Best Vacation w/toddlers A review of Atlantis - Harborside Resort
EXCELLENT!!!We just got back from our stay at Harborside Aug 10-16. We
stayed in a 2 bedroom lock-off unit w/my brother-in-law, so we had 5
children combined under 4 years old and had the best vacation that
parents could have with toddlers (but, we also brought along my 15 yr
old sister-in-law to act as babysitter while we went on snorkel trips,
special dinners and trips to casino. We still had the children most of
The rooms were very nicely decorated and felt "just like home" according to my husband. Maybe it's just me but I prefer that "not at home" feel. We went to the waterslides almost every day where there is a great place for the toddler crowd. In the evenings we went to the kiddie pool at Harborside and also loved watching the kids have a blast. It was very gratifying to watch the children play with an everlasting smile plastered on their faces. My two very active sons were in heaven. (You know being a parent that it's a given when you go on vacation w/small children that it's still work). My husband and I took turns at the bigger waterslides and loved the leap of faith and the the tunnel slide w/tubes where you can look at the sharks swim by.
I recommend bringing food and drinks w/you in order to save money. I
brough frozen steaks, frozen milk, frozen chicken breasts, rice, water,
juice boxes, yogurt, bagels, cheese, etc. I also bought groceries
through the order service because I needed more bread for sandwiches
and also forgot the lunchmeat. Don't go overboard because a big part of
enjoying a vacation is going out to eat. Plan a few meals in and a few
meals out. I totally recommend Water's Edge Seafood Buffet ($44pp-tax &
tip included). It's so worth the money. We also ordered Domino's pizza
delivery one night. $20 for 2 pizzas, cheesy bread and 2 drinks. Good
For lunch one day go to the Cave grill for the family hamburger combo
for $22. 4 hamburgers, 2 large frys and 4 drinks.
Go on a dinner cruise for a romantic night alone w/hubby. We chose
Voyager cruises on a Viking ship ($120). Nice cruise and really good
food but I think I'd prefer something a little faster paced like a
catamaran cruise. (no kids w/us)
We took a day trip to Rose Island w/Sea Island Adventures ($54pp,$27
for kids-10% discount because I booked ahead). It was wonderful with a
great big lunch and snorkeling gear, kayaks, hammocks, yummy punch to
drink all day. We saw so many fish. I took a mental picture of the
water's color on this day. Great for the small children.
We also went w/Stuart Cove's snorkeling trip ($35pp-$5 discount for
booking in advance) for half-day. Very enjoyable and a must-do and a
great operation. Great snorkel gear-no need to bring your own. 3 stops
which included one where you swam w/sharks. I was first one out and got
totally scared and started swimming back to the boat when the guide
said to relax as the sharks gravitated towards the bait box that was
down below. No small children on this day.
I forgot to mention that the Atlantis resort is almost like Seaworld
built in to the hotel. It has great aquariums and sea life indoors and
out. This was a great attraction for the kids, too.
A few things I regret not doing is going into town to look around but I
was told that there was no bargain on Atlantis logo items anyway. So, I
did spend $78 at the Atlantis shop and was so upset that my son left
his $16 shark on the plane (I went back to get it after everyone had
deboarded and it was gone; someone picked it up on the way out and took
it home w/them. I am still not over it.)
The other thing that I wished we would have done is walk to the "fish fry" under the Paradise Island bridge. The local fisherman have booths where they cook the fresh seafood to order. Very informal and a total local hangout I was told.
Also, I wish that we could have gone to Harbor Island where there is pink sand or maybe on the powerboats to the Exuma Island Cays where there is great snorkeling. Snorkeling was the highlight of my trip but then again we were paying for the Atlantis amenities. My kids loved every minute of Atlantis.
By the way, we were on an Explorer vacation we bought for $1500 from Starwood. We went to a timeshare presentation last year at Disneyworld but didn't buy so we were offered a return trip. We did end up buying a timeshare at Harborside because we had been thinking about it and their was no hard pressured sell like there was in Orlando. Their style is so totally different and so it made the decision to buy or not to buy so much easier. No problem if you decided not to buy. They even took us out to breakfast at The Point restaurant at Harborside. Very nice outdoor location on the water.
If you ya'll have any questions about Atlantis, I'd be glad to give you
any more insight that I may have to increase the enjoyment of your
precious vacation time. Just e-mail me.