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  1. #1

    Default Long Review (CSS, CSA, CN) July 14 - 26, 2012

    We just got back from 12 wonderful days at the Couples Resorts. We were in Jamaica from 7/14 - 7/26 and we got married on 7/18. Here is a review of our experience:

    CSS- After a snafu with our flight (we were supposed to get in at 1pm and actually arrived at CSS at 9:30pm), we landed and had a short wait at customs (about 20 minutes, we were expecting longer) made our way to the Couples lounge where we were able to have a cold Red Stripe and a Pepsi. Our shuttle was ready to go about 10 minutes later and we had one other couple who was in the shuttle with us. Since we had got to the airport at 4:30am, we slept on the ride to the resort since it was dark and we couldn't see anything anyway.

    As soon as we arrived, we were greeted with cold wash cloths and Champaign and were given the keys to our room. We were also informed that the couple we were traveling with were in the room directly below us which was perfect. We were in G17, a top floor corner room that had great views . One side looked over the saltwater pool and the mountains and the other looked over the ocean. One downside of this location is it is right by the Balloon Bar so if you like to go to bed early (before 11pm) it may be a little noisy for you. We had no problem sleeping thru it when we did go to bed before the live entertainment was done. Loved our room, had a large balcony with a table 2 chairs and 2 loungers. Large living room, 2 closets and 1 dresser in the bedroom and your standard hotel bathroom. We were right next to the lobby and Casanova so no stairs to get there. Had some room service as soon as we got there and the nachos and pizza are amazing!

    Our first morning, we went to Palazzina, the only option for breakfast except for room service which we only did once for breakfast since it was mostly only cold. Palazzina had an amazing breakfast buffet which we never got tired of. Make sure you try the omelets and pancakes made to order! Did Dunn's River Falls since it was Sunday and supposed to be less crowded (which later in the week we were talking to another couple and they didn't go on a Sunday and they said it was super busy, it wasn't bad at all for us on Sunday). Had a blast and I highly recommend it! My husband did get "tricked" into buying something when we left. If you don't want to buy anything tell them you have no money and keep walking! We did talk the guy down to $10 for 2 of the statues they were selling instead of $20. Once we got back Hung out at the pool bar all day, had lunch at the Beach Grill and had our first Jamaican Jerk Chicken - YUM! Tried as many drinks as possible that day and just hung around the pool. Met Anthony at the Beach Bar and he made the most delicious drinks! Dinner was at Bella Vista since it was the only place that did not need reservations. Good food, good service, just wish there was more light to see what we were eating and also make sure you use bug spray!

    On Monday, we met with our wedding coordinator for our Wednesday wedding. It was a pretty short meeting with us just picking our cake, location and flowers. We didn't do any upgrades since I made my own bouquet and just used the provided flowers for our trash the dress photo shoot. We also hired and outside photographer which was an extra $500. The coordinator gave us a time line for the day of and what we needed to bring (groom- rings, iPod, boutonnieres (brought own)) and what time the hair and makeup was at and when she would meet myself and my bridesmaid.

    Tuesday was the Beach Bash and we LOVED the buffet. So many selections and everything was amazing! The desert table was to die for! We had a table right next to the ocean and you couldn't beat the view. We didn't stick around for the band but went up to the Balloon Bar instead. My fiancé and I separated for the night (he stayed with his best man and my maid of honor came up to our room) and prepared for the wedding the next day.

    Wednesday morning we woke up to cloudy skies. We ordered room service for breakfast (cold cereal and a basket of breads) and it was delivered right on time (6:45am). Our hair and makeup appointment was for 8:30am. We walked down to the salon (right near G block) and it took from about 8:30 until 10:00 for our hair and make up to get done. I was very happy, my stylist was able to do exactly what I wanted with my hair and makeup. It started raining when we were getting our hair done and the wedding coordinator met us at the salon with an umbrella to get us back to the room. Luckily it stopped raining right before we left. Got back to the room, got changed into my dress and the coordinator came to get us at 10:45am for the 11am wedding. Since it had rained, it was hot and humid and I was dying in my dress. We took a van as close as we could get to the wedding gazebo and we made our way down. The wedding went smoothly, it only tool about 15 minutes (we didn't add any extra vows) and then we sat down for the signing of the certificate and cake and champagne. Spent about 3 hours going around the resort with our photographer and got some amazing shots! I had no worries for any part of the wedding and I would have it at CSS again in a heartbeat!

