Recent posts by Canuks | Debbie's Caribbean Resort Reviews Forums

Okay – here’s a bit of information about Cuban management as I know it. They are Cuban owned. There maybe managing companies like property managers here in Ontario will take care of a building here in Ontario that is owned by another company.

The BIG differently is that the owner ‘Cuba’ will tell the managing company Iberostar, Solmelia or others how many people they will have to operate the hotel. They will also charge the hotel a fee for beach cleaning and supply the man power.

A letter to the travel company and the management can help – but not the way we here in Canada or in England would directly effect persons able to make the difference. The tour operator if they see people are dissatisfied can threaten not to book at a destination or bump it down a star (or 2) which will cause loss of revenue.

Can a letter make a difference – possibly but there is no owner or manager that has that power. Possibly a well worded letter to the resort with cc’s to the local tourism board may help.

There is much too much about ‘Gifts’ and tipping these days. Go enjoy your trip. Those of us who have been to Cuba a few times start to understand what we want to bring along as extras. If you feel compelled to bring more then connect with an organization like www.njttoronto.ca/links.htm and bring down a humanitarian case.

But please to going to Cuba does not require you take down gifts. "It really doesn’t". Cubans are a really proud people – that is part of what makes them for me so special. Yes apparently they do need soap after all the Hurricanes and the devastation. They also need food staples like rice and beans. Will I be bring these down with me – yes – but I know who I am giving these things to as I visit them in their home. For me it is no different than taking flowers to a friend when we visit their home.

As a new traveler – PLEASE – go enjoy yourself, spend your extra dollars on buying Cuban local art or crafts. That will help them and allow you to feel like you have added to their culture not imposing tipping or gifts (our culture) on them. That is what my suggestion would be to a 1st time Cuban traveler.

I have to say the out of adversity people shine through is shown here. For me when I first read it I was mad … then with everyone’s responses it has reaffirmed how many great people are out there. When I was in sales they said that one bad comment needed 10 good to neutralize. – John if you read this …. I think we are well beyond neutral and well into the black on this ledger

This is from another poster … different site but I respect their opinion on many things …I can only assume on this topic they have remarkable clarity

Guys, having read the offending postings by the naysayers on that "other" forum, all I can say is that it was posted by one of the most hateful and prolific anti-Cuba/anti-Castro people on the forums. In their warped way, they see every possible thing in the worst possible light and try therefore to make Cuba look bad in every way possible. Offhand, I’d say that 99% of the people on that forum see that poster in the same light. But I agree that libelous statements such as he made must be challenged and refuted in the strongest possible terms.

IMHO…. John Dubois and the Foundation Rock!!!!!

I am so sorry that your time in Paradise got cut short! Hopefully they will have an alternative ….. for your alternative vacation.

Thanks guys! No Rum but oh well nice to have some kind words from you all.

In the whole scale of things the inconvenience of an altered trip is minor to those that are living and working in the area. But now it looks like our trip could have been salvaged but AT evacuated the clients in Cayo Coco and while the storm would be through by the time we should have been there I guess it was easier to just cancel the week in Cuba for Cancun.

If you are looking for flight numbersYou can add TS 214 to the cancellation list

Toronto (yyz) to Cayo Coco (CCC) Sunday Nov 9th

Air transat

We have rescheduled but "oh crap" there are so many things now we have to rearrange. It is so odd as everything was working so remarkably well for this upcoming week. Hubbie’s jobs had all finished and there was a week before any scheduled production was set to go. For me my week was really lax. It was like the stars were alighning in our favour. So strange how relaxing week would have been and now …. well you guys get it.

Well our flight on Sunady to Cayo Coco has been cancelled
On the phone on hold right now finding out our options.
Well our flight posted to depart Sunday might be a very bumpy ride. There are a few non sanctioned words I would like to use right now!

If it keeps to the projected route – that means NO part of Cuba has been spared this season. Cayo Coco area along with Havana were (I believe) the only tourist not hit so far by a path of the previous named stormes

There are the usual * lock the doors and windows* turn down the heat (or A/C – if summer)* water the plants* stop your mail or get a neighbour to pick it up

But what else is on your pre-vacation list??

Do you have a camera with your equipment? – As some airlines allow for a camera bag. as additional carry-on
One suggestion:We had a candle ceremony as part of our wedding . It was here in Canada, but it would work anywhere. The parents light a candle each and pass it to their child (symbolic of giving life, love or whatever is important message for your family) the bride and groom take their candle and light a larger single candle that symbolizes the beginning of life together and they extinguish the parent’s candle and give it back to the parent with thanks. The larger candle stays lit through the rest of the marriage ceremony. Then each year after we light the candle for a bit on our anniversary. The parent still have their candle and can do the same if they wish or just have it as a symbol of the day. For us after 17 years it has remained an important part of our special day.

