She's a Beauty - CTI review
This was our first time back to CTI after the renovations (third time there, we've been to all at least once). Wow, did she ever look awesome!! If you didn't know what had been added and changed, you'd think it had all been there for years. Seamless and fabulous.
We took the 6 am (ugh) Air Jamaica flight out of Philly on a Sunday. That got us to Sangster before 9:30. There was just our plane landing then, so immigration and customs were a breeze. Two quick Red Stripes later we were in a van by ourselves, headed down the road. No traffic that time of morning, so we were at CTI by 11:30 am. Can't beat that!!! The adorable Jaime-Ann checked us in, gave us an update on the changes, and sent us off with Captain Kirk to the room in the 4000 section. The renovations were nice - clean and simple. No complaints at all. We already knew the towel on the floor trick for the zero edge shower. No problem mon!
After checking out some of the new things we settled into a week that consisted of: breakfast, beach with books and drink, lunch, beach again, snack, shower, dinner, evening entertainment. Repeat daily. The books, drinks, and cloud cover varied each day, but that was about all! The weather was windy off and on, and partly cloudy a few days. No real rain, just a few sprinkles. But anything is better than the 35 degree weather we came home to!
The beach was a little narrower than on previous visits, but you could always find a spot to sit in sun or shade. We never had a problem getting floaties or a table. No flag service, but you didn't need it as there were beach waiters going around all day. Great kids! We didn't use either pool, but other people definitely seemed to be enjoying them.
The food seemed better than on the previous visit. We never had anything bad, just one or two things I wasn't fond of (raises hand - admitted picky eater here). Again, no problem mon - just get something different. You can't go hungry. Every pizza and every soup was excellent!!
The piano bar now closes at 2 am. What happened to it being open until the last guest leaves?
We met a lot of really nice people from all over the world, including a fun group from Nebraska. Staff were all wonderful. We also spent extra time with a few staff members and got to know more about their life. Very interesting! Mr. Henry was very visible, and glad to talk to everyone.
Things we liked:
- new veggie bar. Yum!
- new pizza oven. Yum again!
- renovated bathrooms near the main bar. Long overdue!!!
- self service beach towels
- cool Couples water bottles. In addition to the water stations, the bartenders will fill them with ice and water. It's so much better than Wata bottles everywhere, can't wait for the other Couples to get them.
Things we were less than thrilled with:
- self service beach towels. Now that you're not responsible for them, people just leave them on the chairs when they get up. It makes a LOT of work for the staff to pick them all up at the end of the day.
- there was no fan in our bathroom, or if there was one behind the ceiling vent it didn't work.
The weakest thing for us was the evening entertainment (Disclaimer - we're musicians, so are more critical than others). The band was very talented but you'd never know - the sound quality was terrible. Every night it was a different problem too - one night you couldn't hear the drums, the next it was no keyboards. The vocals were either too quiet or sounded like they were in a tunnel. I felt bad, because it seemed like the singers thought people were ignoring them when they wanted a response from the audience. No, we just had no idea what you said to us! Even the guest singers didn't sound great. The sound engineer really had no clue how to correct the issues. He kept tweaking knobs but nothing ever improved. Different sometimes, but not better. I think he needs a lot of training.
In the Piano Bar, the pianist can't keep a tempo and doesn't really get the audience engaged. Overall he's not at all comparable to Paul Tucker (CN), Ulti (CSA), or ?? (CSS). His son plays one night and while he could keep a rhythm, he still was just average at best. My husband is a pianist, and would play after the paid players left. People liked him so much better that they kept trying to kick the paid guys out! Nice for the hubby, but definitely not a compliment to Couples. We were amused that for the week we were known around the resort as Piano Man and Mrs. Piano Man. Funny!
I'm already dreaming of the next trip home. My freckles are fading quickly, and there's no bacon with my breakfast. It's a sad, sad thing.