Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-letter: Dec. 9, 2004

AIR JAMAICA VACATIONS unveiled a product line called Top Class Escapes, a luxury collection featuring personalized, air-inclusive high-end packages to eight Jamaican resorts. The program will expand to include more than 20 properties in nine Caribbean destinations. Brian Shilling, president of Air Jamaica Vacations, said, "Travel agents have been asking for new ways to sell the Caribbean, and we're listening." Agents can view the packages at www.topclassescapes.com and book through www.vaxvacationaccess.com, earning a standard 13% commission and additional cash incentives at participating properties. Package components include VIP check-in at Air Jamaica's Top Class counter at Montego Bay's Sangster International Airport; special airport welcome with bottled water and cold towels; concierge-level accommodations; private transfers; optional exclusive tours; and use of a cell phone with unlimited incoming minutes throughout the stay.  A sample five-night European Plan package in February with roundtrip air from New York [Kennedy], transfers and oceanview suite accommodations at the Ritz-Carlton Golf & Spa Resort Rose Hall starts at $2,749 per person, double.

LODGEPODGE

" The 730-room all-inclusive Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica will open on March 19, capping a renovation program that linked the three existing swimming pools, added a lighthouse with two water slides, a spa, an entertainment area, a beach bar, a grill and a wedding gazebo, restored the North and South lobbies, expanded the main dining area and upgraded rooms and suites.  For rates, visit sunsetbeachresortjamaica.com.

" The newly refurbished Sandals Grande Ocho Rios Beach & Villa Resort will open by Christmas in Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Sandals Whitehouse European Village & Spa will welcome its first guests Feb. 10 in Whitehouse, on Jamaica's south coast; Sandals Negril Beach Resort & Spa reopened Nov. 19, following a 70-day closure to renovate and repair after Ivan; and Sandals' new Butler Service takes effect Jan. 1 in the highest category of rooms at Sandals and Beaches resorts.

" Tamarind Beach Hotel & Yacht Club on Canouan Island in the Grenadines upgraded its two restaurants, eight suites and 32 rooms and added two new deluxe suites with a groundfloor beachfront location. Rack rates start at $270 per night, double; three packages are available. To book, visit www.tamarindbeachhotel.com.

TAKEOFFS

" Delta's low-fare carrier Song launched daily nonstop service between New York's JFK and Nassau. Inflight entertainment includes 10 movies on-demand, digitally-streamed MP3 programming providing individual music play lists of 32 songs from an inventory of more than 1,600 songs, 10 video games, free satellite TV and an interactive music trivia game that allows passengers to compete against one another. For details, call (800) 359-7664.

" American Airlines and American Eagle serve 37 Caribbean destinations with 118 daily flights from San Juan this winter. American resumed nonstop service from Los Angeles to San Juan, added nonstop flights from Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Newark, New York and Philadelphia and will add more flights from Miami on Dec. 16. American Eagle increased its services to Antigua, the Dominican Republic, the Leeward Islands, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, will add more service to Guadeloupe and resume seasonal nonstop service to Anguilla On Dec. 16.

OOPS!

" The correct name of the new two-bedroom premier accommodation at Cotton House on Mustique is Cotton Hill Residence. Incorrect information appeared in the Dec. 2 Caribbean E-letter.

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