Re: Thinking of a Turks and Caicos wedding
We got married in Jamaica, but we've been to Provo, Turks & Caicos. What an amazing beach with the most stunning turquoise water you ever...
We got married in Jamaica, but we've been to Provo, Turks & Caicos. What an amazing beach with the most stunning turquoise water you ever want to see. It would be soooo beautiful for a beach wedding. There's only 3 AI's,(we stayed at Club Med) but there are lots of small condo complexes in various price ranges. However I have no idea of wedding costs there.
You also have to be aware of the weather patterns. They're quite north so winter can be hit by cold fronts and wind (we were there in Feb. 2009 and had both, but only for a few days out of 10). It also gets hit by hurricanes in the hurricane season... but that applies to other islands too. It's flat though and quite dry. We didn't get any rain.
There's not a ton to do there though except water sports (amazing diving). It's a quaint, low-key, uncrowded island without the lines of mega resorts or high rises. I'd absolutely go back.
Re: What to wear/bring for an AI??
The others have good lists for you, and I pretty much agree. Id bring a min. of 3 bathing suits for the slow drying reason....
The others have good lists for you, and I pretty much agree. Id bring a min. of 3 bathing suits for the slow drying reason. I usually bring 5, but then we go for 2 weeks and I since Im in them all day I like to change it up. I like to bring more cover-ups - the sundress type from Old Navy, not just a bottom wrap. I wear them a lot during the days and find they get sandy, wet, sunscreen on them, so I like more clean ones. I also like to have a couple of short black yoga shorts to go with them. Yoga shorts and loose tank tops are nice to change into later from a dress too. I always bring a sports bra or 2. I go light on the shorts & tops depending on how many excursions we plan to do - so usually 1 or 2 sets max since I just dont wear shorts around the resort at all. Likewise I dont bring many socks - 1 or maybe 2 pairs of sport socks. I usually bring about 6-7 dresses and a couple of capri/top sets for dinners for 2 weeks. If you are ok with wearing dresses twice, you can get away with maybe 3 or 4 for the week. A lot depends on the material. Cotton capri pants I try to wear twice, but I do find that the cotton creases a lot from sitting. A dressy, thin-ish sweater that goes with the dresses is always a good idea in case of cool evenings or indoors with A/C.
As for shoes - flip flops for the day times, Keens for excursions (unless you plan to do something needing closed toes like runners), and dressy sandals for the evenings. Flats are safer on all the tiles, stairs, sand etc. and pack easier than heels. I used to bring way too many shoes - black & brown dressy sandals, Crocs (too slippery on wet tiles!) and Sperry leather flip flop/sandals which get wet and dont dry. Quick dry flip flops are great. Dont over do the shoes. They take up too much space and weight.
My husband brings lots more shorts than I do, of course, including swim ones, cargo types/dressier ones for dinner, plus long pants for the restaurants with dress codes, closed toes shoes (Sperrys work well) for the dress codes too, lots of t-shirts for day time, button-up short sleeve shirts for dinner, beach flip flop, and Keens.
Also stuff thats already been mentioned - sunscreen, after sun lotion, hat, sunglasses, electronics for music and reading, cameras, chargers for everything, toiletries, pharmacy stuff for sure, especially Imodium... nail clippers/file, tweezers.... and a beach bag, very small purse to go with the dresses to just hold the room key, maybe a few dollars, kleenex.... sunglass strap for water sports, mask & snorkel. I bring what some may thing odd stuff like hangers & clothes pins for drying clothes (and they never have enough hangers in the closet), power bar or multi-socket plug for all those chargers as they often dont have enough plugs in the room and I hate digging behind the furniture, very small flashlight in case of power outages. I also bring some liquid Tide detergent (cold water) and Downy (crazy yes, but I love it... both in small travel bottles of course) to rinse out bathing suits and wash out underwear (instead of bringing 14+ for 2 weeks) and sometimes other things too. The laundry service sometimes offered at AIs is way too expensive.
I usually wear yoga pants, tank top and hoody down there. That way I have a hoody in case it gets cool without having to pack one, and yoga pants are lighter than jeans. I always pack a fresh tank for the trip home.
Most people tend to over pack. I used to but Im really trying to be good and scale it down and launder some things for 2 weeks trips. For 1 week you really dont need to over do it.
Have a great trip!
Re: Group trip to Jamaica Jan 2013
I've also heard that there tends to not be many kids at SATP, and that it's a great setting. Have fun Antigua! Please let us...
I've also heard that there tends to not be many kids at SATP, and that it's a great setting. Have fun Antigua! Please let us all know what you think.
Another adults AI I looked into quite a long time ago now was Club Ambiance. I think it's small, including the beach. Not sure how the reviews are these days. Just thought I'd throw it out there.
Breezes also has the Grand Negril (used to be the Grand Lido). It's 18+ Did you check them out?
Other than the 3 Couples, the only other place we stayed at in Jamaica was the Decameron Montego Bay. We found that the crowd was younger, with lots of singles. There were very few kids, even though we were there over New Years. I think it was due to not having a huge beach (with a drop off) or much for kids to do there. If you're ok with basic you may want to look at it. On the plus sides - the rooms have amazing views over the water, the beach is private, and it's right next to the Hip Strip (walking distance) if you want a change of scenery - shopping, drinks, lunch.
Otherwise I'd say Breezes Runaway Bay sounds like a good choice for you.
Re: Group trip to Jamaica Jan 2013
Where did you go this year? Was it adults only or a family trip? Was that Trelawny? Any reason you're not including Negril? Is it...
Where did you go this year? Was it adults only or a family trip? Was that Trelawny? Any reason you're not including Negril? Is it because you already went? It does have the nicest beach.
Couples is the most amazing chain of resorts that is not only adult only, but also couples only. We've been to Couples Tower Isle and Sans Souci in Ocho Rios, as well as Swept Away in Negril. Can't go wrong with any of them. They aren't cheap, but depending when you plan to go, you may catch a special. Check their site.
Adult only tends to cost more. We considered Breezes Runaway Bay too, as it tends to be a fair bit cheaper. It is at 14+ at least. It wouldn't be the quality of Couples, but if you're ALL ok with that, I'd check the reviews.
There's the Sandals that was converted to the Jewel. I hear it's nice, but never been. You could check that out too.
Re: What is the best honeymoon spot from these choices
Personally I would pick Barbados over St. Lucia in a heartbeat. We did both in one cruise. Barbados was my favourite port. St. Lucia least...
