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Reviewed 19 January 2006

Eight of us went to Wyndham's Fortuna Beach on Grand Bahama Island the first week of Dec. The buffets were various and tasty. In spite of bad reviews we had read, we booked the Oriental restaurant and found it excellent- better than the well-reviewed Italian restaurant. We enjoyed the water sports- ocean kayaks,snorkeling, and small sail boats. Others tried sailboards. There were activites each afternoon and the view from our room was marvelous. It is well worth joining Wyndam's By Request before going, since it gave us a free upgrade to oceanview.
The beach is the best we've ever seen and snorkeling is right on site without going very deep.
The shows were enthusiastic, but not a strong point.
We would go here again.

4  Thank Scenic20302
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 January 2006

Just returned from Viva Jan 12-16. Traveled with 14 adults 7 couples ranging from 27-46. Weather was great first 2 days but chilly last 2 days, but did not stop us from laughing, eating, and drinking. Well, when we first arrived we were in a separate building from our friends. They said it was because we were not By Request members, but we were, but they had not matched my member # with my reservation #. Went to guest services and they found my # went back to front desk and they moved us to Bimini Building. Awesome location close to everything and ocean view. we did not see any of the other rooms so we have nothing to compare it to.

FOOD: Buffet was decent. All the hot food was labeled unlike the review i read. Salad, fresh fruit and desserts @ lunch and dinner. We visited both restaurants and they are both worth visiting. The atmosphere in the Bamboo is neat must see the restaurant even if you do not eat there. Pizza was good. Got to our room and went back for more around 1 am.

Beach: Beautiful. We went snorkeling and you actually see alot out from the hotel. 8 of us went on the jet skis lots of fun it was $55 a jet ski since we rented all they had.

ROOM: Standard. 2 Double beds. Can hear outside noise. We did have cool showers very refreshing (ha ha ) All of our friends in that building complained of that also.

Service: Everyone was friendly or somewhat friendly. My husband took Scuba Diving lessons and he wants everyone to know that the instructor (Naz) was awesome, very patient and informative.

Shows: Only went to one. Did not care for it but they tried really hard!!!

Drinks: Plentiful!!! Drank variety of drinks all were good.

Freeport: Was not that impressed with the town went to Bazaar ( don't bother ) if you want to go into town go to Port Lucaya. we ate while there and the place had a great atmosphere and good food. Kalik beer there was much better than that at the hotel.

All in all it was a good place to stay can't find a reason why i wouln't return. The beach is worth it all, just wished we had better weather. Everyone we traveled with was so much fun thanks for the good time!!!

  • Stayed: January 2006
    • Value
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8  Thank toothgal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 January 2006

After reading many negative reviews and just returning from the Viva yesterday, I thought I'd post my opinions. Don't expect a 4 star, go to Port Lucaya and stay at the Sheraton (not inclusive), this hotel served our needs, food was always warm, lots of salad choices if you didn't want mystery food. Lots of fruit and you can always get fresh cooked meat from the grill by the pizza. We weren't here to sit in our rooms but rather enjoy the beach and sun (Jan 8-13) and coming from Maine we thought the weather was GREAT!!!! No hot water first day, they switched us to another room within 20 mins, yeah!! Reading reviews, I thought we'd be stuck with cold or ice cold water for 5 days, not so. The atmosphere at the Bamboo was awesome!! Food was good, try all, appetizer, meal and dessert. La Trattoria's smoked salmon appetizer was to die for!!! Although the meat is cooked a bit on the dry side.

Overall, the hotel is adequate if you don't plan to hang in the room, the entertainment staff bends over backwards to please guests, they work 6 15 hour days with only 1 day off, give them credit. No fancy dress code, it's pretty laid back, even at the Bamboo & LaTrattoria, we dressed up - slacks and blouses, and we were overdressed.

Cabs - you ask them before getting in for the price, we paid 20 one way for 2 from airport, and 5-6 a piece for Port Lucaya (one way) - depending on how many in the cab.

My only complaint was (and noONE mentioned this) the timeshare sales people!! OY, we avoided the bar during the day like the plaque! We were approached at least 15 times, I HATE those sales tactics and just kept saying we had the "welcome" already, beware, they'll give you a welcome packet which is timeshare sales.

Enjoy the beach- and don't be frightened by all the negative reviews, it is what you make it, mix and mingle with folks from different countries and states and have a ball- we did!

If you do have questions feel free to e:mail me at spet63@yahoo.com

  • Stayed: January 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
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7  Thank Mona P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 January 2006

Let me preface this by saying that my girlfriend is 29, I'm 34. I've traveled frequently and stayed in 2 star hotels and 5 star hotels; I typically stay in Marriotts, Hiltons and Westins. We enjoy the nicer things in life, but also love to be laid back and aren't overly high maintenance.

Look, if you want 5 star luxury, don't go to the Bahamas, or at least not Freeport. If you want to chill out and enjoy beaches and drinks, with some nightlife as well, go to the Bahamas. We were there over New Year's Eve for 3 nights; first time I'd been to Freeport (I've been to Nassau/Paradise Island, and she's been to Jamaica).

