Caribbean Travel Roundup

Newsletter - Paul Graveline, Editor


Caribbean Travel Roundup
Paul Graveline, Editor
Edition 90
December 1, 1998

Last Update 28 Nov 98 1800EST

| CTR Homepage | Island Index | Search |


1/ ST. MARTIN ISLAND FOCUS

The following material was received at the CTR regarding St. martin for the St. Martin Focus section.

1/ PARADISE AT BEST

If    you    are    looking    for    first-hand   information   about
St.Maarten/St.Martin,      come      visit      our     website     at
http://www.gobeach.com.  I  grew  up on St.Maarten and I am delighted
to  be  able  to  promote  'the  Friendly  Island'  in any way. On our
website  you  can  for example find which beaches I enjoy going to, or
where  I  like to meet my friends for a happy hour drink. We have also
compiled  a  long  list  of  our  favorite  restaurants.  Some  of the
restaurant  owners  which  I  know  personally  even let me include an
exclusive  Internet  special  for  a  free  drink when you mention our
website!  You  can  also  find  reviews of many, many restaurants from
people  who  have  vacationed  on  the  island and told us about their
favorites and not so favorites.

We  can  also help you find the perfect accommodation for you and your
family.  Since  I  am  from St.Maarten I know where I would personally
like  to  stay  and  where not. We have a list of hotels which I think
are  really  good  bets  (and  these  are  not  the  big all-inclusive
resorts).  Also,  we  are specialized in villa-vacations. Did you know
that  it  is  sometimes  more cost-effective for your family to rent a
nice  villa  with  private  pool, etc. than staying in a hotel? I have
personally  seen  about  90%  of  the large selection of villas on our
St.Maarten/St.Martin  website, and I can usually pinpoint it down to a
choice of a couple of villas which will suit your needs best.

Further  on  our website you can find information about activities, an
island  map  (which  we based on a satellite photo), weddings (yes, it
is  possible  now  for  tourists to marry on St.Maarten), some history
and  more.  So  please  visit us at http://www.gobeach.com/sxm.htm and
let us help you plan your perfect vacation!

Note:  Paradise  at  Best  has  also  been  the host for the Caribbean
Travel  Roundup  Newsletter  for  many  years  and  has  played a very
important  role  in  the distribution of first-hand information during
recent hurricanes with their Caribbean Hurricane Pages.

2/ EXPLORE FRANCE IN THE CARIBBEAN

French  Caribbean  International,  (800)  322-2223  or (805) 967-9850,
Fax:  (805) 967-7798, Web site: http://www.frenchcaribbean.com  French
Caribbean  International  is  your  leading resource for select hotels
and  villas  in  the  French  West Indies.  Their experienced, helpful
specialists  can  assist you with reservations for the magical islands
of  Guadeloupe,  Les  Saintes,  Martinique,  St.  Barthélemy  and  St.
Martin.   (In  St.  Martin,  they  can  help you with the luxurious La
Samanna  Hôtel  ,  the  intimate  Pavillon  Beach  Hôtel,  the popular
Mercure  Simson  Beach  Hôtel  and dozens of gorgeous private villas.) 
These  tropical  French  destinations  include  dramatic rain forests,
towering  waterfalls  and  exotic  lagoons  as  well  as  magnificent,
topless   beaches  with  warm,  gin-clear  waters.   Charming  seaside
villages,  captivating  boutiques  and  fascinating  historical  sites
await  your  arrival. A complete range of activities including tennis,
hiking,  diving,  windsurfing  and  sailing are available.  Complement
your  adventures  with  delicious  French  and  Créole cuisine.  Visit
French  Caribbean International's comprehensive Web site or call toll-
free to learn more about these extraordinary islands.

3/ THE HORNY TOAD GUESTHOUSE

Simpson Bay, St. Maarten

A  former  governor's  house  tastefully renovated into spacious fully
equipped  apartments.  Each  is  delightfully different and displays a
personality of it's own.

The   Horny   Toad   Guesthouse   offers   private   and   comfortable
accommodations  within  relaxed informal atmosphere at a nominal cost.
The  superb location was chosen for it's close proximity to the water,
the  sun,  tennis,  golf,  boating,  fishing, and the airport.... plus
freeport  shopping  and casinos. Kitchen facilities were added to give
guests  the  option  of  dining  in  to  conserve  on  waistlines  and
pocketbooks.  However,  many  fabulous  restaurants are within a short
distance....  on  the  beach  or in the nearby towns of Philipsburg or
Marigot.