Personally I would pick Barbados over St. Lucia in a heartbeat. We did both in one cruise. Barbados was my favourite port. St. Lucia least fav. That's just my opinion of course, but Barbados is a bit further south and less likely to get hit by a hurricane, and being much flatter the winds, clouds and rain tend to blow right over it quicker. Mountainous islands like St. Lucia trap the clouds and it rains more. There's a reason it's so lush and green.
Barbados has much more beautiful beaches, rugged coastlines, shopping districts and lots of variety for dining. There were plenty of options for excursions off the ship, so there are absolutely things to do. We did a bit of a tour and loved it. I really want to get back there one day.
If you like mountainous, another option is Dominica. It's very rugged and beautiful without being so commercial. However July may not be good weather-wise.
I like the Aruba idea for weather. It's actually out of the hurricane box and typically a dryer, sunnier island than many.
What about Hawaii? The summer is busy tourist season, but that will be the case everywhere you go. Summer is the best weather in Hawaii.
What about the South Pacific? Their storm seasons are reversed to the Caribbean, so summer is the dryer, sunnier season there too.
Re: All Inclusive (or close to it) skiing out West?
How about Mt. Washington on Vancouver Island? I started skiing Mt. Washington as a kid (early teen) when it opened way way back. It gets...
How about Mt. Washington on Vancouver Island?
I started skiing Mt. Washington as a kid (early teen) when it opened way way back. It gets the most amazing amount of snow and has some fabulous runs. Back then it was pretty remote and amazing. Oh the memories of mid-week skiing and no crowds or lift lines.... heaven on earth...
Sorry... where was I?... Now there are more runs and accommodation, but that could make it all the better. I can't imagine they'd get the crowds of Whistler, the Rockies or Okanagan.
I will admit I haven't been there in a very long time. Moving back to Ontario after being in BC killed my interest in skiing very quickly. (call me spoiled) Then coming back to the lower mainland, to the ridiculous, rising costs of good skiing around here (like Whistler) ..we just don't ski any more.
...Anyway, I think it's worth a little research at least.
Re: Cost of your destination wedding
1. Couples Swept Away, Negril, Jamaica 2. 14 + us 3. Total cost = aprox. $13,000 4. Vacation package adult only all inclusive 2 weeks...
1. Couples Swept Away, Negril, Jamaica
2. 14 + us
3. Total cost = aprox. $13,000
4. Vacation package adult only all inclusive 2 weeks = $7900
Misc. wedding fees marriage license fees (to resort) tip for minister - notarizing flower upgrade = $500
Off resort reception steel drum band tips = $1800
Photography package for 2 photographers (not from resort) vendor fee = $1800
Brides dress = $500 (I had it made)
Other clothes grooms shirt & pants (worn again!) just married t-shirts white flip flops = $180
Mani-pedi at resort (did own hair/make-up) = $30
Stationary did e-vites, so just thank you cards I bought stamps for and made myself w/photos = $30
Wedding favours etc. fans, bubbles, sand/shell candles, picture frames, sand ceremony vases, custom ribbon, guest book, chocolates for cake topper (I went a bit crazy, but the beach themed stuff was so much fun!) = $200
I think that about covers it. There may have been a few more things travel insurance, gifts for MOH and BM, oh and I didnt include rings.
5. Different? I dont think I wouldve had my dress made. It was too stressful not knowing how it would turn out, and in the end, I didnt really love it like my DH did. I also wouldnt have bothered going off resort for reception. It was a great venue where we went, but not really worth the planning hassle, esp. when the resort food was so great. I wouldnt have chosen that travel agent, but stuck with one who I didnt use but have remained friends with. Even though it was great having some friends and family there, is was difficult going through objections from my MIL and not having some family able to attend. Sometimes I think it wouldve been easier (less family hassles) to have just eloped. The big traditional wedding for us was never going to happen.
6. No. We needed 20 for a group discount. If we had made it, I wouldve shared the discount w/guests somehow (like a tour, or something?)
7. Destination travel agent
8. We really wanted a small beach wedding (and adults only), and thats what we got. It was so us and we absolutely loved it. The sunny beach photos are the best memories. It wasnt about saving money, although we no doubt did, thinking about the cost of a reception for the 200 guests wed have had at home, the dress worth thousands, the grooms suit, limo, hair & makeup, cake, flowers etc, etc. etc.. SOOOOO much was included in our resort wedding, and our resort wedding coordinator took care of everything. It was so easy when we got there. Without a doubt it was much, much cheaper for us, as wed have had that same vacation as a honeymoon anyway, so to me thats not even really a wedding cost. Of course it was a big expense to the guests, but they got a vacation they all very much enjoyed.
Still, I wouldnt do a DW just for cost savings. I would do it to have a non-traditional and/or smaller wedding. Its not for everyone, particularly if the most important thing is ALL family and friends attending.. and they all can't. That can be a big deciding factor for many couples. Also, it can be hard to do for some control freaks LOL. I am one, and a total planner. It was hard at times, trusting that not hearing back from my Jamaican wedding coordinator didnt mean disaster. You have to trust that they do this every day and will take care of you. So if it is your vision of your wedding it will be the most fabulous experience ever.
Re: Tell me all about Costa Rica ___________ X-Post
Awesome! I was in CR back in 95, and we're going in Jan. The money is colones, but it seems that US dollars are widely...
Awesome! I was in CR back in 95, and we're going in Jan.
The money is colones, but it seems that US dollars are widely accepted. I wouldn't plan to use credit for much, as it may not be excepted everywhere, particulalry smaller towns and for tours.
To take home - The coffee is amazing, and last time I found a place with beautiful pottery.
I didn't get as far south on the peninsula as Samara though. We went from San Jose to Jaco and up and around as far as Tamarindo. This time we'll be at the Hilton Papagayo, about 20 minutes from Liberia. Are you flying into Liberia?
CR has a lot of National Parks where you can see wildlife, waterfalls and sit in hot springs. Some of these parks have volcanos. Ostional will be close to you. I do believe you can see turtles nesting there. Palo Verde is another that may be close enough for you. We're going there. It's wetlands and they do a river tour through it to see wildlife, mainly lots of birds. Zip lining (canopy tours) and river rafting are popular in CR if you like adventure.
There are lots of tour companies you can book with, or you can rent a car... although they may be booked up for Xmas already. Cars aren't cheap in high season in CR and driving can be an experience... but they are an intresting way to explore. For us doign tours is a nice way to sit back and enjoy the view without worries about getting lost.
