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Finally picked Grand Cayman for my wedding, need opinions for honeymoon: Aruba or Jamaica??

Finally picked Grand Cayman for my wedding, need opinions for honeymoon: Aruba or Jamaica??

Aug 22nd, 2003, 04:25 PM
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Finally picked Grand Cayman for my wedding, need opinions for honeymoon: Aruba or Jamaica??

Hi everyone,
I know I have been asking a million questions over the last month, and probably driving some of you crazy! Anyways, my fiance and I decided today that we want to get married on Grand Cayman next August. (Yes, I know I am doing my research early!) Now, I need more opinions for the island we want to honeymoon on. We THINK (at least right now!) for the honeymoon, we are down to 2 choices: Aruba or Jamaica. I know they are very different islands, and we think they each have pros and cons. What we are looking for is great beaches, a nice resort with excellent pools, good food, good snorkeling, fun (but not out of control) nightlife, and plenty of watersports. If you could help if you've been to both places, or one, that would be great! I love getting everyone's opinions. Anyways, this is what I've come up with for our pros and cons between the 2:
*Would stay at the Hyatt
*Great restaurants, but a lot of $$$$ on food after Cayman's expensive restaurants
*Out of the hurricane belt, a plus for this time of year.
*Plenty of nightlife, I think, right?
*Further away from Cayman flight wise
*Maybe more like Cayman than Jamaica. People say it has less Caribbean flavor, more "Americanized" -- don't want to have a repeat experience of Cayman, hoping to experience something completely different
*Seems to have a rep for a clean, safe destination.
*Would probably stay at an AI (Sandals, Beaches, Couples, etc...)in Negril, we figured that after all the $$$ in Cayman on food, an AI might be a nice relaxation for the 2nd week. (However, if we do an AI, we would absoloutely get off the resort and explore, we don't just want to sit there all week!)
*Seems more raw then Aruba, this would give us a very diverse experience in terms of what it's like compared to Cayman. Where Cayman and Aruba are both flat, Jamaica is the opposite topography-wise. Might be a nice contrast.
*Obviously closer to Cayman.
*Reggae-type, Caribbean-flavored nightlife.
*More beautiful scenery than Aruba.
So, this is what we have come up with in terms of pros/cons/why we are interested in each island. I welcome your opinions and suggestions!
Aug 22nd, 2003, 04:32 PM
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by the way, I have read the threads on Holly's "rethinking trip to Jamaica", so I know all the feelings good and bad about Jamaica...
Aug 22nd, 2003, 05:38 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 88
Can you reach Aruba from Cayman or would you have to go thru Miami?
Dee2 is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2003, 05:44 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 161
Depends on what you want but Aruba tends to be very commercialized..not so islandish.I, too , am planning a wedding in the caribbean(jan. 2004..not sure where yet)I have been to Jamaica and loved aspects of it not so crazy about others...just depends on the two of you I guess.
Blair9535 is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2003, 06:28 PM
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Dee, I'm pretty sure I would have to go through Miami to get to Aruba from Cayman. There are no direct flights between the 2 -- I have researched all the little Caribbean airlines.
Blair, What did you like or dislike about either Aruba or Jamaica? Where are you thinking about having your ceremony?
Aug 22nd, 2003, 06:51 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 161
Good questions....We have narrowed our ceremony/honeymoon choices to Cap Juluca(Anguilla), Peter Island(BVI) OR Four Seasons (Nevis).All are great ..just different.This is the second time for both of us and we want something super lux but very low-key.I have visited many islands in the carib but none of my choices.I have been on a girls trip to grand cayman and we had a great time.Dont know where on the island you are having your ceremony but im sure there are lots of good choices.I have visited Jamaica as well.It is truly a beautiful island but a different feel than Cayman.I actually spent my first honeymoon in Negril.Its beautiful and we never left the resort.At that time, I thought all-inclusive was the way to go..but now Im a bit more picky and want to explore.On a prior cruise visit we visited ocho rios/dunns river falls,etc..also beautiful.A friend of mine loves PortAntonio but I have not been to that part of the island.While I have not been to Aruba many of my friends have and it is just to americanized for them.They feel they just dont get a s much of a caribbean feel as some of the other islands.From what I understand from them , it is very dry, arid,and WINDY.The gamblers in the bunch enjoy that part of it..but most of the others prefer other destinations.Keep in mind though, that everyone is different.There is something for everyone in the Caribbean.
Blair9535 is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2003, 07:30 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,189
If you're planning on getting married on GC and staying there a week (is that correct?) that sounds like a nice start. I can't imagine you'll be disappointed as long as you find the right accommodations.

What's your budget for the second week?
Have you priced the Jamaican AI's vs. a week in Aruba?