GETTING THERE: we took the Cloud X Fastboat Ferry from where I live, W.P. Beach, FL over to Lucaya/Freeport. First time I had done that; costs $150 and takes a bit too long, especially when you throw in the customs wait. (4-5 hours total time)

We got completely screwed on the cab ride to the Viva from the Port; the porter at the Port or the driver lied. It SHOULD cost you no more than $29 total for 2 people, and could cost less.

LOCATION: the Viva is a 20 minute cab ride from the Port, and about 15 from the airport. The Viva is on the west side of the island, somewhat isolated. It's west of the Westin, Sheraton, etc. by a ways. As you may find, it's almost impossible to locate a good map of Grand Bahama Island/Lucaya/Freeport.

CHECK IN/OUT: easy, no problems. We stayed a few hours after we checked out and still ate and drank for free. Make sure you turn in your towel cards when you leave or you'll lose $.

ROOM: we had a room down by the beach, facing the beach. There are a number of different buildings; each building has various segments which are interconnected. The rooms were acceptable, with tile floors. The walls are very thin - you can hear things you may or may not wish to! Overall, the quality of the buildings is similar to your typical Holiday Inn. (Excluding big city, downtown Holiday Inns such as in Boston, NY, etc.) One day our toilet, for no apparent reason (or so my girlfriend swears!) overflowed. We moved next door. I was so relaxed by that time I didn't really even care.

MAIN DINING HALL: the Viva's main dining hall is similar to a cafeteria or family diner. It's buffet style, was clean, and has reasonable hours. Food was acceptable, as was the variety. The windows and doors are typically open, so don't go there if a bird flying in to steal a french fry will freak you out. We thought it was kind of funny (this was infrequent and they weren't on tables, etc.).

RESTAURANTS: there are 2 restaurants there, an Italian and an Asian. We only ate at the Italian place; the food took too long and was served very simply but was actually quite good. You have to get reservations early on the morning of the same night you wish to dine at either.

BEACH: the beach is great, and there are plenty of chairs. The weather when we were there was 75 during the day and 60 or so at night . . . in other words, perfect. Not a drop of rain. There is a beach bar with food.

DRINKS: The 32 oz insulated drink containers we brought worked fabulously, as did the mini-cooler we had to place them in as we sat on the beach hour after hour after hour. There is another indoor bar area near the pool. Both bars have pre-made frozen drinks and your usual mixed drink opportunities. Beer is available, but a poor selection.

ACTIVITIES: one day we engaged in some archery, which was kind of cool. They have a little playhouse (mostly kid stuff) and a small work-out facility, with generally old equipment. They had ocean kayaks (used one of those), windsurfers and a Hobie Cat or two. Bocci ball and volleyball were available, as were some old beach cruiser type bikes. We took a ride east and went to a different beach one day.

NIGHTLIFE: there is a club at the Viva, which was playing some funky music the night we were there for a few minutes. We had just returned from Port Lucaya (by the Westin) on NYE, so we were already flying high. There are some decent bars and casinos by Port Lucaya, although service is really slow if it's crowded. It was NYE, and we had a blast. Taxi from Viva was about $17, if I remember correctly.

MONEY: their dollars and US dollars are equivalent and are used interchangeably. I didn't even use a credit card while there.

CELL PHONES: don't work without special adaptation.

STAFF: generally friendly. As expected, some more friendly than others. An interesting mixture of islanders and Europeans, especially Italians.

OTHER GUESTS: a mixture of Americans, Canadians and Europeans, with a few Asians. Everyone seemed friendly. Some families, some couples, a few single folks.

OVERALL: certainly worth the $. You usually get what you pay for, and we didn't want to pay too ridiculous an amount for this trip, which was planned a little bit late for a NYE trip. This was our first all inclusive, and it's amazing how good it feels, psychologically, even if you don't end up saving that much. The experience was good enough that I recommend it for most people.

If you have questions, feel free to email me at Jamnole@aol.com

14  Thank Jason M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 January 2006

We stayed at the Wyndham, from 26 December until 8 January and were overall disappointed. Cold, cold and cold! The (hot) food was generally cold, the pool was cold and the majority of the staff were cold! Perhaps we were expecting the same level of friendliness as we received on an all inclusive holiday in Jamaica, but considering this holiday was more expensive than the Jamaican one, I think we were right to expect the same. Ironically enough the friendliest staff were those from Europe, not the Bahamas. Trips to the nearest place, Port Lucaya, were expensive at $12 each way per couple, and it was irrelevant whether the mini bus was holding one couple or four, the cost per couple was just the same! Our room was fine, but the housekeeping did not seem to be consistent in each of the rooms even those right next door to each other, we never had coffee left for our coffee maker, but neighbours did (!), we never had problems with towels or lack of them but neighbours did, our mini bar/fridge was never stocked but neighbours were..... Very odd. Drinks were fine and a lot of choice, Asian restaurant was appalling, Italian one good if you chose the additional cost items. The burgers on the beach were consistently good. The buffet restaurant would have been fine if the food had been hot where it was supposed to be, more fruit choice and most importantly, food labelled, we had no idea what some of the dishes were! On the plus side, the beach was lovely!! Will not be going back.

  • Stayed: December 2005
    • Value
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6  Thank Lynn S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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