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Ah, yeshiva week. That mid to late January week of winter break/school vacation for Jewish day schools. More like yeshiva-off week?
Most schools schedule it for the week that includes MLK Day, though there are also stragglers like my kids’ school that do it a week or 2 later.
I read a Jewish Press op-ed making the case for moving yeshiva week to late December. That would be a horrific plan for the thousands of Jews that flock to Miami and warmer pastures for yeshiva week. Tickets in mid to late January are dirt-cheap, while tickets in late December are a small fortune.
The annual debate is where to take the kids.
Miami is a zoo. The kosher restaurants there require a reservation made weeks in advance, and even with that you may need to wait an hour for a table. But it’s oh so convenient, with just a short flight and no time zone change.
Other popular destinations include Orlando, Cancun, Panama, LA, Phoenix, Hawaii, and many of the Caribbean Islands.
Previously for winter break/yeshiva week we’ve done:
- 2014: Maui+Kauai
- 2015: Miami+Cancun
- 2016: Maui+Kauai
- 2017: Los Angeles
- 2018: Miami
- 2019: Maui+Kauai
- 2020: Bahamas
Many people limit their vacations to where there is kosher food, but that’s a bit too limiting for me. We’re just as happy bringing along food and warming it up at the hotel. Sometimes we’ll order food from a restaurant or takeout place and double wrap it. Sometimes we’ll order food from a place like Grand & Essex or Pomegranate that make special travel meals. And sometimes Mimi will just make some extra dinners and double wrap them.
You can usually get a microwave from a hotel but I’ll often order a toaster oven and a burner to be shipped to a hotel for better tasting food and so that we don’t have to get the hotel to warm up a double wrapped meal.
Over the past 4 years I’ve wanted to go to many places, including, Panama, Cuba, and Costa Rica, but have avoided those out of Zika fears.
I had originally booked the Andaz Costa Rica back when it was a category 4 hotel for winter break, but wound up cancelling that.
There still is no commercially available vaccine and guidance for travel is laughable. The CDC lumps together any country that ever had Zika together with countries that still have active Zika transmission in purple. They don’t list any countries as currently having a Zika outbreak, but they say that any of these countries can have active Zika transmission.
At one point, the CDC was clearing countries that used to have Zika.
For example, they cleared the Bahamas:
Zika was previously found in the Bahamas, but scientists have determined the virus is no longer there – so all travelers, incl pregnant women, can visit with no known risk of getting Zika from mosquitoes. Visit https://t.co/B9bZHQrikm for CDC's latest info on Zika & travel.
— CDC (@CDCgov) June 7, 2018
But then they went back to their CYA advice:
We do not know what the current level of risk of Zika is in the Bahamas, and there may be delays in detecting & reporting. CDC considers any country that has ever had Zika cases to have potential risk, but we cannot say how high or low that risk is.
— CDC (@CDCgov) June 11, 2019
So you’re basically on your own. I did my own research and couldn’t find any documented cases of Zika in the Bahamas. With that combined with the CDC’s previous clearing of the Bahams, so it sounded like a good place to start.
Tickets from Cleveland to Nassau were pricey, so it didn’t make sense to use Chase/AMEX points to pay for a ticket.
United wanted 17.5K miles each way, but American had a 10K web special from Cleveland to Nassau via Charlotte, which is a great routing to get there. Plus I have AA Executive Platinum status this year, thanks to Hyatt.
The way back was trickier. United had an option with a 40 minute connection in Newark, which is riskier than I’d like. American didn’t have any good web specials or saver awards.
However when I search separately for tickets from Nassau to Miami and Miami to Cleveland I found a good option with an 80 minute connection.
British Airways actually showed saver award space from Nassau to Cleveland via Miami, but when I tried to book it I got an error message. American was clearly blocking this married award space.
So I used 7.5K BA Avios to book an award from Nassau to Miami and 9K BA Avios from Miami to Cleveland on 2 separate tickets.
I confirmed with American’s Executive Platinum desk that I’d be able to check my luggage through from Nassau to Cleveland and booked 2 separate tickets for the return flight.
