Recently Travelers Dominion ventured to Sin City for the Final Fantasy XIV Fan Fest. Geekery of the reason aside, it presented the chance to stay at Bally's Las Vegas.
Opening in 1973 to the sounds of Dean Martin as the MGM Grand the hotel was a landmark many credit with marking the start of the mega-resorts which now dominate the Las Vegas strip. Overcoming the to the tragedy of the 1980 fire which killed 87 guests to reopen only eight months later with an additional tower, the property is now owned by Caesars and run as an integrated operation to its sister resort Paris Las Vegas. Not the newest hotel on the strip, Bally's still has teeth as an attractive option for those looking for a prime location and great value.
The Hotel Confidant presents our REVIEW of the famous anchor of the Las Vegas strip.
Falmouth is a newer port of call in the Caribbean. The cruise port at Falmouth was built as a partnership between the Port Authority of Jamaica and Royal Caribbean International and opened in 2011. It added to Jamaica a custom built port that mirrors the model being seen increasingly across the caribbean. The port includes purpose built piers able to accommodate even the largest cruise ships, with a large, modern, duty-free shopping mall through which all passengers filter. The stores in the mall are rented by many different types of business'. These range from the obligatory Diamonds International to small family owned shops. At the edge of the port is a purpose-built bus terminal used to board passengers onto bus' for their pre-planned excursions. The intent here as elsewhere, is to create a controlled, quality environment in which passengers can make smooth exits to their planned excursions or simply enjoy some hours shopping without chaotic taxi stands and vendors pursuing people.
Like most such newer port terminals, Falmouth features some space within the duty free mall for local merchants. These tend to be limited in space as compared to the larger company and privately owned stores in the ports buildings. These areas tend to be called "artisan villages" or shops and In some cases the merchants are indeed local and sometimes actually the artists who created what is being sold. They are selected merchants and not random to be sure. Since the establishment of the port local vendors from within the town of Falmouth have sought to setup stands just outside of the gates.
According to the local media in Falmouth and Jamaica, the local vendors are going to have access to a new space being built for opening in October 2017. The space is intended to reduce or eliminate the "tarpoline village" outside of the port. Local vendors have mixed feelings on the new stalls. They are happy to have them at all on the one hand but complain they are too small. Local officials have responded by saying the merchants should not expect or intend to stock everything they have but be more selective and focused in what they attempt to sell.
The new local vendor stalls come as Falmouth is reported to be under growing pressure by Royal Caribbean and Carnival to improve conditions across the board at Falmouth. Little specifically has been said, though some media reports have interpreted talk of reduced visitations as being the elimination of the port or to over state dissatisfaction with conditions at Falmouth. However passenger reviews and comments in the last couple of years have indicated the conditions at the excursion bus terminal, nearby road conditions and the quality of shops have faltered in recent years. Given the importance of the port to Jamaica's future and the amount invested into the project by the cruise industry, it is likely improvements will be quick in coming.