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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    472

    Default This vacation will be blogged.. Live at CTI

    I really enjoy reading these posts when I'm waiting to get to Couples so I thought I would give it a try. I'm hoping to post every morning but we'll see how that goes. It is after all a vacation.

    This one has started off pretty well. We convinced a couple of friends, B and K to come down with us and try CTI. My wife and I have been to CSA twice, but we couldn't resist seeing the re-done CTI this time around. She sure does look good, and everything that people say about her staff seems to be true.

    B & K are Key West fans. They go every year and rave about it. We've been there with them and I can testify to the fact that Key West is a really fun place.... but still, we figured that they just didn't know what they were missing. Having convinced them to come with us, I can tell you I under-estimated the amount of apprehension that comes with convincing friends to spend thousands of dollars to go on vacation with you. Now that we're here, it is apparent that I was worried about nothing. They love it. And my wife and I love it also.

    We flew American airlines through Miami yesterday. Flights were uneventful. At immigrations and customs, there were more people than I had seen before, but it still went really smooth. The couples lounge was pretty busy too, which I was glad to see. For the first time we rode in a small bus to the resort. In the past I've always gotten a van. I convinced B & K to ride up front, and crossed my fingers that we would get a good driver. Well, Doctor Admiral SA certainly delivered the goods. He was everything you could hope for with respect to your driver. His voice was clear as a bell. He was funny, clever and really informative. He gave us Patios lessons. He taught us about Rastafariens, and their religion. We had a fun group on that bus, and with Doctor Admiral SA's help we soon were in a Jamaican state of mind.

    The road to Ocho Rios makes for an easier drive than the road to Negril in my opinion. It smoother and in very good condition. The road to Negril isn't bad at all but the road to Ochie seems more like a highway. It is very beautiful. We got into Ochie right about dusk and the trip in at twilight is just beautiful. We stopped at a jerk joint about 2/3's of the way there for a bathroom break. On the way in I walked past a father and son having dinner. I've got to tell you, that was some of most amazing smelling jerk I've ever been around. I now wish I would have gotten some, but we wanted to get to CTI so I held off.

    We got to the resort, and got checked in. Met the world famous Byron. He is exactly as advertised, a really great guy. We then went straight to the main bar got a couple of drinks, and then headed to the buffet at the Patio. I was really impressed. I do expect a certain standard at Couples, but the food at the Patio exceeded that last night. It was really, really good. I'm getting hungry again now just thinking about it.

    The star of the night for us was Simone at the main bar. She is kind and friendly, and made us feel right at home. By eight PM, B and K had decided this was the best vacation ever.

    As I'm typing this at the internet cafe, I'm noticing it is a gorgeous morning out. The skies are blue and the water is very calm. I'm going to go wake up my lovely wife and take her to breakfast. Stay tuned. I'm sure there will be more to report.


    Jeff (and Marybeth)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,084

    Default

    Keep it coming Jeff!! We are 47 days out....and CAN NOT WAIT to come home!!!
    Kristen

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    472

    Default

    The details of our first full day at Tower Isle are a bit hazy. I am pretty sure a pool bar was involved. Let's just say that friends were made and fun was had by all.

    I like the staff here a lot. Sheldin and Ryan at the pool bar are a blast. Shariff is the man to see at water sports. And Simone continues to be a constant joy to see.. Good folks, each and everyone.

    One thing that has been missing... I have yet to make a Ulysee sighting. If he's not at breakfast tomorrow I am definitely going to ask about him.


    We spent the day yesterday pretty much doing nothing, which was wonderful. We did play pictionary at the swim up bar, and tried out a whole lot of drink concoctions. Our bartenders were very talented.

    One thing I've noticed here that I think is really cool is that it looks like there several Jamaicans vacationing here too. Last night at the piano bar we met a wonderful Jamaican couple. The husband had bought himself and his wife a day pass to celebrate their anniversary and her birthday, which I thought was terrific. They were a wonderful couple and I really enjoyed meeting them.