The  Horny  Toad  is  a  deliberately small and distinctive guesthouse
known  for  its  congenial and unpretentious atmosphere. Each spacious
housekeeping  apartment  (there are eight) has a separate bedroom with
bath,  plus  a  fully  equipped  kitchen  with living area and private
gallery overlooking the secluded beach of Simpson Bay.

Fielding's  Guide  honored  the  Horny  Toad  with  the Author's Award
describing  the  Horny Toad as "a small and special place" and "one of
the  best  bets  on  the  Island".  Fodor's  Guide  considered  it "an
excellent   value".  We're  inclined  to  agree  and  would  love  the
opportunity to prove it to you.

All  rates  are  European  Plan, double occupancy. Because some of the
apartments  are  larger  than  others we give an extra person rate. No
children  under  7  please. Sorry, no credit cards. Daily maid service
except holidays.


   Winter:  Dec. 15 to April 14
Apartment       $180.00
Extra person    $ 40.00

   Summer:  April 15 to Dec. 14
Apartment       $ 98.00
Extra person    $ 25.00

Government Tax of 8% is added to the daily rate.
Rates subject to change without prior notice.

Check in: 2:00pm    Check out: 12:00 noon.
A daily rate will be charged for check out after 12:00 noon.

Deposits:  three  nights  rate  must  accompany reservation request in
order to confirm.  One weeks rate to reserve 3 weeks or more.

Payment:   Sorry   no   credit  cards.   Balance  of  account  payable
following  check-in.  Cancellation: 60 days notice.

For more information and pictures see the gobeach.com webpage.

2/ JOURNEYS FOR DECEMBER 1998

BAHAMAS: SANDALS ROYAL BAHAMIA BY LISA HAMILTON

Wedding  and  honeymoon  trip at Sandals Royal Bahamian, 14-21 October
1998.

SUMMARY  A  'large-ish'  but  lovely property with impeccable service,
tasteful  rooms,  eight  restaurants,  excellent  food, numerous bars,
premium  liquor,  two  huge pools, day time and late-night activities,
full-service   dive   shop/water  sports  department,  two  beach  and
swimming  areas,  and  a private off-shore island. Expensive but worth
every  penny  if  you just want to relax near the sun and surf with no
worries  for  a few days. No kids, couples only, and lots of weddings,
honeymooners, and anniversary celebrants.
The  warmth  of the Caribbean, the luxury of Sandals, and only a short
45 minute flight from Miami.
We'll definitely be back.

ARRIVAL/DEPARTURE  Pretty  fast  and  friendly  on both counts. Ground
transfer  from  Nassau airport was quick and efficient. Nice champagne
introduction  and welcome, then a short wait before being shown to our
rooms by a very friendly bell cap.

We  were  allowed  an  extra  hour  for late check out and full use of
property  until  our late afternoon departure. Forty-five minute delay
processing  credit  card due to some kind of telephone problem dialing
out.
Not  really  their fault as power was going off and on for a couple of
hours.

ROOMS  Grande Luxe Oceanfront room had excellent location on top floor
of  Manor  House  with  full  ocean  view, but not especially large or
inviting  and  NO  BALCONY, which was a requirement for us. Paid small
upgrade  fee (lots less than the actual price difference) for a Junior
Suite  on  the  fifth floor of the new Windsor wing. Bell cap was back
to  collect  our  bags before my fiancee had even returned from taking
care of the charge.

Only  problem  here  was  our  suite didn't have a sitting area and we
never  were  introduced  to our concierge. When I called the concierge
desk  they  would  just  transfer me to the appropriate departments to
make  my  own arrangements. Not really sure if we had the Junior Suite
or  the  Honeymoon  Concierge  Grande  Luxe  Oceanview,  but  both are
supposed  to  have a sitting area and suite concierge service. Friends
of  ours had a Deluxe room on the first floor of Manor House which was
not  bad  considering  it  is the lowest category. Had a small balcony
with  room  to  sit,  king size bed, TV armoire, table and chairs, and
roomy well appointed bath.

