Trip #7 June 29-July 7--long--CTI
I donít know if I was more excited about flying out of CVG or flying Business Elite. Itís been a very long time since we have flown out of CVG which is 15 minutes from home as the flights are usually so high. Uneventful going into ATL. We arrive into ATL to find our flight is delayed due to storms over Florida. They keep telling us that the Air Traffic Controllers are limiting flights over Florida. So with the delay, I head over to the Duty Free store. Next thing I know, my hubby is there to get me as the pilot has decided to load the plane so we can get out as soon as possible. We board and are offered Mimosas. Then we wait. Finally pull away from the gate and then we wait again. We are finally cleared for take-off about an hour after our scheduled time. After we are in the air for a while, the pilot announces that we are over Jacksonville, FL. Then we are out over the water. As we were nearing Montego Bay we had some big turbulence which sent things flying from our tray and the pilot announcing that everyone needed to return to their seat immediately. As we were getting ready to land, we had to go back up and circle the airport as there was a ďrain cellĒ at the airport. Finally, we are cleared to land. We disembark and head to immigration. We are able to get right through immigration even on a Saturday afternoon. Then on to baggage claim. Our bags are waiting for us, so on to customs. Again, right on through. Then on to the Couplesí Lounge. I had considered using Club MoBay for arrival as we were coming in on a Saturday afternoon and it can be very busy, but at $100 decided not to spend the $$. Glad I didnít it as we were able to fly through everything with no problems. We had a brief wait then it was time to loadthe shuttle. As we exit the airport, it is storming. The rain is coming down so hard and blowing so hard that they are loading the buses under the pavilion. The Couplesí staff is trying to shield us with umbrellas, but it is so windy, it doesnít work. Finally, we are on the bus to Couples and it stops raining.
The ride was pretty uneventful other than having THE SLOWEST driver ever! We had Triple R and while he was nice and gave us info along the way, we had no music or movie on the ride as we have had in the past. Oh and did mention, he was a very slow driver?
Arrival was wonderful. Kirk and Byron are there and greet us like old friends. We were registered and in our room quickly. We unpack and then I go to the grill for a beef pattie. I forgot to have one last year, so it was first on my ďto do listĒ. While we were enjoying the view on the terrace, we ran into friends and made plans to meet for drinks before dinner and then go to dinner. The Gala was supposed to be on the lawn, but with the unpredictable weather, it was moved to the patio. The food was good, but it was very hot on the patio. Lots of people and no air was moving through the space made it worse. We finished eating and moved to the Piano Lounge for air conditioning and drinks. The piano player came in and while the music was nice, it was rather loud and this made it difficult to carry on a conversation. We were tired, anyway, so we called it a night and went back to the room.
For the remainder of our vacation, the days were pretty much the same. I got up and did the Power Walk with Alford, met hubby for breakfast, then go to the pool. We had lunch on the Patio, and would go back to the pool. We would head back to the room around 5 to prepare for the evening then meet friends in the Piano Lounge for drinks prior to dinner. We enjoyed all of our meals in the restaurants. Service was mostly good. We had one night when we never got bar service at the Verandah, but we know that had we really wanted a cocktail or wine, we could have asked and it would have been served. After our dinners, we typically were back in the Piano lounge for drink and conversation. We did pretty good this year and were able to stay up until about 10 most nights. Bar service at the pools was great! Service at the Pool Grill and Veggie Bar was also wonderful. We were able to get all our dinner reservations made for the week on our first day and for the times we wanted. This included a dinner at Bayside and 2 at 8 Rivers. Repeatersí dinner was very good. We didnít attend the Gala, but the set up was beautiful. As the location has changed to the front lawn, we werenít thinking and booked 8 Rivers for dinner on that evening.
We did Trading Places to visit CSS again. Very nice resort, but our heart belongs to CTI.
Room was very nice, 3318 right above Water Sports. Our shower did have the guard installed, but it didnít do a very good job at keeping the water in the shower, so I used a towel on the floor. Mini Bar room service was quick. We called and 10-15 minutes our request was filled. The only negative about this is the drinks were room temperature. Iím not sure why they deliver warm beer and soda. Housekeeping was great and a couple of nights we came back to flowers on our bed at turn down service. Closet was huge and walk-in style. Our balcony was big enough to have the table and chairs with plenty of space. It would be nice if on these larger balconies, they either put a lounger or a hammock (hint, hint).
The Spa was amazing as always. I used Resort and Reward credits to get a facial, followed by a Peppermint Sea Twist (body wrap) and followed these with our Repeatersí massage. My services were given by Fennela and hubby had his with Sharon. He only had the massage. Both ladies were great! Iím learning with practice so I booked all my services at one time to avoid loosing more pool time.
We purchased a photo of us from the July 4th Celebration. For future reference, I am going to try to go into the photo shop each morning after breakfast to build a file of our photos through the week. It takes forever to look everything up from a week of photos.
July 1st, the resort began a towel exchange program. The con of this, I am a two towel person, so not sure how this will work next year. This year, we already had our 2 towels each so we were fine. They say itís to help with loss. Iím not sure why anyone would want to steal one of the beach towels.I think the main issue was people leaving towels laying everywhere all over the resort. Before this program began, we watched while the cat cruise guy brought in a huge armload of towels off the boat. Last year, the leader of a group would bring out towels to save chairs for the others in her group, usually saving them for hours with no one there and then more chairs than the group had numbers. I guess this will limit chair saving to some extent.
Check out went smoothly. This year based on previous experience, we tried to get most of our shopping with credits completed a couple of days before check out. On the morning of check out, we still had some credits left, but we had time, so we got the kids shirts and more coffee. It would be nice if there was some way to donate these credits as dollars to the Issa Trust Foundation, or maybe a pool for Staff Gifts.
Departure stunk, but nothing to do with Couples. We were at the airport and checked in quickly. Lucky me, I was randomly chosen by Delta for 2 additional security screenings. This meant a wait, then swabbing my hands and my bags and going through my bags, not once, but twice. The first time in an office with only the security guard. The second time, on the gateway, they also had me take off my shoes, swabbed and checked them and the bottom of my feet. Both times, my hubby could not be with me. Unfortunately, Jamaica prohibits the airline from serving alcohol until they are airborne as these screenings stressed me out. We were on time for all flights and arrived home safely to find our house still standing and the kids still alive. This was amazing as this was the first time they have stayed home on their own.
Staff that stood out this year, Byron, Kirk and Evard, as always, Paul, Kimoni, Teneisha, Damion (now a Team Leader), Adrian (Food Service Team leader), Fennela (Spa), Aneisha, Fire Fox and Chad (all from Entertainment), Dave in the Grill and there was a female, but I canít remember her name, then Mark and Dean on the Patio and Alford for my morning Power Walks. There are others, but I canít remember their names.
As always, it was great to see our friends we have made through the our visits and spend time together.