IVAN ripped through the Caribbean last weekend and is
scheduled to make landfall somewhere along the Gulf Coast today.
Tropical storm Jeanne, nearing hurricane strength, eyed the
northeastern Caribbean on Wednesday. Meanwhile, relief efforts are
underway for the Cayman Islands, Grenada and Jamaica; information
is posted on each destinations Web site: www.caymanislands.ky; www.grenadagrenadines.com; and www.visitjamaica.com. In addition, the Caribbean
Tourism Organization [www.onecaribbean.org] and the Caribbean Hotel
Association [www.caribbeanhotels.org] have spearheaded relief
efforts. Caribbean Star Airlines launched an initiative with a
number of musicians who recorded a song dedicated to Grenada;
proceeds from the sales of the CD and $2 from each Caribbean Star
ticket sold in the next two months will be earmarked for Grenada
relief. Cayman Airways is operating emergency relief flights on a
limited basis into Grand Cayman; Air Jamaica flew 30,000 pounds of
supplies into Kingston, Jamaica, on a special relief flight Sept.
13. The airport there, as well as in Montego Bay, Jamaica, is open
Islands. More than half of the 15,000 homes on Grand
Cayman are uninhabitable due to flooding and roof destruction; the
Department of Tourism offices, as well as most public buildings in
George Town, were severely damaged; there is no word yet on the
status of the cruise port; and many resorts suffered substantial
damage and flooding, although the Hyatt Regency on Seven Mile Beach
housed 82 guests after the storm (they were taken to shelters the
night of the storm). We had a lot of flooding but no structural
damage, said Victor Lopez, divisional vice president. Owen Roberts
International Airport is open, but flights are limited. The Sister
Islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman fared better; electricity
has been partially restored on Cayman Brac, and islanders are
helping in the relief efforts for Grand Cayman. Relief supplies also can be dropped at Tortuga Rum
Co.s Miami warehouse at 14202 Southwest 142nd Ave., which is a
staging area for relief agencies and air freight companies. For
information, call (877) 486-7884.
Grenada. The 32-room Blue Horizons Garden Resort will be
closed for four to six months, and the 66-room Spice Island Beach
Resort will close for a year for repairs. Deposits at both resorts
will be refunded when banking institutions are back on line. Air
Jamaica, Air Caribes, LIAT and Caribbean Star resumed limited
flights during daylight hours until runway lights can be restored.
LIAT is running four daily flights from Trinidad, Barbados and St.
Vincent into Grenada. There is no public transport at the airport,
such as taxis or buses. Ambassador Dennis Antoine said that the
islands damage is incalculable. Grenada has been battered and
shattered, but we will rebound with help. A list of immediate
needed supplies is posted at http://grenadaconsulate.org.
Jamaica. The cruise ports in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios
reopened Sept. 15, and the cruise schedule will be back to normal
next week. Air Jamaica extended its deadline for penalty-free
reticketing due to Hurricane Ivan to Sept. 30. Damage reports
reveal that resorts in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Port Antonio --
all on Jamaicas north coast -- weathered the storm well. The
Sandals properties and Beaches Boscobel are open or will be by
Sept. 18. Ritz-Carlton, Round Hill, and Sunset Beach Resort &
Spa are open; Sunset Jamaica Grande in Ocho Rios will reopen as
planned on Dec. 19 after new owners complete a major renovation.
Half Moon Montego Bay will proceed as planned with its 50th
anniversary celebrations Sept. 26 to Oct. 3. Sandals Negril,
Beaches Negril and Beaches Sandy Bay reopen Oct. 1; Sunset at the
Palms, Negril will reopen on schedule in November after planned
renovations. SuperClubs Grand Lido Braco and Hedonism II reopen
Sept. 19; Grand Lido Negril, which had severe roof damage, reopens
Oct. 1; Couples Resorts in Negril reopens Sept. 19.
Vincent and the Grenadines. Raffles Resort Canouan Island,
which held its soft opening this summer, will reopen Nov. 1 and
celebrate its grand opening Nov. 20; Palm Island Resort, a member
of the Elite Island Resorts collection with properties on Antigua,
St. Kitts, St. Lucia and Tortola, reopens Nov. 8.
"Bahamas. Club Med Columbus Isle on San Salvador,
Bahamas will reopen Dec. 18 when it completes storm repairs from
Hurricane Frances -- remember that one?
" 12th annual
Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association Conference, Sept. 26 to 30,
" 40th annual Ms.
Travel Agent contest, Dec. 9 to13, Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort
and Offshore Island, Montego Bay, Jamaica. Sponsored by
American/Wolfe International Hotel Representatives, Sandals Resorts
and Air Jamaica, the contest is open to travel agency salespeople
who have been employed in a sales capacity for at least a year. Six
finalists will be flown to Jamaica; the winner gets a four-night
stay for two at any Sandals resort. Tatiana Kochkarova, XYZ Travel
Group/American Express Travel Services in Toronto, last years
winner, will crown the 2005 winner. For entry forms, contact
A/WIHR, 1890 Palmer Ave., Larchmont, N.Y. 10583, (800) 223-5695.
Forms and two photos are due by Nov. 1.