there  are positives and negatives (which 
vary  depending upon the interests and needs of each person). We were 
a  little  disappointed  that  the  weather  made  the  normally calm 
Caribbean somewhat choppy for us.

If  you  want  guaranteed  calm  you  need  to choose a resort on the 
Western  side of the Island. If we go back to Antigua we will look in 
that  direction.  However,  other  resorts  may  not have some of the 
other amenities available at the St. James. 

We  also  felt the St. James could do a better job accommodating kids 
with  an  earlier  dinner  time  and  a better menu. If the resort is 
going  to  attract  families  with  young  children  it needs to do a 
little  better  job to meet the needs of the children. A little staff 
training  and  a  few  changes  in  the restaurants would make life a 
little easier for parents.


Just  returned  from  a  wonderful  week  in  Aruba.  Stayed  at  our 
timeshare  at  Sonesta  Suites.  We  had a lovely unit facing Sonesta 
Island  and  the  airport.  The location was great for us -- right in 
the  middle  of everything. Enjoyed good bagels several mornings from 
Bon  Bini  Bagels  and  pastries  from  the  little bakery in Seaport 
Village  across  the road from the Suites. A nice mini-market next to 
the  bakery was a convenient place to pick up snacks, beverages, etc. 

We  had  terrific seafood every night; dinners at Portobello (Seaport 
Village)  and  at  L'Escale (in the Sonesta Hotel) were fabulous. The 
strolling  musicians  and  view  of  the  harbor made for a memorable 
evening at L'Escale. 

Other  great  meals:  Boonoonoonoo's, Chalet Suisse and Driftwood. We 
enjoyed  the  setting  and ambiance at Ventanas del Mar at Tierra del 
Sol,  but  thought  it was overpriced compared to the others, and the 
food  was  just  average.  Enjoyed  a nice lunch at Playa Linda and a 
couple  of  very  casual  (salad  and  sandwich),  but very tasty and 
inexpensive  lunches  at Bananas, a little outdoor cafe on the square 
behind  the  Sonesta  Hotel.  Found  good prices, very negotiable and 
very  friendly  treatment  from  "Juggie" Daryanani at Bijoux Jewelry 

Got  a 3 day special car rental from Economy for $109; they delivered 
the  car  to our resort and met us at the airport to pick it up as we 
left.  Enjoyed  the  ride  to --->> and sightseeing at the California 
Lighthouse and Natural Bridge. 

As  you  can  tell,  great  meals were a priority for me, but we also 
enjoyed  the  great weather, lazy days at the pool and Sonesta Island 
and  a "few" Pina and Banana Coladas. And the fact I had a very lucky 
night  at  Crystal Casino made the trip even more enjoyable! This was 
our  second  trip  to  Aruba,  and we're already counting the days to 
next March!! 


Winter  on  the Canadian prairies is always an endurance contest, but 
the  winter  of  96/97  was  even  worse than most. I was fed up with 
shoveling  snow by mid-March. My wife Sharon & I decided we needed to 
escape  for a week. We managed to a great package with Alba Tours out 
of  Toronto  for  a  1  week air & hotel stay at the Radisson on Palm 

We  left  Regina, Saskatchewan on March 29th for the first leg of our 
trip  -  Canadian  Regional  to  Winnipeg  on  an  F-28,  then onto a 
Canadian  Airlines  737  to Toronto. We overnighted in Toronto at the 
Howard Johnson Airport .... the definition of the word "budget"!

On  Easter Sunday morning, we left Pearson International for Aruba on 
a  Skyservice A320. The major airlines could take a lesson in service 
&   friendliness   from   the  Skyservice  employees.  After  looking 
longingly  down  at  the  white  beaches  as we flew over the Turks & 
Caicos,  we  finally landed at Queen Beatrix airport in Aruba at 4:30 
PM.  The  heat  hit  us as we walked across the tarmac and we knew we 
had escaped winter at last!

The  Alba  rep  on  the  island,  Desmond,  met us and welcomed us to 
Aruba.  Then it was onto the shuttle bus for our first look at Aruba. 
Check-in   went   very   smoothly   at   the  Radisson,  including  a 
complimentary  upgrade  to  an  ocean view room. It didn't us long to 
get  settled  in  and  get  into our shorts. We made two promises: we 
would  not wear "long pants or slacks" all week on the island, and we 
would  eat  all our meals on outdoor terraces, in order to experience 
as much of the beautiful warm air & cooling breeze as possible.