    We went to Casanova for dinner where the chef prepared me a special meal since I don't eat red meat and there was no chicken on the menu. I didn't get his name but a huge thank you to him!
    Loved Casino Night! My only complaint would be some of the guests taking things a little too seriously, had a blast with KatieAnn being our dealer!
    Starlight Gala was beautiful and we had fun watching the band! Turtles were supposed to lay eggs that night so we headed to SSB and spoke with the environmental coordinator who told us all about the turtles and that the resort moved the after party for the Gala from SSB to the Beach Grill so the turtles could come lay their eggs.

    We had made plans to do all the water sports and the glass bottom boat etc but ended up just being happy relaxing and hanging around the pool and the beach.

    Saturday morning we headed to CSA. Our van picked us up at 12pm and Phillip was our very informative driver. Took about 3 hours to reach CSA since it was raining and the roads get crazy when it rains! We reached the front desk and got our room keys, as we walked to our room the first thing we noticed we all the people hooting and hollering on balconies etc. It seemed like there were quite a few large groups here. Once we got to our room, hubby didn't like the fact there was no TV so we started talking about upgrading our room. We decided to have lunch and headed to the Cabana Grill. As we walked there, there were louder and louder people. People shouting from one balcony to another and the noise from the swim up bar was crazy. Had lunch at the grill, service was terrible, we felt like we were bothering the staff by ordering food. So far we were not feeling the CSA vibe.

    After our lunch we decided to go to the front desk to get a room with a TV, if people we going to be loud all night we needed something to drown it out. On our way to the front desk, we decided that we would see if we would transfer down to CN. Our thoughts were smaller resort, less loud people, more "honeymoonish" for us. The gentleman at the front desk was very helpful and we were able to go down to CN within 1/2 hour. We were put in room 2210 which was an end room. We unpacked and started to explore the resort. We were already in love with CN over CSA. Had a much more romantic feel to it. We headed back to our room and we found... ants. They were all over the bathroom, on the towels that were prettily arranged on the counter and crawling on our bags. There were tons in the sink (now mind you we hadn't used the sink for anything yet). There was bug spray in the closet (hmmm) so we sprayed where it looked like they were coming in from (window in the bathroom) and went down to let the front desk know. We cleaned up most the ants before we left). Front desk said they would have the room "deep cleaned" and if we found more in the morning then they would move us. Got back to the room after an hour and we could tell that the staff didn't "deep clean" (there were still dead ants by the sink). Woke up the next morning and there were more ants in the bathroom. Went to the front desk and they said they would move us. We went from Building 2 to building 1 room 1203. Great room, amazing view and best of all, NO ANTS!!!

    Liked the Beach Bar a lot but be sure to wear bug spray, they tore us up! Ivylyyn was the greatest bartender ever! We didn't go to the BB on her nights off! Had fund at Casino night, comparing CSS to CN, CSS wins hands down. Games more fun at CSS and the prizes are better too.

    Never really met the entertainment staff at CN, the only event we went to was the Casino night.

    Did the glass bottom boat tour and learned some really interesting things about the area and got some great pictures.

    Signed up for the Catamaran, it was storming pretty bad before we went, lighting and thunder was still going on when it was time to board so we decided not to do it. Lighting and water are just not my thing...
    Went to the repeaters dinner, the food was some sort of red meat and again, the chef made me some chicken which I greatly appreciated. Sat across from Ricardo the GM and he was very informative about the resort and some of the improvements that he wants to make.

    Shade - Never had a problem getting a shade spot by the pool. Didn't really hand at the beach too much but I do have to say that a lot of the cushions at the beach could be replaced. There were quite a few that were really cracked and peeling bad.

    Overall, we really enjoyed CSS and CN. We plan on going back to CSS in 2014 and we would go back to CN as well. We are hooked

    (Sorry this was long and rambling )
    Becky & Dave
    CSS July 2012 (Wedding @ CSS 7.18.12)
    CN July 2012

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    113

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    Thanks for writing an honest review. Last week I tried being "objective" in my review of CSA and list the negatives along with the positives of our trip but it came off as complaining to some people. Stating things that went wrong or that you didn't like doesn't necessarily mean you had a bad time. It's just that "that's what happened". Thanks again for being honest about your trip. Congrats on your wedding.

    CSA Aug. 2011, July 2012, July 2013, July 2014
    CSS Aug. 2011, Aug. 2014

  3. #3
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    Jun 2009
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    1,420

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    Quote Originally Posted by beckyanddave View Post
    . . . the first thing we noticed we all the people hooting and hollering on balconies etc. It seemed like there were quite a few large groups here . . . . there were louder and louder people. People shouting from one balcony to another, and the noise from the swim up bar was crazy.
    So sorry to hear this. We've only been to CSA once, and the people at the pool bar were so raucous every day that we ended up avoiding that area of the resort entirely. It's unfortunate that large groups are flocking to the resorts and ruining the relaxing, romantic atmosphere that so many of us seek.
    Pamela
    I know everything, and I'm always right (just ask my husband).

