All inclusive Carribean Vacation

Jul 31st, 2006, 01:15 PM
  #1  
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All inclusive Carribean Vacation

My husband and I are interested in taking a carribean vacation and have never travelled to an island before. We have no idea where to start. There are so many options out there. I am 29 and he is 33. We want something truly all-inclusive with plenty to do at the resort! Any suggestions, or even suggestions of websites to check out to help us make our decision? (OTHER THAN THE REGULAR TRAVEL WEBSITES OF COURSE)


acsproul is offline  
Jul 31st, 2006, 01:28 PM
  #2  
 
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As a resident of the Virgin islands past 9 years, May I suggest America's Caribbean the all inclusive Wyndham Resort and Sp on St. Thomas?

http://www.wyndham.com/hotels/STTSB/main.wnt

or this:

http://www.caribbeantravelmag.com/ho...p?hotel=L63516

or:

http://www.beachdestinations.com/St_...ugar_Bay_.aspx

Virgin island culture and lifestyle site:
www.virginvoices.com
publisher is offline  
Jul 31st, 2006, 04:55 PM
  #3  
 
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hi, there are ai's everywhere. if you would like to tell us what kind of island you envision we can help you choose more efficiently.
1/ lush and hilly vs. flatter more arid. lush usually means a volcanic based island. flat is coral based. coral based have better snorkeling and scuba.
2/ activities. do you want boat rides and tours and casinos. or hiking in the rain forest? do you want to parasail and jet ski or hang on the beach/pool.
3/some indication of your budget and where you will travel from and how long you get to stay.
4/ will you consider non-ai? some islands have tons to do (jamaica), some have outstanding restaurants (providenciales)
5/ would you mind traveling long hours with several plane changes a/or boat ride or does a 5 hour non-stop sound more like you?
6/ will you want to leave your resort? again some places this is a good plan with tons to go do (maya riviera) others you mostly want to stay on site (dominican republic is not for tooling around for first timers in carib)
7/ what time of year will you travel?
8/ any particular sports required? golf, scuba, zip lines, hiking?
virginia is offline  
Jul 31st, 2006, 05:39 PM
  #4  
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Thanks for the help so far.

Virginia, here are the answers to your questions:

1. either are appealing. Eventually we want to visit both types.
2. casinos - not important. I live in NJ and have access to Atlantic City and have been to Vegas. Boating, Kayaking, rainforests, jet-ski, and beaches are all good. We especially want a beach. Preferably a resort with a private beach, though this is not necessary.
3. Budget - we will make it work once we decide where to go but staying around or under $3000-$4000. Cheaper if possible.
4. We really want ai. We have never stayed at one before and want to give it a try.
5. Travel is not too much of a concern. we will probably fly out from Phila. airport.
6. Don't want to leave the resort much if at all. we are really looking for a relaxing vacation and don't plan to do any strenuous activity such as hiking for example.
7. Time of year - we are looking at probably April but are pretty much flexible and will make it work once we figure out where we want to go. No sooner than October though
8. No sports required, though water sports are more important than any others.

Thanks for your help
acsproul is offline  
Jul 31st, 2006, 05:45 PM
  #5  
 
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You are describing a trip to Wyndham St Thomas no fuss-no muss...

Philly to St Thomas easy..
Here's the info
Delta (tel. 800/241-4141 in the U.S.; www.delta.com) offers two daily nonstop flights between Atlanta and St. Thomas in winter. US Airways (tel. 800/428-4322 in the U.S.; www.usairways.com) has one nonstop daily flight from Philadelphia to St. Thomas, and an additional flight on Saturday.

I grew up in Harrisburg .....for what THAT's worth

Come on down to America's Carbbean!
publisher is offline  
Jul 31st, 2006, 05:51 PM
  #6  
 
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acsprout- We travel to the caribbean neaarly every winter and have stayed on probably 8 islands and many more resorts.
For our money, we love The Buccaneer on St. Croix, a US virgin Island. Have stayed there 3 times, with Jan'06 the most recent. Not entirely an all inclusive resort but doesn't have the downsides of one either. Fantastic private beach on a cove, golf course, great tennis facility, snorkeling, windsurfing, kayaks, access to diving, 5 min shuttle ride into town w/plenty to do. We go into town for diner nearly every night but there are restaurants onsite also.

Very private and beautiful grounds. Most island residents consider it to be the nicest resort on St. Croix.

Unlike some islands, the residents are very hospitable and friendly. St Croix is a great choice for first time visitors to the caribean. So if the Buccaneer is not for you consider one of the many other resorts on the island.

http://www.thebuccaneer.com
Happy Trails.


Becalm is offline  
Jul 31st, 2006, 06:06 PM
  #7  
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Wow! Thanks so much for the info and we will definitely check it out.
acsproul is offline  
Jul 31st, 2006, 06:15 PM
  #8  
 
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I agree!

Buccaneer is remarkable...but not inclusive..

St Croix is one of our favorite local island for its devotion to history, liefstyle, culture.