Be careful swimming in the ocean. There can we strong currents and rips. People do drown every year on CR beaches. Not to scare you. Just ask locals and be sure it's safe.
Lots of info. out there, but here's a good site to explain the different types of environments in CR, and the parks in them:http://costa-rica-guide.com/travel/index...&Itemid=603
We're touring Palo Verde, Rincon de la Vieja, and doing a day trip to Monteverde, which will be a long day, but worth it I think. We'd also like to get a car 1 day and explore the beaches near by.
I loved CR when I went years ago. There's so much to see and do, and the people were so friendly and welcoming.
Have a fantastic trip!
Re: Carribean Cruise
We stopped in St. Thomas on our cruise too (very popular port). I've also heard it's the best or high end shopping, but we didn't...
We stopped in St. Thomas on our cruise too (very popular port). I've also heard it's the best or high end shopping, but we didn't get to town. We took the open air taxis to the ferry and over to St. John to Trunk Bay. St. John is much more laid back. It does make for a busy day with the travel back and forth. On St. Thomas, Magen's Bay is a popular (and closer) beach. There are also a lot of snorkeling tours you can go on.
We also stopped in St. Maarten. There we did a snorkeling tour around the island on a power boat, stopping at a couple of beaches, including Pinel Island, which was great. You can get there on your own or with tours. They rent chairs and beach umbrellas and have a small bar/restaurant and gift shop... all thatched roof and sand floors. Orient beach is the popular one, but the nudity and posers part of it put me off. Too touristy and commercial it seems. I wish we'd had time to go to town. It looks so quaint with a Caribbean/European flare.
Re: Sandals/Couples food question?
Congrats on your upcoming 5th wedding ann. We'll be at 4 in Jan. I remember you from the DW forum. We were at CSS for...
Congrats on your upcoming 5th wedding ann.
We'll be at 4 in Jan. I remember you from the DW forum. We were at CSS for our 3rd ann. It was so amazing. The Ochi resorts are fabulous, except for the lack of 7 mile beach. It's nice for the nearby attractions too. However, it does sound like Negril this time may be a better pick to be near your friends. CN is the only one we haven't tried yet. We're thinking maybe a CN and CSS split for our 5th. I try to book early when they have specials, as it's certainly not cheap.
I know what you mean about Jamaica being special. It's that way for us too, and not just the beaches, but the people and culture.
I have no idea about the adoption process in Jamaica, but it certainly doesn't hurt to look into it, if you haven't already. I think adopting is a wonderful thing to do. Please do keep us posted on that one!
Re: Do you always book Travel insurance? Non-medical.
We always get the full package for big trips - medical, trip cancellation and interruption and baggage. I always figure better to be safe than...
We always get the full package for big trips - medical, trip cancellation and interruption and baggage. I always figure better to be safe than sorry. We can't afford to lose that much money if something happens.
Just a note on the medical - We have very good extended health through my company, but the catch is that every person has a lifetime limit. Read this...
"Protecting Your Lifetime Maximum (Extended Health Plan)
You should consider purchasing additional medical protection prior to leaving the province. And, please be aware that not all travel insurance packages are created equally, so its important to understand how your travel insurance pays out should you incur out-of-province or out-of-country medical expenses.
Please check your additional travel insurance plan carefully!
Some carriers may require that you first exhaust the lifetime maximum under your extended health group plan before they will pay any portion of the claims. That is, rather than being the first payer (i.e. after any portion covered by MSP), some travel insurance plans establish themselves as the second payer (i.e., after extended health).
Why is this risky?
Your Extended Health Plan covers you as an active public service employee to a lifetime maximum of $250,000. This coverage is meant to assist you with your day-to-day medical and dental expenses.
Emergency, out-of-country expenses can be extremely expensive. And, depending on the nature of the illness, you could easily exceed your $250,000 lifetime maximum, and, should that occur, you will no longer have extended health coverage (you will have used it all up). Why risk it?"
Scary eh?!!! Imagine the cost to need a medivac home!!! I have NO idea if it's the same for other provinces, but it's something that most people I talk to aren't aware of.
We always get our package through BCAA. They are a first payer. So we don't need to cough up thousands and then fight to get reimbursed later, and it doesn't come out of our lifetime limit. I've read the cancellation policy and no, you can't just cancel because you changed your mind, but other than you or your travel partner being sick/injured, it also covers for close family members being sick/injured, job loss, and a few other things had no idea about before I actually read it.
The RBC policy is also very popular, but I don't know the details.
So yes, very good advice to read the policies, even your standard health out of country coverage.
Please don't be one of those people on the news where something awful happens on vacation and you go broke trying to cover it. God forbid something ever happens to any of us... but sadly, sometimes horrible things do happen... like that guy who slipped at the pool in the DR... so very tragic.
Re: Sandals/Couples food question?
We went to CSA in 2008 for our wedding. My SIL is celiac and can't eat anything with wheat/gluten. I asked about modifying her diet...
We went to CSA in 2008 for our wedding. My SIL is celiac and can't eat anything with wheat/gluten. I asked about modifying her diet and they were amazing. They responded to say that she could meet with the head chef when she arrived and work out special menus. She didn't do that (doesn't like to be a bother), but she did request modifications, like leaving off sauces thickened with flour. She never had trouble finding something good to eat. Since she couldn't eat our wedding cake, they brought her a big fresh fruit plate. They also felt bad that she couldn't eat all these pastry/cake type desserts and rounded up chocolate for her. Everyone was incredibly accommodating.
Now, celiac isn't just being "picky", I realize. I'm pretty picky - I only like certain veggies and milder types of cheese. Since CSA we've also been to CTI and CSS and I never had an issue with finding great things to eat. AT the CTI repeater dinner (set menu) they had a cream of cauliflour soup. Well, I hate cauliflour, so I didn't plan to eat it... but I tried it and it didn't even taste like cauliflour. It was amazing! Go figure!
The biggest difference, I think, between Sandals and Couples is personal service. Couples is a small, locally owned chain of just the 4 small resorts. We even met and chatted with Lee Issa of the founding family! You can call and speak to someone, or get a personal reply to an email. The Couples message board is a great place for info. When you're there they bend over backwards to make you feel like "family". They welcome "home" repeat guests with additional perks and will even remember you. Of course first timers are treated just as well. There's no "class system". You don't need a butler in order to get dinner reservations or a chair on the beach. They don't have butlers. Everyone gets the same great service.