The  Windsor  wing  is  quite nice and more what we were expecting for
our  money..  Large  balcony with full view of pool and ocean, in-room
bar,  Sandals  robes, great view, king size canopy poster bed, , table
and  chairs, marble-tiled bath with oversize tub, separate vanity - in
all  very  nice.  The new wing seems to have a newer, better, brighter
feel  to  it. Only complaint was a picture noticeably missing from the
wall  where three large bolts remained. I meant to call and ask for my
picture,  but  never really got around to it. Bar was initially locked
and  we  had  trouble working the safe. Both issues were resolved with
very courteous and attentive service in a matter of minutes.

SERVICE  Overall  service  is outstanding. Staff is extremely friendly
and  all of them , from groundskeepers to bar tenders to managers make
a  point of greeting as you pass. There are plenty of people around to
help,  but  you  are  not  'bothered'  by  anyone.  Lots of smiles and
friendly  faces,  not  found so easily at many Caribbean destinations.
We  encountered  only one rude female bartender, and even she was nice
once  or  twice  --  but  when  she  was  rude she was very very rude!
Restaurant  service  was  also  extremely attentive and courteous, yet
understated and not intrusive.

Commonly heard words were 'no problem', and 'you're at Sandals now'.

Of   special   commendation   are   the  following  staff  members  we
encountered  (sorry  we don't have any last names): -Hilton and Ryan -
Pub  -Christopher - stocked our in-room bar daily -Quinton and Lamonte
-  Kimonos  chefs  -Trevor  and  Teba  -  dive shop -Demetrius, Colin,
Denardo  -  Spices  -Carla - wedding reception hostess -The Rev, Gary,
Beverly,  Mona  Lisa  -  wedding services -Kim - hair stylist -Tamaine
(very  elegant  and  polite young man) - Crystal Room -Piano Man - can
play  and sing anything in any key -Bell Desk - Kenrod and the guy who
handled  our  bags  the  first  day  -Windsor pool swim up bartender -
thanks  for  makeshift  wedding  morning  bachelorette  party and post
wedding champagne and wine

WEDDING  SERVICES Mixed review on the wedding package. Nice, friendly,
fairly  efficient, but certainly not worth the $1,500 package price. I
had  to  ask  for  the  manicure  and  the T-shirts, never did get the
pedicure  or  massage.  Didn't  receive  voucher for manicure and they
initially  tried  to  charge  me  extra  for it. 'Elaborate' Caribbean
wedding  cake and 'beautifully decorated' wedding area were both a bit
of  a  stretch.  Cake  was tasty but was basic cream color, very small
two  layer.  Wedding  area decoration consisted of three ribbons. Only
permitted  two choices for bouquet, for anything different there is an
extra  (minimum  $50)  charge.  When they say one 5x7 photo, they mean
one snap.
They  literally  take just one photo. We assumed they would snap a few
and  we  could  pick one. Not. Additional charges start at $180 for 12
shots.  The  limit placed on food and drink provided for the champagne
reception  (we were told four guests maximum) is interesting seeing as
how it is as an all inclusive resort.
We  had  a  wonderful and memorable wedding day, but the price is just
out  of  line  and  then  they try to charge you more for extras! Best
thing  was  the  'Rev'  and  how  well  he  and  the videographer work
together.  You  can tell they've done this before, but they still make
you  feel 'special' and they get all the names right! The video really
turned out great.
Our  'one'  photo,  however,  arrived  about  five  minutes before our
departure  and  that was only at my repeated prompting. (It was a very
nice shot though.)

RESTAURANTS  All  restaurants  provided excellent service and food. No
matter  where  we went, they kept the wine coming! -CAFÉ GOOMBAY: Tons
of  conch dishes. Disappointed that this offshore island restaurant is
only  open  four nights a week and then was closed three days while we
were  there  due to weather conditions (a bit of wind). Did have lunch
there  one  day but lunch menu is limited to burgers, dogs, fries, and
grouper  fingers.  Still  a  very charming Caribbean style restaurant,
and  I  know it would have been a wonderful dinner. -KIMONOS: Japanese
style.  Great  chefs,  very  entertaining,  they  sing to you and make
jokes.  Also  nice  chance to mix with other couples if you want. Food
was  great  but  scallops weren't cooked well enough for most of us. -
SPICES:  Classic Caribbean dining. Good service, dine in or al fresco,
varied  menu.  Breakfast  buffet  with every imaginable food. -CRYSTAL
ROOM:  Had  to wait for a table but this was some of the best food and
service  of  all, without being too stuffy. -BACCARAT: French cuisine.
Kind  of  a  high  brow place with food served in dome-covered dishes.
Excellent  food  and  service,  but  we're  a  bit more casual sort of
people.  Provided  a  lovely wedding dinner. -CASANOVA: Italian. Never
had  lunch  or  dinner  here,  only  breakfast  with buffet similar to
Spices.  Very  good. -CRICKETEERS PUB: Pub-style food. Never ate here,
only  drank. Great Margaritas by Ryan and enjoyed the attention of one
of  Sandals'  greatest  representative  employees, Hilton (as in hotel
and  "it's  no  problem,  you're  at  Sandals  now").  -ROYAL  GRILLE:
Beachside  hangover  food.  Nothing  special,  but you can go there in
your  swimwear and they serve all afternoon. Also have pizza, patties,
salad  bar,  and  desserts  to which you can help yourself, or you can
order a la carte.

