Hubby, I and our 9 & 12 yr old sons returned Saturday from our 1 week stay in a 1-bdrm condo at Harborside in Atlantis. First time to the Bahamas - loved it, highly recommend it. Love to travel and always research our trips in great detail using Frommer’s, Tripadvisor., etc to prepare. Figured I’d send in my two cents worth that may help someone else with their future trip.
Decided to go after finding a Ebay deal for renting a condo from a Harborside timeshare owner - $1500/wk compared to $3200. Reading that it can be incredibly expensive made me think ahead on ways to reduce potential costs. Love to travel and not afraid to spend money for a good time, but won’t throw it away. Frugal, but not cheap. Taking a Frommer writer’s suggestion to heart, and knowing going “carry-on only” is hardly an option now (with liquids) we decided to pack light, carry-on clothing bags, but check bags with foodstuffs, liquids, etc.
So, packed a rolling duffel bag and a soft-side rolling cooler for liquids and foodstuffs. The rolling cooler was very helpful for taking snacks and drinks to the pools. Here was my grocery list:
Liqour: Bacardi Limon, Whiskey, Gin & Vodka
1 ea lemon & lime
1 garlic bulb
1 onion (these first items to make guacamole!)
Bunch of bananas–don’t bother–they were junk by the time we got there.
2 Boboli pizza crusts
Squeeze bottle Pizza Sauce
1 pkg of tortillas
2 sticks of butter
1 small margarine container
2 cans of Campbell’s Chunky soup
1 bag of Chex snack mix
Pkg of Dole Fruit/Gel cups
2 lbs of cooked Shrimp (froze)
Made and froze 2 lbs of Sloppy Joes
Ham cold cuts
Turkey cold cuts
Summer sausage stick (froze)
Sausage snack links (froze
Pkg of Johnsonville Polish sausage (froze)
Pkg of Johnsonville Spicy sausage (froze)
1 pkgs of cooked chicken strips (froze)
Cheddar cheese block (froze)
Colby-Jack cheese block (froze)
Cream cheese (froze)
Cheddar cheese slices
Hot dog buns
Loaf of bread
2 boxes of Pop Tarts
2 boxes of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese
2 pkgs of Ramen noodles
1 pkg of Thai noodles
3 quart ziplock bags of cereal
1 pkg each of Crystal Light Lemonade and Ice Tea
All Small & Mighty laundry detergent
There! Sounds like a lot doesn’t it? Figured we 'd mix cocktails, eat breakfast, lunch and at least ½ the dinners at the condo. Knowing that a dinner out could easily cost $200 a crack made this a easy choice.
Anyway, I froze the items the night before, packed those items along with refrigerated items in the cooler just before leaving the house at 6:30am for O’Hare. Arriving at the resort 12.5 hours later, most of the items were still frozen!
Unfortunately, the duffel bag with the liquids and other dry goods disappeared somewhere between Chicago and Nassau. I suspect, because at least 12 other people from our Miami-Nassua flight were in the lost-luggage line with me, that our duffel was left behind in Miami for lack of room on the smaller plane. I was told that the bag would likely be delivered to us yet that night, but it didn’t arrive until 4pm the following day. Thank goodness it wasn’t the frozen cooler bag!
Good thing we prepared for that event by carrying on our clothing and valuables. When the bag finally arrived it was a mess! It had obviously been rifled through, compartments opened, the Bacardi and whiskey GONE! At least they left the gin and vodka! The buns, bread and bagels were smashed (not that surprising) but all their bags had holes in them and what looked like bites (???) taken out of them. Not from a human, but from an animal!? Dog? Rat? The exterior of the duffel bag looked ok, although one of the wheels had broken. Where had this bag been? We saw many bags laying unattended in the Nassau baggage carousel area – likely waiting to be delivered to their “lost” owners. No security appeared to be evident – I wondered if theirs (and ours) were just left there overnight? We salvaged what we could and tossed what looked scary. No reason to put a damper on the start of a vacation. But I certainly recommend NOT putting ANYTHING of value in a checked bag.
The condo - rm 2713 in building #7- was decorated nicely and well maintained. Nice king bed – even the kid’s fold-out couch was surprisingly comfy. The condo looked out over the marina where yachts are moored. It was fun to watch the huge boats dock and leave. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the microwave was also a convection oven – not huge but big enough to make a pizza or quesadilla. VCR, darn–I brought a couple DVDs. Maid came once (Tuesday) during the stay but it was easy to keep clean – since not a whole lot of time is spent in the room anyway.
After relaxing all day Sunday, I took the hotel grocery shuttle ($7) to the market Monday morning for juice, milk, water, Tostitos (for the guacamole), beer, coffee and mozzarella (forgot to pack the last 2), bread and buns to replace the smashed stuff. There were so many shoppers that the bus made 2 trips. I took along my rolling cooler to remind me that anything I bought I had to be able to carry back by myself. The ride home was jam packed with shoppers and their many, many bags. Kinda fun. But even groceries sure aren’t cheap – how about $5 for ½ gal of milk?
We had lunch at the Mayan Temple pool – $30 for 2 grouper fingers, 1 cheeseburger and 1 hamburger plus 3 fries and 1 drink – not bad I thought. Gotta have a Bahama Mama cocktail of course–ya mon. Dinner for 3 at Biminis the first night was $100 (the 9 yr old too tired to eat). Food good, rrrrrreeeeaaaallllyyyy slow. service Dinner at the italian restaurant Zio Gigi’s was $132 – the Osso Bucco with saffron rice was delicious. 2 dinners at Johnny Rockets ran $50 (for 2) and $80 (for 4). The cheeseburgers were so good we went back the next night with the kids.
Enough about the food. Shuttles run from the Harborside to the Beach, Coral and Royal Towers at Atlantis pretty much non-stop–very short wait at Harborside, but you may find yourself cooling your heels a bit waiting at the Towers for the return trip. Drivers were all friendly–as were all the staff we met at Atlantis. Yes, it is a slower pace – but vacation should be! Sometimes it takes a day or two to unwind to that level.
Atlantis itself is incredible! So many features and detailing, the aquariums, the marine life, the architecture. The Dig really is beautiful. The Mayan Temple pools and slides are great fun. The pools seemed to get busier as the week progressed and it was a bit annoying to see poolside chaises claimed with towels by 10am, with the “owner” finally appearing after lunch. Seems like poor taste to me, but since October is low season there was always a group of chaises to be found. I can only imagine what it’s like in high season. The Harborside pool is smaller but nice, and just a 2 minute walk from our building (#7). Kids kept busy with the pools, slides, ping-pong and shuffle board. The slides were great – try them all!
Ventured into Nassau on Thursday to do some shopping. Taxied there ($4/person) and returned by ferry ($4/person). Shopping in Nassua was mediocre–the typical tourist items. But got to buy a t-shirt you know. Lunched at Senor Frogs-food was OK (not cheap $100), and the place looked like it could use a good cleaning. Kids and hubby HATED the Straw Market–too crowded, too much of the same cheap touristy stuff, non-stop calls to buy. Might be fun for a girls trip. Ferry was fun, packed with friendly people in a boat that looked pretty ancient (I located the lifevests for the kids, just in case.) Just a 5-minute walk from the ferry to Harborside
There is a daily sheet of daily schedule of activities at Atlantis – games and contests at the pools, feeding the marine life, free movies in the theatre, bingo, etc. The kids enjoyed the Club Reef with the free internet and Nintendo, etc. games. 4-7pm for preteens for just $15. There’s even a library for checking out books.
Would love to go back–the only thing I’d improve is finding a direct flight from Milwaukee!