The obvious initial thought on where to stay is the Atlantis. Sure, you can use Marriott points here (going up next year), but as I’ve written before, you can stay here for free-ish.
You can do that by matching hotel status to Wyndham Diamond status. When you have Wyndham Diamond you can match to Ceaser’s Total Rewards Diamond. Best of all you can keep matching status back and forth. Ceaser’s Diamond comes with free hotel stays, comped valet parking in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, and an annual 4 nights stay at Atlantis Paradise Island Bahamas Beach Towers during peak season or an annual 4 night stay in the Atlantis Paradise Island Bahamas Royal Towers during off-peak times. You can call 800-752-9711 to book your free stay.
Their marketing makes the place seem like paradise, but when you start reading actual reviews, you realize that they have a really good marketing department.
There are several hotels that make up the Atlantis, many are very dated and in desperate need of renovation, while some are newer.
DDF member JudahMcB got moved within the Royal Towers, but his rooms both smelled like rotting carpet. Eventually he was upgraded from the Royal Towers to the Cove.
At any rate, despite being able to get 2 rooms for free (before $60/night in resort fees for each) at the Atlantic Royal Towers, I decided to book at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar.
I have Hyatt Globalist status via the Hyatt card and had one more confirmed suite upgrade. But with 3 kids, I opted to book 2 rooms using 20K points per night per room for 4 nights and used a confirmed suite upgrade.
The hotel has this kosher menu with food imported from Aroma Market in Miami, but it’s prohibitively expensive. $115 (plus $35 tax/tip) for minute steak? Thanks, but no thanks.
I did however ask about getting kosher breakfast in lieu of the Globalist breakfast and they agreed to that. I also asked for them to please make the French Toast without beef fry. Meat for breakfast when you wait 6 full hours between meat and milk is the stuff nightmares are made of!
Apparently the Atlantis is planning on opening a full time kosher restaurant as well.
They confirmed that the popup would remain open through Monday, January 27th, so I made reservations for dinner at the popup on the last day it was being offered, and figured we’d spend the day at the Atlantis water park.
The access fee for the Atlantis water park alone would have been $500 for a day, so I called the Total Rewards number above to book a free Diamond room for a night. They told me that the minimum stay with the offer was 2 nights, so it would cost me $120 in resort fees, but that would be way less than paying for the water park. Plus if we wanted, it would include 3 days of access to the water park.
They did mention that the free room offer requires several hours of casino play, but I’ve read on other trip reports that the gambling requirement is not enforced, so I went ahead and booked the 2 free nights. We’d spend a day at the water park and eat at the Yeshiva week popup, which sounded great!
It was a hectic travel month. Earlier in January we flew to Kansas City to celebrate my mother in law’s 70th birthday. The week beforehand G-d laughed at me for thinking I could avoid Miami during Yeshiva Week when my brother in law had a bris there on Sunday.
And now we were flying on the 3rd Sunday in a row.
We packed up our clothes and the kitchen sink (I think bringing a toaster oven and burner qualifies me to say that) and were on our way.
We checked in our UppaBaby in the Vista Travel bag. We weren’t renting a car, so we just had the 2 bigger kids carry-on a booster seat portion of their high-back boosters. And for our 2 year old, we used a Cosco Scenera Next lightweight convertible carseat on the plane and we used a GoGo Babyz Travelmate to push her around the airport.
At the airport we skipped the lines thanks to Clear and Pre-Check, and used the United Club in Cleveland with my lifetime United Club membership. United made a special exception for me to use my membership in Cleveland even when flying other airlines due to the United hub closure, which makes it hard to stick to United flights.
The kids room there is a great place for the kids to make a little noise before a flight without bothering anyone.
We stayed at the Club for a bit too long though and when we got to the American gate for our flight they had already nearly finished boarding.
The gate agent insisted on tagging my bag as “all of the bins are full.” I asked if there’s really no space for an Executive Platinum member flying with 5 people in Main Cabin Extra seating and she said, “Well, you should have boarded when we called for Executive Platinums.”