Sandals is a big chain of resorts all over the Caribbean, and so many guests pass through all their resorts. Before we decided, I tried to contact Sandals with a few wedding questions. I got an auto reply that someone would contact me, but they never did. We picked Couples and are SO glad we did.
I do think the amenities of the 2 chains are similar, and on an island other than Jamaica I would try Sandals. But on Jamaica, Couples is very special to us and does feel like going "home". We're not going to Jamaica this year, which makes me a little sad. Couples is addictive!
Re: AI - Panama or Costa Rica?
Never been to Panama, but went to CR many years ago and loved. I agree that there's lot to see and do. We stayed in...
Never been to Panama, but went to CR many years ago and loved. I agree that there's lot to see and do. We stayed in Jaco for a week, which was a "just ok" beach town, but we did days trips like a day trip to a small island, a river tour to see our guide feed crocodiles, and a trip to Arenal. At that time Arenal wasn't built up and all and Tabacon Hot Springs didn't even have rooms due to the volcano danger. We then drove up to Guanacaste and stayed in 3 different places and did more sight seeing in parks. We didn't do AI. I don't even know that they had any back then. They still don't have very many.
My DH has never been to CR, so we're going in Jan. for 2 weeks. We are staying at an AI - Hilton Papagayo in Guanacaste - Pacific North West side. The dry season starts in Dec and runs until May in that area, so Jan. should be hot, sunny and dry. It does differ in other parts of the country. We don't mind visiting the rain froest, but coming from Van. we don't want to spend 2 weeks in one! LOL
We're doing AI in part because I found a great deal and we love the convenience of AI and not hauling out the wallet all the time. Also, I'm really not so keen on doing a lot of driving and packing up and moving all the time again. However, we do plan on doing lots of day trips in the area to various parks, rent a car and explore local beaches, and hopefully get to Arenal and/or Monteverde to zip-line and/or hanging bridges... although it's a big drive for a day trip. (no solid plans yet) I agree it's a shame to just stay on a resort in that country. It's easy, but not at all cheap to rent a car there in high season, and it's good to have a 4x4 for any back roads. Otherwise there are lots of tour companies offering day trip. One can, but doesn't need to do a week long planned out eco tour.
Whether staying AI or not, you can still sight-see. The biggest factor is location - staying somewhere central to lots of things to do. It's very popular for people to go to 2 or 3 locations in the country, depending on the time they have, staying 3-4 days at each place to see a few things.
I think they could build an itinerary that combined sight-seeing and relaxing quite well.
Re: Sandals Grande Riviera vs Qamea Fiji
We've been to Jamaica several times, staying at 4 different resorts, so we do love it. We've been to 3 Couples resorts, which are much...
We've been to Jamaica several times, staying at 4 different resorts, so we do love it. We've been to 3 Couples resorts, which are much like Sandals in that everything is included and they are adult/couples only.
However, having stayed in Montego Bay, Negril and Ocho Rios, if you want the nicest beach that would be 7 mile in Negril. So that would include resorts like Sandals Negril, Couples Negril or Couples Swept Away. SGR is in Ocho Rios, and from what I understand, not all of it's actually on the waterfront. Just something to look into re: room location. If you're not so concerned with the beach, Ocho Rios is very lush and pretty. We did enjoy the Couples resorts there. Keep in mind that lush usually means more rain. That area gets more rain (according to stats). We didn't get any in Jan. but May is the rainy season. Just something to keep in mind.
We haven't been to Fiji, but it's on the list. The thing about the South Pacific is that the rainy season is our winter, so Jan. is not the best time to go... but May should be, as you're heading into dry season then.
Again, I love Jamaica (we were married there
so not to knock it ...but... if I had a chance to go to Fiji for my honeymoon, I'd jump on it. I think it would be more exotic. There will always be deals to Jamaica and other Caribbean destinations... (for anniversaries
Just my 2 cents....
Re: What (last minute) trip websites do you use?
I've booked with iTravel2000 and Escapes.ca. I've also used Expedia.ca and Travelocity, but usually for just flights or more "build it yourself" packages. I found...
I've booked with iTravel2000 and Escapes.ca. I've also used Expedia.ca and Travelocity, but usually for just flights or more "build it yourself" packages. I found a fantastic deal to Costa Rica on Expedia this way, since we can fly out of Seattle.
Where else... Red Tag, SellOffVacations, Exitnow... I think most have the same prices though (use the same database), unless they have a promo or deals on their main page. I do find they tend to be cheaper than directly - like Transat, Sun Wing, etc. but you can always check their sites too.
People always ask me how I find such great deals... research... surf, surf, surf...
Re: Honeymoon Ideas: Late May/Early June All-Inclusive
I don't know what part of the country you're from, but out west $1000 p/p doesn't give a whole lot of options (especially if that's...
I don't know what part of the country you're from, but out west $1000 p/p doesn't give a whole lot of options (especially if that's including tax) Back east I thinbk you can get a little more for your money though.
I'd start with looking at the most popular AI destinations, as they usually have some of the most options and deals - Cuba, Mexico or the Dominican Republic.
Cuba is popular for great beaches, but not so much for the food. Varadero is the most popular for options and deals. If you go 3.5 stars be prepared for very average food and room.
If you're looking at Mexico, keep in mind that destinations on the Pacific side (like Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, etc) are cheaper but will not give you the white beaches and turquiose waters. If you can find a deal in the Mayan the beaches will be nicer.
Punta Cana is the most popular place in the DR, where you'll get the nicer beaches.
Jamaica may be another possibility. It tends to be a bit higher priced, but deals come up.
Start looking at the travel sites and clicking on the info for the resorts. Look at photos for the destinations as well. It will give you a better idea. You can also read the reviews on Trip Advisor, but take those with a grain of salt. Often people complain about the lower end resorts, but that's not totally realistic. What do they think they'd get for that smokin' deal on a 3 star?
If you see something you like in your budget, book it. You tend to get deals for booking very early, then the prices may go up, and then there are deals again "last minute" (a few weeks prior) when the prices go down. Last minute deals are best for people not so set on a particular destination or resort (like you). So if you don't find anything now in your budget, just keep looking and surely you'll find something by last minute deals if not before.
The research part can be a lot of fun. Enjoy it.
Re: Jamaica Non-AI?
P.S. Did you read my reply to the thread about Turks & Caicos? It's a great island, family friendly, not far from Ontario, and lots...
