Atlantis Resort, Nassau, Bahamas

Atlantis Resort, Bahamas

Atlantis Resort, Bahamas

Paradise Island

There are two Atlantis Resort’s in the world, one in the Bahamas and one in Dubai. We were able to tour the Atlanis Resort on Paradise Island, Bahamas. We pre-paid a tour which included the casino (where they did not allow any pictures), the grounds, the lagoons, The Dig, and history of the hotel. We learned that the middle section which connects the Towers was named the Michael Jackson suite and goes for 25K per night.

The resort opened in 1998 and was created by South African hotel magnate Sol Kerzner and Kerzner International Limited. Initially, Paraside Island opened it’s Coral and Beach Towers as the Trump Plaza, then changed its name to Atlantis when the Royal Towers were built. In 2007 a 600-suite luxury hotel named The Cove Atlantis opened on Paradise Island. In December, another tower called the Reef Atlantis. Atlantis was heavily impacted by the crisis in the United States in 2008 and had to lay off 800 employees to face decline in occupation rates.

As you enter the casino you will notice an amazing crystal sculpture which is valued at one million dollars. It is called the Crystal Gate and was created by Dale

The Crystal Gate

The Crystal Gate

Chihuly. It contains more than 2,000 hand-blown crystals, the Crystal Gate reaches 20 feet to the sky. Dale Chihuly has also created glass sculptures for the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.

Lagoons at Atlantis

Lagoons at Atlantis

Aquarium

Aquarium

In 2007 the Aquaventure opened which includes slides, lazy rivers, and rapids into one large waterscape over 141 acres. The centerpiece of the attraction is the Power Tower which contains four waterslides. The slides include The Abyss, The Drop, The Falls and The Surge. Aquaventure also includes one of the Atlantis’ most popular attractions, The Current.

IMG_5543

The Dig

The Dig is a made up of aquariums which are located beneath the lobby of the Royal Towers. It is the world’s largest open air marine habitat. Hundreds of different aquatic species can be spotted in the Dig’s various tanks such as angelfish, sharks, manta rays, and various types of jellyfish. The guide explained that the goal of The Dig is to provide visitors with what life was like in the legendary destroyed Lost City of Atlantis. The Predator Lagoon is full of sawfishes, barracudas, stingrays, and sharks. There is a 100 foot clear acrylic tunnel which runs underwater, allowing visitors unobstructed views of the marine environment.

To find out more information about the hotel, check out http://www.atlantisbahamas.com.

Nassau Cruise Port

Nassau Cruise Port

Nassau is the capital and largest city of the Bahamas. The Bahamas are a country of over 700

Shops at Nassau Cruise Port

Festival Place Welcome Center

islands in the Atlantic Ocean just east of Florida. Nassau is has a population of is just over 210,000 people.

We sailed into Nassau Cruise Port on a hot, sunny day in June overlooking Prince George Warf. The port is huge!!! 7 cruise ships can dock there at once. Tourism is the mainstay of Nassau. Nassau is the largest cruise port in the Bahamas and attracts 3 million cruise passengers each year. Bahamas is the third richest country in the Americas after the US and Canada.

Nassau has a tropical marine climate varying yearround from low to high 80’s. I can honestly say this is one place that may have even better weather than Kauai!

Sailing into Nassau Cruise Port

Sailing into Nassau Cruise Port

$$ saving tips: If you are on Paradise Island for the day, book your tour of the resort in

Nassau Cruise Port

Nassau Cruise Port

advance. Our tour was $24 per person for three hours which is very cheap. It even included our transportation to and from the port. You can gamble in the casino with US dollars when visiting the resort. I highly recommend the tour for kids!!! Unfortunately, our kids missed the tour that day. The shops in the hotel are very pricy, inclusive of jewelry, hand bags, shoes and clothing. However, there is a gift shop that has small trinkets under $10. We bought my daughter an Atlantis snow globe as a souvenir. There wasn’t really time to eat on the tour, so I would recommend eating before you view the resort. In speaking with one of the guests at the hotel- their complaint was that the pools close down at 7 p.m. and the water park closes at 5 p.m., leaving nothing to do in the evening. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and we asked her questions the entire time. The tour is a great way to preview the resort and decide if this is a place you would want to return to.

5wheelsto5star was featured in the March 2014 issue of Destinations Travel Magazine

 

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St. Martin, Caribbean

St. Martin

St. Martin

St Maarten cruise port

St Maarten cruise port

 

Driving through the Dutch side of Sint Maarten

Driving through the Dutch side of Sint Maarten

Saint Martin in French or Sint Maarten in Dutch is an island in the northeast Caribbean. The island is divided 60/40 between France and the Kingdom of the Netherlands and they are pretty equivalent in population. St. Martin is one of the smallest sea islands divided between two nations since 1648. The southern part is the Dutch side and the northern end is the French part. As of 2009, the population of the entire island was 77,741, with 40,917 living on the Dutch side, and 36,824 on the French side.