We had food in the bag for the day, but the agent insisted that it would have to be checked through to the Bahamas.
At the bottom of the jetbridge I asked the flight attendant if there was overhead space and she said there was plenty. And sure enough, there were 6 completely empty overheads in front, over, and behind our seats. Unreal.
So I ripped the checked tags off and stuck my bag, the kids booster seats, and the Gogobabyz above and the plane took off with tons of extra space, despite inconveniencing dozens of other passengers who had to check their bags through to their final destination.
Sure, it saves American time if they don’t need to check bags afterward, but the policy is just asinine and I let them know my 2 cents:
We understand it's important to keep your bag with you. We'll reunite you upon landing. Our apologies for any inconvenience.
— American Airlines (@AmericanAir) January 26, 2020
LOL. That's just as tone-deaf as your gate agents!
— DansDeals (@DansDeals) January 26, 2020
They don't want to waste time if there isn't overhead space, but there was tons of space, they just blatantly lied about it being full. All the bins above my seat were empty!
— DansDeals (@DansDeals) January 26, 2020
I never experienced this on United, but some readers pointed out that Delta does it as well. Have you been forced to check a carry-on when there was still plenty of overhead space?
Unfortunately @Delta regularly does the same.
— Eliteflyer (@eliteflyer) January 26, 2020
But that was nothing compared to the baggage fiasco I’d face on the return flight from Nassau…
In Charlotte we used the Admirals Club thanks to having a no-fee additional user Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard. Unfortunately that lounge had no kids room.
Priority Pass cardholders can also use the Minute Suites for a free one hour stay. Plus AMEX is opening a Centurion Lounge there in the near-future.
It’s a great airport for a connection and we were soon on our way for our connecting flight to Nassau.
Our 2 year old Maya is by far our worst flyer and this flight was no exception. Luckily it wasn’t nearly as long as the 12 hour flight home from Israel last June that scarred us pretty badly.
With WiFi on the plane, hushed voices filled the cabin as news of Kobe Bryant’s shocking death spread on my flight from Charlotte to Nassau last Sunday. Could this be real? Maybe it was just #FakeNews from TMZ?
As we were near the front of the plane, we were able to get through customs fairly quickly. They stopped to check our bags, but the only thing they cared about was the toaster oven, they couldn’t care less about all of our food. After assuring them that we brought it for personal use and would bring it back to the USA they waived us through.
Renting a car in Nassau was very cost prohibitive. A Minivan would run us over $600 for 4 days, plus gas and parking would add up as well. Never mind that you need to drive on the left side of the road.
But I was also warned about the taxi drivers in Nassau. There is no meter and if you don’t set a price beforehand, you are asking to be ripped off.
Getting a large taxi isn’t a problem, but I asked the driver how much it would cost to get to the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar and he said it would be $60.
Officially the rate is $22, plus $4 per additional passenger after the first 2 and plus $2 for additional large bag after the first 2.
I asked the dispatcher and he said, that should be $40. The driver agreed to honor that rate.
There’s no need to change your money, everyone accepts US dollars at parity to the Bahamian dollar.
It’s just a 10 minute ride to the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar. Our taxi driver was in tears and spoke about what Kobe meant to him. It seemd like the whole island was mourning him.
Maya was just happy to be off the plane:
I unpaused our Google Fi service and popped our Google Fi SIMs into our smartphones and it worked perfectly throughout the Bahamas.
The Baha Mar development includes the Grand Hyatt, SLS, and Rosewood hotels. The Hyatt is truly massive at 1,800 rooms. The more hip and pricier SLS has 299 rooms, while the luxury Rosewood has 237 rooms. The SLS and Rosewood have their own exclusive pools that they can use in addition to the numerous fantastic shared pools and services between the properties.
Check-in was on the slow side, but I suppose that’s to be expected for a mega-resort. Everyone got a bracelet that would allow access to both the room and the pools. And as the theme of the day would be, the checkin agent asked if we had heard the news about Kobe…I shared my thoughts on his death here.
They combined our 2 rooms into a truly massive 2 bedroom west tower ocean suite with an open concept dining room, living room, laundry room, 4 balconies, and 3 bathrooms!