My thoughts are that Aruba is a step down from Grand Cayman. The beaches are not better than GC (though they're still nice enough), the island is pretty bland without a character that's memorable, and it'll be a huge waste of time to fly from GC back to the US then down to Aruba.
I agree with the stereotypes about Aruba you listed except for one. You'd be able to eat very well for less total cost than that of a Jamaican AI.
If you're looking for a big change of pace from GC for week 2 (which sounds like a good idea) Aruba is not going to fit the bill too well. I like GC better than Aruba, but they've got a lot more similarities than differences.

I'm going to stay out of the debate about Jamaica. Not my cup of tea.

travleis is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2003, 07:39 PM
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As for our budget for week 2, you think a Jamaican AI would be more expensive than Aruba? I haven't done the exact numbers, just rough estimates, but I figured that it would run about the same (not exactly the same, but not a huge difference either). I thought that a nice room at the Aruba Hyatt PLUS 3 meals a day, drinks, activities, and the more expensive flight from GC to Aruba would be about the same as a JA AI since the flight from GC to Mo Bay is cheaper.
It seems as though you wouldn't pick either Aruba or Jamaica -- is there someplace else you would suggest that has all the things I listed in the original thread that we wanted, and is relatively easy to get to from GC?
Aug 23rd, 2003, 05:08 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 287
Hi agin...okay here's my 2 cents. First though I wnat to say that i can we are very much alike...planning to the hilt and way in advance! and doing all the necessary research. I have very high standards and I like things to be as nice and as perfect (for my needs)as possible.

I was not disappointed with the island of Aruba or my hotel choice or the activities we chose AT ALL. We had the best time and I was sooo happy with my decisions for that trip.

I know you wnat to stay at the Hyattt...graet choice. It was a toss up for us between the Radisson and Hyatt. We did have dinner at the Hyatt and saw the grounds....you can;t go wrong there. Great restaurnats ite, beautiful beaches with little grass huts (palapas I beleive). They will bring you drinks right out to your beach chair! Did not see the pool area but I have heard it is beautiful.

The water is a beautiful turquoise color...now the snorkling is good, but you will not find the clarity you will in GC...but since you have just come from GC, I think that is fine. Just a different experience which is what I think you want.

Also on Aruba, you have the rugged side of the islnd to explore...rent a 4x4 and drive yourself..you will see cliffs and huge rocks, the natural pool and bridge, ruins, a black stone beach...
Aruba really has 2 sides...the tropical feel...white sands and plam trees on one side of the island and the ruggedness on the other side.

Honestly, I would go for the weather alone...when we went in September it was beautiful and sunny every single day (no hurricane/rainy season worries here!).

I aslo found teh island on the whole to be reasonable as far as costs...restaurants especially. The only thing I found expensive were the drinks at the resorts.

If you do go, this is my "must do" list...

Kukoo Kunuku Party bus ~ a blast!!!!

Jolly Pirates or Mi Dushi snorkel or sunset cruise

Happy Hour at Kokaoas...on the DePalm Pier next to the Radisson...great light afre food and drink specials...good atmosphere with great view of the sunset.

Baby Beach for snorkeling ~ one place we didn't make it to since we didn't renty a car and buses don't go there

Resaturants: El Gaucho!!! Best steak/filet I have evr tasted. Get a pitcher of Sangria too!; Madame Janette's, Ruinas Del Mar (Hyatt) and the Flying Fishone (eat with your toes in the sand at sunset!)

Now I want to go!!!

Kristen is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2003, 05:09 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 287
If I can get a few of my Aruba pics scanned, I'd be happy to email them to you...
Kristen is offline  
Aug 24th, 2003, 01:36 PM
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We don't do AI in Jamaica because we want BETTER food and the freedom to choose where we eat, but we do wind up spending a bit less than going AI anyway (which means longer trips for us), and we don't do price-looking at mealtime at all. Food in JA is very cheap, cheap, medium, expensive or very expensive - rather like home, lots of choices. Some of my best meals there were under $5, but I love Caribbean food of all kinds, especially Jamaican.

If you can go straight from Cayman to Jamaica, I'd do that. Less flying = more honeymoon.

You might consider a villa, there are lots in JA that are fully staffed, private but nice bases for getting out and about from, and your cook can prepare your meals or you can go out, as you like. That's what we did on our honeymoon and it was just right....our OWN pool, no one else around, the freedom to do whatever whenever.
liza is offline  
Aug 24th, 2003, 04:24 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 216
This is a sincere question out of curiosity. I promise I am not trying to start up the A/I v.Non-A/I deal.
We have been very pleased with the food in both situations, eg. no complaints for sure, and what you say about the "off resort" food is true, in our experience. It is very good.