Saturday  night  is  a beachfront international buffet with foods from
around the world. Don't miss it.

WEATHER  Days  1  and 2 were very calm and beautiful. Days 3, 4, and 5
so  windy  that watersports and the island were closed. Day 6 calm and
sunny  again,  day  7 brought occasional heavy rain but mixed with sun
as  well.  Water was warm, but not quite as warm as say the Eastern or
Southern Caribbean in October.

BEACH  Not  really  as  much  beach or swimming area as we expected. A
little  man-made  in  appearance with a sea wall, but then we are used
to  the  natural  beaches  of  Antigua.  Plenty  of beach chairs and a
second  large  beach  area  slightly  elevated and back from the surf.
Some  beach vendors, mostly braid ladies, not to bothersome. Take some
bread  out  and  feed the fishies. Off shore island beach is more what
we had in mind. Only a five minute boat ride from the main hotel.

ACTIVITIES  We  didn't'  participate too much in organized activities,
but  beach  volleyball  looked  fun,  outdoor aerobics were very good,
fitness  center was impressive, diving staff was excellent, dive sites
were nearby, and the dive boat nearly brand new.
Day  time  pool  events  were lightly attended and some of the evening
entertainment  was  great,  some  a bit dull. Karaoke was fun but they
stopped it after only a few songs and told us to go home!
The  piano  bar  is  a  great  late night fall back if you have a good
group  of people who will knock a few drinks back and aren't afraid to
sing   and   get   silly.   Manager's   cocktail   party  and  theatre
entertainment  following  (Monday nights) is really a lot of fun. Just
be  prepared  to  participate  and  learn how to dance Caribbean style
before you go!

EXCURSIONS  Only excursions we made were into town to take care of our
marriage  paperwork and the shark dive at Stuart Cove's (south side of
island).  Nassau  was a cute town with lots of shops. Stuart Cove's is
a  nice  dive operation and returned all of us safe and sound from the
shark feed.

That's all folks.

BAHAMAS: ATLANTIS PARADISE ISLAND BY BOB BRIDGE

(Ed Note: This file is copyrighted and se in the CTR with Bob Bridge's permission.)

Trip: November 5 - 11, 1998

As  a  belated  present  for  my 30th birthday back in May, my mom and
stepfather  invited me on a trip with them to the Atlantis on Paradise
Island  in the Bahamas. We had each been to the Bahamas before, I went
to  in  May,  1996  and  they  went the Paradise Island Fun Club about
three  years  ago.  We  had  each  visited  the  Atlantis  and were so
impressed that we hoped to eventually go there for a vacation.

The Atlantis is truly an amazing place as you will see!

We  left  on  Thursday  morning  and  we were quite concerned that our
flights  would  go  out  as  the  remains  of Tropical Storm Mitch was
headed  towards  Miami  and the Bahamas from Key West. We flew down on
American  Airlines  on  the  6:45am  flight  from Newark to Miami. The
flight  was  fine  despite  occasional  turbulence  on  the  way down.
However  when  we got in the vicinity of Miami is was quite cloudy and
rainy.  The  pilot  circled  Miami  and  was  looking  for the perfect
altitude  to  make  a  descent with the least amount of turbulence. He
finally  found  a  clear  opening in the clouds and was able to make a
fairly smooth landing at about 9:50am.