Living room/dining room:
Rafi and Talia shared the 2nd bedroom:
While Maya’s crib went into the living room bathroom:
Mimi is always a fan of any room with a laundry machine:
View of the SLS hotel. To the left of it is the construction site for the future Baha Mar water park.
Even the Grand Hyatt hallways are beautiful:
And the elevators are as well!
The kids ate Amnon’s frozen pizza that we brought from Costco:
We had breakfast on Monday morning in the Grand Club thanks to my Globalist status. Unfortunately our bracelets and key cards were not properly programmed to give access to the club, but the club agent went to reprogram them.
The club has self service fridges full of free water, seltzer, and soda:
The French Toast breakfast from Aroma was tasty, but when I asked if there was breakfast for 5 they started counting the fruit tray and pastry tray each as their own breakfast.
I certainly appreciated the kosher breakfast, but if they confirmed breakfast for 5, I would have liked to have breakfast for 5, so I sent an email asking the chef if we should expect breakfast for 2 or 5, and he said 5.
At any rate, the club also has kosher cereal and other kosher items and some of the staff are happy to bring out kosher items in closed packaging, while others were less helpful.
Other religious Jews also used the club staff to warm up their own double wrapped meals that they brought from home.
I booked the Atlantis from Monday to Wednesday, so we got ready to go to the world famous Atlantis water park. It was a cloudy day with some potential rain in the forecast, but tropical forecasts are never reliable and this was the only day they would have the kosher popup, so we went forward with our plans.
I told Mimi not to pack anything besides snacks, but being a good Jewish mother she brought along lunch for the kids.
The taxi driver from the day before gave me his number, so I messaged him to get a quote to go from the Hyatt to the Atlantis. He said it would be $40.
I figured that he was probably ripping us off based on his quote from the day before, but the taxi driver at the hotel quoted $45 and the hotel employee backed him up, but it seemed like they typically did that.
The driver was very interested in Judaism and was asking questions for the entire ride.
The Atlantis is truly massive and a bit of a maze, but we found where to go and had no problem checking into the room, despite it being 10:45am.
We got our comped room in the Royal East Tower, exited the elevator, and wow. The place does smell!
The heavy stench of mildew fills the hallway:
The room didn’t provide any respite. It reeked of mildew and mold.
Atlantis Royal Tower Bathroom:
We were very happy that we were just day tripping to this room and not spending the night. I would definitely have complained if we were spending the night. It seems like The Cove and the Reef Atlantis hotels are probably the way to go, while the Royal, Coral, and Beach should best be avoided. But hey, free is free and on a day trip it doesn’t matter.
We changed in our room and headed down to the Aquaventure water park:
Trying to find a stroller accessible path around Aquaventure is no easy feat. The water park and the hotel pools are all mixed together, so there’s a lot of walking to do.
We got towels and wristbands and found a zero entry pool to start in, which is when we got our first shock. The water here is cold! Shouldn’t a tropical water park have at least warm-ish water?
Another surprise? Several attractions were closed, including the Rapids and some kids areas:
“But it’s too cold to go in any further…”
But there’s no denying that the slides are a ton of fun.
I raced Rafi down the Challenger slide:
We went down the Jungle Slide:
And he bravely went past some teenagers that were too scared to go down the Leap of Faith and showed them how its done:
Leap of Faith’s Shark Tank:
But the most fun we had was on the Serpent Slide, where you have time to enjoy being surrounded by the shark tank, as opposed to zooming past it on Leap of Faith. Plus Maya got to watch us behind the sharks:
We took the long trek to the area where they told us we would find the kosher pop-up. We kept hitting dead ends trying to get there without running into staircases, but we eventually made it. But that’s when we were due for another surprise, when they were closed.
Why would they tell us they’d be open? Nobody seemed to know.
There were a lot of other frum Jews at Aquaventure and others were also wondering what happened to the kosher pop-up.