Sunken Ship

Sunken Ship

The Dutch side is known for its nightlife, beaches, jewelry, exotic drinks which are made with native rum-based guavaberry liquors, and casinos.

More about the guavaberry- it is exclusive to Sint Maarten.

Guavaberry Colada

Drink Ingredients:

  • 2oz Sint Maarten Guavaberry
  • 1oz Coconut Cream
  • 3oz Pineapple Juice or Pieces
  • Ice

How to mix the drink:

Put ice in blender, add Sint Maarten Guavaberry, Cream of Coconut, pineapple pieces or juice. Blend well. Garnish with pineapple, toasted coconut & fresh nutmeg.

Guavaberry Sunrise

Drink Ingredients:

  • 2oz Guavaberry Liqueur
  • 2oz Grapefruit Juice
  • 2oz Orange Juice
  • ½oz Grenadine

How to mix the drink:

In a tall glass of ice pour Guavaberry Liqueur. Add fresh grapefruit & orange juice. Carefully pour in  Grenadine. Decorate with grapefruit, orange & flowers. Grate cinnamon on top.

Guavaberry Margarita

Drink Ingredients:

  • 1oz SM Guavaberry Liqueur
  • 1oz Tequila
  • 1oz Fresh squeezed lime juice
  • Ice

How to mix the drink:

Muddle ice. Add Tequila, SM Guavaberry Liqueur, 1/2oz Lemon/Lime, shake well. Use salt rimmed glass. This drink can also be made in the blender. Decorate with lime.

http://www.guavaberry.com/recipes.php

 

West Indies Shopping Mall

West Indies Shopping Mall

The French side is known for it’s nude beaches, clothes, shopping, outdoor markets, and rich French and Indian Caribbean food. English is the most commonly spoken language along with a local dialect. The official languages are French for Saint-Martin, and both Dutch and English for Sint Maarten. Other common languages spoken are French-based creoles, Spanish, and Papiamento.

 

View of St Maarten from ship

View of St Maarten from ship

We were in port for just a day and therefore did not rent a car. We booked a tour with a guide to take us from one end of the island to the other. The guide was hilarious and kept us laughing throughout the tour. He was clearly from the Dutch side, but covered the history and lifestyles of both sides.

The bus was air conditioned, very comfortable with huge windows to take great pictures all the way. We pulled off to view a sunken ship, future property of a resort, and the town of Marigot on the French side of the island. When we reached Marigot, there were a shopping area called the West Indies Shopping Mall.

Rental cars are the primary mode of transportation for visitors staying on island. A four-wheel drive is recommended if driving off road to get to beaches. Traffic on the island is a major problem, resulting in long traffic jams between Marigot, Philipsburg and the airport. Be sure to allow plenty of time to get to the airport or back to your cruise ship.

The neighboring islands include Saint Barthélemy (French), Anguilla (British), Saba (Dutch), Sint Eustatius “Statia” (Dutch), Saint Kitts and Nevis (independent, formerly British). All of these islands are easily visible on a clear day from St. Martin, except Nevis.

Saint Martin uses the euro as its currency, while Sint Maarten uses the Netherlands Antillean guilder.

Shops at St. Maarten cruise port

Shops at St. Maarten cruise port

Almost every store on the island also accepts the United States dollar, although sometimes a more expensive exchange rate is used.

We ended our day in Marigot with frozen yogurt, known as “yogart”. It was a very, hot and humid day and my daughter was a bit under the weather so frozen yogurt was a perfect treat!! We did not choose to spend the day at a beach, as we live on Kauai and have the best beaches in the world in our backyard. However, I would return to Marigot and spend more time. Passengers on our cruise ship were saying that the beaches were very nice. I highly recommend visiting Marigot, as it was a really quaint, little town tucked away with small hotels and beach front rentals. Marigot reminded me of a casual, laid back French Riviera. The French side of the island was definitely more resort-like and touristy, whereas the Dutch side appeared to be more local and residential.

Yogart in Marigot

Yogart in Marigot

Royal Caribbean has built shops at the St. Maarten Cruise Port which only passengers with a cruise pass card, cruise staff and tour guides can enter. There is music, bars, shopping and restaurants in the port area. The nice thing about this shopping area, is that vendors are not allowed in.

$$ saving tips: Shopping on St. Maarten and Saint Martin offers duty-free goods in numerous boutiques. Some of these goods include local crafts and arts, exotic foods, jewelry, liquor, tobacco, leather goods, as well as most designer goods. Most often the designer goods are offered at significant discounts, often up to 40% lower than US retail prices. We had a few hours to walk around and shop. My daughter collects snow globes from each place that we travel, so we picked up a nautical snow globe displaying the word Marigot. I found St. Martin to be rather inexpensive over all. If you are there for just a day and don’t know your way around, it is best to book a guided tour. Our tour was about 4-5 hours in length and only cost $24 per person! That’s a deal.

 

St Maarten Cruise Port

St Maarten Cruise Port

5wheelsto5star is featured monthly in Destinations Travel Magazine