Night-time in Christensted and Frederiksted, however, is risky.
as is St Thomas in certain areas...

So--if you simply want to stay put---stay at Buccaneer and let their guest services guide you. But you pay for extras...

St croix rental car should be Avis...only charge $300 hold.

If you want TOTAL no-worries--INCLUSIVE--try Wyndham St Thomas...dont leave property--direct flight.

if you go to st croix--you need commuter flight to st croix from st thomas --then......30 minute ride to Buccaneer...


Virgin island culture and lifestyle site:
www.virginvoices.com
publisher is offline  
Jul 31st, 2006, 06:21 PM
  #9  
 
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Also consider how long it takes to get to each island. St. Croix is a short flight from San Juan.
The islands in the northern caribbean are also not as hot as the ones farther south and there is usually a nice breeze, at least during the winter.

Another great reason to go to St. Croix is a visit to Michael at Royal Jewelers. Totally honest w/prices you will rarely see elsewhere and is also St Croix is duty free for US residents.
Many island residents buy from Michael including the owners of the resort. (My wife is intent on putting Michael & Mona's kids through college.) In fact, my sister recently bought beautiful diamond stud earrings from Royal. They were appraised here at more than 35% above what she paid.

Becalm is offline  
Jul 31st, 2006, 06:47 PM
  #10  
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One more thing I neglected to mention. Although we both love children (so parents don't get offended)we would like a resort with not many children. The sole purpose being that we really want to relax.
acsproul is offline  
Jul 31st, 2006, 08:46 PM
  #11  
 
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I know exactly what you're saying. While there have been some children at the Buccaneer when we've visited, its never been an issue and I am sensitive to that issue too.

The Buc has 3 beaches and a pool and the grounds are spacious for the number of rooms/villas. If I remember correctly they do a kids camp which keeps the children in an organized/busy environment and away from the mainstream. Also, this is an upscale resort, i.e. more expensive than most so there typically aren't many children.The Buc is a country club type enviroment and is used by the locals as such.
Need to mention that there isn't a club or nightlife at the resort so if that's what you like, its not for you.
Becalm is offline  
Aug 1st, 2006, 08:06 AM
  #12  
 
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We did our daugter's wedding at the Wyndham Sugar Bay and were VERY disappointed.

The air conditioning units could not accomodate the need and everyone that went down for the wedding was miserable especially when trying to sleep, due to the heat.

The resort allowed cruise passengers to utilize the facilities while we were there, so the pool, hot tub, beach were all crowded and were left extremely dirty.

The beach area really wasn't that great or very pristine.

You could only eat in the formal dining area by reservation and trying to get reservations was difficult at best. Even then it took a while to get seated and the menu was extremely limited.

They DO have a GREAT restaurant down by the pool area and even though it was a buffet, I have to say that the food was really good. We ate the majority of our meals there. Also review this hotel at www.tripadvisor.com

We also found the Wyndham kind of out of the way and we took cabs everywhere we wanted to go.

They did a great job with daughter's wedding, but overall we were extremely disappointed with the Wyndham (sorry Publisher). This was in June 04, so I suppose it's possible that things have changed. This was just our experience and based on that we would not stay there again.
chasechow is offline  
Aug 1st, 2006, 08:16 AM
  #13  
 
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acsproul,

My husband & I travel to the Caribbean/Mexico 3 times a year, primarily to Adults Only, All Inclusive resorts. We've been to Jamaica 9 times (10 coming up in 19 days !!), Cancun area 8 times, Dominican Republic 2 times, St Lucia 2 times & Nassau, Bahamas once. Just for a frame of reference, we're 37 & almost 37.

We love the Grand Lido resorts in Jamaica ( www.superclubs.com ), but they would probably be at the top end of your price range. They include: all food, drinks, tips, scuba diving, snorkeling, waterskiing, free manicure & pedicure 24 hour room service. There are stocked mini-fridges in all rooms.

We also really enjoyed the Couples resorts ( www.couples.com ) in Jamaica. You'd definitely be able to find any of the Couples resorts w/in your range, depending on when you go & how long you'll be staying. We've been to Couples Swept Away, Couples Negril & Couples Sans Souci (back when it was a Grand Lido resort). They include: all food, drinks, tips, scuba diving, snorkeling, waterskiing. CSA & CN include room service for breakfast only. CSS includes all day room service (~6:30am - 11:30pm). CSA & CN also include an afternoon catamaran tour. n There are stocked mini-fridges in some rooms & not all rooms at CSA have a TV.

We've been to all 3 Secrets resorts ( www.secretsresorts.com) & liked all 3. Secrets can also be found w/in your range, depending on how long & when. They include: All food, drinks, tips, 24 hour room service. All rooms have stocked mini-fridges. Secrets Capri had the best food we've ever had on a vacation !! Secrets Excellence Punta Cana & Secrets Excellence Riviera Cancun are going to have a change in management soon & then they'll be called the same names except w/o the 'Secrets' in front of them (Secrets only manages those resorts, they don't own them).

All of the resorts I've mentioned have night time entertainment of some sort.