That also made me have a bad feeling about dinner, despite holding confirmed reservations in the restaurant. So I called the dining concierge who put me in touch with the “Yeshiva Desk.” They confirmed that everything ended on Sunday and they didn’t know why the menus all said that it would run through the 27th or why we had a reservation for dinner on the 27th.
But they were happy to microwave us some leftover short ribs from previous nights for $100. Thanks, but no thanks.
No apologies were offered.
Luckily Mimi had some food for the kids, so they ate lunch and we had some snacks.
At this point it started raining lightly, but the kids really wanted to check out the lazy river. It’s a really long trek from the pop-up to the lazy river, but we made the walk there.
The river is not that clean, but in we went. The current is also not that strong, so you get stuck in some parts. Not really something worth the long trek to experience.
The park seems to go on forever and we didn’t try out all the slides, but with the rain drizzling down, we were ready to go.
The kids did like seeing all the sharks, though they sure don’t keep the water clean:
While the kids were changing I went to the front desk and asked to speak to a manager. That took quite a while and I explained why I was really unhappy about planning our day around misinformation from the hotel. Instead of an apology, a curt, “what do you want” was offered.
I said I don’t need anything, I’m just going to check-out now, but given the circumstances I didn’t think I should pay a resort fee. The manager said OK and that was that.
We took a taxi back to the hotel, this time the made up charge of the day was $50.
Would I go back to the Atlantis? Probably not with little kids, they didn’t enjoy the cold water, though the kids playground being closed didn’t help things.
The monstrous size of the place is more of a con in my book. It seems to be needlessly spread out over a massive area. We didn’t explore the slides that weren’t near each other.
You need to be 4 feet tall to go the slides, so that’s really the age where you can enjoy the fun part of Aquaventure. But they are likely too intense for most kids that height.
And either way, I certainly wouldn’t count on their promises of kosher food.
Back at the hotel I went to the Grand Club where there are free alcoholic drinks between 5pm-7pm:
We didn’t have the short ribs that we were planning on eating at the Atlantis, but we had delicious fried chicken that we brought from Hen House in Overland Park, Kansas.
We had no major plans for Tuesday, so we enjoyed the ocean views from the balconies:
And then went to the Grand Club for breakfast. Can never get enough passion fruit!
This time there was a single bagel, soggy from the thawed vegetables. Luckily we didn’t pay $55 for it as per the kosher menu pricing…
No matter though. Mimi made and froze pancake batter, so she made them on our burner in the hotel room:
We spent some time enjoying the “Drift” kids pool:
After swimming we went to see the turtles, rays, and sharks being fed:
And then we had a blast taking part in the Flamingo parade:
The flamingos may have gotten a bit too close for comfort though…
Then it was back to the room for sunset:
The kids had salmon for dinner and we went down to the Grand Club to view the fountain show that plays on the hour, but it’s really short and only lasts about 2 minutes. Pretty disappointing.
With the kids in bed, we enjoyed some makeshift poke bowls, enhanced by a whole avocado and some beer that I picked in the club.
We ate out on the balcony, where we enjoyed dinner music coming from the SLS. The balcony doors are fairly soundproof and keep out most of the noise.
One thing to watch for on the balcony shades is the sharp and heavy metal wand. This thing is a hazard!
Another odd design decision is the lack of a shelf in the shower and toilet rooms. It’s rather annoying to have to keep the toiletries on the floor.
For Wednesday morning breakfast we headed back down to the Grand Club
The kosher breakfast for 5 once again consisted of one order of French Toast and a soggy bagel. Oh well.
On Wednesday we started the day by walking down to the beach
The beach has soft sand and azure waters, albeit a bit cold.
At the beach you can get free kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and more. There are also lots of vendors that will try to sell stuff to you.
After building sand castles and dipping our toes in the water I picked up some free snorkel gear and took the kids to the “Dean’s Blue Hole” pool, which features cliff diving, waterfalls, and a grotto with glass windows for viewing turtles and sharks. It’s an awesome pool!
Inside the grotto:
One of the main complaints at the Baha Mar is the cost of food and goods. That didn’t really affect us much, but you’ll want to bring your own snacks, that’s for sure. A can of Pringles will run you $10 after some 30% tax+tip. Mixed drinks at the pool will run you $20+.