If pictures are important then I would suggest that you take a few cameras and even ask by standards to take some for you. On one of our trips to Cuba we were asked if we would attend a wedding the day before the event. That was when I had a film camera. I took a whole roll of pictures and as a wedding present just gave them the roll of film. With digital cameras that is a bit more difficult, but you would be surprised how many might step up to take pictures with your camera – or their own. Many resorts have photo shops close by. if they use their own camera you could get them put on disc before you leave.

Well I picked up the NJT bag Tuesday.
I was a bit surprised on the contents though. There were no drugs -… not even an aspirin. Only bandages, wraps, 2 saline (heavy) bags and 2 adult diapers. Not even gloves?? To others delivering these bags …is this normal? I had thought that there would be more meds and gloves and the like.
What a great school or scout project or any group. Excellent idea. The only item I see being added is a tea towel & bar of hand soap and put it all in a plastic box (one that can be used for storage)

I will be passing this along to a few organizations in this area. Have you made up a poster of any kind or is it on the website?

Unless things have changed over the past 5 years this was credible information that was given to me.For either the off shore named hotel like Iberostar,Solmelia or others or a wholly run Cuban operation there is no difference in pay for the same location/city. With the off shore named hotel …. the employed workers all work for a couple of Cuban owned employers. Iberostar will be told by Cuba how many employees they will require to run the hotel and that they must pay per worker a certain dollar. Now this is not the employee’s wage this is what the hotel needs to contribute to the economy. The Cuban company pays the worker. The hotel is told not only how many workers they will have they are also told how much they will be charged for water, for electricity, and how many people they will need to clean the beach. These are all fixed costs and there is not much (sometimes almost nothing) left over for the (named) hotel chain.

While pooling of tips would be an ideal way of the workers to operate, the places we have stayed have not seen this. The chambermaids share their gains by selling them to the other workers, and servers pocket $ very fast, and entertainment staff hoard the "timmy’ cups as like badges of honour, competing as to who has the most. This has changed over the years dramatically. Initially I believe all was shared – not so much now -for the places we have traveled. That in part is why I am putting more of my efforts to places like The Dubois Foundation – that way I know that many, not a few are benefiting.

MartianWe are going to Cuba soon.

We normally visit our friend’s family and despite the fact we ask them not to feed us they always do. Nothing off market but typically, chicken, rice and beans and a bit of salad.

If we take down some food – dried beans, rice e.t.c. – could we be putting them in harm’s way? Someone assuming that they are buying black market? What is, or, is there a way that we can treat them and not have them fearful of santions?

That is really interesting. -thanks for sharing

Ewa – Knowing your resort – THAT WAS EXTREMELY bold. And for us it would be a real turn off.

I have been a long time saying that once the genie was out of the bottle it is hard to put it back. We have been to many Islands including the DR and Jamaica that you are asked all the time for stuff. And it really takes away from the innocence and one of the joys of Cuba.

We have only once been specifically asked for an item for personal use. It was for a new father’s baby. We have been asked for items to assist the hotel – but never for an individual nor for a luxury item (Ipod or the like). We have even had tips returned saying that we are their friend and told you do not tip a friend.

Okay we have done 2 weddings over the past 2 weekends and I have kissing questions.

Customs of Kissing

When in Cuba my female friend said that they do two audible kisses at each side of the face to give a familiar "Hello" (no contact of lips to face only cheek to cheek)

Growing up in small town Ontario we shook hands to say "hello" but with all the Italian customs in the area cheek kisses are more common. On the past two weekends we have been at weddings one Canadian mix Greek and the other was Portuguese. While the handshake still works, depending on the person you still get drawn in for a kiss.

Your opinion is needed:

When do you kiss one cheek? – which one first? When is it aside the cheek or on the cheek? When do you do both left and right cheek?When do you do two per side?

Please – input needed

Difficult question as it depends on your activity levels.
We rent a car and scuba dive while we are there so we carry a lot more with us than eeefarm. And yes they do take Credit cards (Not from American banks so no Amex either) and travelers cheques but you do not get as good a rate at the banks as with money. For excursions there is a surcharge if you use your card or travelers cheques. Use Canadian money not US as they charge a handling fee for US currency.

While I can understand what you are saying. The fact that the party booked during the hurricane season might work against you. Mind you for that size of group in hurricane season does seem a bit high.The resort, the charter company and the operations still go on, to the best they can. Staff needs to be paid, in Cuba, in Toronto, and planes still fly, and all the other costs in Toronto and Cuba are the same. The fact that a natural disaster altered the resort did not alter the costs.Friends of my mom had their wedding in Cancun when the big storm hit . They chalked it up as a wedding memory. They all ‘made-it through’ and for the resources available they had a good time.

I am not sure. Maybe approach asking their help not out of anger may yield something.

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