Couples Swept Away has a gorgeous beach (probably the best of all the resorts we've stayed at, w/ Couples Negril's beach a close 2nd). As a matter of fact, Couples Swept Away as a resort was also one of our favorites overall. It's a really relaxing place & it had a really tropical feeling about it. There are several small bldgs all over the place, so there's no big-hotel feel to it. And there's lush, tropical foliage everywhere. We had an Atrium room & they have shutters (w/ screens behind them) on all 4 walls -- this was one of my favorite rooms of all our vacations !!

Anyway, I could go on & on !! Hopefully this gives you a few more ideas to think about !! Feel free to ask more questions.

I have pics of all or our trips, if you're interested:
http://photos.yahoo.com/jmrperotto

Jackie


JackieMRP is offline  
Aug 1st, 2006, 08:35 AM
  #14  
 
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Jackie - were some of your photos of the Aventura Spa Palace on the Mayan Riveria?

We stayed there years ago and really liked it, but I had heard that things had gone down hill in the last year or so. Didn't know if you knew anything about this.

You're pics are AWESOME!
chasechow is offline  
Aug 1st, 2006, 09:14 AM
  #15  
 
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Definetely do not stay at the Wyndham, I used to work there. It is terrible, you will not like it. What about Beaches TCI - are you really wanting the USVI? What about Antigua, there are lots of AI there.
MIM04 is offline  
Aug 1st, 2006, 09:57 AM
  #16  
 
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I am not touting any resort, but for All Inclusives in the Caribbean, I am sure you can do way better than the Wyndham. Antigua, Cancun Dominican Republic, Jamaica have a tremendous range of AI
jray is offline  
Aug 1st, 2006, 10:14 AM
  #17  
 
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chasechow,
Yes, the folder "Cancun--Aventura Spa Palace--May 2003" is where our ASP pics are.

We really liked it there too. We went w/ 6 other couples & we all enjoyed it !! I haven't really paid much attention to ASP stuff lately since we haven't been there in 3 yrs. I hope things haven't gone down hill, though. We really liked the food there & the pools were great.

Jackie
JackieMRP is offline  
Aug 1st, 2006, 10:22 AM
  #18  
 
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Over the years, we have done both AI's as well as Non AI's in the Caribbean. I too would recommend Wyndham Sugar Bay. We had a beautiful room with a nice bathroom. We sat right above the water and enjoyed our balcony time. The bed was extremely comfortable. The beach is small, but we enjoyed the outdoor living around the pool area and what they had to offer, including the fruit skewers that they brought around and the popsicles. We also enjoyed the restaurants. The nightclub was a good time and the jacuzzi was set off to allow a little more privacy.
We have also done some of the Sandals and recommend some, but not all. Jamaica MoBay has a wonderful beach. The Almond rooms are nice and the unique gardens add to the ambiance of this resort, which is older, but lovely. The Bahamas has nice rooms and a private island, but not much else going for it. Antigua is very charming with a nice beach and is a nice island. We loved it there. St. Lucia gets a lot of rain, so if you're looking for a sunny place...they also have a large pool area, but we just didn't care for it. I was also bitten to death there.
Knowing is offline  
Aug 1st, 2006, 12:54 PM
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i can't really say i think too much of the wyndham sugar bay. did not stay at but spent time there with friends for a wedding week in june 05. beach offers NO privacy what so ever. on some days they even put cruise ship passengers on their beach. the main part of the hotel just seemed too much like "every" hotel.
the honeymoon couple went to couples swept away on jamaica and loved it. plenty of privacy and as jackie said all adult. they really had all good to report about their stay.
re: beaches. it's a kids club! on the other hand t&c -provo has THE most gorgeous beach. 12 miles of talcum powder soft, blindingly white sand. the only other ai on island is club med. this might suit you??
in general jamaica would be my first choice of the islands being mentioned here. a lot of ai's and a lot do to off resort should you choose to go out. i personally would at least hire a cab and tell him to take you to his coolest places for a day. 2nd choice would be domincan republic but only because it is known to be less expensive, so you might be able to get more resort for your buck.
if you're going in april be sure and ask each different resort you talk to what date their low season starts. for fall, oct and most of nov are low season.
if what you drink matters to you, you will want a higher end resort in order to get top shelf liquor. local well booze can be not so good stuff.
and finally american air has a sale on Right now. so maybe you should book jamaica and then find a resort you like.
p.s. once you have been you will be infected with DIF (dreaded island fever) it amounts to an unrelenting desire -addiction if you will- to the islands and their way of life. < just so you know... it's the main reason all these ppl are on fodors to begin with.
have fun planning, rarely do ppl return from the islands wishing they gone elsewhere.
virginia is offline  
Aug 1st, 2006, 02:00 PM
  #20  
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Jackie: Thanks so much for the link to your pictures. They will definitely help us decide. As far as types of places your ideas seem to be exactly what we are looking for (A fun Place!) My husband wants to go to Hedenism but I don't know about that. Anyone been there?
acsproul is offline  

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