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Reviewed 28 March 2004

My new bride and I just recently returned from our honeymoon in the Bahamas where we stayed for 5 nights at VIVA Club Fortuna Beach from 3/12/04 - 3/17/04. We went to the resort as the result of "winning" two nights accomodations through a travel agency named Spirit Incentives about a year prior to our trip. We upgraded the two nights to five and ended up paying right at $1000 USD for our five nights accomodations including all misc. fees and taxes. Our package did not include transportation to the island which we purchased directly through American Airlines and cost $265 USD per ticket including all fees and taxes.I will say that I went into this trip expecting the worst as I have read numerous so so reviews about the hotel and the island. As this was my honeymoon, I wanted a pleasurable accomodations experience. I was especially concerned about visiting the resort during the Spring Break season. I must say however that overall I found the resort better than expected.When we arrived at the airport and deplaned, we found ourselves right on the tarmack. We followed the line of mostly American tourists off the plane to the baggage claim area which was not as refined as American airport baggage claim pickups however we found our uniquely colored and shaped luggage without too much difficulty. NOTE: I would recommend having luggage that is unique in some way to make identification much easier. The Bahamas Customs process is rather lax. You simply have to have your Passport and fill out a form declaring the length and nature of your stay. NOTE: As a American citizen, you need either a Passport OR an original copy of your Birth Certificate and a Government issued photo ID to travel to the Bahamas.The taxi ride from the airport to the resort was an interesting experience and was definately a little sketchy. We shared a 1980's limosuine with some other tourists who were staying at one of the resorts in Port Lucya. The car was definitely on its last legs and the ride was a little rough. The taxi driver put everyone's luggage into the truck which definitely didn't fit. Luckily, mine was on the bottom and I didn't have to worry about it during the trip. The other people's luggage was stacked on top of mine and then secured through a few straps through the truck to the bumper of the car. Nevertheless, the taxi got everyone (and their luggage) to the various resorts without incident. The taxi ride took about 20 minutes and cost $20 USD. I found out later that $20 is a fair rate from the airport to the resort.We arrived at the resort around 12:30pm. We were assisted with putting our bags in the hotel lobby area by a hotel staff member. We checked in at the fronk desk and received our armbands however we could not complete the check in process and recieve room keys until at least 3pm. NOTE: You will have to wait until 3pm to get into your room and possibly later! We were told that we could leave our luggage in the lobby and go get something to eat at the cafeteria. We were a little nervous about leaving our luggage unattended however there was a lot of unattended luggage already in the lobby and it seemed to be the norm so we left and went to the cafeteria where they were serving lunch.The lunch was our first experience with the greatly talked about diet at the resort. Regarding the food at the resort, I will summize my overall dining experience as much better than expected. Although none of the meals (including those at the Italian restaurant) are fine cuisine dining, the food is certainly edible and with a pretty good selection. The meals are served cafeteria style in one section of the large dining area at various time blocks throughout the day. There are no limits to the amount of food that you can get and the busing staff is quick to clean up tables and messes. In general, the different meals of the day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) are the same from day to day with some variance with the hot meats and vegetable choices. Pizza, hot dogs, and hamburgers are usually available at lunch time and even throughout the midday in an area just outside the cafeteria. And yes, the pizza is pretty good. A well maintained salad bar is always present at lunch and dinner along with an assortment of fruits, breads, and desserts. Drink selections include various Pepsi brand soft drinks, coffee, milk, tea, and juices. Alcoholic drinks are not served in the cafeteria but can be brought in from the bar which is located just down the hall from the cafeteria. The cafeteria is a little loud at times but is no worse than a busy American restaurant as far as noise. The Italian restaurant is much quieter. Regarding the Italian restaurant, the food quality is essentially the same however it is nice to be waited on. We had the same waitress for the two nights that we went to the restaurant and she was really friendly. The menu selections are somewhat limited in selection (and yes you can purchase steak or lobster for an additional cost) but are unlimited in quantity. You can order mutiple entrees if you wish at no additional cost. The steak (which I tried one night) is of average cut and quality. The desserts are much better at the Italian restaurant than at the cafeteria (chocolate mousse cake, cheesecake, and a fruit tart I believe). If you want to try the Italian restaurant, call the guest services desk no later than 9am in the morning to reserve your spot. Overall, I found the meals much better than expected. I guess the closest thing I can compare the dining experience too is upgraded school/camp meals.Anyways, after eating our lunch that first day we went back to the lobby and waited to check in. We were approached by the VIVA time share lady who asked us our age (24) and then left us alone. I think you have to be 25. Others were approached by her but she wasn't rude or overbearing. We did finally get into our room around 3:15pm. We found the room to be ok although it did have a few minor issues. All of the rooms at the resort are located in one of several buildings and are either first or second floor and resort or ocean view. We got a second floor ocean view room however our view of the beach and ocean was obstructed by several large palm trees! Oh well... The room had a King bed with bedside tables and lamps, refrigerator, coffee pot and mugs, iron and ironing board, cable tv, desk and chair, and a few towels and washcloths. Regarding the beach towel situation at the resort, we were issued two cards at check in for towel pick up and exchange (which occurs at the pool each morning I think). We never used the cards as we brought our own beach towels which worked wonderfully for us. NOTE: I would suggest bringing extra bath/beach towels just so you don't have to hassle with it. Overall, the room was ok and I was happy enough with a comfortable clean bed and cable tv (broadcast out of Miami, FL). The bathroom shower had ok water pressure and was clean. The housekeeper was pleasant and came in the morning but would come back in the afternoon if requested. She provided fresh towels each day and cleaned the room up nicely we thought. No problems there. Overall, I would rate the rooms well although not quite at the level of American hotels but certainly livable.Over the course of the five day period we tried to experince everything that the resort offered. The white sand beach is good (no shells really to speak of) and the ocean was beautiful. The resort sits right on the beachfront - definately no complaints there. There are a lot of chairs scattered throughout the beach (I didn't see any broken ones) although if the resort is at capacity they do fill up. The resort has a pool and hot tub area which we didn't try out. The hot tub was the primarily congregation point of the spring breakers as well as the bar areas on the beach and inside the resort so we tried to avoid that. I played a lot of sand volleyball on the court they have set up and got to meet a lot of people that way. They also have a Bocce ball and horseshoes court on the beach that was pretty busy all the time with people. Kayaking, windsurfing, archery, is available at the resort sport center which is located at one end of the beach and we had a good time with that. We did not have to wait or anything. It was a little too windy when we went to windsurf. Jet skis are also available for rental. The windy conditions throughout our stay also cut out snorkeling as it made the water cloudy with the waves and sediment. That was a disappointment but there's always next time!Although we didn't partake too much, the alcoholic drinks provided by the various bars were strong and yes they would fill up any size mug you brought them if you didn't want to settle for the Dixie cups that they provide for you.The 9:30pm nightly shows at the resort are a mized bag of comedy, dance, and audience particiaption with a international flare. Some of the shows are not G rated so parents beware. The VIVA staff that run the shows do put a lot of work into the nightly shows. The VIVA dance at the end of the show is corny and a little too complicated to learn but is in good fun.We went into Port Lucaya once during our trip for a souvenir run and to dive with the dolphins at UNEXSO. The taxi ride from the resort takes about 10 minutes and costs $12 USD one way. The Port Lucaya area was really busy and so we were glad that we stayed where we did as we didn't want it to be so busy. We did the dolphin swim for $169 USD per person which was great and highly recommeded. You can get some great pictures and an experience that you probably won't ever have in an average lifetime.Overall, the VIVA resort experience was much better than expected even in spite of the fact that the trip had to happen during spring break. Despite a few minor things throughout the stay, we had a good time and would come back again. The staff is friendly (get to know names if you can and it will help) and will try to help you if you ask. I would say that the resort is a good value for the money. Just beware that you are not in the middle of town!Overall Grade: B