We  immediately went to explore Palm Beach and were not disappointed. 
We  were just in time to watch our first Aruban sunset as we strolled 
on  the  beach  walk  past the Americana, Hyatt, Playa Linda, Holiday 
Inn  &  Marriott.  We ended up eating our first dinner on the terrace 
of  the Palms restaurant at the Hyatt, with a view of the ocean & the 
pool.  Sharon  had  the  red snapper, I had the churrasco steak. Both 
were very good with the Venezuelan beer!

Over  the  next  week,  we were fortunate to experience good meals at 
every  restaurant  we  selected. Our favorites were Brisas del Mar in 
Savaneta,  Iguana  Joe's in Orangestad and Le Bistroquet at the Playa 
Linda. And yes, we ate alfresco every time!

The  beach  was  great,  but  we  found time to explore the island as 
well.  We rented a car & snorkeling gear and tried our luck at Arashi 
Beach,  Baby  Beach  &  DePalm Island. The snorkeling was good at all 
three.  DePalm  was  a  little too crowded for our liking. Arashi was 
terrific, just the two of us exploring the coral & the fish.

During  our  island  excursion,  we managed to see most of the sites: 
the  Natural  Bridge,  the  old  Gold  Mill, the Rock formations, the 
cactus,  aloe  &  divi  trees, many iguanas and goats. The best thing 
about  Aruba  is  the  people.  Never  have we met so many friendly & 
helpful  people.  We  felt  safe  at all times. The weather was great 
every day. Not as windy as we expected, just a nice steady breeze.

The  hardest  thing  we  had to do was get back on the plane! We will 
definitely return to Aruba.   


(Ed  Note:  Lori  Gedon,  CTC  is  the President of VHR, WORLDWIDE, a 
leading  luxury  villa,  condominium,  apartment  and  private island 
rental  firm whose sales and marketing division, MARKETING IN MOTION, 
provides  sales,  marketing  and consulting to the travel and tourism 
industry.  Contact  can  be  made through : (800) NEED-A-VILLA; (201) 
767-9393; fax (201) 767-5510 and e-mail 

It  had  been  some  time  - maybe eight years - since I last visited 
Barbados.  To celebrate my 40th birthday, my husband, Jim, decided to 
take  us away (what a deal, huh?) and so we decided on Barbados. This 
was an excellent choice and we had the best time! 

BOUGAINVILLEA  BEACH  RESORT is where we stayed. Brand- spanking new, 
located  directly  on  the  beach in Christ Church (parish), which is 
about  15  minutes  from  the  airport at     the southern tip of the 
Island.   This   location   is   very   convenient   to  restaurants, 
sightseeing,  shopping  et  al. The resort is a real find [res. (800) 
633-3284)],  and  our one bedroom suite had a fully-equipped kitchen, 
living  and  dining area, bedroom with king-size bed and a bathroom - 
all  very  spacious,  thoughtfully  decorated  and with every amenity 
including  central A/C, color cable TV with remote, microwave and you 
name  it.  A  patio faced the sea. You will not find a nicer bunch of 
people  at  the front desk (and behind the scenes) anywhere. Friendly 
and  helpful,  full of information on where to go and what to do. The 
grounds  are  meticulously  landscaped  with lots of colorful flowers 
and trees.     

RESTAURANTS There are tons to choose from! 

Water's  Edge  at  the Bougainvillea Beach Resort had the best flying 
fish  sandwich  (we ate many, all over). They are right on the beach, 
and the prices are reasonable. 

Champers  looked interesting (on the sea), so we opted to give them a 
try  knowing  that  they  were  pricey.  It  was a complete and total 
disaster!  The  service was lousy. We waited an hour for drinks, then 
they  brought out our dinners without giving us our appetizers first. 
It  took the better part of 3 hours for dinner. Don't bother!     The 
Bomba  Shack had a home page and we decided to try this place, up the 
West  Coast.  Not  worth  the  trip.  The  food was mediocre, and the 
service  not much better. Tiny portions - I needed a magnifying glass 
to find the flying fish on my sandwich! 