Or a fruit smoothie will be $18 after tax/tip or $21 if you want to add some rum to that:
If you venture just a 2 minute walk outside the resort from the SLS side entrance, that same smoothie will be less than half the price:
After lunch we decided to head to downtown Nassau. But we were tired of getting ripped off by taxis, so we went how the locals go and hopped on a Jitney bus, which costs just $1.25 for adults and $0.75 for kids.
It was comfortable enough and we got to downtown in 20 minutes, which is about the same as a taxi at a fraction of the price:
There’s not all that much to do in the Bahamas that doesn’t involve water. There’s not really any scenery or hiking to speak of, so we hit up some tourist traps.
The Pirates of Nassau museum will set you back some $14 for adults and $7 for kids.
Well, this is one way to make sure the kids behave:
So, the thing is it’s not really what I’d call a museum. But the kids loved it, so who am I to complain?
Rafi loved testing us on the true or false questions that are spread throughout the museum:
We spent about half an hour in the museum and walked passed some cruise ships to the Nassau Straw Market.
The Straw Market is the perfect place to go if you want to get hassled into buying Chinese made
junk goods for your kids. Everyone sells the same junk and they all love handing stuff to your kids in order to complete the sale. Fun!
But Rafi found a keychain he liked and his mind was blown when we told him that he could bargain for it. He was just thrilled when he got the price down from $8 to $3 after some negotiation. So once again, not something I’d recommend, but the kids enjoyed it and that’s the main concern when you’re traveling with kids.
On the plus side, we met several very friendly locals downtown and it certainly feels like a more authentic experience than hiding out in the resort.
There are no published Jitney route maps, so it took us a while to figure out where to get a ride back to the hotel. Drivers all run their own Jitney and we found a driver that said he was headed that direction. His Jitney was not nearly as comfortable as the first one.
While the Jitney to downtown followed the ocean, this Jitney followed an inland route that went through some rougher patches of town. This time it took 45 minutes, though rush hour contributed to some of that added time.
That night the kids enjoyed baked ziti and once they were asleep we enjoyed a delicious double wrapped meat lasagna in our toaster oven before turning in for the night.
On Thursday we took a peek at the Reflections Pool, which is only available to those who plunk down several hundred dollars for a private cabana:
That pool has a waterfall that flows into the Fortune Pool:
The Fortune Pool also features a swim-up bar:
After swimming in the fortune pool we walked back to Dean’s Blue Hole, but that pool was closed:
The Out Island pool was closed as well:
After that we headed back to the room, packed up our stuff, and enjoyed the view:
I went down to the front desk at the West Tower to pay for our room incidentals on a Hyatt gift card, but they didn’t know how to process gift cards, so they told me to go to the East Tower.
The agent at the East Tower also didn’t know how to redeem the gift card and got his manager, who also had no idea.
After about 20 minutes I said I had to go catch a flight and they wrote down my gift card number and promised to send an email confirmation later that day.
I asked if they could send a bellhop to the room and went up to the room. I wasn’t sure if he actually put in the bellhop request, so I called for a bellhop from the room as well.
After 15 minutes I called again about the bellhop and they said one should be on the way. We waited another 10 minutes before we gave up and started shlepping our luggage out ourselves. And sure enough as we were moving everything into the elevator the bellhop came.
This time I was fully prepared to get ripped off by the taxi, and sure enough he wanted $60 for the 10 minute drive. The hotel bell desk backed up the driver as usual and running late, I accepted the fare.
We got to the Nassau airport about 100 minutes before our flight time, but we still had to checkin, clear Bahamian customs, clear security, and clear US customs before we could board.
When I started to go to the checkin desk, an American agent cut me off and insisted that we had to use the kiosk. I explained that I had to check baggage between 2 separate itineraries and would need to talk to an agent, but she blocked our way and said we had to use the kiosk.
Well, OK then.
So I typed in our record locator and the next screen asks if we our flying with lap children under 2. The agent goes ahead and taps yes. I told her that our child has a paid seat, but she said that I must answer yes if I’m traveling with an infant.