17  Thank TheStandard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Atlanta, GA
11
Reviewed 27 March 2004

I read the reviews before we went, and I really dont understand what is wrong with alot of those people. Dont go expecting lavish rooms and gourmet food, just go to have fun,and stay on a beautiful beach all day. We stayed for 4 nights 5 days and Im depressed to be back here.
The food is somewhat repetitive, but just dont get the same thing every day. There is so much to choose from. There is tons of pasta, salads, bread, burgers, and different meats and desserts. Theres fresh fruit at every meal, and you can get the cook to make your eggs any way you want them in the morning. We stuffed our selfs at every meal, you can always find something you like. The beach is really pretty, there are little huts set up everywhere, the staff was cool, we went snorkling everyday ( we brought our own stuff). Bring your own big cups and the bartenders will fill it up, and make it as strong as you want it. The rooms are just regular hotel rooms, nothing special, (but why go to the beach and spend alot of time in your room?) All in all we stayed full, drunk, and relaxed.

  • Stayed: March 2004
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Philadelphia, PA
16
Reviewed 27 March 2004

A)The beach is beautiful, and you can enjoy it to its fullest since
only Fortuna guests can use it

B) Rooms are nice. Talked to people staying near Port Lucaya and all
had severe complaints that none of the 10 people I was at Fortuna with
had. (ex. The Ritz (not RitzCarlton had no hot water for 2 days,
Holiday Inn Sunspree didn't clean their rooms well enough)

C)What you can do to make the most of this place:
1. JOIN WYNDHAM BY REQUEST - its FREE! - and tell your travel agent or online reservation your member number and at checkin you will get an oceanview room for the price of a gardenview room
2. This will mean that your room will be given addt'l amenities such as a fridge and an iron and ironing board
3. Additionally, calls are expensive so good thing you get the internet for free if you are a Wyndham By Request member(which is free).

