Sept. 10: Starwood Hotels & Resorts has changed the name of its Sheraton Cable Beach Resort, in Nassau, the Bahamas, to the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort. The 694-room property has 25,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space, including a 12,500-square-foot ballroom.
On Sept. 7, Hurricane Ike hit the southern Bahamanian islands of Inagua, Mayaguana, Acklins and Crooked; it also struck the Turks and Caicos. According to the Bahamian tourist board, "all international airports, with the exception of those in [the aforementioned islands], are open for business and most hotels are welcoming guests." All international cruise ports also are open. For its part, the Turks and Caicos tourist board says damage was extensive on the islands of Grand Turk, Salt Cay and South Caicos, but the majority of the tourism infrastructure on the primary tourist island of Providenciales is intact, as no resorts, restaurants or other structures suffered significant damage.
July 23: The Puerto Rico Convention Bureau will spend $250,000 to "green" the Puerto Rico Convention Center, the Puerto Rico Coliseum and other aspects of the Convention District. The money will fund various initiatives, including the installation of automated air-conditioning and lighting-control systems, as well as the planting of native foliage that requires less water for landscaping. The goal is to reduce water use by 30 percent and electrical use by 50 percent. Following these modifications, building officials will apply for LEED certification.
The 489-room Rose Hall Resort & Spa in Montego Bay, Jamaica, has been reflagged as a Hilton Hotels & Resorts property. Rose Hall recently completed $40 million in renovations, which touched the guest rooms, lobby, restaurant and Grand Ballroom, and added a new spa and a pool. The property offers 14,000 square feet of meeting space, with a number of outdoor areas suitable for events. The resort also has 54 holes of golf and an 1,800-foot-long private beach.
July 16: The 3,006-passenger Carnival Splendor was launched from the Dover cruise port near London. The ship will sail in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean until October, when it will cross the Atlantic to sail in the Bahamas and Caribbean until 2009. The vessel's standout features include the 40,000-square-foot, two-story Cloud 9 Spa and a new class of staterooms with private, unlimited access to the spa.
July 2: Carnival Cruise Lines officially launched the 3,006-passenger Carnival Splendor in Sestri, Italy. The ship will sail in Western Europe this summer and the Mediterranean in the fall, and will cross the Atlantic to Fort Lauderdale to begin offering Caribbean itineraries in late October. Onboard features include the 21,000-square-foot Cloud 9 Spa, a water park and the Seaside Theatre with a 270-square-foot LED screen for movies and concerts.