Thinking of taking the kids to Bahamas sometime this summer for a couple of days just for something different. Flying from anywhere in S or SW Florida, probably on Silver which has reasonable fares. Open to visiting any part of the Bahamas but know nothing about them. Questions:
1. Any ferries running from FL to Bahamas anymore?
2. Seems that Marriott options are Atlantis on Paradise Island or Abaco Club at Marsh Harbour. I thought there was a RC at Marsh Harbour at one time. Is that gone now? Am I missing something? Not sure I'm crazy about going to Atlantis due to all the extra fees and taxes. How about Bimini? There is a Hilton there with very reasonable rates. Maybe I will check Interval International to see what's out there.
3. If I take kids without Spouse, do I need anything other than their passports?
4. Do passports need to have a certain amount of time left on them? Kids' passports expire in January, and if we go in July there will possibly be less than 6 months left, depending on time of month.
5. Any feedback on Silver Airways? Should I book through United.com to get United miles? Fares are slightly higher doing it that way, but not much, and I have more use for United miles than Silver miles (if Silver even has a FF program).
6. Anywhere else I can go from S or SW Florida for a couple of days that's a relatively short and inexpensive flight and I can use MR points?
7. Is July off season in Caribbean/Bahamas? Is June or Aug. a better time? Has to be when kids are off school.
Thanks in advance!
For us Canadians, the passport must be valid for at least 3 more months. I imagine it would be the same for US, but check the website.
I always take a signed letter from parents when I take grandchildren, I was not asked for it when we entered, this time but always get asked when I enter the USA which is the only way to get there from here. I have started to get the letters notarized. I got some stick from a guard in Buffalo one time, so pay the extra few bucks.
My experience is just in Nassau and Freeport so I don't have much to say on accommodation than you already state. I find the Bahamas very expensive.
Further info from CBP website.
Due to the increasing incidents of child abductions in disputed custody cases and as possible victims of child pornography, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) strongly recommends that unless the child is accompanied by both parents, the adult have a note from the child's other parent (or, in the case of a child traveling with grandparents, uncles or aunts, sisters or brothers, friends, or in groups*, a note signed by both parents) stating "I acknowledge that my wife/husband/etc. is traveling out of the country with my son/daughter/group. He/She/They has/have my permission to do so." See our Q&A parental consent. * School groups, teen tours, vacation groups. CBP also suggests that this note be notarized
While I am not able to speak at all about the Bahama's or Bimini I will tell you that you should go ahead now and renew the kids passports using the online forms and mail them in.
I did mine about a year ago when I still have eight months left since I would be traveling Internationally and did not want take a chance on a delay in getting my new passport back in time. If the have Global Entry as well once you get the new passports simply go into the Global Online Enrollment System (GOES)-Official U.S.Government Web Site to apply for Global Entry, FLUX, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST site sign in and change the passport number there as well as on any and all frequent flier accounts. Poof done and I've had not one problem with travels.
Silver Airways utilized Saab 340's (SF34) that seat 34. Their website notes that you can add your MileagePlus Account number to your Silver Airways account since you'll have to open at least an account in order to buy the tickets through them. If the prices is not over the top more I'd book it though United.
Thanks IAHFLYR. I suppose I need to suck it up and get going on the passport renewals! And yes, the kids have GE which has worked really well for us so far. More than once, an airport agent has tried to tell me we were in the wrong line because kids "never" have GE but of course we have our cards to prove it - apparently GE still hasn't caught on quite as much as I'd expect. 34 seat airplanes sound kind of tiny. As you know, I end up on EMB145s quite a bit and don't really mind them, but I think they at least seat about 50 people. The regional carriers serving AA and UA seem to have some sort of love affair with the EMB145 on their ORD routes.
clebert, oh and forgot to mention in my previous message that my renewed passport came back within two weeks and that was around New Years.
Yes the E145's are 50 seats, the SF34 is pretty small if the 50 seat birds are the smallest you've been on, but are pretty reliable as well as a bit loud with the propellers right on the wings. I'd try and book the flight from FLL if you can just to minimize the flight time.....don't get me wrong I'd have no issue with them other than what I mentioned above.
If you’re still “clueless” about the Bahamas, we thought we could provide some assistance! Did you know that Atlantis is currently running an offer for up to 50% off their dining plans? You can even book a room using points if you want to. Here is the link to Atlantis’ website with some more information:
We hope you’ve made some progress on planning your trip!
deannad, thank you. I will check it out! Right now I was thinking of Puerto Rico instead of Bahamas but I do like to try somewhere new that I've never been, so I'll give Bahamas another look.