This trip to Couples we chose CN, our previous trip was to CSA. It was great to go home to Couples, it seems that regardless of where you go with Couples you get the same level of service which is great. On our trip this year we were joined by two other couples, and everyone raved about it and are already talking about making a return trip. The Couples family has grown.
When we got to the Couples lounge at the airport, we were warmly greeted, and I got my first (through fifth) red stripe of the trip. We weren't at the lounge very long before our shuttle arrived, I was just thirsty. There were a couple things at the lounge that were off, but I didn't let it affect the rest of the trip. First off was the bartender was accepting tips. I didn't tip since he was a Couples employee and still received good service, just thought it wasn't allowed there, maybe I'm wrong. The second thing that put me off was the guy who took our bags. Before our bags were taken to the shuttle, or the shuttle before ours to CSS/CTI, he came in and announced to everyone that he lined up someone to take our bags to the shuttle and it was a mandatory $1/bag charge we had to pay or we could carry the bags ourselves. Now don't get me wrong, I have no problem tipping the person who does that and actually had more money than that in my pocket ready to give to the person, I just didn't like the way it was presented that it was mandatory, because to me tipping isn't mandatory. I wasn't going to be "that guy" and say anything, but I did take the money I had in my pocket out and gave only the $1/bag I was told, so the person who carried the bags ended up w/about half of what he would have gotten otherwise.
The ride to the resort was fun, the driver was very informative and funny, and it actually seemed shorter than our previous trip to CSA. We were greeted warmly at CN, got the cold towel and cold champagne, and shortly thereafter were taken to our room. Our room was as pictured on the website, which was nice, the only negative with the room was the mildew smell that was fairly strong and persisted through the entire trip. I'm sure we could have changed rooms had we alerted someone to this issue, but I didn't feel like packing everything up to change rooms when our visit was going to be so short. I did not hear of this problem from my family in two other rooms, so it could have been isolated to just certain rooms and not the entire resort.
After check-in got into our bathing suits, hit the grill for some food and bob marley shots, and then straight to the beach. My wife's brother and girlfriend, the second couple joining us, was a surprise to my wife and her sister, and they surprised us at the beach which was very exciting for my wife and her sister. Their screaming caught the attention of security, but they eventually contained their enthusiasm. That was the first of the two surprises I had for my wife this trip.
The second surprise came on our first morning there and it would be hard to pick which was better. I took advantage of Randymon's offer of reading a love letter, and he gave us a wake up call and read the letter I wrote to my wife. I'm not sure which one of us was more excited about that, now how many other resorts will do something like that for you?
The rest of the week was spent eating copious amounts of yummy food, drinking plenty of drinks, and enjoying the beach. The flag service was great, and Stacyann (spell?) was fantastic. We did the night snorkel, which was one of the best snorkel trips I've ever gone on, as well as one during the day, and the catamaran cruise. The day snorkel trip was good, though I did have an issue w/the new vests they require you to wear. I know it is for my own safety, but I am a big guy w/a long torso, and a bit of a sunburn, so every aspect of it was uncomfortable. On the night snorkel I spoke w/the captain and he was ok w/me not wearing it. When we did the day snorkel the following day I left it on the boat, and the captain that day was not happy with me at all and told me next time I could not do that. The result being that I didn't get to enjoy snorkeling again on our trip. This is my favorite activity, so I was a little disappointed in that. I appreciate Couples offering these vests to everyone, a number of people in my group do not swim well and found them very helpful, but for someone like me who swims better than they walk and doesn't fit in them very well I would have been happier if they were just optional.
I know I mentioned eating a lot of food, but that deserves another mention. Lychee was great, we went there twice during our short visit. I can't remember the name of our waitress the first night, but she was great, and kept the food and drinks flowing all night. Otaheite was also good, I really enjoyed the lobster, which I'm usually too cheap to enjoy at home. The breakfast buffet was good, especially the omelettes. The grill for first lunch of beef patties or burgers and onion rings, and then heading to the buffet for second lunch.
The only thing we didn't do, that I was curious about though I wasn't sure we'd do or not, was the pool bar and activities there. In all my reading about CN I read how the pool is the focus of everything, and it certainly was packed and looked like fun, but I just couldn't get away from the beach and the water there. Maybe next time. And without a doubt, there will be a next time.