After  arriving  at  the  gate  we went to the American Eagle gates to
catch  our  11:00am  connecting  flight  to Nassau. When we arrived to
check  in,  we  found  out  the flight was overbooked and they offered
volunteers  a  $200  voucher  for  an  American flight anywhere in the
continental  U.S. and a seat on the 12:30pm flight. We volunteered but
they  had  enough  seats  after all. After a short bus ride across the
tarmac  we  boarded  the  plane. Despite the fact there was no rain it
was  still  quite  windy.  The plane we flew on was a propeller driven
plane.  We  were late taking off as there were about a dozen planes in
front  of  us  waiting to take off. It was so windy and with the plane
being  a  lighter plane I could feel the plane rock from side to side.
After  about  a  half  an  hour  it  was our turn and we took off (the
ascent was fairly smooth).

We  had  a  tail  wind  so  after  45 minutes in the air we arrived at
Nassau  (which is 160 miles southeast of Miami). The remnants of Mitch
had  also  arrived  in Nassau as the sky was full of dark gray clouds.
The  descent  and landing were very turbulent as the plane swayed from
side  to  side  and  we made our landing with the plane leaning to the
right.

It  was the scariest experience I ever had while flying. After landing
we  stepped  out  the  plane and ran in the pouring rain up the steps,
through  the  covered walkway and into the terminal. It was nice to be
on the ground after that landing!

After  getting our luggage and clearing customs we caught the Majestic
Tours  bus and proceeded in the rain around New Providence island into
downtown  Nassau  and then went over the two-lane bridge onto Paradise
Island.  New  Providence  Island is 21 miles long and 7 miles wide and
Paradise Island is three miles long and one mile wide.

Paradise  Island  is  undergoing major construction as the Atlantis is
expanding  and  a  new marina and second bridge are being built and is
scheduled  to  open  in December, 1998. It will take guests to the new
Royal Towers which are described below.

The  building  that  housed  the original casino and showroom has been
torn  down to make way for the new marina which is due to be completed
in early 1999.

Sun  International  which owns the Atlantis also owns about 80 percent
of the island.

The  Atlantis  consists  of  two towers, the Beach Tower and the Coral
Tower  and  several  villas located between each tower. A third tower,
the  Royal  Tower  is  scheduled  to  open  in December, 1998. It will
feature  five  waterslides,  1,202  rooms, including 56 junior suites,
102  executive  suites,  10  grand  suites,  four presidential suites,
three  royal  suites  and  the  Imperial  Suite (priced at $25,000 per
night!) connecting the two buildings that make up the Royal Tower.

We  stayed in the Beach Tower. The Beach Tower has meeting facilities,
a  women's  clothing  store  and  a sundries store for shampoo, suntan
lotion  and  other  essentials  like  a toothbrush which I bought as I
left  mine  at  home.  There  is  also  the  Logo  Gift Shop featuring
Atlantis  merchandise. I bought a red swimsuit and Polo shirt. It cost
me  $3.30  for the toothbrush and $35 for the swimsuit and $55 for the
Polo Shirt.

Also  you can wander the paths along several pools and falls featuring
many  tropical  fish  and  marine  life. You'll see sea turtles, sting
rays,  sharks,  barracuda and many fish of different shapes, sizes and
colors.  The most unusual of which was a sawfish with a very sharp and
long  mouth!  There  are  also several caves where you can look at the
fish  below the water (one which features music simulating the feeling
of  being  under the sea!). There are several bridges, including three
rope  bridges  that  connect paths or go over the pools (including one
that dangles over one of the pools).

There  is also the Goonbay slide (which is two slides, the first about
fifty  feet  that  winds  around  and  then a twenty foot slide to the
bottom.  It was fun as I went on it twice. There is also tubing down a
winding  pool  which  feeds  into one of the main pools. There are two
main pools, the River Pool and the Lagoon Pool.

Next  to  the  Lagoon  Pool  is  a large pool for snorkeling and other
watersports.  We went snorkeling but there was not much to see in that
pool.  We  enjoyed  early  afternoons  relaxing  near the falls by the
River  Pool.  On  the other side was a bandstand where music and games
went  on  throughout  the  day.  We  also enjoyed the Lagoon Pool, but
preferred  the River Pool for its view towards the Atlantic Ocean. You
could  not see the ocean from the Lagoon Pool. Booths are located near
each  pool  where  you  can towels and sign up for various watersports
and  boat  tours,  including  Blue  Lagoon Island. We signed up at the
Paradise  Island  dock  where  the  boat leaves. The dock is about two
blocks from the Beach Tower.

As  for the ocean it was rough as the Caution (Yellow and Red) and Red
flags  were out the whole time. It still was nice and warm compared to
the  pools.  After  a  while the sun gets so hot you just have to take
the  plunge  into the cold pool! We enjoyed walking on the beach as we
walked down to the Ocean Club one afternoon.