P.S. Did you read my reply to the thread about Turks & Caicos? It's a great island, family friendly, not far from Ontario, and lots of nice small, non AI condo complexes with kitchens. Not sure about them being in your budget, but doesn't hurt to check?
Re: Jamaica Non-AI?
We haven't done non AI in Jamaica, but lots of people do. All the resorts in Negril along the cliffs are non AI, and many...
We haven't done non AI in Jamaica, but lots of people do. All the resorts in Negril along the cliffs are non AI, and many little places along 7 mile beach (Negril) are non AI.
I don't think I'd be overly worried about safety along the tourist strip at a non AI resort, but I wouldn't want to go too low end and I'd want to have a safe for my valuables. We walked the beach during the day no problem, and even once at night coming back from our off-resort wedding dinner, but wandering at night is something to be careful about, as with anywhere else. We've also been to Montego Bay and Ocho Rios and went to town. Again, no problems.
Tripadvisor forums are a good place to ask advice about non AI places, as many people on those forums hate all-inclusives but go to Jamaica all the time.
Re: Turks and Caicos
We went to Provo, Turks & Caicos in Feb. 2009. I absolutely loved it. The beach is about as good as its ever going to...
We went to Provo, Turks & Caicos in Feb. 2009. I absolutely loved it. The beach is about as good as its ever going to get. The sand is white and fine and soft like icing sugar. You cant help but sit and let it run through your fingers... mmmm. The water is the most amazing shade of turquoise. Its a fabulous place for water sports. Were divers and it was one of the best places Ive ever been diving. Snorkeling is good too, but maybe not right from shore. The reef is just out a bit.
We stayed at Club Med Turkoise. The beach is really wide there, and its a great location. However the resort is rather old and tired. We didnt mind, as the location made up for it. But it wouldnt be for everyone. Theres also a Beaches resort that is usually quite pricey. The other option is to go non-AI. There are lots of small condo complexes along the beach. Actually, this is another thing I loved about Provo... it isnt lined wall to wall with big mega resorts and thousands of people everywhere. It feels spacious.
We felt safe walking the beach and town, but they have had some problems with car thefts when people park in remote beach areas. Nothing I would wory about. I just wouldn't do that. The water is safe to drink. People speak English. Its easy to rent a car and drive around. Lots of pluses.
On the downside, some may find it dull, as theres not a lot of land based things to do. Its flat, so no waterfalls or zip lining or such. On the flip side, being flat instead of mountainous helps with the weather. No mountains to trap the clouds and the rain.
It can be pricey. There are some high end resorts or condos. We found a good deal for Club Med, and there can be good deals at times for some of the condos. I hear it can be pricey to dine out, but we did lunch off resort a couple times and didn't think it was too bad price wise.
In Feb. the weather was dry, clear and sunny. The only thing we experienced was a few days of crazy wind which kept us off the beach and out of the water. The quite Northerly location of the islands can cause it to be affected by cold fronts coming through from Florida. It is also smack in the middle of the hurricane belt and does get them. So think of the best time to go like going to its neighbours - the Bahamas or Cuba.
I would go back in a heartbeat. We just haven't yet with so many places to go, but one day... or maybe try Grand Turk... except that gets the cruise ships. Another nice thing about Provo - no cruise ship crowds.
Re: X-POST Destination wedding: RSVP?
I read your other post. I also had a DW, so Im used to things being not so conventional or traditional. We made a decision...
I read your other post. I also had a DW, so Im used to things being not so conventional or traditional. We made a decision on Jamaica by about March for our wedding the following Jan. So we got quotes then, since wed made up our mind and did want to allow lots of time. So it was our TA who pushed a rigid deadline on us in order to secure the rates, and possibly get a group discount. I hated having to push a deadline on our guests so early (8 months), so this is what we did. We didnt have STDs and sent out electronic invitations with links to full booking information. We included this:
Please RVSP by May 1, 2007 as follows:
Yes - You will be attending and can commit to the deposit by May 1, 2007. Please contact us when you book.
Maybe - You would like to attend but unable to commit at this time. You can certainly make a decision later on. However, we cannot guarantee these rates, or space, beyond May 1, 2007. Also, in order to facilitate our wedding planning at the resort, we ask that you book by Oct. 15, 2007.
No - You will not be attending.
This weeded out the absolute no people. We got some yes guests right away, and several maybes who couldn't confirm until later. We also had yes guests who ended up canceling and losing the deposit. I hated that part.
Its helpful that you dont have the rigidity of a package to be booked with non-refundable deposits, but it may also mean some people may change their minds since they havent put down a deposit. Its tough for you having more than one catering option. The safer thing to do is go with the one that doesnt have a minimum number of guests. Having that min. number could be stressful. What if you dont make the minimum? Do you have to pay for the min. anyway? What is that number? Reasonable? if you go with the more flexible one you can secure their services and the location and adjust the numbers easier later, allowing a bit of a later RSVP deadline for your guests. Possible? They have to leave time to find flights/hotel anyway, so having a bit closer deadline than a traditional at home wedding is totally reasonable.
Re: Jamaica, Bahamas, Antigua? Where should I go?
We've been to Jamaica a few times. It's a large island with a diversity of hotels/resorts. Although I'm sure you can find more party type...
We've been to Jamaica a few times. It's a large island with a diversity of hotels/resorts. Although I'm sure you can find more party type resorts, there are also family resorts and many romantic, adult only resorts. So I wouldn't call it a party island.
We've stayed at the Royal Decameron in MoBay which was an ok all-ages value resort, and 3 Couples resorts - CSA, CTI and CSS. No party atmosphere at those. They are totally romantic. We love Jamaica for the vibe, culture, beaches (esp. 7 mile) and smaller, more intimate resorts like Couples
However, Antigua looks awesome, with lots of nice beaches and smaller resorts too. It's on the list but for us Jamaica is a better deal.
I haven't been to the Bahamas. Looks great, but it would be way too far north (cool) for us traveling in the winter.
We were only in St. Lucia 1 day on a cruise. Unfortunately it didn't do it for us due to the only bad weather we had, least friendly people and small, brown, unimpressive beaches we stopped at or passed on our cat cruise... but we didn't get to Jalousie, which is apparently beautiful, and should be, as it's man-made. But that was just a first impression. I'm sure there are lots of great resorts and fun stuff to do. I just wouldn't pick it as a beach lover.
Re: AIs in Montego Bay, Jamaica
I didn't mind MoBay. We stayed at the RDMB first time to Jamaica. It's a simple, small, budget AI, but we liked it. It's so...
