This was our 8th trip to CTI since 1999, and 11th trip to Couples Resorts. On other trips we went to CN and CSA. As usual, we had a wonderful week in paradise!
We were at the Couples Lounge for only a few minutes before the shuttle to the resort. We traveled with 3 other couples, and the trip was about 1 hour, 40 minutes. Both Kirk and Byron greeted us on our arrival, and check in went quickly. We were first assigned to a room in the 4000 building in the Deluxe Ocean category. We had stayed in that building for many years, but last year, we stayed in the East Wing for the first time, and really loved it. I asked if we could be assigned a room in that wing, and was granted my wish. We ended up in the room right next to the one we had on our last trip. The rooms over there virtually hang right over the ocean, afford a great view of the ocean, Tower Isle, and the resort itself.
I had read about there being two large wedding groups at the resort this week, and was somewhat anxious about that. Getting into the restaurants was not a problem, and we experienced no problems with large groups. During the week, we spoke with Leonard Henry, the manager, and he said the resort was at capacity that week. There were no problems because of that. I do think that it's a good idea to plan out which restaurants you want to go to on which day before you leave home, write that info down, and then fill out the restaurant reservation form right away when you get to the resort. Service at all the bars and restaurants was courteous and quick. The exception to that was one dinner at Veranda- but the restaurant was full that night.
I filled out the pre-check in form online before our arrival. We received our welcome gifts, but not the mini-bar requests. This was most likely because we changed rooms on arrival. The new system where you fill out a card with your mini-bar request everyday worked well. I loved having orange juice every morning right after awaking. We had room service breakfast on two mornings, and the breakfast came on time and was wonderful.
One thing that was new for us on this trip was the new pontoon boat for going out to Tower Isle. There was one thing that we really did not like about the new boat. At the pier, there is about a 3 foot drop from the pier down onto the deck of the boat. For some reason, using the ladder to get down into the pontoon was not being offered as a way to get into or out of the boat. The 3 foot drop getting into the boat was hard for other people besides us. One woman fell while jumping into the boat. This was not an issue at the dock on Tower Isle because the boat deck and dock are nearly at the same level.
We thought we had heard that the new pontoon boat had made it possible for the trip out to the isle be made even on red flag days. This was not the case. Tower Isle was closed for one whole day, and parts of 3 others during our stay due to red flag conditions. During yellow flag conditions, we also noticed that the pontoon ride became a two man job- one watersports guy to drive, and other to hold the boat against the pier or dock. On two of the red flag days I asked Mr. Henry if he would PLEASE open Tower Isle. Both times, he was very gracious, and did get the watersports guys to start taking us out there.
Although our time out on Tower Isle was reduced somewhat, we had a wonderful time out there, as usual. We even got lucky the first day out there and had Damion as our bartender. He said he hadn't been out there for about a month! Even with the resort at capacity, the isle was never very busy. During the renovations, a few areas that were just all coral have been filled in with sand, and more loungers brought out, increasing the capacity of the isle. One thing that was not working this trip was the shower over by the pool. We used that quite often in the past after swimming or snorkeling around Tower Isle.
We took advantage of Trading Places, and ventured over to Sans Souci one day. After arriving, we took a good hour, and toured the entire resort. It is an incredibly lush and beautiful resort! There are many different views of the ocean depending on where you are in the resort, each of them being just gorgeous. We spent time at the bar by the main pool, the main beach, and Sunset Beach. We also enjoyed a great lunch at Pallazina, their buffet lunch restaurant. On the day we were there, the most crowded area was Sunset Beach, but there was still lots of room for us there. The huge advantage of Sunset Beach over Tower Isle is not having to depend on a boat to get you to the au natural area. We are seriously considering booking Sans Souci on our next trip. We did like it that much!
Finally, I'd like to give my opinion of the Romance Rewards/Resort Credit program. We enjoyed using our credits at the spa, gift shops, etc., but actually had trouble spending all of it. We would love one of the choices to use credits to be a one way small airplane shuttle from Mobay to the resort. Those of you who are CTI veterans probably remember that perk fondly. I know we do.
All in all, we had another memorable and romantic trip to paradise. We've only been home for a few weeks, and can't wait to go back!
Yes I remember the airplabe shuttle infact we used it in 2001 as we went to CN for the last 3 days of our trip. We waited 1 1/2 hours for the plane to arrive in the hot sun. I think this might have been one of the reasons Couples stopped using itas they were not reliable to come on time. There were other people waiting that day not from Couples but a different resort on waited longer than us to go to the airport for their flight home. They were very nervous as their planr to their home only flew out a few times a week, they were still waiting when we left and they had only 1/2 hour left to catch the flight. Needless to say they didn't make it. On another note very happy that you enjoyed your trip for us CTI is the best!