Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Three Sisters Swim With the Feces

Three Sisters
Swim With
the Feces

Brisas del Caribe - Varadero Kim
March 2007

BRISAS DEL CARIBE in Varadero Cuba & Catamaran tour “Cruisers del Sol”
Trip taken February 17 – 24, 2007
Travelers: 3 sisters go on a nightmare

Between my sister’s and I, we have vacationed at different resorts in Varadero Cuba intermittently over the last decade thus have a realistic idea what to expect regarding the service and food. Conquest Vacations Inc. has BRISAS DEL CARIBE in Varadero Cuba is listed as a 4 star. This classification should be changed to a zero star. The actual facilities were average, the rooms were musty, swollen, & water damaged although everything functioned properly in the hotel room. As well, anyone with a walking handicap would not find this resort appropriate. The major complaint of this letter is to inform you the service and food was absolutely disgusting. There is the bonus complaint about the excursion tour that had us snorkel in human feces.

NOT AVAILABLE - The a la carte restaurant – completely booked upon our arrival. I do not think the a la carte restaurants were even open the first part of the week. We were told right off – the a la carte was completely booked. Although Thursday before we left we noticed empty tables at the a la carte and when I inquired again on Friday morning, I was firmly told they were booked solid. You should not offer a la carte restaurants if they are NOT available.

NOT AVAILABLE – Imaging being told at a beach resort you are not able to get beach towel until Wednesday. We were told their washer was broken. We knew there was a $15.00 convertible peso fee per towel; however, this beach resort did not have any towels until the 5th day after we arrived.

Our room was fine and we did have three single beds as per our request. Our Bed linens were changed only once the whole vacation– the Friday before we left. My sister had a dirt spot on her pillowcase she kept complaining about, so it was easy to evaluate when the linens were changed. As well, everyday, I had to find cleaning staff to obtain replacement bathroom towels for our room. No bathroom towels of any size were left in our room after they came in to clean the room. The three of us managed to create a ring of sand, sunblock, and soap scum in the bathtub by the end of our vacation because the bathtub was not cleaned once while on our vacation. There was no bottled water supplied in the rooms. The guests were expected to take a water pitcher from their room to the bar and have the pitcher filled with water for their rooms. Just so you know, we left a tip everyday for the maid, it did not matter, our room was barely tidied let alone cleaned.

Due to chilly weather Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, the hotel guests [ourselves included] did not want to eat outdoors at the buffet. During the posted buffet mealtimes, there were not enough tables/seats in dining room so tourists had to wait in a line up outside the restaurant. Just so you know, there was space in the dining room with tables and chairs stacked on top of each other pushed against a wall that could have been set for meals. Guests had to be in the dining upon opening to ensure they were able to eat, as the dining room did not put out additional food after 9:00pm and they frequently closed early.

The food at this resort was terrible for all the travelers staying at this resort.

The beach café – offered dry pre cooked hamburger patties or they deep-fried the wieners for your hotdog. There was a grill right there but it was never used. The buffet dining room, once you got a seat – it was extremely difficult to find something not sitting in a vat of grease. The food was 85% absolutely inedible. Breakfast - Bacon was sitting in 3 inches of grease; scrambled eggs quarter cooked, even the omelet bar, the omelets were still runny inside. The other things around the buffet were unidentifiable. The only edible thing we could eat was hard boiled eggs and bread. The fruit juice was great. There was also no regular tea – they only provided green tea, chamomile, and mint tea. Absolutely no earl grey or orange pekoe – nothing for the real tea drinker. The lunch buffet was worse, over cooked pasta all dried out, dry fish or greasy hamburger with peppers mash, mashed potatoes, white yams, rice. Dinner was dreadful, the gourmet section, often I would wait in line for 30 minutes to receive a pork fat with a little wedge of pork. That was the alternative to over done pasta, and the vat of lard with browned hamburger meat or the chicken legs submerged in fat. I cannot count the amount of tourist that left the buffet table [myself included] with a plate of mash potatoes or rice with black beans. The bread bar was always very busy as that was fresh and one of the few things that could be eaten. The food was very poor. Not even close to a 2 star, let alone a 4 star – it was ridiculous!!! I have been to 3’s star in Cuba with better food and variety.

NO CUC’s - The CUC is a controlled currency which means travelers can’t exchange their money in Canada. Now this controllable Cuban peso is stronger than the US dollar.???!!! Give me a break! Just so you know, the CUC exchange is only available at the airport. Just to give you an idea of the real exchange - $520.00 Cdn dollars = $397.20 CUC. Please don’t get me started about how the ‘banko’ at the resort never had money to exchange for the tourists. The resort should not advertise a bank onsite when it never has money.