  4. #4

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    Congratulations and thanks for the great review!

  5. #5
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    Jun 2009
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    Thanks for the informative review and congratulations on your wedding.
    Good to hear that Couples could accommodate your move from CSA to CN (We're not fans of the whooping and hollering groups either).

    Quote Originally Posted by beckyanddave View Post
    ... Ricardo the GM and he was very informative about the resort and some of the improvements that he wants to make.
    ...
    Very curious to hear what some of his ideas were.

  6. #6

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    Congratulations on your wedding! we wish you a long and happy marriage, thanks for the review, I love to hear about peoples experiences.

    Brenda
    CSS Oct. 2013

  7. #7
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    Didn't give CSA much of a chance IMO. An hour or two maybe? We've been to CSA 4 times with the 5 the booked and while I've seen many large groups and rowdy people I sure wouldn't ask to change resorts, that's just me. CSA is large and I would have just gone someplace else on the beach . We've been to CSS and cnegril and seen super drunk and loud people there to. Sorry you ran into some and sorry CSA didn't live up to your expectations.

  8. #8
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    Jun 2009
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    Congratulations on your marriage, so glad everything went well for the wedding! We were at CSS the same time you were, in G-6! My husband saw your trash the dress session, he thought that was pretty cool!
    (Karen&Paul)

  9. #9
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    Jun 2012
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    Thanks for the review. I am also getting married at CSS in December. We will be there for two weeks. I originally wanted to try for one week on the OR side and one on the Negril side. From your review it sounds like I will be very happy at CSS. Can't wait.

    And congrats on your wedding and honeymoon!

  10. #10

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    We understand that there can be loud/drunk people any where (and sometimes we are those people) and if we would have been on just a vacation, we probably would have stayed at CSA but since we were on our honeymoon, this was not the atmosphere that we were looking for. We were looking for the Couples Only atmosphere and not the large group lets party all night and all day and scream to each other from balcony to balcony. Plus, it wasn't just the large groups, but the staff at the Cabana Grill really put a bad taste in our mouth. No one told us to go up to the counter and order so we sat at a table for a good 15 minutes while there was staff standing there and finally another couple let us know we had to go up to the counter to order. I got an eyeroll from the cook when I tried to order nachos at the counter (I had no idea you got them yourself) we had just got there! I'm not paying what we paid to be there to have staff roll their eyes at me when I ask for something, not everyone is CSA vets and knows that the nachos are self serve!

    First impressions generally set the standard and we didn't want to be stuck at a resort for our honeymoon that we were not happy with. I am very thankful that the staff was able to transfer us to CN which as I stated in my review, was a much more "honeymoon" atmosphere. I'm not trying to put down CSA, but it wasn't what we were looking for on this trip.

    Quote Originally Posted by softail19 View Post
    Didn't give CSA much of a chance IMO. An hour or two maybe? We've been to CSA 4 times with the 5 the booked and while I've seen many large groups and rowdy people I sure wouldn't ask to change resorts, that's just me. CSA is large and I would have just gone someplace else on the beach . We've been to CSS and cnegril and seen super drunk and loud people there to. Sorry you ran into some and sorry CSA didn't live up to your expectations.
    Becky & Dave
    CSS July 2012 (Wedding @ CSS 7.18.12)
    CN July 2012

  11. #11

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    We were right by you in G17! Wish we would have had a drink while we were there!

    Quote Originally Posted by KarenON View Post
    Congratulations on your marriage, so glad everything went well for the wedding! We were at CSS the same time you were, in G-6! My husband saw your trash the dress session, he thought that was pretty cool!
    Becky & Dave
    CSS July 2012 (Wedding @ CSS 7.18.12)
    CN July 2012

  12. #12

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    We personally would do a split between OR and Negril again. We basically wasted a whole day driving. In 2014, we plan on just doing 10 days at CSS and in 2016 going to CN for 10 days. It was nice to see both sides of the island but not worth the 3 hour drive.

    You will love CSS! And the gazebo was the perfect place for our ceremony since it was HOTT and super humid that day so it was nice being in the shade.

    Quote Originally Posted by goldenboy View Post
    Thanks for the review. I am also getting married at CSS in December. We will be there for two weeks. I originally wanted to try for one week on the OR side and one on the Negril side. From your review it sounds like I will be very happy at CSS. Can't wait.