There  were  many  great  restaurants to choose from. Our favorite was
the  Water's  Edge which overlooked the snorkeling pool and is located
at  the  back  of  the  Coral Towers. They featured a delicious buffet
breakfast  for  $15.95. You can also order off the menu which features
the  same  items and additional entrees including Eggs Benedict priced
from  around  $12.95.  We also enjoyed dinner there as they had a wide
range of beef, pasta and chicken dishes, priced between $20 and $35.

We  also  had  a  delicious  buffet  breakfast at Seagrapes Restaurant
located  just off the lobby in the Beach Tower. We also went there for
lunch  as well our first day at the Atlantis. Prices for Seagrapes are
about  the  same as the Water's Edge. The Lagoon Bar also is great for
lunch  as  they  had  a delicious Tuscan chicken sandwich with a great
pesto,  cheese and vinegarette sauce. Their prices are less expensive,
about $8 to $20.

We  also went to the Cave which is located next to the River Pool. The
Cave  is  a fast food restaurant similar to McDonald's or Burger King.
We  also  went to the Atlas Bar and Grill and for lunch and dinner and
had  everything from nachos to pizza to steak (prices range from about
$6  to  $20).  To celebrate our special trip we dined at the Courtyard
at  the  Ocean Club where we got dressed for dinner (sport jackets are
the  attire  for  men  and  a  nice  dress  or  elegant outfit for the
ladies).

At  the  Ocean Club we had Roast Duck and Roast Lamb and I had Lobster
Bisque  and  a  Chocolate and White Mousse Cake and a Bahamian Coffee.
The  entrees  are priced around $40 and appetizers and desserts around
$8. Mixed drinks averaged about $6.

The  prices for drinks and desserts were priced the same at Seagrapes,
the Water's Edge and the Atlas Bar and Grill.

In  the  Coral  Towers,  there  is  also Mama Loo's and the Five Twins
restaurant  in the Coral Tower which we did not go to. The Bahama Club
is also there as well.

You  can  get  either  a Basic or Gourmet Meal Plan with your package.
The  Basic  Meal  Plan  is $55 a day and the Gourmet Meal Pan is $75 a
day.  With  the  Gourmet  Plan  you  can  eat  at all the restaurants.
However,  with  the  Basic Plan you can't eat at the Bahama Club, Mama
Loo's,  the  Five  Twins,  Voyager's or the Ocean Club. With each plan
you just pay for drinks and tips.

If  your room is not ready or you have a late flight back like we did,
there  is  a Hospitality Cavern. There are lockers, showers (including
soap  and shampoo), hair dryers and brushes, shaving cream and razors.
Toothbrushes  and  toothpaste  are  available  if  you need it. A neat
feature  also  is a water extraction machine so you don't have to pack
a wet bathing suit. The Hospitality Caverns open at 9:00am.

One  worthwhile thing to do is take a tour of the grounds when you get
there  as  it is very informative. You'll find out not only how things
are  laid out at the Atlantis, but also about the various marine life.
Tours  are  daily  at 10:00am, 1:00pm and 4:00pm. The tour lasts about
one hour.

Our  room overlooked the ocean and we had two double beds, clock radio
and  TV  with  cable  and  satellite  channels  (NBC and ABC were from
Detroit,  CBS  was  from  Toledo and I don't know where Fox was from).
There  also is a local Bahamas station, ZNS, featuring local and world
news, local sports news, weather and syndicated programs.

Interestingly,  there  was  a fire at Voyager's restaurant that burned
the  roof.  Workers  repaired  the  damage  on  the roof and Voyager's
opened  the  next  day. Workers also must have hit a cable line during
construction  as  our  TV  was  out  for  one day during our stay. The
Atlantis stations were still available.

There  is  also a channel with events going on and a channel featuring
a  video  about  the  Atlantis which runs continuously. There are also
Pay  Per View movies available for $10.95. We saw "The Wedding Singer"
with  Adam  Sandler  which  was really a funny movie. There were about
five  radio  stations,  including LOVE 97.5 featuring reggae, jazz and
oldies  from  Motown,  Nat King Cole and Johnny Mathis. There was also
100 JAMS featuring dance music and reggae.