What A/I's did you visit when you "went that way"? Obviously, I want to avoid those!
atticus is offline  
Aug 25th, 2003, 05:33 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 62
I would suggest that if you're getting married in GC, that you stay in GC for your honeymoon. Why engage in the expense (moneywise and timewise) of flying AA through MIA, going through customs (MIA is definitely one of the most annoying airports), then get on another flight to go to Aruba or Jamaica?

Or, if you really want to spend your honeymoon on a different island, why not choose a group of islands that make sense. Get married in St. Martin and honeymoon in Anguilla or St. Barts. Get married in Tortola and honeymoon in Virgin Gorda or Peter Island. Get married at the Ritz in St. Thomas and honeymoon in St. John. Get married in Barbados and honeymoon in Palm Island or Mustique. Get married in Puerto Rico and honeymoon in Vieques or in one of the many islands that have a nonstop flight from SJU. Get married in the Bahamas and honeymoon in one of the Out Islands...you get my drift...
I_am_anonymous is offline  
Aug 25th, 2003, 05:44 AM
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Thanks for all your replies!
I am anonymous: I see what you're saying, but we have the 2 weeks to spend, so we would rather see 2 different islands than stay put for 14-15 days. And Aruba is definitely out of the way for flying there from Cayman, but we are considering it because of the time and $ we have saved for this. And Jamaica actually does make sense from the Caymans -- they are only a few hundred miles apart and a short flight away from each other!
Liza: The villa is a great idea, I will look into that. Also, although we most likely would do an AI for our 1st trip to Jamaica, could you recommend a resort type hotel in Negril that would not be an AI?
Aug 25th, 2003, 06:27 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 62
honeymooner, fair enough! Then, I suggest you settle on Jamaica because it is less time and $. The connection through Kingston will not be too bad.
I_am_anonymous is offline  
Aug 25th, 2003, 06:33 AM
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I am glad I have gotten the responses that you have all given me! Please keep them coming...
Aug 25th, 2003, 08:01 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 68
Personally, I think Aruba is a mistake. You said you want something different than GC, Well Aruba isn't it. It is very americanized, and not much of a change from GC. You also mentioned you wanted good snorkeling. Well, after GC, you will be BIGTIME disapointed in the snorkeling in Aruba. If you truely want something different & exciting, going to Jamaica for your 2nd week is a no brainer.
Scott66 is offline  
Aug 25th, 2003, 09:55 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,268
Hi atticus!

The AI in JA that I went to was Sandals MoBay - got tired of buffet and limited a la carte menu, didn't know if we didn't book the specialty restaurant the first day it would be full. Had similar experience at Club Med St Lucia which I believe is closed now - food was OK there but we always had to sit with 6 other people.

My other beef with AI is there's a time for meals (burger/beach bar didn't do it for us), Xpm to XPm and that doesn't always match up to when we feel like eating

honeymooner, there are villas to suit every budget and style all over Jamaica, 99% staffed with maid, cook and gardener/security person at minimum.

If you are flying into Kingston, Port Antonio makes the most sense as it's 2 hours from there (plus it's gorgeous), if MoBay you might look at Negril, Treasure Beach, Ocho Rios or the area east of Ochi, St. Mary.

Some good villa/inn/guesthouse sites:




www.negrilonestop.com/ (also covers Port A)


Those should give you and idea of what you can do there. Have fun!
liza is offline  
Aug 25th, 2003, 06:49 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 15
I was married in GC, as I used to live there. It was bad enough being married in May, but AUGUST? Have you ever been to the Caribbean in August? Prepare to sweat--BIG TIME. Your wedding photos will be filled with shots of wet hair, underarm stains and shiny faces. But you knew that....

Anyway, why go to GC to be married if you aren't going to honeymoon there? It seems like a waste of time and money. I agree with the poster to go to islands that are logically grouped like BVI or the Grenadines. Aruba is totally out of the question, as you have to go back through Miami to get there. Give this a little more thought. You'll be glad you did!
Shibumi is offline  
Aug 25th, 2003, 07:08 PM
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I guess no one understands that I have 2 weeks for my wedding/honeymoon and don't want to spend it all in one place! I will be spending a perfectly wonderful week, I'm sure, on Grand Cayman, and am also looking forward to the 2nd week honeymooning, as we will be with our families for 1 week in GC. And of course I know it's going to be hot in the summer -- that's what pools and the ocean and AC are all for!
And of course I know that I have to fly to Miami and then back down to Aruba, these are things I have researched. Honestly, to me, it's not a big deal. I have connecting flights all the time. I am merely interested in people's opinions in these 2 destinations based on the things I said I wanted. (Although I am willing to hear other opinions on places that fit my criteria that I can reach from GC.) Thanks!

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