I didn't mind MoBay. We stayed at the RDMB first time to Jamaica. It's a simple, small, budget AI, but we liked it. It's so close to to the airport, but no noise from the planes. We had great weather, small but private beach, and an amazing view from our room.
However, then we went to Negril... wow. Love Negril and 7 mile beach and CSA. Last trip we went to Ochi. Loved the 2 Couples resorts there, but personally not a fan of Ochi itself at all. I think the cruise ships have really ruined the vibe of the town. Lots of pushy vendors and hassling. Plus the North side gets more wind, rough water, and that end of the island gets more clouds and rain.
Next time it's back to Negril for sure! The beach is hands down the best, and the water calmer and better for water sports. There's a great vibe, and no cruise ships. It has a nice mix of resorts, both AI or not, along the beach, as well as non-AI resorts on the cliffs.
Re: WHYYYY do some people ask if they're invited???
When we were planning our DW we wanted to keep it small and invite only immediate family (parents, siblings, nieces, nephews)and close friends. I have...
When we were planning our DW we wanted to keep it small and invite only immediate family (parents, siblings, nieces, nephews)and close friends. I have a LOT of extended family (aunts, uncles and cousins, second cousins) back East who I haven't seen since I was 12 and moved West. So I didn't think they'd be offended to not be invited. So to keep it fair, we didn't plan to invite DH's aunts, uncles, cousins either. He has quite a large extended family too (on his Dad's side), and we rarely see any of them. So opening up to all extended family would've increased our guest list to over 200 or so.
However, MIL kinda gave us a hard time about not inviting at least the aunts and uncles on her side, which is only a few couples. So we did, but I was really nervous that his Dad's side would find out and be upset. In the end it was ok (that we know of!?) and none of the aunts/uncles came anyway. If they had it may have been a different story.
For us inviting some extended family and not others made me feel really uncomforatble and I only did it due to pressure from MIL (who wasn't happy about the DW idea anyway). Many times I cried and just wanted to say forget it all and elope with just the two of us instead. I didn't want to upset anyone. We just wanted a nice little intimate wedding on the beach.
So do whatever you feel comfortable with, but sometimes pleasing some may ofend others. It's so hard not to offend someone when planning a wedding, especially a DW. Good luck with your difficult decision on handling this. Hugs.
Re: Non-AI islands in the Caribbean?
Puerto Rico - We went on a cruise out of there. Great variety of restaurants etc, and Old San Juan and cool forts to visit....
Puerto Rico - We went on a cruise out of there. Great variety of restaurants etc, and Old San Juan and cool forts to visit. Very busy area though, and don't know about condos or driving right around there. DH worked there for awhile - crazy drivers!! Perhaps other parts of the island better though. Where did you stay Geo?
Barbados!!! - visited on our cruise. Got a driver and did a tour. Loved it! Felt very safe. Amazing beaches (everything from touristy to secluded/rugged) Lots of non-AI options, restaurants, bars, night life. I checked it out (mainly on Expedia - not AI options). I thought of picking a couples of different locations. Seriously need to go back there and do the condo/car rental thing and fully explore. Certainly direct from Toronto.
USVI - St. Thomas or St. John - I think you can do direct? We went on our cruise. St. Thomas is pretty developed, wheras St. John is laid back and not much to do besides beaches. Pretty pricey though. Both easy to get around.
BVI - Great diving/snorkeling/sailing there. Not sure if you can do direct. We flew from Puerto Rico to Tortola and ferried to VG.
St Maarten - Not sure if you can do direct (we can't do any of these direct from YVR). I think you can from TO though. Very lively multi-cultural island with tons of shopping, beaches and things to do. It's Dutch/French but they get so many English speaking tourists off the ships. Not a problem.
Dominica - rugged nature island, but almost positive you couldn't do direct.
St. Kitts - laid back and pretty, but again I doubt you can do direct.
St. Lucia - I didn't love it, but many do. However it's more of an AI or high end ritzy resort island. It's mountainous so roads are narrow/windy and have gotten washed out from storms at times. Driving could be a bit brutal.
Jamaica - love it, but I wouldn't drive there.
Provo, Turks & Caicos - very condo oriented (only a couple of AIs). Direct flights now I'm sure. Everyone drives there. Amazing beaches!! Amazing snorkeling/diving!! Otherwise though, not much to see on land. Only downside. It is definitely a watersports playground only.
Grand Cayman - very condo oriented (no AIs that I know of). Easy/safe to drive around. Great diving. Nice beaches. Very expensive/developed though. We're considering the other smaller Caymans.
Personally, I'd choose Barbados in a heartbeat for what you're looking for. It has a bit of everything... or Turks & Caicos for just beach/diving.
Re: Where do I start??
Well, I don't think it's rude if you stayed at the Four Seasons. My reasoning being that it's Hawaii. The resorts aren't AI, so everyone...
Well, I don't think it's rude if you stayed at the Four Seasons. My reasoning being that it's Hawaii. The resorts aren't AI, so everyone isn't segregated to their own resort to eat and drink. Sure, it would be a bonus if you're staying at the same hotel, but you may have people, families in particular, who would prefer a condo to a hotel room so they have a kitchen and separate bedrooms. It might be nice if you pick an area where there are various options close by. I think what most people love about Hawaii is that you use your accommodation basically to sleep (and maybe cook), and have a car and get out and do things. So it should be easy to get together with everyone for a day at a beach somewhere, or sightseeing, then get together again later for dinner. You wouldn't likely want to eat at your hotel all the time anyway. I love AI resorts, but I think Hawaii for a wedding can be a lot more flexible for guests.
The first trip we went to the Royal Decameron Montego Bay. It really wasn't bad for a budget resort that's very close to the airport...
The first trip we went to the Royal Decameron Montego Bay. It really wasn't bad for a budget resort that's very close to the airport and Hip Strip. Then we went to Couples Swept Away for our wedding/honeymoon and knew we'd been very spoilt and other resorts would pale in comparison. We decided to try the 2 Couples resorts in Ocho Rios and went to Couples Tower Isle and Couples Sans Souci. Both were fabulous resorts, but of the 3 areas Negril is hands down the nicest, having the best beach, watersports and weather.
Re: Australia/New Zealand
I back packed the East coast of Australia from Melbourne to Cairns several years back. Absolutely loved it. The landscape and weather really changed heading...