    More later.... It's lunch time!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,953

    Default Thank you!

    Thanks for taking time out of your vacation to "blog" for us who are living vicariously through other Couples' guests.
    Vicky

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    21

    Default

    Can't wait! 10 days till CTI!! Looking forward to additional posts!!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    1,748

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiff542 View Post
    B & K are Key West fans. They go every year and rave about it. We've been there with them and I can testify to the fact that Key West is a really fun place.... but still, we figured that they just didn't know what they were missing.
    We honeymooned at Couples Negril in 2006. Decided to come back every 3 years. Big mistake!

    We went to Key West for our winter vacation in 2008. Big mistake! We had a lot of fun, but it sure ain't Jamaica! The "resort" we stayed at was just a hotel with a swimming pool and hot tub. The "beach" was big enough for about 4 chairs and the "swimming area" was too rocky to walk in. No included water sports at all. We had to rent a car to get to a decent beach, which was even featured on the Travel Channel's "Florida's Top Ten Beaches". The sand was as nice as the Negril side of Jamaica, because it was trucked in from the Bahamas. Other that that, it didn't hold a candle to the beaches on 7 mile at Negril. And, what's even worse is the trip cost over $810 a day for just air, lodging and food. Our honeymoon only cost $580 per day for air, lodging, food and tons of included activities on the resort including water sports.

    We are now going back to Couples every winter!
    [
    CN 2006, CSS 2009, CN 2009, CN 2010, CTI 2010, CN 2011, CSS 2012, CN 2012, CN 2013, CSA 2014, CN 2014, CSA 2015, CN 2015

  7. #7

    Default

    Jeff,
    Thanks for the Real-time reporting, luv it!
    We too have been CN fans, CSS fans, and in 65 days will be in Jamaica, CTI.
    So, hearing your story unfold with your good friends is so helpful, getting through....
    Barb

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    125

    Default

    18 days won't come soon enough. Tell Simone Heather & Ron said Hi, and we will see her soon. Much Love

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    472

    Default

    Second full day was tamer for us, and we enjoyed being lazy. A lot of people arrived either late Saturday or early Sunday so the pool bar was hopping. Some folks put in some notable efforts at the swim-up bar.

    I have an EyeFi card in my camera and I set it up for the wireless at the resort so you should start seeing regular picture uploads here:

    http://picasaweb.google.com/mandolin.jeff


    After I scrub the uploaded photos I'll make them public everyday. There are also some older albums including our 2006 Honeymoon at CSA. You're welcome to look at them all.

    Last night we tried Bayside and it was really good. Very similar to Lemongrass at CSA. Corrine was our server, and Ryan made sure we always had a fresh drink. They did a very good job. I ate a bunch. I was happy.


    Gotta run get breakfast as Dunn's River Falls are on the agenda this morning. Hopefully I can type a more coherent report later LOL!

  10. #10

    Default

    Reading this makes me soooo excited to go to CTI. We will be there in May for our Honeymoon! Only 167 days to go!!!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,508

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Spiff542 View Post

    One thing that has been missing... I have yet to make a Ulysee sighting. If he's not at breakfast tomorrow I am definitely going to ask about him.

    He's in NYC.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    40

    Default

    Simone is the best! Tell her Jeff and Michelle from NC said hello and we will see you soon!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    712

    Default

    Jeff,

    Sounds like you are having a blast. Good reports so far... Kiss MB for Patty and me...

