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Help Wanted: Recommendations for Adult-Only Anniversary Trip

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Hi, this is my first post, please be kind. My wife and I are planning our 20th wedding anniversary for next year. We've had the good fortune to travel to the Hawaiian Islands multiple times and visited Fiji for our 15th anniversary. This time we're looking to try something different and travel to the Caribbean. As this is our anniversary trip, we'd like to focus on Adult-Only, or properties with an area reserved as Adult-Only. We've never tried an All-Inclusive and would be willing to consider that as well. We're not looking for a large mega resort. We have pretty high standards for quality (property condition, service, food, accommodations, etc). That being said, we're on a very modest budget at the same time. With two kids in school we are probably forced to wait until late June / early July before we can get away - not wanting grandparents to have to manage school work, projects, test prep, etc... So we may need some real insight in terms of weather and reality of 'hurricane season' ... knowing that bad weather can happen anytime, anywhere... but are we setting ourselves up for a less than 'dream' experience? Maybe I've said too much, maybe I haven't said enough... Appreciate any and all insight, suggestions, assistance that anyone is able to provide. Safe and fun travels to all of you in your adventures. Thanks!

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    First, it's always helpful if you gave us some idea of your budget in dollars rather than use terms like 'we are on a very modest budget" - you see, without a point of reference we have no idea what "very modest" means to you - it's different for everybody. Tell us too, where you are traveling from and give us an idea of the amount you have available to spend for airfare, accommodations, activities and food (if you end up not going to an "All inclusive" resort).

    Second, if you travel in June or July that will be a big plus as it's "Low Season" in the Caribbean and you'll find some of the lowest room rates of the year so your "accommodations budget will go a lot further than it would during the winter months.

    Third, we need to know where you'll be traveling from as that will have a big bearing on how much you spend on airfare. While airfares to some of the larger islands can be quite reasonable (as airfares go) getting to some of the smaller islands can sometimes require expensive connecting flights.

    Fourth, although the official Atlantic/Caribbean Hurricane Season runs from June 1 through November 30 the peak time for storms is usually between late August/early September and the end of October. Odds of there even being a tropical storm or hurricane in the Caribbean during June and most of July are very, very small and even if there was a storm the odds of one striking any given island during the week or so you are visiting are even smaller. So, weather wise, late June/early July is a good time to visit.

    Fifth, if you are on a limited budget you'll find places like the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel are amount the least expensive destinations in the Caribbean and they also have the highest concentration of All Inclusive Resorts so you might want to concentrate your search to those places.

    Sixth, you have, of course, sent us some "mixed signals" by saying you "have pretty high standards for quality (property condition, service, food, accommodations, etc)" and you are "on a very modest budget". In general, the Caribbean is a "pricey destination" and the reality is you are not going to find 4-star or 5-star accommodations for 3-star prices. You are probably going to have to make some type of concession. That's not saying you'll be staying in a substandard resort but rather you probably won't be staying in a high end resort. As I mentioned above, if you give us an idea of your actual budget we can make some suggestions so you'll get an idea of what your budget will allow.

    Seventh, I wouldn't worry too much about "Adults Only". It's pretty easy to avoid the "family oriented resorts" like Atlantis, Beaches, etc. and even though you might encounter some families, the Caribbean in general, is not overrun with families with lots of little children.

    Lastly, concentrate first on picking the destination. Every island is different and has it's own appeal. Start by using the "Destinations" link at the top of this page. Click through to the Caribbean then read the descriptions of the different island to get some idea of what each has to offer. Choose one or two that most appeal to you then look for resort/hotel on those island that fit your budget. Once you narrow your choices you can post some more questions on this forum to help you choose a resort/hotel in your price rage.

    Good luck finding a place for your anniversary trip.

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    I agree with the previous commenter: we first need to know what your budget is to get an idea of what "level" of travel accommodation you can afford. My husband and I are a youthful couple without children, and we travel to the Caribbean several times a year. We were at Sandals Grand Bahamian about two weeks ago. I think an important aspect to consider is this: what do you like to do on your vacation? Are you ok with sitting on the beach with a Bahama Mama in hand all day, or are you looking for constant entertainment and activities?

