In 2020 the 10 member “Rocco Detomo Family” had been scheduled for a holiday aboard the Disney Cruise out of Port Canaveral (Rocky & Julie, Michael, Julie, Dominic & Luca, and Anthony, Stephanie, Nora & Elliot). Unfortunately, the Covid-19 Pandemic cancelled all cruises and we scheduled out first “All Family Vacation” for 2022 in Atlantis, Bahamas, instead.
Our trip started with flights for everyone out of varying airports in in Baltimore-Washington Metroplex. This was the first challenge of the holiday, as the airlines were cancelling 1000’s of flights every day! However, we all made it to Nassau, Bahamas in early afternoon on Sunday, June 26th. The area had just been inundated with thunderstorms, and so, after a taxi-ride through submerged streets, we finally arrive at the main entrance to Atlantis. Each of the adults had been to Atlantis before, although none of us had ever actually stayed there. The grounds are covered with a water-world paradise of pools, aquariums, beaches, restaurants, and, of course, the ever-present casino.
While checking in, the grandkids marveled at the large aquarium sharks and sting rays, before we briefly settled-in and headed poolside to “Shark Bites” for our first meal there. Our rooms are all on the 10th floor with excellent views of the pools and aquariums, and of the lagoon and ocean. Atlantis is “cashless”, and the prices include all taxes and gratuity, and are easily put onto your room via your key. We then changed clothes and met at the “Royal Baths Pool” where the kids and adults all enjoyed the water, before we moved to the Lagoon Beach to snorkel and look at the colorful fish. It was here that Luca and Elliot began to hang-out and entertain each other. At 5:00pm, everyone headed up to their rooms to prepare for dinner “on-their-own”. Rocky & Julie took the opportunity to head to an “off-site” grocery & liquor, market, but found it had just closed at 6:00pm since it was Sunday. They then went to a dinner of pulled port & craft beers at the “Pirate Republic” before heading to “The Coral Hotel” part of the Atlantis Complex where we explored the “predator Lagoon and the aquarium tunnels that allowed viewing of sharks, sting rays, goliath groupers, gars, and 6ft-long tarpon, among a variety of other fish and sea life. After reaching the Royal Hotel Lobby, we headed outside to watch the Hawksbill Sea turtles located in the Rescue and Rehabilitation area. Then, it was time to retire to our room to unpack and settle in for our first night.
Monday morning, we arose early to a rainstorm and headed to the hotel’s Starbuck’s for morning coffee and snack. While returning, we encountered part of the family at the local breakfast patisserie collecting goodies for the rest of their family. Unfortunately, the rain “cancelled” Tony & Steph’s family outing that was scheduled to swim with the turtles. But the rain soon stopped, and we all headed to the Lagoon for a walk and to the Royal Beach for some fun in the surf. After exploring the “Aquaventure” area more fully, we decided to take up seats around the large “Mayan Temple Pool” where a series of waterfalls, slides (Serpent), and splash zone at “Ripples” was enjoyed by everyone. Soon, however, Tony and Steph received a short-notice reschedule of the Turtle Adventure” and they were off for the rest of the afternoon. Meanwhile, the rest of us went to the “Splashers” pool where a huge water playground for kids exists and Dom & Luca played. Then, it was onto the “Rapid River”, an upscaled “Lazy River” with Class I rapids traversed by either single or double person tubes which took upwards of ½ hour to complete. Later that afternoon, we headed back to our rooms to prepare for dinner. All of us unknowingly ended up at the same restaurant, “Olives” where we shared stories from everyone’s encounters of the day before exiting and walking through the hotel’s underground aquarium viewing area. After viewing the family of “saw fish”, we returned to the hotel main floor where we all had ice creams at “Sun & Ice” before watching a bit of teen karaoke at the nearby dance floor. The grandkids were all fascinated by the “less than perfect” performances and danced and laughed to a variety of songs. Then, on the way back to our rooms, we stopped to watch the hawksbill turtles and share more stories of everyone’s adventures of the day before finally calling it a night.