There  are  lots  of other neat places to try such as the dining room 
at  Sudbury  Plantation  (Bajan  buffet,  well  worthwhile),  Bubba's 
Sports  Bar  (good  burgers),  Fisherman's  Wharf  (nice  view of the 
harbour  and  superb  fish).  This  is an island you can eat your way 

Atlantis  (or  Atlantic)  on the East Coast is a "must do". The hotel 
is  not  worth a plugged nickel, but they offer a Bajan lunch that is 
great.  Inexpensive,  too,  and  the  view  of  Bathsheba's  infamous 
boulders is not soon forgotten. 

GROCERIES  We  chose  to  eat-in most mornings, although breakfast in 
the  restaurant  was  very  good.  Jim  and I enjoy our ventures into 
Caribbean  grocery stores (he's a hot pepper sauce freak), and we had 
a  lot  of  fun  in  Barbados. We had brought Jamaican coffee with us 
(and  filters,  you  never  know)  and bought a spice cake and peanut 
butter,  bananas,  freshly-squeezed orange/pineapple/? juice     that 
was  out  of  this world. Enjoyed all the fresh fruit, especially the 

SHOPPING  I  buy  a  lot  of  jewelry  in Little Switzerland and have 
always  been  very  pleased  with  the  quality  of  their stones and 
pieces,  but  we  were  very  disappointed  in Barbados with the shop 
there.  I  was  looking  for  an  emerald cross, which I found in the 
Royal  Shop for a very good price. We bought a lot of local art (Jill 
Walker  stuff)  as gifts, and I picked up several watercolors for the 


Trip  was ten days, in mid-January, 1997.  It had been planned as our 
honeymoon,  after  the  wedding in September.  (Which gave us lots of 
time   to  "practice up" for it.  <gr>)  Drove from Peoria to Chicago 
at  0F.   Flew   American to Orlando, then Nassau. Flew in the resort 
owner's  small  'plane, a  six-seat Cherokee, with owner as pilot, to 
the  strip  on the resort.  [If you  own your own 'plane, you may, of 
course,  fly in yourself.  One of the other  strips on the island has 
a  customs and immigration office at which you must  stop (if you did 
not  clear  at  Nassau),  and  the resort owner has no problems  with 
this.   HOWEVER,  Bahamian law prohibits flight at night.  Baggage is  
limited  to  60  pounds  per  couple.   This is due to the need for a 
"short-field   takeoff  upon  return flight, so the 'plane may safely 
clear  the  small hill at  the end of the strip.  This is, as you may 
imagine,   STRICTLY   enforced.   As  a   budding  pilot,  I  greatly 
appreciate THAT!

The  resort  itself  is  a bit "rustic."  Your room would be spartan, 
with  two   double  beds,  a few lamps, and a dresser.  No carpet, of 
course,  and  bare  wood walls.  Private shower and toilet area.  The 
rooms  face  the  ocean, with  a porch upon which you can sit, plus a 
rear  porch  affording  a  mostly  covered  walk to the clubhouse for 
times  when  it  rains.   [There  is  a  pricier newer  building with 
"better"  rooms and closer to the ocean, but I consider it not  worth 
the  extra  price.]  Nice plantings all over and the lawns are neatly  
manicured near the main buildings.

However,  the  dining  area  in  the  clubhouse is beautiful - formal 
table  linens,   etc.  Dinner can be in either of three dining rooms, 
depending  on the color  of the linens that day.  <gr>  Blue lighting 
overhead.   Ambiance is  wonderful, and we do dress for meals (shorts 
and  T-shirts,  at  least).   Break  fast  can be on the porch of the 
clubhouse,  and is unless it is raining.   Lunch is the same.  Dinner 
is  at  a  "civilized" hour - 7:00 p.m., but a light  snack is served 
at  4:00  p.m.   Dinner  music is provided, of course.  Menu  choices 
available  for  breakfast;  lunches and dinners are standardized, but  
rotated  through  a  week.  If you have a problem with the selection, 
you may  request fish or a steak as a substitute.