    The all inclusive resorts have many pools and beaches (our latest one even had a private island!). You could go snorkeling, scuba diving, or windsurfing. However, something to consider is the elements: there were strong undercurrents and swells the week we went. It was disappointing, because the weather was BEAUTIFUL, but snorkeling was cancelled every day. If this happens to you, are you going to be happy at the beach? Other resorts have specialities like golf courses or swim-up pools, or maybe the local area is something you can explore as well.

    Also, have you ever been on (or would you consider trying) a cruise? For the price you pay, I personally think cruises are a MUCH better value! I also like that every day you are in a new location. The private islands that the cruise lines now own is also a huge perk! These locations are absolutely breathtaking!
    I like the entertainment factor of cruises, and I'm a HUGE fan of the adults-only areas. One downside of cruises that beverages are usually not included in the price you pay. This includes soft drinks (except Disney cruises which are more expensive to start out with). You can buy a beverage package, but I have issues paying $30 to have a Diet Coke throughout the week.
    You may have never considered a cruise before, so I wanted to mention these as an alternative to an all-inclusive resort. Surprisingly, Disney is one of my FAVORITE cruise lines! I personally believe they have the BEST adults-only decks, spa, late-night entertainment, and signature restaurants (small upgrade fee, no children allowed at these!). I also like the first run movies (including many PG 13 or R ratings) that they show, and the fireworks!
    Holland America has a slightly older clientele, but it was an extremely classy experience all the way around! The only downside was the late-night entertainment was lacking. Holland America did not strictly enforce the adults-only pools/deck areas, but there were few children on this boat to begin with. They have the best lounge areas and largest on-board library out of any cruise line I have been on!
    Celebrity is another great cruise line with few children onboard, particularly if you don't go during school vacation times.
    We've done Carnival just for a cheap getaway, but I wouldn't recommend it for an anniversary cruise. They do have some good ports, though!

    Something else to consider is that the southeast region receives the least amount of hurricanes. You might want to look into Barbados (they average one hurricane every 20 years!), Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.

    Congrats on your anniversary! :)

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    For our 20th anniversary we went to the Excellence playa mujeres. It was away from the party atmosphere of Cancun (30 mins away) and was adults only. It was quiet, and had truly EXCELLENT service. Food was good and all drinks were included.

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    Remember in the summer months children are off from school BUT
    I would look at Point Grace, on Turks & Caicos (airport PLS)
    upscale & has a sign by the pool asking for "Quiet"
    Easy to walk to restaurants. Also, check out our favs The Somerset & Regent Palms ( our Honeymoon location) on Turks & Caicos--both upscale & great locations!

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    Thanks everyone, appreciate all the insight and replies. Sorry, I recognize that it wasn't really fair to ask for help but not disclosing much detail. Part of the challenge is we don't know enough about the area to know how to properly plan or approach this possible experience. If we can keep our accommodation expenses under $5,000 for the week that will be a win. That leaves us little budget for food and beverage, so we're really operating on little margin for error. And yes, we do want it all for nothing. Figure you don't get it if you don't ask for it. So we're willing to suggest that it is possible to have a five-star experience, property, etc and not pay an extravagant rate to do so. We are fine relaxing for a little while, but will want to be active (snorkel, kayak, etc) for most of our trip. We are active (swim, bike, run) when we are home and don't do well when we try to shut down completely. We don't golf, so that's not a requirement. Similarly we don't scuba. Not fishers either. Not looking to spend time shopping, or site seeing... beaches, pools, hammocks, and high-end accommodations are our priority. WorldTraveler2499 - your comment about not wanting to pay $30 for Diet Coke sounds exactly like something we'd say. We don't want to have to make tradeoffs or weigh the real value of things when we're trying to enjoy our time. Hope that this gives more context. Please keep the insights, suggestions, info and recommendations coming. Thanks again.

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    My husband have stayed at dozens of Caribbean AIs, and hands down, for luxury, service and beach, its Secrets Maroma Beach. It is pricey, but we have managed to get Ai there with flight from Toronto Canada for less than 5000, including a swim up room. The swim ups there are more private than at other hotels. Hope you have a lovely anniversary.

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    Look into Royal Hideaway in the Playacar area of Mexico. Adults only all inclusive on a gorgeous beach. Very good food and outstanding service. If you want class, the Royal Hideaway will fill your needs.

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