OK, I realized, there’s nobody home here. I proceeded to abandon the kiosk and head to a ticketing agent while the kiosk agent is showering us with insults and saying that we’re just going to be sent back to the kiosk.
I showed the ticketing agent both of my boarding passes and explained that the Executive Platinum phone desk confirmed to me that I would be able to check my bags straight through to Cleveland without needing to recheck them in Miami.
The last thing I wanted to do with an 80 minute connection in Miami would be to wait for the bags to come out and shlep them upstairs to check-in again.
But the ticketing agent stared blankly at me and said we don’t do that. I pulled up a webpage that showed that implies that American does check baggage through to the final destination served by American, but he was not interested in looking at it. I could either check my bags to Miami or I could leave them behind.
I asked for a supervisor, but of course, the supervisor wasn’t available. Can you please call the supervisor?
He called and the supervisor said that he would call him back. I asked the ticketing agent if I could call the Executive Platinum desk, but he said he couldn’t care less that the Executive Platinum desk said, they had their own policies in Nassau.
Well, OK then.
So we waited. And waited. Baggage cutoff in Nassau is 60 minutes prior to the flight, but I wasn’t thrilled about cutting it even that close considering the hurdles we still had to jump through.
Finally the supervisor called back and agreed to talk to me. I explained once again that I was told by the Executive Platinum desk that I’d be able to through-check my bags to Cleveland. He said, that’s nice, but I don’t see any notes in your reservation confirming that. Seizing on that, I asked if he would approve through-checking my bags if I called the Executive Platinum desk and they put notes in the reservation, and he said sure.
So I called the Executive Platinum desk and the agent was happy to add notes to the reservation to through-check my bags and she walked the ticketing agent through reading the notes and printing the boarding passes.
Time check: 62 minutes before departure.
Luckily we did have an ace in the hole. All 5 of us had Global Entry.
I ran the UppaBaby stroller bag to oversized baggage for check-in, and ran back with the family to go through Bahamian customs, security, and then the Global Entry line for US customs pre-clearance.
The officer there wanted to know what was up with all the religious Jews flying over the past week. I told him about yeshiva week and he was thoroughly fascinated. He let us go through despite declaring that we had food with us that originated in the US. I always declare that I have food with me after this incident.
Thanks to Global Entry, we even had enough time to use the bathroom before we boarded the quick hop to Miami.
My brother JJ lives in the Bal Harbour/Surfside area and picked up some food for us from Street Kitchen and Miami Beach Chocolates for our flight to Cleveland.
I called an Uber, he gave the bags to the driver, and I picked them up curbside.
And so we enjoyed their delicious treats 2 weeks in a row:
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Quickie TR: Flew into #FLL this morning on #United with @mimieleff, 5K miles and both upgraded free to #firstclass, got an #SLC300 #Convertible with #Hertz points, made it in the nick of time for nephew's bris in #Hollywood, drove to a bas mitzvah in #BoyntonBeach, visited my grandparents, and capped off the day trip with this insane dinner with @madejewlaugh @streetkitchen.miami from the #magician @chef_david_benrey The #ChickenAndWaffles will blow your mind! Other phenomenal dishes we had were veal dirty fingers, beef tacos, short ribs, braised beef cheeks, jalapeno bacon burger, and a mouthwatering hot and spicy chicken sandwich. The waiter recommended the Banana cream pie, not a dessert I'd normally pick, but it was truly extraordinary!!! The flavors and presentation here are really something special. Now it's #JetBlue back to the #snow in #CLE
The same exact ERJ-175 that we took from Nassau to Miami shuttled us back home to Cleveland. Once again Maya let her displeasure of being stuck in a metal tube known to everyone around her and I was happy that I didn’t redeem a few extra miles for first class. The flight was delayed by an hour due to a malfunctioning seat, just to ensure my track record of delayed American flights kept going strong.
Overall this was a great family trip. The Bahamas are certainly no Hawaii, but it definitely did the trick for a 4 night getaway for some fun in the sun.