A  new  Entertainment  Complex  is  just  off  the  lobby of the Coral
Towers.  The  main  feature  of  the  Entertainment Complex is the new
casino  which  features  more  than  1,000 slot machines and 80 gaming
tables  as  well as the Atlas Bar and Grill (a diner style restaurant)
off  the  casino floor as you enter. There is also Voyager's (a coffee
shop similar to Starbucks).

Coming  soon  will  be  shops  featuring  such  designers as Gucci and
Versace.  Dragons  nightclub  off the casino floor features music from
unusual  dance  bands.  You'll  hear  Bahamian, South African music as
well  as  music from Caracas and even the great hits of the artists of
Motown!

I  didn't  take  home any winnings at the slot machine. The most I won
while  playing was $6.25. My mom was the lucky winner at the slots out
of  the  three  of us. After we gambled we went over to the bar on the
side  of the casino and listened to the band, which played reggae, and
danced to club and disco music between sets.

Also  part  of  the  Atlantis  is  the  Ocean  Club (which features 70
villas)  and the Comfort Suites hotel which Sun International manages.
Guests  at the Comfort Suites and Ocean Club can use the facilities at
the  Atlantis.  Across  from  the  Atlantis  is the Club Land'Or which
features  50  suites  (for more on the Club Land'Or Click here). There
is  a  shuttle  bus  that runs between the Beach and Coral Towers, the
Ocean  Club  and  the  Paradise  Island Golf Club (which is an 18 hole
championship course) every 30 minutes all day and night.

We  also  went to the Blue Lagoon Island which was nice. The boat ride
was  great  but  the snorkeling was not good, on this, my second trip.
The  price if you book at the watersports booth at the Atlantis is $65
a  person  (which  includes  everything).  We booked our trip from the
Paradise  Island  dock  where  the boat departs. The price was $50 for
the boat ride, lunch and equipment or $20 for the boat ride.

One  night  we went over to Nassau to see the King and Knights show at
the  Nassau Beach Hotel featuring King Eric playing standards and hits
on  the  Steel  Pan drum, fire dancers and a local Bahamian singer who
livened  up  the  crowd.  The show was $20 a person and we had coupons
for  a  free  rum  punch.  The cab over was $16 plus $2 for the bridge
back to Nassau.

After  six days of sun, fun and relaxation it was time to return home.
Fortunately,  we  had a 5:40pm flight from Nassau to Miami on American
Eagle,  so  we  did not leave the Atlantis until 3:30pm. It took about
40  minutes  to  get to the airport (again through Majestic Tours). We
had  about  an hour in the airport before our flight boarded. I bought
a  CD  of  Bahamian  Soca music called "Bahamian Hits" by the KB's. To
find out what's on it, Click here

The  flight  from  Nassau  to  Miami  was  uneventful  except  for the
beautiful  sunset  which we followed for the 45 minute flight back. It
did  take  about  15  minutes  to cross Miami and land at the airport.
Then  we  took  the  bus  back  to the terminal and then had to take a
monorail  to  an adjacent terminal to catch our 7:30 flight to Newark.
The  airport  was  very  busy  and  full  of people. Unfortunately our
flight  was  pushed  back  to  8:00pm as the flight attendants had not
arrived yet.

Even  though  I  had a chicken sandwich, onion rings and a Coke at the
Cave  before  leaving the Atlantis I was hungry. I had a hot dog and a
Coke  as  well  as  a small bag of Doritos that came with it. I had to
gulp down the soda as it was 7:45 and they were boarding the plane.

The  flight to Newark was nice I watched CBS and listened to Motown on
the  headphones. We had a Cheese Pocket Pastry and a cookie for dinner
as  well as a Coke to drink. My stepfather likes to sit on an exit row
as  he is tall and likes the legroom so we were separated on the other
flights  as I like a window seat. However I wanted to sit with them so
I  sat in the middle section across from them. I was right in front of
the TV which was great.

It  was also interesting as we talked with the flight attendant seated
there  during  takeoff and landing. We made up some time and landed at
Newark  at  about  10:45pm. After about a 10 to 15 minute wait for our
luggage  we  met  our limo driver for the ride home. I got home around
11:30pm.

It  was  a  really  great trip and it was extra special because my mom
invited  my  brother  and his family over from Fort Lauderdale for the
weekend  we  were  there.  My  9-year  old  nephew  really enjoyed the
Atlantis  as  it  not only left him fascinated but I was really amazed
by the beauty and the natural environment of the Atlantis.

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