Dom Rep, Jamaica or Carnival Valor Cruise

Aug 1st, 2010, 05:02 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 41
Dom Rep, Jamaica or Carnival Valor Cruise

We are planning a trip and can't decide b/t : Iberostar Rose Hall Suites in Montego Bay, Iberostar Bavaro in Punta cana, and The Carnival Valor which departs Miami and includes the following ports: Roatan, Belize, Cozumel, and Grand Cayman. The trip is 7 days and we are going with my parents and my 2 children (3 and 6) either winter or spring. Help.
krb2020 is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2010, 09:58 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 92,534
To me going to a resort or going on a cruise is a completely personal decision. Which would you enjoy more? I hate ships (seasick) and so have never tried one. I love Jamaica, so I'd go with the MoBay option. I've enjoyed the DR but not Punta Cana (where everyone seems afraid to leave their resorts).
BUT everything I've said is completely personal opinion, that may have no bearing on your situation!
suze is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2010, 01:35 PM
  #3  
KVR
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,077
I agree with Suze. Do you think you would like a AI resort where everything is included or be nickeled and dimed to death on a cruise? I don't like cruises. Been on 3. They are overcrowed, it's difficult to get on and off at the ports, there is not enough time in the ports and there are so many hidden charges, ie; alcohol, sodas, speciality restuarants, pictures, nice clothes for formal nights, ice cream/sweets stations, port charges, mandatory tips, etc. To me Carnival is the bottom of the barrel for cruises. If you go that route, go with Royal Caribbean.

I persoanlly don't like the DR either. When I go on vacation I want to get off the resort and explore, shop, and do activities at my leisure.

We loved Jamaica, but stayed in Negril, which is quiter and less crowded than Montego Bay. I would think that the kids, as well as yourself, would like an AI resort where you can run around, have food and drinks whenever, enjoy really great pools and an ocean whenever you like.