There  is a swimming pool just off the clubhouse, clean and gorgeous, 
but  -  frankly, in January, the ocean is warmer.  <hint>  The owners 
have  a gorgeous  male cat, named "KC," whose only job is to keep the 
elephants  out  of  the   swimming  pool.   So  far,  his  record  is 

There  are  two  friendly, non-poisonous, snakes hanging out near the 
rooms  and  clubhouse.  Their job is to control rats and bugs.  They, 
also, do an  excellent job.

This  is  an  "all inclusive resort."  I.e., even the drinks, as much 
as  you   want  and  at  nearly  any  time  you  want.   The  food is 
wonderful.   Island spicy,  although for those with weak mouths, they 
will  tone it down.  <gr>  There is  NO pressure to buy anything.  In 
fact,  there  is  next  to  nothing  available  for   purchase at the 
resort.   They  do  have  resort T-shirts and a few straw items.  but 
not much.

Resort  has  a  lot  of  beach.   One of the five separate beaches is 
about  3/8  mile   long.   Resort covers 300 acres, and has a maximum 
guest  capacity  of  14  couples.  Staff of about eighteen to wait on 
your  every  need.   Nudity is  permitted anywhere over the 300 acres 
except  on  the  porches  of the clubhouse,  in the clubhouse itself, 
and  on  the  rear  porch  of the main building  containing the guest 

Great  swimming,  snorkeling,  relaxing,  honeymooning  <gr>.   While 
swimming  and   hiking  along the shorelines, observed many varieties 
of  fish  in  the clear  waters.  In the last five minutes of my last 
day  in  the  water, I was  privileged to snorkel within 10 feet of a 
5'  ray,  near  one  of  the  close-in   reefs.  Gorgeous, as we swam 
together.   He  took  one  look at me and decided I  was not going to 
eat  him  and did not look like dinner for him, so he just  swam with 

Also  took  the  Island  tour.  To the local "mall."  [You have to go 
there.    [I  will  *not*  tell  you more about that, but - stay with 
your  group  so  you  will not get lost.  You do not want to miss the 
bus!]   Then  to  the   "Hermitage," built by a monk who lived there.  
On  the  highest  point in the  Bahamas - about 300' above sea level.  
A  wonderful  example  of  single-person   engineering  and  monastic 
simplicity.  Gorgeous view from the monastery  itself, as well.

Cat  Island  is  about  50  miles  long,  with one long road over its 
length  and   several  short turn-offs at the few small towns.  There 
is  a  government  run   clinic  if you have any problems, a fact for 
which I was very grateful on my  previous trip to Cutlass Bay.

This  was  our  second  trip  to Cutlass Bay.  Each time, we met nice 
folks.    Most  were  taking  advantage  of  the  "clothing optional" 
policy.   This trip, we  were privileged to have the couple who stood 
up  for  us  at  our  wedding  and   another  couple who attended the 
wedding  (all members of our nudist club) join  us.  So, we all had a 

Cutlass  Bay  has  a Web page, BTW.  Look for it.  There are actually 
two,   one  -put  up  by  the owners and the second being by a former 
visitor who loved  it and has put up a lot of pictures.

Only  rained  two  days  out  of  the ten we were there.  Temp during 
rains  was  low   70sF.  Sunny days saw high 70s to low 80sF.  Nights 
around 60F.

Return trip was the reverse, back to cold, darn i!  


This  is  information  about  our  trip to Atlantis, Paradise Island, 
Bahamas in March, 1997. 

This  is  one of the few times when we upgraded our room to a "deluxe 
ocean  view".   We  normally  don't  feel we spend enough time in the 
room  to  warrant  the  extra dollars.  We were very, very happy with 
the  view  we  got.   We  were  on  the  8th floor (9 floors total in 
building)  facing  the  ocean and overlooking some of the fish pools.  
It  also  overlooked  the  top of another building, but the beauty of 
everything  else  far  surpassed the ugliness of the building roof by 
far.   There's  definitely  something  to  be  said for waking up and 
looking out at this gorgeous vista. 

The  one  thing  I  would say not to bother with while you're on your 
trip  is  the  Sunsation  show.  The tickets are $35 for show and $20 
extra  for  dinner.  Dinner was surprisingly good; the show was poor.  
The  show  had  no  real  theme  -  it  tried to, but it didn't work.  
Perhaps  we  are spoiled by NY standards. Although, the people at our 
table  didn't care for it either.  Our 13 year old daughter was bored 
with it. 