D) March = USA College Spring Break = lots of drunk college students in
the Bahamas (yes, one of those was me this year [2004]). Admitedly,
college students take over the entire Port Lucaya area for that entire
month and so if you want to enjoy a family vacation I would recommend
doing it another time other than March

E) GO TO THE RESORT for FAMILY VACATION ANYTIME BUT MARCH though b/c I
can see this place being a great place for families just not when
college students are there.

F) This resort is all-inclusive for $100 a day PER ADULT (at least in
March). That's right for 3 meals, non-motorized activities[snorkeling,
kayaking, biking, bocci ball, volleyball, water polo, etc], your room,
and UNLIMITED ALCOHOL! Please realize that this resort is a business
and needs to make a profit so no, the alcohol is not top shelf it is
good though...no the food is not top quality but once again is more
edible than what my college feeds to me in our cafeteria...and all that
in a tourist area is a pretty darn good deal for what they charge.

G) The resort does provide evening entertainment, but YOU WENT TO THE
BAHAMAS, SO LEAVE THE RESORT AT NITE and go enjoy Port Lucaya (again,
small children should not be in Port Lucaya past 10pm as it becomes
drunk-Lucaya at that point)

H) There is a rule that TAXI DRIVERS CAN ONLY CHARGE $4 a person to go
anywhere in the area. You can't really fight if they don't follow this
rule, but know this and negotiate with them with that in mind. We
usually could get $4 between Fortuna and Port Lucaya with 4 or more but
2-3 people was about $5 a person. Getting to the cruise port should
only cost you $8 a person which isn't bad if you consider their prices
in comparison to going these distances in a US city like Philly.

I) The hot tub is excellent, the pool was great, and follow the
statement "people pretty much are how you expect them to be anywhere
you go" - if you treat the staff as though they are nice people they
will more than likely be nicer to you than if you come in with a
superior attitude and act entitled. REMEMBER: It is their job to serve
you, and just like with your job the better you are treated the better
you perform, as will they in their attempts at delighting you if you
respect them...

Main point: JOIN WYNDHAM BY REQUEST

Tip for any future travel, if you are staying at a hotel join their
frequent traveler club, its usually free, and can only help you enjoy
what you are paying for more. And ALWAYS ASK FOR A FREE UPGRADE.

6  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Atlanta
11
Reviewed 18 March 2004

Just returned from Viva Fortuna and I have to say its not as bad as people made it out to be. The beach and pool were nice and the rooms were not bad. The staff was great, except for those at the front desk, and the photographer that follows you around was great but the pics are kinda expensive. The food at the main dining place (Junkanoo) SUCKED!
Who eats pork butt? The food at the other restaurant was good but it is VERY, VERY hard to get a reservation. (You have to get up at 7:30am but believe me its worth it.) For a spring break for college students it was great but at night the disco, wet t-shirt, and beer drinking contests get old. You should go to Port Lucaya or the International Bazaar and if they are having one a Fish Fry. The free alcohol was great but make sure you bring a big cup cause they will fill up anything you give them! I don't know if I would return there again (because of the food) but we had a great time.

1  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 March 2004

Stayed at the Viva Wyndham March 3-7, 2004. I think if you stay at the Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach, you must be open-minded. Never, ever go during spring break if you want to relax, however, any traveler knows that. The spring breakers really took over, but the Bahamas are totally dependent on tourist revenue, so one must understand that. What took me aback most of all was the demeanor of the staff. They are instructional and come across somewhat rude, although I really believe this is a cultural lack of understanding on my part. For example, I went to the bar for a bloody mary and the bartender glared at me as he was cutting limes. He then walked over to me and said, "The bar opens at 10. Every morning. Every morning it opens at ten." So if you don't mind a good scolding from time to time, you'll be okay. I fully expected everyone to be eager to please, as you will find at other resorts. The Bahamians seemed tolerant, at best, of tourists. The bar staff was always eager to serve, (after ten a.m.):) and actually served with a big smile for dollar tips from time-to-time. The food was mediocre. Plentiful food but not all that tasty. Lots of selection on the buffets. Take your own Starbucks and brew in your room if you're a coffee snob, because you won't get good coffee at the resort, tastes like chicory. The Italian restaurant is good, but the selections that you don't have to pay extra for are vegetarian/pasta. I really liked the rooms, however, they are bungalows and very simple. I found everything to be very clean and the service quite good. The beach was phenomenal with decent snorkeling right there at the hotel. Paradise Cove is a great place to snorkel, a half-day trip and next time, I will probably stay on that property because it was so incredibly beautiful (they have beach cottages for rent there). I really don't understand all the negative feedback. I mean, let's be honest, you can stay here and eat and drink all you want for 100.00 per person per night, I mean, what are you expecting for a rate like that (Wyndham webrates double-occupancy.) Cabfares are high, but at 3.50 a gallon for gas, again, what does one expect.I would definitely go back. This place offers unmatched beauty, decent food, and value. If you are seeking a value-driven laid back getaway, you won't be dissapointed. If you are accustomed to the Ritz-Carlton, you probably will be.

3  Thank 56Trix
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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