    And congrats on your wedding and honeymoon!
    Becky & Dave
    CSS July 2012 (Wedding @ CSS 7.18.12)
    CN July 2012

  13. #13

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    Some of the things he mentioned was replacing all the AC units with energy efficient ones (they were in the process of replacing all of building 4 when we were there) and just some general maint. like painting etc. My hubby talked to him more so I would have to talk to him to see some of the other things but nothing major that would change the feel of the resort.

    Quote Originally Posted by rudi View Post
    Thanks for the informative review and congratulations on your wedding.
    Good to hear that Couples could accommodate your move from CSA to CN (We're not fans of the whooping and hollering groups either).



    Very curious to hear what some of his ideas were.
    Becky & Dave
    CSS July 2012 (Wedding @ CSS 7.18.12)
    CN July 2012

  14. #14

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    I read your review and it didn't seem like you were complaining at all. You were stating the facts of what happened just like I did. Everything is in the eye of the beholder and if your not happy about somehting you have thr right to express it

    Stuff happens and you make the best of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by nova13 View Post
    Thanks for writing an honest review. Last week I tried being "objective" in my review of CSA and list the negatives along with the positives of our trip but it came off as complaining to some people. Stating things that went wrong or that you didn't like doesn't necessarily mean you had a bad time. It's just that "that's what happened". Thanks again for being honest about your trip. Congrats on your wedding.
    Becky & Dave
    CSS July 2012 (Wedding @ CSS 7.18.12)
    CN July 2012

  15. #15

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    Ok, everyone that knows me knows I am a huge advocate of CSA. We've been ther 19 times and have trip # 20 booked for 2013, so obviously it ain't so bad. I agree that sometimes the large wedding parties get carried away & take away from the ambiance of the resort, however, keep in mind that most of these wedding parties only stay a few days, not the whole week, & it then returns to the type of resort most of us love & enjoy. I really think you should've given it more than a few hours to form an honest objective opinion, but respect your choice. We've had our share of annoyances over the years just like you would at any resort, but overall CSA still rules in our book. We're not fans of loudness either, I just wouldn't want you to think that this type of behavior is the norm, cause it is not. No disrespect intended, just my humble opinion.

  16. #16
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    Very well said Sonofthebeach

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by softail19 View Post
    Very well said Sonofthebeach
    Respect!! Lotta mercy!!

  18. #18
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    Jun 2009
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    Congrats on getting married!! I've heard so many nice things about CSS and now I want to try that resort even more. So sorry to hear about your short experience with CSA, but I get that when you immediately get a bad impression, you want it to be corrected. I hope the next time you go to CN that you take advantage of the Trading Spaces program and go over to check CSA out for the day. CSA is our favorite and it's because it's so spread out, the beautiful beach that you can wander down and the romantic lighting at night. We have never encountered groups like that, but it would definitely put a damper on romance. Thanks for your review.

  19. #19

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    For the people who are now worried about CSA after reading this, it's been my experience that the rowdier people who drink more tend to congregate at the pool bar (both at CSA and CTI). CSA is very spread out, so you can simply move to a different area to avoid that kind of vibe.

    We spent 10 days at CSA, and while the pool bar was definitely livelier, we never saw anyone yelling from their balconies (not saying this didn't happen during this person's trip, just that it would be an exception rather than the norm). We spent most of our time in the older section since we were diving almost every morning, and then hung out on the beach or at the sunset bar. It was very peaceful and quiet on that end.

  20. #20
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    Nov 2009
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    I just want to comment on how accomadating the front desk staff at couples is. We booked a stay at CN and arrived there last Feb. After a few hours the first day we decided it was not for us. The reason is not important. We thought.... could we go to CSS? I wish I could remember the gentlemans name but he made a few phone calls, got us the last room available at CSS and set the shuttle up for the next morning. No questions .... just made it happen. We have now visited all four and CSS is our favorite. I was just so impressed with how seamlessly and professionally they made the transition in an effort to satisfy their guests. Couples rocks!! 195 days and counting till were back!! Jeff

  21. #21

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    That sucks about CSA Becky! I'm glad we didn't have that experience! We were in a BFS smack dab in the middle of the resort, so the noise was minimal. We also didn't see any big groups. I do agree that the pool bar was obnoxious though. We discovered very quickly that the other end of the resort was the quiet spot. We were often the only people in the pool. I also agree about the staff at the grill. Yes, the nachos were self serve, but you had to ask the staff for the toppings (except one day out of 11 when they had them out on the counter) and they acted like you were bothering them when you asked for them. I had a much happier experience there then you did, but I'm checking out CN and CSS next year (May and October respectively).
    CSA - May 2012
    CN - May 2013
    CSS - October 2013