I  had  read  on  this  forum  to make sure you go to the water tower 
while  down-  town.   We  did  and  we  got a fabulous view of Nassau 
harbor.   Don't miss this. It's also the least expensive thing you'll 
probably do the whole trip - $.50 per person! 

Getting  chairs  at  the  pool was not as big a problem as I had read 
that  it  would be on the forum.  You had to reserve some by 9-10 AM, 
otherwise  they  were  harder  to  find,  but  not  impossible by any 
means.   While  we  were there they had a convention of 1,100 Snap-On 
(tool)  people.  Perhaps many of them were in conferences all day and 
that  made  getting  beach chairs easier.  Who knows?  We did bring a 
very  large beach towel with us and put it across our three chairs in 
the  AM.   People  were  more  reluctant to remove something that was 
obviously  personal  from  chairs (if you just put the hotel towel on 
chairs, some people would remove them and take your chair). 

Be  forewarned--there  is  basically  nothing open in town on Sunday.  
We   made  the  mistake  of  going  downtown  on  Sunday.   Even  the 
restaurant we wanted to go to was closed. 

We  were glad we did not take the meal plan.  Each morning my husband 
would  go  to  the lobby and buy coffee, tea, hot chocolate and a few 
muffins  and  bring  them  back to the room.  This was plenty for us.  
We  did  go  to  the  Seagrapes  buffet  ($15 adult; $7.50 child) one 
morning  and  had  a  great breakfast - fluffy fresh Belgian waffles; 
eggs  benedict;  eggs  any which way, and much, much more.  Seagrapes 
has  a  buffet  lunch  which we went to the afternoon we were leaving 
and,  for  the  same  price  as  breakfast,  they  had  an  excellent 
selection  of  foods.   (Watch  out  for the stir fry - excellent but 
VERY spicy!) 

If  you  want  to  get  into  any  of  the  nicer  restaurants,  make 
reservations  before  you  go, or at least the day you get there.  We 
tried  a  number  of  places  which  we couldn't get reservations at.  
Prices:  we  looked at the menu for the Boat House - a steak was $42!  
Water's  Edge  restaurant  we  did  get to eat at and had a very good 
meal  - not cheap.  Some people we met were pretty upset because they 
had  taken  the  more  expensive  meal plan which included some nicer 
restaurants  and  they  had  not  been  able to get into any of them.  
They only got reservations at restaurants on the lower priced plan.

The  bottom  line  on the meal plan is to take it if you are going to 
eat  at the hotel your entire trip and if you are going to make it to 
all  the  meals.  We have found that we just can't possibly eat three 
full  meals  a  day.   Half the time we had a late lunch and that was 
all we needed. 

One  more  thing  on  restaurants - the Cafe Casino out at the end of 
the  casino, is about the only place for a "sit down" informal meal - 
sandwiches, etc.  There are places for hot dogs, etc, around pools. 

A  15%  gratuity  is  added  to  all food/beverage bills.  At first I 
thought  this  was  terrible, but I ended up liking it.  There was no 
slacking  off  on  the  part  of waiters/waitresses because they were 
already  assured  of  their tip. Quite the contrary, at the pool, the 
waitresses  were  fairly  often  around to see if you wanted a drink.  
This  works well for you because they're there when you want them and 
for  them  because,  the more they serve, the more tips they get--and 
people aren't trying to beat them out of a tip.

Pina  Coladas  and  Strawberry  Daiquiris  were  $6  at  the pool and 
wonderful.   And they make them without liquor if you want and charge 
less for it.

We  signed  up  for  two  tours while there.  Both with Majestic.  We 
went  on  the first and were so disappointed with it that we canceled 
the  second  and  demanded  a  refund  on  the first.  We went on the 
Majestic  Lade  Dinner  Cruise  and it was so bad we canceled out for 
the  next  day  on  the  Robinson  Crusoe  snorkeling  trip.  We just 
weren't willing to take a chance with them the second time. 