I back packed the East coast of Australia from Melbourne to Cairns several years back. Absolutely loved it. The landscape and weather really changed heading North. I was there in Feb/March for 5.5 weeks. Lots of choices for things to do, but in a short time I suggest not trying to cover too much ground.
My favourite places were Byron Bay, Noosa, Airlie beach, Whitsundays and diving the GBR. Not that I didn't also enjoy all the cities and other towns too, but those are stand outs for surfing, diving and sailing. I think the only area I really didn't like was Surfer's Paradise and the Gold Coast. Way too touristy and crowded with high-rises. I decided to pass right through.
Weather wise it got warmer as I went North and was about perfect from around Byron Bay to Noosa. Then it started to get more humid and some tropical rain closer to Cairns, which was crazy humid and rainy. So if you go in Oct. which is their spring, you may not want to be too far south if you want warmer weather than you had in NZ. Melbourne was really nice, but it can actually get quite chilly.
Re: Adult only AI
We've been to Couples Swept Away, Sans Souci and Tower Isle (from most expensive to least expensive). They're all grea tin their own ways, so...
We've been to Couples Swept Away, Sans Souci and Tower Isle (from most expensive to least expensive). They're all grea tin their own ways, so you can save by going to CTI, or doing the secret rondezvous thing. Also, when are you planning to go? Couples is quite a bit cheaper from about Sept? until Dec. 25, then it goes up leaps and bounds for Xmas/NY, then down only a bit. So if you can go before Xmas you can save.
The only other adult only we've been to is Club Med Turkoise is Turks & Caicos. The beach is the most amazing you'll ever want to sit on, with fine white sand. The water is the most brilliant turkoise and great for snorkeling/diving trips. However... the resort is a bit old and tired. Definitely 3 star. The crowd isn't all couples. Lots of singles. The food was pretty good, but lacked restaurant options.
If you're keen on Jamaica check out the Breezes Runaway Bay. It's 16+ and was a lot cheaper when I priced it. It won't be as nice as Couples, but I think it still gets ok reviews... but check!
I researched adult only resorts in Punta Cana (but we decided on Costa Rica this time). Maybe check out the Catalonia Royal Bavaro. The Royal is the adult side. It seemed ok by the reviews, and cheaper than a lot of adult only resorts/sides of resorts.
Varadero has a few adult only resorts, including a Breezes, but I haven't been and am leary of the food if lower than 4.5/5 stars.
It's tough. They always charge more for the luxury of adults only!
Re: recommend all-inclusive for family
They're all busy with their kids right now. LOL We don't have kids, so I can't be much help, except that the Beaches chain is...
They're all busy with their kids right now. LOL
We don't have kids, so I can't be much help, except that the Beaches chain is geared for families/kids. They have resorts all over.
Otherwise, when you're researching make sure they have lots of kids ans teens activities (as Denise wisely pointed out). My brother went to PV, Mexico when his girls were teens and the resort had a teen club.
Hopefully some people will post some ideas. Keep checking
Re: AI destinations that speak English only?
Yes, Blissful1 is correct. On all of those islands they speak English, but not all of them have AI resorts. Antigua and Aruba have quite...
Yes, Blissful1 is correct. On all of those islands they speak English, but not all of them have AI resorts. Antigua and Aruba have quite a few. Barbados and St. Lucia have some. But the BVI, USVI, St,Maarten and the others don't (that I could find, and I looked) But if you aren't set on AI, lots of options. We hit a lot of those islands on a cruise (another option? - Southern Caribbean out of Puerto Rico) and would love to go back to them, esp. Barbados and not do AI and rent a car and see the whole island. St. Maarten was lively and vibrant. It's Dutch and French, but lots of English speaking due to many tourists. St. Kitts is low key. Dominica is the adventure isle of waterfalls and hiking. BVIs are sailing and diving.
If you just want a laid back AI on a really nice beach I'd choose Antigua.
Booked Costa Rica!
I was really only investigating where to go for our next trip in Jan. We love Couples in Jamaica, but time to go elsewhere. After...
I was really only investigating where to go for our next trip in Jan. We love Couples in Jamaica, but time to go elsewhere. After some cool weather there last Jan, I was worried about cool temps too far north, and we're just not fans of the mega resorts. We also wanted a destination where we have more options than the beach.
I was in Costa Rica in 1995. DH has never been but wants to go. So I was looking at it... and voila... this smokin' deal appeared for the Hilton Papagayo (all-inclusive) near Liberia. It was cheaper than Cuba! So we booked it! All the benefits of AI, but yet lots of tours to do.
So.. What to do? it's been a long time, but I loved Arenal and Tabacon hotsprings. Want to go back, but people say it's too far. Anyone do it from the Guanacaste reosrts?
What about Monteverde?
Did you see turtles nesting?
Any tips from travelers (more recent than I) appreciated!
The beach is black sand and it's just the Pacific, but I don't care. Turquoise is over rated (haha - no way!) Seriously though, I am looking forward to more of an adventure vacay. Plus the 200 room sprawling hillside resort looks amazing! It even has an adult section/pool on the spa side. yeah! I'm so excited to get back to CR and all the birds and monkies etc again.
Re: New to site and DW
Hi Paul. Nice to see a guy so interested in his wedding planning as to come to a DW forum! Awesome! My DH and I...
Hi Paul. Nice to see a guy so interested in his wedding planning as to come to a DW forum! Awesome!
My DH and I were married at Couples Swept Away in Negril, Jamaica on Jan. 9, 2008. It was the most amazing wedding, and yes, I would do it again just the same. Sometimes I wiah I'd gone for a different dress, but no DW wedding regrets at all, despite some opposition from my MMIL (use your imaginination for the first M. lol)
Couples includes weddings in their AI stay at the resort. We had to pay a couple hundred or so for paperwork processing, but you wouldn't have that. What you are doing is considered a "renewal of vows" but it runs exactly like a wedding. They are adult only, so won't work if you have kids attending. In which case I hear great things about the RIU. IMHO, the more guests you have and the bigger the wedding party, generally the more costs are likely to add up. We had 14 guests attend, and they all stayed at the resort for the first week. We stayed for 2 weeks. It was a perfect sized wedding for us.
The minister, WC services, basic beach (or gazebo) set up, music (theirs or yours), bouquet for the bride, bout. for the groom, cake & sparkling wine in a post ceremony reception (in the garden) were all included.
We paid a little bit more to have my flowers upgraded and get flowers for my MOH and the BM. You could also pay extra to have extra flowers at the site and/or to have a band, but we didn't do either.
