Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-Letter: December 5, 2002

CRUISE PASSENGERS who got more than they bargained for on several recent virus-plagued Caribbean sailings are now offered a discounted vacation on solid ground. Long Bay Beach Resort & Villas in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, features a 50% Cruiser's Credit with rates from $93 per night, double, to cruise-goers knocked out by Norwalk. The offer is open-ended and passengers must present agents with proof of their cruise to qualify for the discounted rates. For details, contact Long Bay at (877) 906-2525 or e-mail [email protected].

HYATT RESORTS' Winter Sunshine on Sale offer, valid Jan. 1 to May 31, includes a fifth night free on stays of four nights at Hyatt Regency Cerromar and Hyatt Dorado Beach, both in Puerto Rico, and Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands. The seventh night is free at the Hyatt Regency Aruba. In addition to the free nights, guests receive two $100 flight credits per reservation, good toward roundtrip future travel up to one year on any airline and flight worldwide. For information, visit www.hyatt.com.

BWIA president and CEO Conrad Aleong recently assured agents that, as long as he holds office, the carrier would continue to pay commissions of 6%, no cap. Aleong also said that BWIA would expand its routes during the first quarter of 2003 and introduce service between Port of Spain, Trinidad, and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in January; Havana in February; and San Jose, Costa Rica in March. Under the carrier's new business model, the fleet by late March will consist of two Airbus 340s and seven 737s. Its Dash 8s will be turned over to other carriers.

THE CARIBBEAN HOTEL ASSN. named Alec Sanguinetti director general and CEO, effective Jan. 1, following the retirement of John H. Bell. Sanguinetti, who currently is CHA's deputy director, joined the association in 1993.

LODGEPODGE
• Rincon Beach Resort in Anasco on Puerto Rico's west coast near Mayaguez pays 15% commission. Winter rates range from $205 per night, single/double in a standard room to $595 in a two-bedroom suite with a parlor and a kitchenette. Several packages also are available and can be viewed at www.rinconbeach.com.
• Rosewood Hotels & Resorts' Caneel Bay on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, opened its Wine Room at Turtle Bay that seats up to 10 for private dinners nightly during the winter and four nights a week in spring, summer and fall. A prix fixe, seven-course menu is offered; the wine list features more than 265 selections.
• Viva Dominicus Beach in La Romana-Bayahibe, Dominican Republic, will complete a remodeling of 48 oceanfront bungalows by Dec. 15. The thatch-roofed units, which can accommodate up to four people each, will sport new air conditioning, satellite TV and minirefrigerators. From Jan. 3 to 31, the nightly rate is $119 per person.
• Bolongo Bay Beach Club, St. Thomas, will raise its commission rate from 10% to 12%, effective Jan. 1 on direct bookings made through the resort's reservations department at (800) 524-4746 or via e-mail at [email protected].
• Grace Bay Club, Turks and Caicos, offers two new seven-night romance and golf getaways in 2003, priced from $6,360 per couple. For details, visit www.gracebayclub.com.

SUPERCLUBS offers cruise clients one free night at any of 10 resorts in Jamaica, the Bahamas, Curacao and Brazil from among SuperClubs' Grand Lido, Breezes and Hedonism brands. The line will expand Dec. 15 to include Breezes Punta Cana and Breezes Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. Cruise clients are eligible for the free night if they complete travel to a SuperClubs by Dec. 19, 2003, and within 12 months of their most recent cruise. To redeem the offer, agents must present copies of their clients' cruise boarding passes and must call (800) GO-SUPER, Ext. 6190 to book.

AIR BYTES
• Pan American Airways launched its winter schedule with daily flights from both San Juan and Orlando-Sanford (Fla.) to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The schedule will run through "early 2003," according to Dave Fink, president.
• Bahamasair, which has not posted a profit in its 29 years of operation, expects to do so in two years, according to its board of directors who submitted a restructuring plan for government approval. Measures include a staff reduction of 150, leaving 564 employees -- plus pay cuts for management and pilots totaling $1 million annually.
• American Airlines' expanded seasonal schedule to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, includes five weekly nonstops from Boston, effective Dec. 15, up from the current three a week. On the same date, American will resume its second flight from New York's Kennedy to St. Thomas, which will operate six days a week. The carrier previously added a second daily flight from Miami to St. Thomas. American will add a second nonstop flight from Miami to St. Croix three days a week, starting March 3. The 737 will overnight in St. Croix and return to Miami the following morning. The line now offers a daily nonstop from Miami to St. Croix and back in the same day.

THE ENVELOPE PLEASE...
• Eustace Guishard, general manager of Cap Juluca on Anguilla, was named 2002 Hotelier of the Year by the Anguilla Hotel & Tourism Assn./Anguilla Tourist Board. Travis Simpson, in Cap Juluca's guest services division, was named Employee of the Year, giving the hotel a sweep of the top honors.
• The Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino on Bonaire was selected as Property of the Year for the second consecutive year by the Bonaire Hotel and Tourism Assn.

PENCIL IT IN
• Cayman27 Parade of Lights, Dec. 21, George Town, Grand Cayman.
• Omega Institute's Learning Vacations, Jan. 4 to Feb. 8, Maho Bay Camps, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.
• 49th Annual Carnival Season, Jan. 17 to March 2, Aruba.

CORRECTION: Agents selling USA 3000 Airlines will earn commissions of $10 or $20 per one-way segment, depending on the fare levels, which range from $109 to $199 one-way (not roundtrip as reported in the Nov. 28 Caribbean E-Letter) between Newark and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The service will operate Tuesdays and Thursdays, Dec. 12 to 26 and Jan. 2 to April 29.

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