As  to  the  dinner  cruise, this is what happened.  We paid $120 for 
three  of  us.  We were picked up at the hotel and taken to the boat.  
We  were  about  the  last  to arrive.  When we got there, there were 
almost  no  seats  left at tables.  Many people had to sit on a bench 
to  eat.   We  were  lucky enough to get a table, but I'm not sure it 
was  lucky.   The tables were placed in every walkway and, every time 
someone  at  another table had to get out, my whole side of our table 
had  to  actually  get  up  and  move away from the table to let them 
pass.   When I sat down from getting my food, I had to get up no less 
than seven times to let people through.  It was ridiculous. 

As  to  the  food  itself,  I  would  hardly  call it food.  It was a 
buffet,  which  is fine.  Salad, corn on cob, roast beef and chicken.  
The  roast  beef  was  so  well  done  you could barely cut it with a 
plastic  knife,  so I figured "well, at least I have some chicken and 
that's  bound  to  be ok".  Not so.  The chicken was tougher than the 
roast  beef.   How they could do that I still can't figure.  The corn 
was  so  overcooked  it was like biting into mush.  The entire dinner 
was a total waste. 

There  were  three  decks  on  the  boat.  On the bottom deck was the 
"hostess"  with  a  microphone which could not be heard at all on the 
upper  two decks.  The main attraction was the native show.  It was a 
fashion  show with a limbo entertainer thrown in.  I must say that it 
was  the  only redeeming factor of the whole trip.  Although I wonder 
why  they  have  a  show on the bottom deck of a boat when people are 
out on a boat to supposedly get a nighttime view of Nassau Harbor? 

We  complained  loudly  and  were  told  that no one else complained.  
That  is  not  our problem.  We told them we would not pay the charge 
and  fight them all the way unless they at least gave us a credit for 
the  horrible  dinner.   They finally did a couple of days later.  We 
never  used  to complain but we've really gotten tired of being taken 
advantage of. 

If  you  are interested in signing up for the dolphin swim - you MUST 
DO  IT  WAY  IN  ADVANCE!   I called a week or so before our trip and 
found  that  the  swim was booked for over a month in advance.  Phone 
(242)363-1653 e-mail: 

The  aquariums  at  Atlantis  are just not to be believed.  Make sure 
you  do  a  trip  around  the  entire  property  so  you  don't  miss 
anything.  They are truly magnificent. 

We  rented  jet  skis  for  $45 each (each jet ski) for 1/2 hour (the 
prices  listed  on  sign  at beach says $50 for 20 min for 1 person).  
We  put  two  people  on one and one on the other and had a ball.  My 
husband  wanted  to do doubles parasailing, but I was chicken.  (cost 
was $40 each) 

If  there  are  not  enough  activities for you at the hotel, you can 
always  rent  a car/jeep/moped and wander around the island.  Stop at 
other  hotels.   Most  of the beaches are on the Paradise Island side 
of  the  island.   Stop at the straw market if you haven't been there 
before.   You  have to weed through a lot of junk, but you never know 
where you'll find a wonderful item just made for you. 

The  people  we  met  who  lived  and  worked  on  this  island  were 
exceptionally pleasant. 

The  bottom  line  is  that  we  are  definitely  going  to return to 
Atlantis.  We had a great trip.


(Ed Note : The authors can be reached at: or Their WWW site URL is:

Getting to Know Paradise - Grand Bahama Island 

Co-Authored  by:  Keith  Thompson  and  Cheri  Kroeger, Publishers of 
Bahamas Vacation Guide, On-line reference 


  Keith  Thompson  is a Bahamian, residing on the Grand Bahama Island 
Cheri  Kroeger  is  an  American  who travels frequently to the Grand 
Bahama  Island. Together we pool resources and experiences to provide 
this  article intended for the Freeport and Grand Bahama Island bound 
tourist, just as we do in our on-line endeavors. 

The Bahamas: 

The  Bahamas  consists  of  a chain of over 700 islands located where 
the  Atlantic  Ocean  and  Caribbean Sea meets. Most are cays and are 
uninhabited.  The  islands you are most likely to recognize the names 
of  are  New  Province,  which  is  where Nassau, Paradise Island and 
Cable  Beach are located; Grand Bahama Island which is where Freeport 
and  Lucaya  are  located;  Abaco which is where Green Turtle Cay and 
Marsh  Harbour  are  located;  Eleuthera  where  Governors Harbour is 
located;  Exuma  where  George  Town Is located. There are many other 
islands  offering  tourism facilities as well. They are self-governed 
and have been independent since July 10th 1973 

Tourism  is  well  received  in the Bahamas. Nationals are engaged in 
tourist  friendly  habits  from an early age and this is probably the 
one  Caribbean  area  island  that lacks hostility by citizens toward 
tourists.  The  Bahamas  is  well  organized and not as divided class 
wise  as  you  find  in  other  areas  of  the Caribbean. The overall 
standard of living is well above average. 

