SHIVER ME TIMBERS -- the Caribbean's Windward
Islands share equal billing with actors Johnny Depp and Geoffrey
Rush in the just-opened action-adventure film "Pirates of the
Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl." The Walt Disney
Pictures/Jerry Bruckheimer Films' swashbuckling production features
swordplay, treasure maps, Aztec curses, pirate hideouts, plundered
booty, pieces of eight -- and pristine scenes shot on location in
St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Taking advantage of the
movie's expected large family audience, Alken Tours offers a
six-night plan from $1,440 per person, double, with roundtrip air
from New York to St. Vincent and hotel accommodations. Call (800)
221-6686 to book. For St. Vincent information, call (800) 729-1726;
news on St. Lucia can be found at (800) 456-3984.
BEFORE THE NEW U.S. ban on educational travel
to Cuba takes effect Dec. 31, salsa lovers can sign up for the
final dance trip Nov. 22 to 29 offered by SalsaDanceCuba.org, a
travel provider licensed by the U.S. Treasury Dept. and based in
Boulder, Co. Hal Segal, president, said the trip's focus is
contemporary Latin dancing with dance classes held at the National
Theater in Havana. "Salsa is the hottest type of Latin social
dance," Segal said. "This program allows dancers of all levels --
including beginners and those who have never danced before -- to
learn authentic Cuban-style salsa in the mother country of salsa
music and dance." Commissionable rates, covering roundtrip air from
Miami, lodging, all meals, dance classes, taxes and tips, start at
$1,849 per person, double, or $2,099 per person, single. For
details, visit www.salsadancecuba.org.
• Effective Sept. 9, Air Jamaica will reschedule its
five-times-a-week flight from Orlando to Montego Bay, Jamaica, for
an 8:50 a.m. departure so that passengers will arrive at 10:35 a.m.
That will be in time to connect with the carrier's onward services
to 10 Caribbean destinations.
• US Airways will expand its Caribbean service from Boston
beginning this fall. Starting Oct. 26, the Boston-San Juan service
goes daily, up from twice a week. On Feb. 14, the carrier will
begin service four times a week from Boston to Montego Bay as well
as once-weekly service to both Aruba and Nassau.
• TransMeridian launched nonstop roundtrip service between Orlando
Sanford Airport and San Juan, daily except Tuesdays. The carrier is
headquartered in Atlanta.
GOGO WORLDWIDE VACATIONS' new top 10 list of
best family destinations for summer travel includes five Caribbean
hotspots: Wyndham Hotels in Aruba, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Puerto
Rico (two) and St. Thomas; Aruba; Jamaica; Nassau; and Beaches
Turks and Caicos Resort & Spa in Turks and Caicos. (The rest of
the list includes Anaheim, Calif.; Cancun, Mexico; Oahu; Orlando;
and Williamsburg, Va.) Gogo packages to the top 10 can be booked
WHAT'S IN A NAME? Sandals recently renamed its
first resort in St. Lucia, which is now called Sandals Regency St.
Lucia Golf Resort & Spa at La Toc. The travel agent that
correctly guesses the total number of square feet for all the
suites at the resort will win a week's stay in an oceanfront plunge
pool suite -- which will be renamed in honor of the winner. Entry
forms are available by calling (800) 48-SPECIAL. The winning agent
will be announced at Sandals Ultra Convention in Las Vegas Aug.
• The new San Juan Beach Hotel, formerly the Ramada San Juan,
features a Pina Colada two-night package through Dec. 26 with two
free drinks per person, daily continental breakfast and a room
overlooking the ocean or lagoon for $82 per person, per night,
double, with tax, tips and service charges. Kids under 12 stay for
free. For details, call (800) 468-2040.
• Pleasant Holidays features a five-night package at the
Renaissance Aruba Beach through Sept. 30 with rates from $286 per
person, double, for hotel and transfers. To book, call (800)
• The 171-suite Sapphire Beach Resort & Marina, St. Thomas,
offers 10% off nightly rates and getaway packages booked by July
31. Packages include beach breakaways, soft adventure, family
plans, dive and honeymoon plans. For details, visit www.sapphirebeachresort.com.
• Barbados' hotel happenings include the reopening of the Royal
Pavilion in October, following a $10 million refurbishment; the
reopening of the 200-room Asta Beach Hotel next month; and the
opening of the 350-room Barbados Hilton next July. The management
of Coconut Court Hotel is restoring the Barbados Pavilion opposite
the property as a meetings and dining facility.
• San Juan's boutique-style 84-room Water Club offers a VID (Very
Important Dog) package for $48 per night (on top of rack rates).
Included are sugar-coated pawprint registration cards, a doggie
room service menu, two ceramic dog bowls, a tennis ball, a
peppermint-flavored rawhide bone, a clump of rawhide treats, a box
of animal cookies and the cost of cleaning by specialists upon the
guest's departure (so that the rooms are free of
possible-allergens). Rack rates through December for two-legged
guests range from $209 per night, single or double to $269. To
book, visit www.waterclubsanjuan.com.