  22. #22
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    Jun 2009
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    I've been following this thread for a few days and just had to comment.
    BG-CSA is our home. We have been to CSS and CTI twice each.
    I just had to post about the people saying "Hey, if people are loud, just move."
    Why should other people have to move or be inconvenienced by the rude and inconsiderate? Why should someone have to give up a prime location on the beach because a large group of rowdy people decide to move in? Why should a couples meals be interupted by a large group of loud,people? Why should a couple have to move from the the swim up bar, or the pool to get some peace a quiet?
    The Couples philosophy states:

    By offering exceptional five-star service and world-class amenities in Jamaica’s most idyllic natural setting, we create a carefree and enchanting environment—that encourages you to forget about everything except enjoying each other. Without distraction, crowds, children or schedules, our “couples only” philosophy translates into pure romance from the moment you arrive.
    And from the website about CSA:
    Never crowded or hurried, the resort offers an intimate tranquility and when desired, total seclusion.
    Everything Couples promotes is a tranquil, peaceful atmosphere for romance. When someone arrives and finds a big party crowd, why are they the ones who need to be "tolerant" or have to move? They paid for, and expected, a quiet romantic vacation because that is what Couples advertises.

    And Becky and Dave, I don't blame you one bit for immediately asking to be moved to CN.
    And I am really glad you did get to enjoy a peaceful, quiet, romantic honeymoon like you were promised.
    And I hope someone has taken note of the rude treatment at the Cabana Grill. That should never happen.

  23. #23

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    Becky and Dave, I totally understand you moving. An initial impression can't be changed. We too have had not so stellar experiences in our nine trips to Swept Away.

    Two trips were really affected by large groups, this year included. We were not allowed to get on the the bus waiting when we arrived when we got to the airport lounge because it was taken by a wedding group that came in after us.

    This group haunted us all week and we had part of the group on the goodbye bus with us and one couple boarded, saved their seat, and got off and delayed our airport return.

    I have to say that this year was our worst experience with "groups" at Swept Away. That being said the room, food and staff was outstanding and was the saving grace for this years trip.

    Unfortunately this seems to be a theme that happens time and time again and gets posted on this forum and these type complaints are always about Swept Away. I do not remember many for the other resorts but I am sure it has happened.

    Randymon has stated that the resort has no idea about the large groups when they book. Very true. they can book as a group or as a couple. The wedding staff will certainly know about large wedding groups when the couple getting married has their wedding meeting with their coordinator.

    Perhaps a group meeting needs to be has as well onsite to define expectations of conduct for these groups.


    Folks do not book this wonderful resort advertised as a "Couples romance experience" to find them selves in the middle of spring break.

    We love Swept Away and hope to return again some day, but I could live forever without hearing the song YMCA blaring at night from a beach reception of thirty plus people.

    Respect Mon,

    Randy
    it's all about the kids

    www.issatrustfoundation.com

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    113

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    Sorry to hear some of you had a bad experience with the Cabana Grill. Not defending them for their actions but I had to speak up and say this was not the case when we were there a couple weeks ago. We found Roxanne to be very sweet and helpful. She remembered us from last year and knew what I wanted to eat when she saw me coming. Snapper sandwich or a beef pattie, just had to tell her which one. (making myself hungry....)

    I understand why BeckeyandDave would have been put off by thier situation. Waiting such a long time and not knowing that you had to go up to the counter to order and no one teling you would have left a bad first impression for me too but people do go up to that area just to sit for awhile so I don't think seeing a couple just sitting there was anything out of the norm for the staff. Sorry you felt the need to leave CSA so soon. We had the same feelings last year when we did a split between CSA and CSS. CSA being first. We sort of felt out of place and were not sure we liked CSS once we got there. For the first two days we were REALLY missing CSA bad and thought we made the wrong decision but we stuck it out and gave CSS a chance. After that it grew on us and now can't wait to go back. Had we not stayed, we would not have meet and become friends with a very nice couple from the UK. It was just a shock to the system at first because the two resorts have such different atmospheres. Love them both for different reasons. Hope you will try again in the future but then maybe you have found your "home".

    CSA Aug. 2011, July 2012, July 2013, July 2014
    CSS Aug. 2011, Aug. 2014

  25. #25
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    15

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    I was just at CN, and I was at CSA lat year. In every resort there will be a few employees that will be miserable. So far yes, I have seen them at both grills. What usually works for me, when I see that look on their face, I will usually, say in a very friendly voice with everything. Oh, I didnt know, sorry about that... "Chuckle chuckle" "Thank you so much!!! I usually get a more friendly "your welcome". You just have to have a great sense of humor with them, and show how appreciative you are.

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