There  are  some  very healthy tourism lures in place. For one thing, 
it  has  beaches  every  bit as breathtaking as any Caribbean island. 
The  Bahamas  are  located  in  the  tropics  and  therefore has mild 
weather.  Naturally  it  is  not  as  warm  as  islands closer to the 
equator  however  it's  temperatures  average  between  70's  to 90's 
dependent  upon  month.  There are secret bank accounts and off shore 
holding  companies. There is a laid back lifestyle that forces one to 
relax.  Lots  of  duty  free  deals, water sports, tours of all types 
from  eco  tours to historical, lots to eat, plenty of drinking holes 
and night spots, fishing, gaming and on and on! 

Grand  Bahama Island, the Cities of Freeport and Lucaya together with 
the many settlements 

Grand  Bahama  Island  is  particularly  young.  Having had it's main 
development  over  the  past  30-  40  years  it  offers  rather good 
infrastructure  and  planning.  There  are settlements throughout the 
island   including  Westend,  Eight  Mile  Rock,  McCleans  Town  and 
Williams  Town.  The  major  cities are Freeport and Lucaya as far as 
tourism  is  concerned.  Freeport  is the original tourist center. At 
the  beginning  of  Freeport's development it was thought best not to 
ruin  the resources of the beaches by developing same. Therefore, the 
city  was  developed  to  house  tourists  away  from the beaches and 
tourism  came  to Freeport. It is only about 10 minutes from Freeport 
to  the  beach  and  most  facilities in Freeport offer complimentary 
shuttles  which  run frequently to usher their patrons back and forth 
to  the  beach.  It  was  a  well seated plan however, it didn't last 
long.  There  are  a  number  of hotels on the beach at this time and 
Lucaya  offers  some of the most popular tourist spots. Both Freeport 
and  Lucaya  are  very  popular,  with  the  newer development mainly 
occurring  in Lucaya. Hotel prices start at budget level, making this 
a  favorite  family vacation spot. It should be noted to the American 
readers  that  this  island  is  a  mere 70 miles from Ft. Lauderdale 
making  it  very  assessable to U.S. visitors. It is simple to find a 
flight  out  of  many  Florida cities, including West Palm Beach, Ft. 
Lauderdale,  Miami, Orlando and Tampa. There are also day cruises out 
of  some  of the eastern coast cities, two of which are SeaEscape and 
Discovery  I.  Boaters  with  adequate  vessels  can easily reach the 
Bahamas in under 3 hours. 

Freeport  offers a number of attractions and accommodations including 
the International Bazaar. 

The  Bazaar is a unique area divided into International sections such 
as  Africa and France. In each section you will find not only general 
merchants  but  also  merchants  specializing in that country's goods 
and/or  wares.  There  are a number of restaurants, again in the same 
type  of theme. There are watering holes and clubs close by, so there 
is lots of activity at the Bazaar both day and night. 

Adjacent  to  the  International  Bazaar  is  the  Princess Hotel and 
Casino.  The  Princess  is  an  elaborate  property with two separate 
accommodations  to  choose  from, a huge flowing pool area with caves 
and  a  waterfall,  two golf courses, several restaurants and a large 
casino.  There  are many other hotels in close proximity making for a 
never ending array of International guests. 

Lucaya  also  offers  plenty  of things to see and do as well as many 
choices   of  accommodations.  Port  Lucaya  Marina  is  the  Lucayan 
equivalent  of  Freeport's  International  Bazaar.  While  it doesn't 
offer  the International decor it does offer all of the International 
shopping  and  eating opportunities. It is also a main dock with many 
fascinating  Yachts  and  Boats  docked.  Just  walking by some these 
multimillion  dollar  vessels  will  give you goose pimples. The also 
have  a  gazebo  at  Count Basie Square (yes Count Basie lived there) 
and  each  night  Little  Joe  Cartwright  and  his  band offers live 
entertainment,  theme  dancing, and dance contests. Everyone from the 
toddlers  to the great gramas love this outing. And it is free. There 
are  also  watering holes and the like. Across the way is the Lucayan 
Hotel  and Casino. This facility is on the beach, has a pool, several 
restaurants,  a  casino  and  golf  course privileges. There are many 
more hotels in Lucaya as well. 

