TRAVEL THERE: OFF TO ATLANTIS – ATLANTIS PARADISE ISLAND RESORT THAT IS
A lot of what happens to you during travel is a result of what you expect – but not all of it. I’m the sort that expects to have the time of my life, no matter what I have on the agenda, but even with the greatest attitude in the world you can have some unpleasant travel experiences. Going to visit Atlantis was one of those.
Planning for Atlantis
From the day I first started researching my cruise on Norwegian Epic, the port I was most excited about was Nassau. I’ve dreamed of a vacation at the Atlantis Resort and though I’d only be there for a short while, I wanted to go visit and get a taste of what if would be like if I ever returned as a guest of the resort.
Visiting resorts rather than staying at them is sort of a hobby with Bill and I. We’re both interested in architecture and decor. Marketing and customer service have played a role in both of our careers, so we enjoy comparing notes on how organizations succeed or fail at these important activities. And who knows, I might want to blog about it.
The resorts win. We stroll through the place, have a drink at the bar or a meal in the restaurant and then become a walking, talking advertisement for the place.
Take The Phoenician in Scottsdale for instance. I’ve visited several times and it’s high on my list of resorts I hope to stay at some day, but so far all I’ve done is have drinks on the patio. However, my enthusiasm for the place has netted them a large number of guests, because when I run into anybody who tells me they’re going to Arizona, I tell them to stay at The Phoenician. The reason I’m telling you this, is because I want you to know that I’ve visited many resorts over the years to sample rather than stay and never have I had as bad an experience as I had at Atlantis.
In the beginning, I thought we might go on one of the shore excursions to Atlantis offered by NCL, but the excursions were focused on swimming with the dolphins and playing in the water park. That wasn’t my primary interest. I wanted to look around and visit the Aquarium. I found several online posts that indicated that it was easy to get to the island and see attractions at the resort. It was easy to get to Paradise Island, but seeing the resort was a whole ‘nother thing.
Lost on Paradise Island
After a bit of shopping in Nassau proper, we grabbed a cab outside the Straw Market and within minutes, our cabbie was letting us out in front of the resort. We strolled into the nearest door and started gaping in awe at the gorgeous decor. Now at least some part of the blame for our frustrations at Atlantis have to be blamed on the taxi driver. He didn’t exactly chose the primary entrance to drop us off, but I have to shoulder some of the blame also. I’d dreamed up this expedition and let myself get distracted by all the pretty stuff and didn’t get us going in the right direction. After Bill took a few pictures of me by the dolphin statues, Deb headed off to the right and I followed.
Now there wasn’t really anything wrong with heading to the right, because we saw some extraordinary stuff by wandering down that way, but we were also heading in the direction of Ms. Rude. Perhaps if I’d have been paying attention, rather than being photographed, I would have sent us in the other direction. But then again, maybe not.
As it was, the further we went, the more we realized how alone we were. Certainly there was more activity someplace else. We made a turn that took us to a busier section of the resort. We saw a door that led outside and made a beeline for it. Before we were able to get very far, a security guard pointed us back inside and told us to see the concierge. We found the concierge, who pointed us further down the counter and each time we started to explain what we wanted, we were directed further down the counter to another person, until we reached Ms. Rude.
I won’t bother you with the details of the conversation, but the bottom line was, “Either pay us $40 per person or go home,” and the message was delivered with the distinct implication that we should go home. After all the money Atlantis spends trying to get you to their resort, this was pretty sad.
Now, I’d be the first to admit that they’re probably inundated every day with cruise ship idiots that want to freeload on their beach and I don’t blame them for protecting themselves from said freeloaders, but they shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. We weren’t necessarily interested in paying $120 for the privilege of walking by their pool, but given the opportunity to eat in a decent restaurant, we might have dropped even more than that. What blew me away was the rude way that the woman delivered her message. We were earnestly trying to patronize the place. We just didn’t want to hang out on the beach and didn’t feel like we should have to pay for something we didn’t want.
In the end, she whipped out a map and showed me all the places we couldn’t go. It appeared we might as well go back to the ship, but talking among ourselves, we decided to get another opinion. In another part of the facility we found that we could actually go to the casino, something Ms. Rude had indicated we couldn’t do. This message was delivered with slightly less angst than Ms. Rude showered upon us, but only slightly less.
Back on Track
Then we did find the casino and I’m sharing the pictures below. It really is a gorgeous place, but if I were you, I’d stay away in droves. The marketing department might be trying to get you there, but the employees would rather you stayed home.
After standing around with our mouths open gawking at the Chihuly-laden casino, we visited the marina. I think I’ve made it very clear here in my blog that I am a big fan of Chihuly, but I’d somehow missed the news that Chihuly had decorated Atlantis’ casino or if I had known, I forgot. If I was impressed with the Chihulys, it was nothing compared to the jaw dropping my husband experienced when we found Marina Village.
Marina Village itself is nothing to write home about. It’s a pleasant little venue, but pretty much deserted. The best restaurants seemed to only be opened at night and the rest were fast food – Quinzo’s Johnny Rockets, etc. We ended up grabbing a pizza. A good pizza, but not what we’d planned when we first discussed having a meal at Atlantis – but I wasn’t about to spend $120 so that we could drop another $120 for a meal.
Should cruise passengers visit Atlantis? I’d say if water parks and a swim with the dolphins was of interest to you, then yes, go on a shore excursion with your cruise line. If you just want to see the Chihuly’s, then by all means, head on over there. I’d say that I’m glad I saw them. If you want to play on their beach and think it would be worth $40 per person, the price of a taxi both ways and the price of whatever you ate or drank while there, then go for it. If you want to go get a taste of Atlantis, then forget it. The taste we had left a bitter flavor in our mouths.
Bill took the picture to the right so you could see the different price levels for a day at Atlantis. The Epic doesn’t get into port until noon and leaves by six. Perhaps if we’d had more time to really have a “day” at Atlantis, these prices would have been more palatable – or if we were staying at another hotel, it would be worth it to enjoy the Atlantis experience. As it is, I wish I’d have planned something else.
As promised. Here’s Bill’s photolog of the Atlantis Casino and environs. As for the rest of the cruise, there’s not much left. Come back next week and find out what might be the Epic’s best kept secret!