Winter and Spring are the highest priced seasons, so you will pay top dollar. Try to go during down time like the first 2 weeks of November, or the first 2 weeks of December, or the 2nd/3rd week of May. Those times are some of the lowest prices and you don't have to worry about hurricane season.
KVR is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2010, 02:03 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 92,534
I'll make a pitch for an all-inclusive on the Mayan Riviera of Mexico (since you mention Cozumel). You'd fly into either Cancun or Cozumen. Then go with a driver or get a rental car.
suze is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2010, 06:52 PM
  #5  
KVR
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,077
I will definatly agree with that recommendation. We've been going to the Yucatan Peninsula almost every year for the last 10 years. Just booked our a trip for December in Playa del Carmen. You'll find really nice AI resorts for less than Jamaica and the DR. With kids, I would suggest the Iberostars or the Barcelos.
KVR is offline  
Aug 6th, 2010, 04:18 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 41
Thanks for all the info. I think we are leaning toward montego bay. We went to Iberostar in Playa del Caremen last year and now my parents are addicted to AI resorts. We really enjoy going off the resort to explore- but not anymore with young kids. Which iberostar do you like on Mont Bay- what about RIU? thanks
krb2020 is offline  
Aug 6th, 2010, 04:21 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 92,534
I don't like Montego Bay. If I were going to an AI in Jamaica, I'd go somewhere on the beach in Negril.
suze is offline  
Aug 6th, 2010, 04:31 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 41
My only concern is the car ride from the airport- with 2 young kids and no carseat... I hear the beach in front of the Iberostar in mont bay- the rose hall suites- is very nice?
krb2020 is offline  
Aug 7th, 2010, 07:09 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 28
I would go to Negril. Cruises have so many added costs and it is a pain to be on and off the ship on someone else's schedule. Negril is safe and they love children. Many of the resorts have excellent children's programs and the beach is good for little ones, supervised of course! We did a hotel room with a kitchenette and found that the best. Who can drink everyday?
lynzdee is offline  
Aug 9th, 2010, 12:43 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 18
You can never go wrong with Jamaica (expect in resort choice haha). Been to both DR and Jamaica and Jamaica wins hands down. It is beautiful, the people are so friendly, and the food is great. (try the Jerk Chicken if you like spicy food). I cant recommend the cruise as we have never been on one yet (although we are going on a Carnival Cruise in 2 months to the mexican riviera and conincidentally looked at the exact cruise you are looking at and were all set to book but switched out minds last minute to the Splendor.)
When we went we stayed just outside of Falmouth which seems didnt seem to be a very long distance from the Mo Bay airport (maybe 30 min or so) but it was closer to things to do like Zip lining, catamaran trip, Dunns River Falls etc.
hartsj9 is offline  
Aug 9th, 2010, 07:02 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 11
krb, our family has been to the D.R. (very recently), been to Jamaica (several times), and we've been on the Carnival Valor twice, with the same itinerary you are looking at. We LOVE the D.R. and can highly recommend it, as we keep going back there time after time. Jamaica is nice, yet we don't like to go there with the kids. BUT, the Valor wins hands down for us and our kids; it is an awesome travel value. My wife and I went on that ship a couple of years ago and had such a good time we went back last November with our two kids...who wanted us to book a back-to-back cruise when we got back to Miami, as they enjoyed it so much! I couldn't disagree more with the comments about the "hidden" or added charges or having to stick to their schedule in port. You already KNOW alcohol is extra, soft drinks are extra (I don't understand the previous comment about a charge for a "dessert bar", as it was free), and you pay for dining at Scarlet (the steakhouse), so where's the "hidden" aspect of it? I don't know about you, but I can get by with just a few drinks in a one week period...and you can have those at the various port towns for next to nothing! And many people don't realize that you CAN take a "reasonable amount" of soft drinks with you on a cruise when you check in. Kids (or you) need soft drinks on the cruise? Pack it in your suitcase; call Carnival and they'll tell you the same thing, unless it changed in the last few months. The food was excellent and so was the variety. MANY AI's don't even get close when it comes to the food, and they often have a VERY limited selection of alcoholic beverages. Also, this cruise's itinerary provided AMPLE time to get out and explore. And you get to visit four very different countries/ports of call, providing your kids (and you) with a great cultural experience. Frankly, kids will only take so much time in the pool at the resort. What will you get at an AI? Beach and pool, unless you LEAVE THE RESORT, which is what a cruise allows you to do for free! Exploring will not cost you a thing (and planning your own excursions will save you a bunch). From Stingray City to Mayan ruins, this cruise has an awesome itinerary; our kids loved cave tubing in Belize. We went on excursions at each port and never had a difficult time getting back to the ship on time. In fact, we had enough time to go to the Tulum ruins when we stopped in Cozumel, and we did it "solo", not in an organized tour. And Camp Carnival made sure the kids had plenty to do while onboard. We would go back on this very same itinerary in a heartbeat! One last note: the above comment about Punta Cana, ("where everyone seems afraid to leave their resorts") is amusing to me. That is exactly what people need to do there...leave the resort and see the D.R.! But the resorts don't want you to do that, unless you are booking excursions through them! How about THAT for a "hidden expense"? They get a nice commision from tour operators when you get so tired of being confined to the resort that you want to book other activities. And when the kids are screaming their heads off because they are bored and toasted by day 3, parents will pay whatever it takes to get them on those excursions. Been there, seen that! I hope this helps.
CaribbeanTraveler is offline  
Aug 10th, 2010, 03:18 PM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 41
Thanks for the info- how old are your kids- mine are 3 and 6years old.
krb2020 is offline  
Aug 11th, 2010, 11:12 AM
  #13  
KVR
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,077
I couldn't disagree more with Caribbean Travel after being to 14 AI resorts, 3 non-AI resorts, 3 cruises and many hotels in the US, but not willing to elaborate and start a war. Good luck with your decision as you're going to need it.

I would suggest however, if you go the cruise route check out the forums on cruisecritic.com. If you go the resort route check the forums on tripadvisor.com

There are many threads regarding land vacations vs. cruises. You need way more info than what has been supplied here.
KVR is offline  
Aug 24th, 2010, 04:58 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 10,266
20+ cruises and just over a dozen AI weeks.
That said, my choice would be a Bavaro Beach AI.
Of those three, the only choice I'd make.

Will NOT return again to Jamaica, thank you.

And cruises are not what they used to be, sadly.

If you have kiddies with you, you'll get evcen MORE attention in DR, they LOVE LOVE LOVE the little ones!
Many of the resorts have suite or jr suite rooms as their standard room, lots of room for comfort.
Kid Clubs and activities.
If you love spending time on the beach, this is the place to be.
In fact I'm booking another week to Bavaro area of PC today!

Some of the AI resorts in the RivMaya area south of Cancun could also be a good choice. But I personally prefer Punta Cana.

This is a short trip, you want it to be as 'easy' as possible.
Steelersfan is offline  
Aug 26th, 2010, 08:32 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 92,534
Steelersfan, Why won't you return to Jamaica? It's really more helpful if you tell us your reasons when you make a blanket negative statement like that.

I just got back from a fabulous trip, 10-days in Negril Jamaica. I'd recommend it in a heart beat for most people. It is a little more 'adventurous' than some of the other tamer Caribben islands, but not over the top so.
suze is offline  
Aug 26th, 2010, 10:06 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 10,266
In a nutshell, I like DR better than Jamaica, have been to Jamaica about five times, so I KNOW that I don't ever want to go back. You never took a cruise but don't ever want to try one. People are not all the same.
Of over 40 countries I've visited there are only two I do not care to visit again, and Jamaica is one of those. Since you asked.
The OP wanted to know what we thought would be best choice for her, hubby, and little ones, and I gave her my opinion; I 'd choose the Bavaro beach area of Punta Cana. In fact I'm now in the process of booking another trip there, my fifth.
Love it, and think OP might, too, especially with children.
Steelersfan is offline  
Aug 26th, 2010, 02:01 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 92,534
Sheez I was just wondering. And you went 5 times even though you didn't like it? I was curious as most people have something specific they can pass on about WHY they didn't like a particular place. Something more than "I'll never go there again" without reason.
suze is offline  
Aug 26th, 2010, 02:02 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 92,534
And no I don't think that's the same as choosing not to go on a cruise for a person who gets horrible deathly sea-sickness.
suze is offline  
Aug 27th, 2010, 05:49 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 10,266
One who has never cruised would have a lot of experience with sea-sickness, eh?
YES, I have been in Jamaica five times. Gave it a second chance several times. A free vacation is a free vacation sometimes.
Then I started visiting Punta Cana, so much nicer IMO.
Cruises used to be nice too.
Steelersfan is offline  
Aug 27th, 2010, 05:51 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 10,266
The trip is 7 days and we are going with my parents and my 2 children (3 and 6) either winter or spring. Help. krb2020

Steelersfan on Aug 24, 10 at 8:58am
20+ cruises and just over a dozen AI weeks.
That said, my choice would be a Bavaro Beach AI.
Of those three, the only choice I'd make.

Will NOT return again to Jamaica, thank you.

And cruises are not what they used to be, sadly.

If you have kiddies with you, you'll get evcen MORE attention in DR, they LOVE LOVE LOVE the little ones!
Many of the resorts have suite or jr suite rooms as their standard room, lots of room for comfort.
Kid Clubs and activities.
If you love spending time on the beach, this is the place to be.
In fact I'm booking another week to Bavaro area of PC today!

Some of the AI resorts in the RivMaya area south of Cancun could also be a good choice. But I personally prefer Punta Cana.

This is a short trip, you want it to be as 'easy' as possible.
Just returning the thread to the OPs topic.
Steelersfan is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:27 AM.