We just got back from a week at CN. This was our second trip there, sixth to Couples overall (we've been to all four). It was GREAT!!! Too bad we have to actually have to work for a living and come home. Here's the long highlights!

Perfect
The weather! We had one cloudy morning with a few seconds of sprinkles, and one brief sprinkle another afternoon. The rest of the time it was all sun, no clouds at all. Probably the best weather we've had on any trip at any time of year! A bit breezy, which happens this time of year, but you needed it for the cooling factor. The first day had a little more wind and rougher cloudy water due to storm off shore. But it brought in huge starfish! Very cool.

Bad
We went back to the room mid afternoon one day. The person refilling the mini bar had been there and turned every light in the room on (bathroom included), filled the room with smoke, and left a cigarette butt in the ashtray and ashes in the sink!!!! We don't smoke and I have a severe allergy to it. We immediately opened the porch doors and called the front desk. Their response was "employees are not allowed to smoke on duty." That may be, but the cigarette didn't walk in on it's own! Hmmm... maybe a smoking guest decided to fill our mini bar? They really didn't believe us or seem to care, but finally said they'd send someone to spray it out. I can't say if that ever happened. For something that could have been a big health problem for me, I expected them to be more responsive and have the standard 'do anything for the guests' attitude. That was not the case this time.

Oh and they forgot our drinks one day at lunch, how rude! Seriously, if that was our worst problem, life is good.

Ugly
On the cat cruise, there was a couple sitting next to us who chain smoked the entire time. They threw all their cigarette butts in the ocean!!! C'mon people, when are you going to learn the world is not your ashtray? The bar certainly would have provided an ashtray, had they asked. Totally ticked me off. (stepping off the cigarette soap box now).


Everything else falls under the Great category!!

Beach
CN's beach is by far our favorite out of all of them. We loved that the trees that used to be into the water up by the second Riu are now gone and you can walk all the way to the end of the cove. The sunsets are better this time of year down that end, so talk a walk late in the day - it's beautiful. No problem getting chairs in sun or shade, even though CN was fully booked. Tables were a little scarcer, but you could find one with a little searching. Could live without the persistent jetskis though. If we say no to one guy, we're definitely not going to say yes to the guy 10 feet behind him!

The Ciiiiiiggggarette, cigar, cigar guy and the Paaaarrrrrraaa Saaailing guy were funny. They passed each other one day in front of us and greeted each other with Ciiiiiiggggarette Winston, Paaaarrrrrraaa Saaailing Phillip (actual names unknown), and a nod. Cracked us up.

Instead of no Office of Nature, there's now two!!! The one closest to CN has an official looking sign and a bar gazebo, kinda touristy. The second one is further down the beach, with a handpainted sign and handmade bar. Much more rustic and it looked like the locals hung out there. Both had beer and were cooking lobsters. Why two? We'll probably never know.

For the newbies, wear what you want!! No one looks at you with any criticism, and if they do who cares? There's every size and shape suit on every size and shape body. The only model type body we saw was an actual model being photographed!!! The european influence is throughout, and smaller suits are the norm for all (mostly string bikinis on the women). Try wearing something one step beyond your comfort level, you'll be wishing you went farther than that in no time! But maybe avoid the banana hammock like a guy at the Riu had on (ew, he would have been less revealing going AN!).

Food/Drinks
BEWARE THE NEVER ENDING GLASS OF WINE!!!! This is not a joke. I rarely drink wine, and the waiter at the repeater's dinner got me good. Luckily all I do is talk louder and more. Of course I woke up the next day feeling perfectly fine. You don't get hangovers at Couples!

Never a bad meal, and always some exceptional items (like pumpkin soup and pumpkin fritters at Oteheite, and the lychee martini at Lychee). Heliconia grill for lunch is a bit disorganized, but it always has been so we're used to it.

Entertainment
Paul Tucker in the piano bar is excellent! His parents gave piano lessons to Ultimate Chocolate (CSA), what a small world. If anyone's going to CN soon and is a musician, please buy a 12+ foot mic cord as a present for Paul (mention Gary the piano player asked you to). The one there now is shot! If we could guarantee he'd get it, it would already be in the mail.

The house band was ummm... interesting, but it wasn't their fault. They have a new professional lead singer who's been there less than 2 weeks, and a keyboard player who's been there less than one. They only knew one set of songs (really great for that short amount of time), so the set was repeated during the week. They had to stop and start a few songs due to lack of practice time together, but it was handled very smoothly. I'm guessing no one else even noticed (we're musicians and rather picky). The sound wasn't balanced well (again, not their fault) - too much bass and vocals, couldn't even hear the rest of the instruments. And way too much Lionel Richie! If I never hear "All Night Long" again, I'll be very happy.

We didn't have much interaction with the entertainment staff. They did sit with guests at breakfast and lunch, but not with us. No big deal.

Random thoughts
We saw a Scottish man get married in his kilt - AWESOME!! He looked hot as hell, but it was well worth it.

In addition to the blackbirds hanging out at the Terrace, there's now a few white egrets! I thought they were very cool, other people seemed to be less amused. LOL!

Couples should try to empty the recycling bins more often. Many days they were completely full of wata bottles (yeah!!), and the overflow ended up in the trash.

When we were getting on the goodbye bus, the mento band played the Beach Boys' "Sloop John B." Not funny, guys, not at all - I don't want to go home!!!

The End
I'm having major Crispy Bacon withdrawal and my freckles are already fading. Our planned CTI trip for next year can't come soon enough!!