Friday, August 14, 2009

I am not a tight wad!

Good morning! Well, as promised, I need to update you on the Dungan clan's trip to Atlantis (a.k.a. the 'make you' poor house) First off, I would be remiss if I did not tell you that we had an extraordinary time. We are very thankful to my mother who gave us this trip as a Christmas present. Originally, after watching videos and reviewing the websites of both Disney World and Atlantis we gave the kiddos the choice of where they would like to go. Hands down, they chose Atlantis. For them, a water park was the ultimate destination and Atlantis fit the bill. Overall, the kiddos were pretty good. They had their moments of goodness:

and badness:

But, overall, it was pretty spectacular. For those of you who do not know about Atlantis, it is a resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. It really caters to all ages but there is no doubt that it has a tinge towards kiddos. The resort itself includes a casino, fine dining, golf, and spa services among many other adult amenities, however, the fact remains that the Atlantis suite of hotels are situated around an industrial sized water park and marine habitat chock full of some of the world's largest aquariums. From a kiddo standpoint, it really could not have been any better.

However, before you pack your bags and load up the kiddos in the family roadster and ship off for the Bahamas, I feel I would be really remiss if I did not give other parents an accurate low down. I have already established the fun and the activities. From that standpoint it could not have been any better - genuinely. However, I did feel it missed on a couple of substantial points. First, everything is ridiculously expensive. They have you captive on the island and they know it. We had a meal plan which was nice. It was fairly reasonably priced and gave us a pretty good variety of choices. However, without the meal plan you might as well bring a suitcase full of money. While meals were covered for us, I did get the opportunity to review the final bill form each of our meals in real dollars. Even at your typical breakfast buffet (you know - scrambled eggs, omelet station, bacon, sausage, fruit and pastry bar) the cost for the five of us was about $150.00 - and that was the cheap option. We could have opted for more ritzy dining. That was bad enough but when we stepped outside and I realized that they were charging $9.00 for a 24 ounce bottle of water I started to become appalled. Ironically, the same bottle of water from our hotel mini bar was only $7.00. Cokes were $4.00 and wine and beer started at $7.50 a drink and went up from there. Now don't get me wrong, I am not a tight wad. But, at some point, the ridiculousness of the overpricing eventually began to take some of the enjoyment of the trip away if for no other reason than the principal of it. Furthermore, I honestly have no problem with overpricing goods and services as long as they are worth it. However, at the prices they were charging I expected a couple of levels of service above what we received. This is not to say that we had bad service - just, at that price point, you would expect it to be extraordinary. I don't know if it was the culture of the people or what but I always felt like it was a struggle to get a waiter or waitresses attention. Again, I don't say this to whine, only to say that it could and should have been much more for what was paid. From that perspective the price for the entire trip (less the ridiculous cost of our incidental beverages which was $770.00 for 4 days of waters, cokes, etc.) was similar to our Disney cruise and I can tell you that the level of service during our Disney experience far surpassed that of Atlantis - not by feet, by miles.

With all of that being said, I still can not say that I would not recommend Atlantis. In fact, I would recommend it this way. Take the Disney Cruise. Honestly, nothing is better. During your stop in Nassau spend the day at Atlantis. Do the Dolphin adventure and spend the day enjoying all of their incredible water features and parks. Visit the pools and water slides or make your way out to the beach for relaxing or parasailing. There are activities for everyone. However, don't forget to take a suitcase full of bottled water from the cruise ship. I honestly think this combination is a home run. I would prefer two days at Atlantis to be able to do and see everything but this method will also leave you wanting more which may just be the perfect feeling to leave with - as opposed to feeling like you were somehow robbed.

Overall, I rank this trip up there as one of my favorites but I just could not help from feeling a bit poorer than I wanted to.

The point thoug, I guess, is that all of us came back rejuvenated and full of purpose.

No comments: