Family Caribbean Vacation?

Mar 12th, 2008, 03:09 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2008
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Family Caribbean Vacation?

We want to go on a vacation next March or April to a good beachfront family-friendly resort. Our twins will be 12 at the time, so we don't need a kid's club and kid's menus. Here are some activities we like: Tennis, Sailing (Hobie Cats), Kayaking (maybe---not a must have), a nice pool, pretty beach, etc. We also like to go on island tours. A waterpark isn't necessary. Snorkeling is a favorite of one of my twin boys, so turquoise/blue water would be nice. Nowhere too hot like Curacao and Aruba. We have already been to Cancun, Mexico and Montego Bay, Jamaica. Please don't recommend a resort there as we like to try new places. Here are the maximum budgets for 7 nights: No meals-----$5000, All-inclusive $6500, Breakfast (and maybe some activities included)--$5600.
Any ideas?

By the way, we are considering the Verandah Resort in Antigua, but the water is Atlantic Ocean water---too cold, rough, or not tropical enough?
rmat100 is offline  
Mar 13th, 2008, 07:50 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 227
I am very partial to the All Inclusive Iberostar chain and there are many available in the Caribbean. The whole family loved Iberostar Paraiso Lindo in Riviera Maya (don't know if your "no Cancun" clause meant that whole area or not) and there are a couple in Punta Cana, DR that get excellent reviews. The beaches in DR are beautiful (think lots of palm trees going almost down to the water), and Iberostars have great pools and offer free use of hobie cats and kayaks. Also, in Negril, Jamaica there is a Beaches resort which my teens really enjoyed.
suzski is offline  
Mar 13th, 2008, 12:04 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
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I'm not sure if your budget is for lodging only or for air and hotel.

St. John is a beautiful island with great snorkeling, sailing, good restaurants and the ability to island hop to St. Thomas (for shopping) or the BVIs for beauty, snorkeling, relaxing. There are 2 main resorts, The Westin whioh caters to families and Caneel Bay, which is situated on 7 beautiful beaches (some private). Both are expensive, and Caneel doesn't have TV's. Our family stayed at the Westin and my sons were 13 and 9 at the time. WE rented from a time share owner and saved significantly (within your budget). You can try this site if interested:

http://www.stjohncondos.com/

The Westin has a great pool and and just an OK beach. The kids will enjoy the trampoline and iceberg in the water (if they are still there) while you enjoy a drink. They have iguana feedings and movies in the pool,... To really appreciate St. John, you have to drive to the numerous, gorgeous beaches. Add the expense of a car which will cost you at least $70 a day.
Another option is to rent a villa -which we will do next visit. I've been eyeing Splash villa, which is a short walk or swim to the Westin.

http://www.caribbeanvilla.com/splash/index.html

I will start a new post on other suggestions.
lovethecape is offline  
Mar 13th, 2008, 12:14 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 244
I have 3 other suggestions, and we stayed at 2 out of the 3.

Marriott at St. Kitts - The island is relatively undeveloped. Think fields of sugar cane, rain forests, a volcano, very nice beaches, and lovely people. We went in April and the resort and island were not crowded. The Marriott is on the Atlantic side and has tennis courts and a beautiful golf course which my husband unfortunately did not get to use. The beach is very nice but not as calm as the beaches in the Virgin Islands and as blue. The water was calm for us but has been rougher for other posters. You can't control nature. The Caribbean side is a short 2 minute drive away close to the beach bars. You can take a rain forest tour, take a strenous hike up the volcano, take an island tour, see the island monkeys, visit historic Fort Brimstone, dine at some very nice restaurants, visit plantations, take a catamaran to Nevis,... My boys loved it because it was less Americanized that the other islands we visited - an adventure. We once again stayed in a lovely 1 BR timeshare with washer and dryer, dining and living area. You can probably rent from an owner - we used Marriott points and paid to upgrade.
lovethecape is offline  
Mar 13th, 2008, 02:05 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I would encourage you to take a look at the Buccaneer on St. Croix. Their family cottages will run you about $700 including tax and service (maybe a bit more) and have two bedrooms and one bath. Two tvs and some nice outdoor space. They have newly resurfaced tennis courts, and decent but not fabulous pool, three beaches with good snorkeling, kayaks but no hobie cats. Price includes breakfast buffet that is very good. The resort only has a capacity of 300 guests and you never have to fight for a beach chair! My children were there this February at ages 11 and 13 and had a great time. There is a basketball court near the beach and they have croquet and bocce available.
Not tons of activities if they really need lots to do, but a great spot.
Island tours are easy and a snorkeling tour out to Buck Island (the only underwater National Park) is a must.

I love St. John, too. And some friends who have been to the Buccaneer went to Windjammer Landing on St. Lucia this year and really liked it (and they had sailboats available).
ccrosner is offline  
Mar 13th, 2008, 02:12 PM
  #7  
 
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Just looked up the Verandah quickly and the rate seems to be good for what you get and Antigua seems nice. As I'm sure you know, the resort is fairly new and gets mixed reviews on www.tripadvisor.com.

Anyways, I lied, we did not stay at the Buccaneer on St. Croix but will be there in 1 month. It has golf, tennis, kayaks, probably sailing and 3 beaches at the resort. The island is the largest of the USVI and least visited. It is known to have some very good restaarants and good snorkeling if you know where to go. Everyone recommends a trip to Buck Island for snorkeling. We are also looking at Tan Tan tours of the island. The rate go down in mid-April making the resort more reasonable. We will be in a family cottage suite which has 2 BRs and a BR in between and are paying about $420 a night. They also have deals, not necessarily advertised, for the Spring that allow you to book a second room for 1/2 price for families. They made this offer to us for our April trip when I called. We also got a free night. Breakfast is included in the rate which will also save you some $.



lovethecape is offline  
Mar 13th, 2008, 02:16 PM
  #8  
 
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ccrosner - I'm glad you enjoyed your stay at the Buccaneer. We're counting down the days until our stay. Did you do any other side trips besides Buck? Who did you go to Buck with and did you do it through the Buccaneer? I emailed Maria about it days ago and haven't heard back. Any restaurants you recommend? Thanks.
Birdie is offline  
Mar 13th, 2008, 02:26 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
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ccrosner recommended The Buccaneer as I was typing. The following are some St. Croix web sites I used. ccrosnser can answer all your questions since she has been there a number of times. I think I first learned about the resort from her about a year ago. Prices do go down in April.

http://www.thebuccaneer.com/

http://www.stcroixscuba.com/bigbeard.htm

http://www.stxtantantours.com/

My last recommendation is pricier. I haven't been but would like to:
Little Dix Bay, Virgin Gorda

http://www.littledixbay.com/

That's it for me!!!
lovethecape is offline  
Mar 13th, 2008, 05:50 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Glad to help a bit with some St. Croix questions.

Lovethecape--did I tell you to call and ask Nadia if you can be booked in Rooms 168, 170, 169 or 171 (in that order)? They have better views.

Birdie--we like Tesoro or Teroro out of Green Cay Marina as it's a quicker trip and they go to the reef first and the beach second which I like. But we also like Big Beard and, if the weather is o.k. and not windy, they will pick you up at the The Buccaneer's dock.

We enjoyed TanTan Tours last year but it's a wild ride and a "go with the flow/Island Time" adventure.

Many people like to take Sweeney's Island Tour (we've never done it but they take you to the historic spots.

As for restaurants, I would encourage you to go over to tripadvisor.com and go to the St. Croix Forum. I gave a complete review of all of the restaurants we ate in this year under the title "We ate our way through STX". There's also another good thread (back a month or so) about restaurants that I created before our trip and many people added comments.

In short, you must eat at Bacchus, Kendricks, and Rumrunners. Next on my list would be Salud and Duggan's. Skip The Galleon. Many like Tutto Bene (we don't) and Savant (I do but the kids don't)..

Have fun! I'm jealous.

Oh yeah....Birdie, Maria only deals with Returning Guests now so you might want to call and ask for the Concierge desk. There's a woman named Emmie who's very nice and helpful.
ccrosner is offline  
Mar 13th, 2008, 05:56 PM
  #11  
 
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FYI--I just pasted my tripadvisor restaurant listing under the Fodors posting called St. Croix Where to Stay?
ccrosner is offline  
Mar 14th, 2008, 07:07 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
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Thanks ccrosner, I did ask about room assignment when I orignally booked but will follow up on this when I confirm the room over the next day or so. Thanks for all the input on restaurants. Kendricks is a must for us.

Matt100 - Let us know if any of the suggestions interest you.
lovethecape is offline  
Mar 16th, 2008, 03:46 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 418
My wife and I stayed at Little Dix some time ago..I think I am still paying for it but it was wondeful. The beach and swiming in large protected bay was wonderful and would be for young teens. No fish, just soft white sand.

johnb
johnb is offline  
May 20th, 2008, 04:30 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
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We stayed at Mango Bay resort on BVI Virgin Gorda. It compared very favorably to Bonaire on snorkeling. Bonaire has the definite hands down largest volume of beaches to snorkel off of. Virgin Gorda has the most unique spot at Spring Bay park. It is right next to the Baths but away from the crowd. You swim amongst very large partially submerged boulders teaming with fish. There are kayaks there that are free. The beach at the resort is very snorkel friendly. We took pictures of turtles and coral and lots of fish right off the beach. No pool but the ocean is very convenient. There are also kitchenettes that are very handy. Very neat and great for photos. You can see ours at http://www.dave-lori-home.com/virgin...ish_virgin.htm for Virgin Gorda and http://www.dave-lori-home.com/dave%2...%20bonaire.htm For Bonaire.
trillford is offline  
Jun 5th, 2008, 02:53 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
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You should check out doing a Charter Yacht in the BVI. www.pirateslady.com is mine!!!
Under $5000 plus food and drink
captstan is offline  
Jun 6th, 2008, 02:41 PM
  #16  
 
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Check out The Bitter End Yacht Club in Virgin Gorda.We brought two 17 year olds and they loved it.Great food A.I.,all the boating ,snorkeling etc.. is included..
Cooper is offline  
Jun 13th, 2008, 07:52 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
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We stayed at the Verandah this past spring break. We liked the resort as a family destination (would never go as a couple). It is new and a bit sterile but they did a good job landscaping and the grounds are reasonbly attractive. I would not consider this to be a particularly tropical location, if by "tropical" you mean an area with lush landscape (either in or around the resort). The beach is just ok. It is pretty enough, but small and a bit hemmed in, as it sits at the bottom of a bluff. Also, i did not find the water to be cold or particularly rough (the resort actaully sits within a protected bay), but it is also not particularly clear or beautiful, so snorkeling is out. However, the price is good for all that you get. We booked straight with the hotel and we got two rooms for your price. They were running promotions at the time since the hotel was new. Luxury link also has good deals on this hotel.
Makjes is offline  
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