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    207

    Default KrisJamie, clarification please

    Do you know if Ulysses will be back to CTI before Christmas? TIA

  15. #15

    Default

    Is this the same Simone? If it is we met her in 05 and she is the best. Say hello to her from Greg and Jacki.Name:  Simone.JPG
Views: 1198
Size:  23.4 KB
    GREANJAC

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    393

    Default

    Sorry to hear that Ulysses is gone. Hope his mother is OK and he's back soon! Glad to hear Simone is still there. Ask her about her daughter Jenae if you get a chance. Tell her Sue and Adolph say Hi and we'll be there Jan. 16th.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,508

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rae_Dave View Post
    Do you know if Ulysses will be back to CTI before Christmas? TIA
    I don't think he will. We chatted in JA before he left for the States and may be gone for a while.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    14

    Default

    Thank you so much for posting your days and the awesome pics. 14 Days we will be there. From the looks of it you went to dunn falls yesterday was it busy there, trying to find the most quiet day to go. Keep it coming.
    Jeremy and andrea 12/15-12/22

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    472

    Default

    Here is the report for days two and three. I've been real busy having fun, so I do apologize for the lateness of this report

    Yesterday we did the world famous Dunn's River Falls for the first time. It definitely was fun. You also definitely will be soaked from head to toe. I saw one unfortunate couple attempt to wrap a digital camera in cling wrap before going up. I don't know what happened to that camera, but I'm sure it was not a happy ending. We managed to get through there before the hoards from the Enchantment of the Seas arrived. We had no issues at all with vendors, and they were not as aggressive as I expected them to be. I would say Dunn's River is a "must-do" if you can do the short climb. At the park they say the climb is 906 feet. At first I thought they were talking about vertical feet, which would make 906 feet more than just a casual climb. We may have traversed 906 feet from top to bottom, but it really was not far. Though there are some real fun moments on the way up. Great way to spend a morning.

    Last night we opted out of the repeaters dinner to go to the beach party. Parts of it were amazing, and the band they had was quite good. They also served the hottest jerk pork I've ever had "on resort". Awesome. The grounds and watersports staff was jumping yesterday as there were a lot of weddings AND a huge beach party to set up for.... I think it was also the day that everyone decided to check out gear and give it a go... It's great to see the watersports getting a lot of use.... I went sailing for a while and had a blast.

    After the beach party we made a number of new friends at the Main Bar. The United Kingdom is well represented this week at CTI, both in quantity and quality. We met six people from England last night who were a pure joy to share drinks and stories with.

    After a slow start this morning (see above) we did the horse riding at Prospect Plantation. Excellent, Excellent, Excellent. I always wondered why everyone always had pictures of that fruit table and now I know. The horses were great, and the guides were fantastic. I really enjoyed the whole thing... from learning about the local fruits, vegatables and spices... To learning the history of the plantation. As far as riding the horses.. they are well trained, and so is the staff at prospect Plantation... We really enjoyed this excursion.

    Back to the pool.... more later

    P.S. Greenjac, that is indeed the Simone I was talking about.

    Others that deserve mentioning... Ryan, Nicollette, Terry, and Taneshia have all been very good to us.

  20. #20

    Default

    lIVING VICARIOUSLY THROUGH YOU!
    Lew

  21. #21

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    Wow, a running review - absolutely fascinating. I really like the hot-off-the-press approach you are taking.

    I'm also glad you're having a fantastic time. Our trip to CTI/CN is not for another four+ months, but reading reviews like these helps the time pass along. I'll be loyally following this thread each day.
    Ron

    Reading is fundamental. It's just that for some, it's more mental than fun.

  22. #22

    Default

    Oh this is so absolutely fabulous!!! Cant' wait to see the new/old Grand Lady----tick tock til January

    Thanks for your posts--- what room category are you in???????

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    472

    Default

    @jackiesalliecat: We are in an Deluxe Oceanview, building 4. Quite adequate for the task at hand.


    In this report:
    • The best steel drum band in Jamaica,
    • Anniversary night at Eight Rivers goes very well.
    • Trip to scothies for some off resort jerk sampling



    The Best Steel Drum band in Jamaica:


    On Tuesday night a band called the Steel Bird Orchestra came to showtime at the Patio. They were by far the best band I have seen at any Couples, and / or any vacation entertainment ever. They consisted of at least 8 steel drummers, one guy at a drum set and a dance troupe. They are in a different class from anything I had ever seen for entertainment. The dancers, the musicianship, everything was a cut above. You have to see them to appreciate it. You would buy tickets and travel miles to go see them again if they were anywhere near you. They are that good.