A word about the Bahamians. 

This  is a nation filled with people raised in a Christian belief. It 
is  not  advisable  to  curse  publicly,  nor  to address people in a 
casual  manner.  The  Bahamians are proud, religious people. Most are 
hard  workers  and  believe that you don't eat if you don't work. The 
ladies  may  prefer  to  be called Ms. or Mrs. (If married definitely 
Mrs.  Not  Ms.) and the men may prefer Mr. It is also frowned upon to 
wear beachwear to indoor facilities, although this is often done. 

Nudity  publicly  is  unacceptable  and  if  you  plan  upon any nude 
sunbathing it is advisable that you find a secluded beach. 

There  is  a  slower  way of things occurring in the Bahamas. This is 
not  a shared concept amongst all citizens, but put everyone together 
and  this is the results. It does make you relax and stop worrying so 
don't  fight  it.  It is actually a rather fun concept, especially on 

Bahamians  are  probably  one of the friendliest people you will ever 
encounter  in  your  life.  Their  upbringing  education includes the 
tourism  environment.  Children  (with  Mom  right  beside them) will 
happily  hold conversations with tourists and try to be friendly. The 
Bahamas  offers  the  People  to  People  program  where you can meet 
Bahamians  who  have  similar  interests  or  backgrounds as you. For 
instance,  if  you  are  an  account  or  construction worker you can 
request  that  the program match you with a Bahamian who currently or 
recently  worked  in  those positions. The same types of requests can 
be made based upon other criteria. 

We  know  what else you want to know to, what exactly is there to do. 
No  general  stuff.  So  here  goes the best list we can put together 
without  a  bunch of boring details so you can get through it to find 
the  ones that only interest you: (phew, here goes) sleep, eat, sight 
see,  garden  of  the  groves,  Lucayan  National  Park,  bat  caves, 
beaches,  more  beaches,  even  more  beaches,  gamble, slots, cards, 
blackjack,  Caribbean  poker,  horse  race  table, roulette, wheel of 
fortune,  craps,  lots  of  gaming  options,  Las  Vegas style shows, 
island  revue shows, dinner shows, watch sharks be fed at Pier I, eat 
some  more,  go  to  clubs,  Captain Kenny's on Taino Beach for night 
life,   also   at   Port   Lucaya  and  in  downtown  Freeport,  free 
entertainment  at  Port Lucaya, swim, fish, deep water fishing, shark 
fishing,  fishing  tours,  water  sports,  parasail,  jet ski, paddle 
boat, boat rental, snorkel, booze cruise, sunset cruise (same thing -
  different  name),  semi  submarine,  submarine,  glass bottom boat, 
dolphins,  see  them,  touch  them  swim and dive with them, boating, 
races,  tours,  eco tours, outback tours, unspoiled beauty, horseback 
riding,  scuba  diving,  reefs  like you can't imagine, crystal clear 
waters, theme parties. 

Okay,  uncle.  We  think  you  have  the  general idea. If you want a 
really  great  spot  to vacation this is where to go. It has a little 
of  everything  people  like.  Lots  of  fun,  sun and activities. We 
didn't have to stop where we did but gosh it could go on all day. 

Are  there  any  drawbacks, sure. Is anywhere completely ideal? There 
are  too  many vendors out and about. I like the tee shirt that gives 
a  list  of  what  people aren't interested in, just pluck at it when 
asked.  There  is  crime  as there is anywhere else and normal common 
sense  should  be  used.  There  is  no  taxation except for the duty 
imposed   upon  incoming  goods.  Therefore,  many  things  are  very 
expensive.  Such  as  paperback  novels,  sun  block, personal items, 
cereal and it goes on. Bring what you need if possible. 

We  hope  that  this article was informative and helpful. Please feel 
free  to  contact either of us if you require further information. We 
can't  promise  to have the answers to your all questions but we sure 
can try to get any requested information.  

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