Conquest rep – he was good although because you cannot exchange your CDN dollars at the resort bank – your excursions get an extra service charge on your credit card statement plus the exchange rate CDN to CUC because they prefer cash! So the price is never what you expect to pay. All excursions are priced in CUC’s.
We booked an excursion through our Conquest Representative. – A Catamaran tour “Cruisers del Sol” on Friday February 23, 2007. We were elated to get away from the hideous food at the resort. The Catamaran tour we chose included snorkeling, stop at an island with lunch, and a swim with the dolphins.
We were issued flippers, PFD’s, masks and snorkels – which were washed in a soapy solution. Our tour group was instructed to exit the catamaran from the back and stay within two floating life preservers. It felt tight considering the amount of people in the stipulated area. My sisters and I were taking in the fantastic coral & tropical fish when a group of people in front of us started thrashing around and screamed there was “s**t” and “toilet paper” in the water. Then another group of snokelers stopped snorkeling, feet straight down, and ran in the water toward the catamaran with shouts of “stool floating in the water”. I swallowed a huge gulp of water from the snorkel’s top end when something floated by my face and I turned enough to be looking at a huge nugget of excrement! I was in a very large toilet – with toilet paper unraveling and breaking apart all around me. It was the opinion of some of the other snorkelers’ that someone from the catamaran flushed the toilets into the ocean as we were snorkeling on purpose. I am not sure if catamarans have a grey water/ black water tank system and if they do, this was done intentionally. It is common knowledge; you can get Hepatitis {A & B’s} from oral consumption of human feces, as it is full of bacteria. That does not come close to the ‘yuck’ factor and how incensed I am that such a thing could happen. This whole feces incident happened within one minute and will haunt me for the rest of my life The mood back on the catamaran was chaos then everyone went silent. WE all felt violated by the excrement. We did the island thing, it was nice, the food was crap, but much better than anything we had all week at the resort. Just so you know, this tour cost about $100.00 per person Canadian. Plus the additional $10.00 per person to go into another tank and hold the dolphins fins to be pulled in a circle.

Horrendous food, bad cleaning service, and the floating feces ruined our whole trip. I plan to tell my experience to everyone I can think of so Conquest Vacations Inc., BRISAS DEL CARIBE, and the tour company are accountable for their lack of health and welfare of their travelers. It was suppose to be a vacation not a nightmare!
I think it is time to update your star listing and worry about the damage that has been done by this hotel and tour group.

Cuba used to be a fun inexpensive place for Canadians to vacation. In the last decade, Cuba resort’s food was fine, not gourmet, but satisfactory with enough variety to always be able to fine something suitable to eat. The rooms were clean, the ocean very beautiful and the excursions were interesting. That is not the case with this last vacation.

Cuba vacation’s dollar value is now comparable to other Islands factoring in the CUC but they cannot compare to the food or service that other island’s offer to travelers. If Conquest plans to sell Cuba vacation packages - considering the CUC is higher than the US dollar - Conquest needs to re-evaluate their star system. Absolutely nothing about this vacation was even close to four stars.

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Brisas del Caribe - Varadero Denise ~ Canada
March 2007

Can we ever trust Nolitours again! According to them this resort has a four star rating! It was an extremely poor excuse for a three - I would be inclined to give it a 2 1/2. Don't get me wrong, I fully realize that Cuban star ratings tend to be generous. However, this was ridiculous. No one could have a hot or even warm shower. Our patio door lock had broken off - it took over 36 hours to have it repaired. Despite repeated requests for a wooden stick or bar to secure, the room we had to put up with an unsecured room until it was finally fixed. The place was badly short staffed. Shortages of everything abounded - not enough tables in cafeteria, not enough servers, not enough patio chairs. And saving the best (actually the worst for last) the food was extremely poor. I know, we all say don't go to Cuba for the food. However, let me just describe it via my father-in-law who was in our group. He is the only person that I have ever known who compliments hospital meals. He'll talk in glowing terms about this hospital or that and the wonderful food that he had.

His opinion of the food at this resort - by and large it wasn't edible. He frequently had trouble finding acceptable food to eat! My advice don't go to this resort unless you would be happy in a poorly kept two-star. It needs major renovation, more amenities, more staff, better quality of food and major re-landscaping oceanside. Only positive the grounds behind the main building are lovely and beautifully tended.

This is a Cubacan resort - which to me means it is Cuban owned and operated. We love the Cuban people, go there frequently and do a lot of humanitarian work for their benefit. We paid top dollar for this resort. Unfortunately, unless the powers that be pick up their socks dramatically they are hurting themselves because they will not get repeat guests. In the opinion of most of the people we spoke to while their, no one will go back there again.


Tomas Estrada-Palma


Blogger Jose Aguirre said...

Swimming in their own shit!!! Poetic justice for the foreign exploiters! Could be the source of a new tourism slogan for Cuba now that fidel has multiple anuses!!!

2:55 AM  
Blogger Tomás Estrada-Palma said...

If Raul's got no money for kid's milk what do you think the chances are he's buying chemicals to treat boat sewage? Nada! Don't gulp any water tourists...

3:13 PM  

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