    The next day I was talking to Tanesha about them. She told me that they are really big in Jamaica, and that she feels really fortunate to see them at her work regularly, and I believe her. Her eyes really lit up when we were talking about them.


    Anniversary at Eight Rivers:

    Very good night and we were treated fantastically. We went with B & K as a four top and it was an outstanding meal. I had the lamb. I loved the lamb.
    Enough said.


    Trip to Scothies:


    I had three errands to run. ATM, Hair products for my wife, and some good off-resort jerk. I talked a friend into going with me and had Kirk get us a cab. went to the Scotia Bank ATM in Soni's Plaza and so far I have been pleasantly suprised that it did not ask for a fee. I'll wait till the statement comes until I render final judgement on that. That ATM can dispense both US dollars and JA. Soni's is pretty nice.

    We then went to Scotchies, which was a lot of fun and REALLY good. There hot sauce is very hot, and very good. Our driver suggested we put it on the side, and then showed us the bowl of sauce the locals use. YA MON!!!. I had the pork, and on a whim tried the chicken sausage, which you can get in either dark or light meat. I went with the light with a lot of sauce and it alone was worth the trip.


    Hair Care Products.

    Once again, the driver hooked me up. Took me to a Variety Market that I gather is not frequented by too many tourists. It was pretty busy with Jamaicans going on about their day. They had a really large selection of products, just like a CVS would at home. I made my selections, waited in line at the counter, paid and I was on my way. Had to take my change in Jamaican.

    time for Dinner... More Later

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    472

    Default

    Okay... too many VodkaTings in the last post. I'm going to blame it on my wife.

    It is the "Silver Bird Orchestra" not Steel Bird.....

    and somehow, after drinking; "Scotchies" became "Scothies".

    Oh well... no problem mon!

    Today is our last full day and the sadness is setting in. Hummingbirds are the only treatment. I just finished sailing and it was spectacular.

    To keep an old running joke alive: I spoke to Delroy, where we discussed at great length, the absolute virtues of Crocs as footwear. He confessed to me that he has, in fact, worn them while eating dinner. I feel vindicated. Let the melee begin.


    Piano bar: We have had a lot of fun in there. The bartenders are extremely good. It is, however, absolutely unfair to compare anyone to Ulitimate Chocolate at CSA. Therefore I will not.

    The latest stars of the day:

    Damien, who deserves a medal for working the piano bar during Karaoke night. Really. A Medal. Like the one the mayor of Saint Mary Parrish is wearing on his billboard in Ochos Rios. He deserves that one.

    Ryan: Work study student, who is really working out. Love this kid. Kamon is right behind him. I am openly campaigning for them to be made permanent members of the staff, (wink, wink, Randymon).

    Terry: Terry has not gotten enough press from me. He has quietly made us feel welcome every time we see him.

    The Spa: Our foursome did a full on assault of the spa in two days. There were two pedicures, three manicures, one facial, one haircut, one hot towell shave, and a full hour couples massage in less than 36 hours.
    The staff is top notch, and the facility is out of this world. A plus plus plus. I got the haircut and shave. It was one of the best haircuts AND best shaves I have ever gotten. And I'm a fan of old school barber shops so I know what I'm talking about.

    Tanesha, I believe, will be just as well known as Simone in a very short time. You should meet her.

  25. #25

    Default

    I love the piece on the steel drum band. I can only hope they'll be playing when we're there in April. I'm a fan of Jamaican and Jamaican-influenced music as it stands, but I really really really enjoy listening to a good steel drum band.

    Here's to hoping.....
    Ron

    Reading is fundamental. It's just that for some, it's more mental than fun.

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