This was out 3rd trip to CN, 8th to Couples overall (3 to CTI, 1 each to CSS and CSA). It was awesome as always!! We spent most of the time on the beach, just sitting and reading, but managed to drag ourselves out of the chairs to go kayaking and go on the glass bottomed boat.
My random commentary on the common questions:
Chairs - finding one was never a problem. The resort was full that week and it still looked like there were more chairs than people!! Water sports had them lined up in multiple rows like a cruise ship each morning. The funny thing was most people just left the chairs in place!! Sorry, but I prefer not to have 2 rows of chairs between me and the water. I guess people didn't realize they could be moved? We were very amused by that. Most of the chairs were concentrated up by water sports - down towards the wedding area it was much less populated.
Nudity - there were just a few topless women sitting on the beach, maybe 2 - 3 a day. All very subtle. At the AN beach, security was not enforcing the dress code as there was a woman who wore bikini bottoms every day.
Drinks - beware the never ending lychee martini!! I was a victim of the never ending glass of wine at a previous repeaters dinner, but this was the first time we encountered auto refills on the lychee martini at Lychee. Good thing they're so tasty (and not too strong)! My preferred drink (stoli, club soda, splash of cranberry) was almost always created partially wrong during dinner, but that was a result of the "whisper down the lane" method of ordering. The order would go through several people before getting to the bartender. It got to be a running joke - what ingredient would be missing this time? I of course drank whatever arrived :-)
Sunset - if you go during the time of year that the sun sets behind the point, walk down the beach towards the Riu's. The curve of the beach brings you around so the sun will set over the water. Beautiful!!
Bugs - we only encountered sand fleas at night and after it rained, as expected. But silly us knew better and we still went on the beach after it rained without bug spray. Twice. Duh!
Weather - fabulous! Not at all windy like CTI was that week, and only 2 afternoons had rain. One day was a couple hours of total pouring (followed by a great sunset), the other was for about an hour, after lunch. No problem, we hung out on our balcony.
Critters - this trip we saw the most wildlife ever! Crabs in the water and on land, hermit crabs, a couple kinds of fish, starfish, a cool crowned heron (or similar bird), and tree frogs. Do the tree frog hunt if you have never seen one - it's a 15 minute activity and they are so small and cute!
Pre-registration - I submitted the form, but we were not pre-registered when we arrived. But this is most likely my fault - I waited until 3 days before to submit it.
Evening attire - we saw one guy get turned away from Heliconia for wearing jorts and a sleeveless sports jersey. Really. I guess they never dine anywhere nicer than McDonalds? Most wore sundresses (women) and shorts with a polo/hawaiian style shirt (men), but there were a number of the young crowd in jeans (must have been very hot!) and baseball hats during dinner. Times are changing, that's for sure.
Tipping - we saw bartenders being secretly tipped a couple times. It was always during a man to man handshake. The bartenders all pocketed the cash, but I wish the people doing the tipping would not put those employees in a position where they could be fired. It's not right. What part of No Tipping Allowed is not followable?
Transportation - LOVE, love, love the 6 am Air Jamaica flight out of Philly!!! We beat the 5:50 am flight out of JFK and were the first plane into the airport for the day. We got through everything and to the lounge in time to have our first Red Stripes at 9:20 am. Ahhhhh!!!!
Issues - we only had two small ones and both were with maintenance. It took 4 visits to the front desk before we were able to get a new battery for the radio remote. The radio operated perfectly fine manually, it was just much easier with the remote. Then we had a bottle of tonic water freeze and explode in the mini fridge. Glass everywhere! It remained for 2 days - and the person filling the fridge both days just left the glass in it!!! That took 2 attempts to get resolved. I will say that when I stopped by the front desk for the second request, the young man there was completely horrified and had someone in our room cleaning it up in less than 5 minutes.
Favorite things - bacon, chatting with Paul Tucker before he started playing, spaghetti carbonara at Heliconia, the beautiful sunny beach and clear warm ocean, bacon, walking down the beach every night to see the sunset, bacon, Grace ketchup, and the most important - time with my wonderful hubby!!
What I don't miss - the daily head-to-toe slathering of sunscreen!! It's a necessity for me, but that does NOT mean I have to like it.
For those of you missing CN, this should bring back memories:
Cigar, cigar, sunshades
Cigar, cigar, sunshades
it's gonna be hot-hot-hhhhhhot-hhhhhhot-hhhhhhot (or wet-wet-wwwwwwet as is started raining)
PS. I accidentally brought my comment card home with me. Randymon, would you like me to send it? - (Yes, please, Send it to 11902 Miramar Parkway, Miramar, FL 33025. Thanks - Randymon)
Great review. We were there a similar time frame (11-14 to 11-22) and also had a great time. I'm pleased to say that we had NO issues!!! Everything was wonderful and as described.
As first time guests, one item we did was overpack. I think I didn't wear close to half of what I took and my wife also had some unnecessary items. We also took too much sunscreen (by probably 500 percent). We were not sure what to bring and didn't touch the SPF 100 that we brought.
We had no issues with the bugs. My wife used a soap called "Bug Off" and I didn't use a thing. Just lucky I guess.
Very helpful review. The wife and I leave for CN on Jan 2nd. We're both very excited. One question though....what's this pre-registration that you speak of? Is this for repeat guests? I've looked all over this website and have not found anything that mentions pre-registration.
Rmorfin78, sign up for Romance Rewards, then go here http://couples.com/romance-rewards/pre-checkin.php to pre-check in. You can fill out the order form for the mini-bar so it is stocked when you arrive. Without pre-checkin, you will have to wait until the next day to get your mini-bar stocked.
Hi Abbynewt, we actually met at the bar sitting there one night and enjoyed the brief talk we had. We were there the same time and LOVED LOVED LOVED the weather. I think that was the warmest it has been when we were there but that was perfect.
I love the food at CN but thought this time was actually better than before. I don't know if it is anything specific I can pick out or if the menus suited me more as I tend to be the pickier eater, but I loved everything I got. Even the buffets at night...all the food was always hot and that seemed a little different from before. Nothing was ever a problem but times in the past, once in a while it was lukewarm and I like my food hot. The buffets were great, Cassava was excellent and Othaheite was wonderful and very special as always.
Another, note...we did the pre-registration and though they had the information we had a minor glitch when we checked in...but they must have had the bar list because once we got to our room, within 10 minutes, a gentleman knocked on the door with the items we had on the list for our room, so we didn't have to wait until the next day to get our mini bar stocked. AWESOME!