Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-letter: Nov. 5, 2004

CRUISE SHIPS resumed visits to Grand Cayman Nov. 1 with calls by Carnival's Imagination and Inspiration. A maximum of two ships is permitted in port at one time through Nov. 13, according to McKeeva Bush, minister of tourism. Bush said that during that time, the situation would be monitored closely and additional ships "will be added as deemed appropriate depending on an assessment of the situation and port facilities." The cruise schedule is posted on the Web site of the Cayman Islands' Port Authority at www.caymanport.com. More than 60,900 passengers are expected through Nov. 13.

IN GRENADA, however, three cruise lines canceled calls last week after company officials decided the island was not yet ready to host visitors due to damage from Hurricane Ivan. Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Silversea Cruises were scheduled to be the first lines to call in Grenada since September. Officials plan to revisit the island over the next month to decide when port calls might commence.

DELTA will launch nonstop, twice-weekly service from Atlanta to St. Croix on March 5. Service will operate in both directions on Wednesdays and Sundays. The line also will offer seasonal nonstop Saturday service from Atlanta to Providenciales, Turks and Caicos on Dec. 4.

ROLODEX

" Marcial F. [Charly] Ibarra, North American director of the Aruba Tourism Authority, will retire Nov. 7 after more than 20 years of service. Ibarra held his North American post for the last 15 years, in charge of all marketing efforts for the region. His prior post with ATA, which spanned seven years, was that of regional director, Southeast, overseeing 26 states. Ibarra amassed numerous awards and honors during his tenure, including a bronze Addy Award in 2002 for excellence in radio promotions for his "Charly from Aruba" spots heard across the U.S. Following his departure, Theresita Chai will will serve as the interim director of the ATA, North America. Chai can be reached at [email protected]

" Following recent elections in St. Kitts & Nevis, Denzil Llewellyn Douglas, re-elected prime minister, also takes on the duties of tourism minister, replacing Dwyer Astaphan, who is now in charge of national security.

LODGEPODGE

" The Divi Links Aruba Golf Course, a new, nine-hole public golf course located at the Divi Village Golf and Beach Resort, officially opened for play last week. The facility includes an on-site golf learning center, a golf school, pro shop, driving range and bunker practice areas. The clubhouse with two restaurants and a second pro shop will open in March.

" Courtyard by Marriott enters the Trinidad market this month with the opening of its 122-room property in downtown Port of Spain. Facilities include in-room high-speed Internet access, an outdoor pool, an exercise room, meeting space for up to 120 people and a cafe, bar and lounge. For details, visit www.marriott.com.

" Palm Island Resort in the Grenadines, managed by Elite Island Resorts, is receiving a facelift, although it did not suffer any major damage from recent hurricanes. The facelift includes landscaping and beach furniture, soft goods in the 37 rooms, an upgrade to Sunset restaurant and bar, a new arrival pier, refinished pool and Lookout Bar for sunset cocktails.  For information, call (800) 345-0356.

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