Travel Weeklys Caribbean E-letter: March 31, 2005

AUTHORITIES ON NEVIS denied docking privileges March 23 to a cruise ship chartered by a Florida gay naturist club. In a statement, Nevis tourism minister Malcolm Guishard denied the incident was anti-gay and claimed the craft was ordered from area waters because public nudity is illegal under local laws. But Source Events, the Miami company that chartered the S.V. Polynesia from Windjammer Barefoot Cruises on behalf of Gay Naturists International, said the ships captain was told by port officials homosexuality was both illegal and considered immoral on the island.

THE GOVERNMENT of the British Virgin Islands purchased the 120-room Prospect Reef Resort on Tortola and will renovate and convert the oceanfront property into the Prospect Reef Hospitality Training Center, according to chief minister Orlando Smith. The facility -- part of the BVIs broad-range tourism agenda to focus on training individuals for hospitality management -- will operate as a full-service hotel aimed at the business and conference markets. Management will be handled by Interstate Hotels, an independent U.S. hotel management company. Major renovations of the resort, which opened in 1977, are planned.

HILTON CURACAOS beaches and pools became the first venue for the Livingwell Health and Beach Club, when the club debuted in early March. Livingwell, Hilton Internationals health club brand, operates more than 130 facilities in 15 countries worldwide. Open to hotel guests as well as local club members, facilities at the 196-room Hilton Curacao include two tennis courts, three pools, two beaches, a 2,000-square-foot fitness center with a range of equipment and exercise classes and the Color of People spa.

WITH AN EYE ON THE TEEN MARKET, Club Med launched The Ramp at Club Med Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. The Ramp also will be rolled out at Club Meds family properties in Ixtapa, Mexico and Sandpiper, Fla. by the end of the year. The Ramp is a two-story, open-air lounge that serves as a place for teens to hang out, skateboard and meet and greet. At check-in, each teen gets a welcome packet, which includes a combination for a personal mailbox at The Ramp and a red cloth bracelet for access to The Ramp. Seven-night land packages at Club Med Punta Cana this summer start at $840 per adult and $430 per child (ages 4 to 15). For details, visit

" United Airlines extended its weekly nonstop service from Chicago to Montego Bay, Jamaica through Sept. 3. The Saturday flight, launched in December as a winter-only seasonal service, generated a high volume of demand, according to an airline official.
" Deltas new schedule of five weekday flights from Atlanta to St. Lucia, up from two per week, takes effect April 1. 


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