Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-Letter: January 30, 2003

AT LEAST 50 couples are planning to tie the knot in the buff on Feb. 14 at Hedonism III, a SuperClubs' inclusive resort in Runaway Bay, Jamaica. The property is attempting to set a Guinness World Record for the world's largest nude wedding. Last year's nuptials attracted 11 couples who simultaneously exchanged vows amidst fig leaves, flowers, a Jamaican steel band and plenty of confetti. An un-dress rehearsal is set for Feb. 12, and the resort will host bachelor and bachelorette parties for the couples. A three-night minimum package starts at $1,476 per couple, land only; the rate includes the services of an on-site wedding coordinator who will arrange the marriage license, flowers, music, minister and ring bearer. Information is available at (800) GO SUPER, ext. NUDE.

AIR SALES have been launched by Gogo Worldwide Vacations and US Airways Vacations. Gogo offers discounts up to 25% on air-inclusive packages to more than 175 properties on 20 islands. Bookings must be made by March 1 for travel through April 15. Packages include roundtrip air from major U.S. gateways, accommodations for three to five nights, transfers (except in San Juan) and hotel taxes and service charges. For package details, visit www.gogowwv.com. US Airways Vacations, meanwhile, reduced air prices on its Caribbean packages up to 25% for bookings made by March 1 for travel through April 15. Agents can book via VAX Vacation Access or the GDSs.

LODGEPODGE
• San Juan's 84-room Water Club is so canine-friendly that it features paw-print registration as part of its Dog Package, priced at $15 a day. The registration cards detail the dog's name, breed, owner's name and room number. Pooches' paws are dipped in colored sugar to make the imprints on the cards. Also included in the package rate: free accommodations when sharing a room with owners; frisbees and tennis balls for beach play; scented shampoo; and room service delivery of dog food, bones, gourmet treats and biscuits. Dog walkers or sitters are available for $15 an hour. Through April 30, nightly rates range from $199 to $319 per room, single or double. To book, call (888) 265-6699 or visit the Web site at www.waterclubsanjuan.com.
• Grafton Beach Resort in Black Rock, Tobago, reopened this month, following a $3.2 renovation of its lobby, restaurant, pool area, game center and water-sports facilities. The 78-room property was closed in November and December during the renovations. Through April 15, nightly inclusive rates start at $168 per person, double. Visit the Web site at www.grafton-resort.com.
• Long Bay Hotel, Antigua offers a $500 gift certificate to guests who book through a travel agent and stay a minimum of six nights. The $500 is deducted from a client's bill at the end of the stay. The property's Web site, at www.longbayhotel.com, features a travel agent section so that clients can select and book through one of Longbay's recommended agents.

WHALE-WATCHING season is under way in the Turks and Caicos. The first humpback whale sighting of the year took place on Jan. 19 near Salt Cay, a two-mile-long island that is one of the eight inhabited islands in the Turks and Caicos. The annual migration of more than 2,500 humpback whales usually runs from January through April. For more info, visit www.turksandcaicostourism.com.

AIR BYTES
• Beaches Champagne Express charter service will offer a weekly Saturday flight from Chicago to Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, from March 1 to Dec. 15.
• Trans Caribbean Airways will launch nonstop charter service six days a week from New Orleans to St. Maarten and Curacao, beginning in April. On July 4, meanwhile, TCA will begin 747 charters from the Caribbean and New Orleans to Brussels. Flight frequency has not yet been set.
• Grand Bahama Vacations will offer nonstop air-inclusive packages twice a week between Milwaukee and Grand Bahama Island from Feb. 14 through May 16. The flights will operate Tuesdays and Fridays on Laker Airways.

CTO NAMED Johnson JohnRose as communications officer. JohnRose is a native of Dominica and has served as a consultant for CTO until his appointment.

PENCIL IT IN
• St. Maarten/St. Martin Agent Seminars, Feb. 3 to 12 in various cities. Call (954) 568-2180 for a complete schedule.
• Sandals Resorts' "Test Drive Your Honeymoon" promotion Feb. 5, March 19, June 4, Sept. 24, Sandals Royal Caribbean, Montego Bay. For details, visit www.sandalsresorts.com.
• Opening of new Bacardi Visitor Center, early April, Bacardi Distillery in Catano, Puerto Rico.
• 5th annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development, April 23 to 26, St. Kitts Marriott Royal Beach Resort, St. Kitts

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