Tuesday, we met Tony for our morning walk to Starbucks before heading out to save family seats around the “Splashers” pool. That morning, the adults and kids rode a variety of slides and tubes, some of which rode through an underwater tube that crosses the shark pool. We swam and played at “Splashers” until 11am, when we decided to explore the hotel’s second of 3 beaches – “The Cove”. Here, the kids built their first sandcastles, played in the surf, and walked the beach looking for “treasures”. The kids got to see their first sea anemone, although it was no longer alive. We had lunch at “Breakers” restaurant before dark clouds began to gather, and we headed back to our rooms. That afternoon, everyone explored on their own finding new displays, trails, and caves (“The Digs”). We met early for our first “All Family Dinner” at “Frankie’s Gone Bananas” which was located along side the Atlantis Marina – home to a few dozen 100-200ft-long super yachts. After dinner, we took the family shopping for Atlantis T-shirts and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, before everyone headed up to their room for bedtime.
Wednesday morning, we again met Tony for our now-routine Starbucks run. After breakfast, Tony & Steph took Nora and Elliot to Dolphin Cay for a petting and feeding experience with the dolphins. The rest of us set-up at “Splashers” pool” where we swam and played all morning. Lunch was poolside with peanut butter & jelly, salad wraps and Cuban sandwiches. We then moved over to the Lagoon Beach where everyone built a sandcastle and the boys made a new friend, Christian. That afternoon, Tony & Steph took the family into Nassau for sightseeing and shopping, and, although the straw markets were still open, restaurants and stores in general close as soon as the cruise ships begin to leave the docks. That night, Mike & Julie left Dom and Luca with Grammy & Grandpa for pizza and a movie (Minions) while they went out for a romantic lobster dinner. After returning, everyone went back to their rooms for a good night’s sleep.
Thursday began with our routine coffee run before everyone had breakfast and headed out to the aquariums to watch the 9”00am feeding of the sawfish and rays. Four of the sawfish are the only ones born in captivity and at 10-years old are already ~15ft. long. After the feedings, we took up seats around the Mayan Temple pool again so that everyone could ride the slides and play. Grammy, Grandpa, Mike, and Dom all rode the “Challenger” slide, which reaches high speeds down a 60ft-high steep incline. Then, the girls all met up for “girl-time” at the Coral Pool Swim-Up Bar where they had drinks and swam. At the “Tower of Power”, Grandpa discovered “The Abyss” – a 60ft. drop in darkness into an underground secluded pool. Mike & Dom and Grammy & Grandpa then tackled “The Surge” – a 2-peron tube slide that twists about before exiting into the Rapids River. The rest of the afternoon was filled with slides and River Rapids rides until we all returned to the rooms in the late afternoon to prepare for dinner. We all decided to eat at the “Burger Shack”, located at the end of the Marina Village, since reservations were not required. Ben & Jerry’s again provided post-dinner ice cream treats for the kids before we headed towards a family walk through “The Digs” before retiring for the night.
On Friday morning, Mike joined our routine morning coffee trek. Today, we again set up at the Mayan Temple pool as the kids were becoming braver on experiencing the slides and river. Grammy, Steph, and Nora decided to explore the Baths Colonnade pool which is 5ft. deep and has pedestal seats located around each column and under each waterfall. Lunch that day was again from “Shark Bites” and the afternoon was filled with swimming, rides on the Jungle slide, and family time on the Rapids River. Friday night would be a final “All Family Dinner” which we had scheduled at “Carmines” – an Italian family-style restaurant located at the far-end of the Marina Village. We all sat at a large round table and ordered family-style servings which were huge and delicious. Although we could not eat it all, we gave it our best shot, and everyone agreed it was the best meal we had had together. After dinner, we wandered back towards the hotel through the “Junkaroo Market” which “pops-up” only on Friday evenings. The girls shopped the trinkets and the boys tried joining in with the local band before we returned to the hotel to take Family pictures, returned to our rooms to begin packing, and called it a night.
Saturday morning was our last Starbucks walk before collecting our luggage and checking out of the Atlantis Resort. We all caught taxis to the airport where Tony & Steph’s flight took off on time, but rest of the family’s flight was delayed 3-hours. However, everyone made it back to the northeast at a reasonable time, ending our first All-Family vacation.