We used a DW travel agent, but I was in contact myself with the WC (wedding coordinator) at the resort. via email. I would get myself worked up at times about the details, but I need not have worried. Tamika, my WC was amazing from the moment we got thereand made our wedding go without a hitch.
We picked an 11:00 am ceremony time. We had breakfast then got ready. I did my own hair and makeup with a couple of the girls, but the salon can also do that. My DH had a fruit plate and champagne sent up. Tamika came with my flowers and took us to a hidden spot. All the guests had assembled. I walked down the sand aisle barefoot to Bob Marley's "Is this love". The ceremony was short and sweet (about 10 miinutes). The sun was shining and the turquoise water lapped in the background. It was a perfect day.
After the ceremony we added a sand ceremony with coloured sand and vases from home. Then we signed and headed to the garden. The cake was Jamaican rum spice and delicious. They also brought fruit and cheese kabobs, and a fruit plate for my celiac SIL.
Then we headed back to the beach for photos. We did decide to splurge on an outside photographer and are glad we did. The photos give us a lasting memory.
There was some free time, more so for the guests, then we all went on the (resort included) cat cruise. So much fun. We came back in time for some sunset photos on the beach in our just married t-shirts.
We could've had the reception in the banquet room or just one of the restaurants for free, but we opted to go off resort to a cute little upper floor to ourselves of a thatched hut restauarant on the beach. We had a steel drum band, a first dance and a couple more dances, but not a long night of dancing, a great dinner, then headed back to the resort to catch the bonfire on the beach to end the perfect day that we will never forget.
DWs are amazing and I highly recommend! You can still tweak it to how you want it regarding size and extras, traditional or not so much. You just have to pick a resort where you have faith that the resort and their WC will take care of everything for you, then just let it all happen.
Re: If you could go anywhere for March Break......
I wouldn't go all the way to the South Pacific for only 7 days. Besides, winter is storm season in the SP (until May). Better...
I wouldn't go all the way to the South Pacific for only 7 days. Besides, winter is storm season in the SP (until May). Better to go there for a summer break when it's the dry season.
You could go to an AI somewhere in the Caribbean. March is great weather-wiae. Keep in mind that being spring break there will be a lot of partying students in many places, especially the bigger and/or cheaper resorts. If you go AI without your son, I strongly suggest you do an adult only resort to avoid the spring break parties. Couples in Jamaica is awesome - quiet and romantic and everything is included. Perfect for relaxing. You can easily book your air through points and resort through the website.
If AI isn't possible or the best bang for your buck with points, I'd go to a Southern Caribbean island that has more than just the mega AI resorts.
Barbados is really nice and has stuff to do besides beaches.
Dominica is a great island for nature (waterfalls and such)
British Virgin Islands is pretty and not all so developed.
Re: Dominican or Cuban AI
I hear that! We love Jamaica, but have been to 4 resorts there now, so time to try a new destination. ...
I hear that! We love Jamaica, but have been to 4 resorts there now, so time to try a new destination.
Re: Dominican or Cuban AI
Plus Jamaica has lots of adult only resorts, but they do tend to be pricey (if that's a concern) I've only been to Cuba (Varadero)...
Plus Jamaica has lots of adult only resorts, but they do tend to be pricey (if that's a concern)
I've only been to Cuba (Varadero) once, and it wasn't adult only, but I would suggest going as high end as you can afford. The 3.5 star I went to had pretty blah food.
I'm researching the DR now (Punta Cana), as we haven't been, but are considering it. The adult only's are mostly sections of mega resorts, not separate resorts. I'm looking at the Catalonia Royal, but have also been recommended to the Bahia Ambar, Iberostar Grand and Royal Suites Turquesa, but these are more pricey. The Excellence is on a rough piece of beach, and swimming is important to us, so it's out.
If you don't get too much feedback here, I suggest going to TripAdvisor to the Punta Cana forum for advice. Then you can check out reviews and photos for the resorts suggested.
Re: My view on a DW Wedding
Your last post was interesting and explains more. You obviously did expect to be included in more events and were hurt when you weren't. I'm...
Your last post was interesting and explains more. You obviously did expect to be included in more events and were hurt when you weren't. I'm surprised at that. I hung out on this forum for months to a year maybe, prior to my wedding, and the concensus was that guests hated organized things other than the wedding day. They wanted to be in control of when, where and who they ate with. I didn't organize anything beyond our wedding day. I sent an email prior to the trip to see if anyone did happen to want to book a group excursion. Not one person. People made their own dinner plans. Some went golfing because they like to golf. Others went diving because they like to dive. Some sat in the shade and read. Everyone liked the lack of structure. No one was hurt because they weren't included in everything.
I think your experience is a good example of why the couple shouldn't try to organize any group events. It doesn't work, especially when the number of guests gets larger. It was bad that the B&G in your case told you a time then didn't have space. It sounds like they were overwhelmed. I would guess that they might be saying that they loved their wedding but felt it so hard to organize everyone's time. No kidding. It's like being an event planner for a week rather than a B&G for a day! That's prety much what they took on.... and failed at.
Besides, resorts aren't set to accommodate large parties at all the restaurants all the time. Most resorts hate the big groups coming in, and the other resort guests certainly hate large wedding party groups everywhere all the time. I read it all the time. One couple hated the wedding groups so much they'll never return to a Couples resort.
Anyway, different people, different opinions, but to state that couples shouldn't have a large number of guests is a bit ridiculous really. They'll invite who they need to to. Not inviting people to keep numbers low can cause a lot of grief and hurt. Sometimes a lot of people do come, and sometimes not so many. Depends on many factors.
My wedding worked out really well in the end, despite some grief from my MIL, but I swear to God it would be so much easier to just elope to stop all the whining unhappy guests!!!
Re: My view on a DW Wedding
I agree with geologyrocks. So how is this different than a wedding at home? The issues are the same regarding wedding size. The larger the...
I agree with geologyrocks.
So how is this different than a wedding at home? The issues are the same regarding wedding size. The larger the wedding the less time you spend with the bride and groom. I always notice that when I go to traditional big weddings the B&G are circulating around the room with only a moment or two with each guest, if you're lucky. Same thing, if you aren't family or wedding party you are pretty much there to fend for yourself, get dinner, dance, or talk to other guests... and hopefully not get stuck at a horrible table, as I once did at a GFs wedding when I was solo. I didn't get to talk to her until I chased her down to tell her I was leaving.
So, the difference here is that you spent money for a week at a resort. Yes, it would've been nice to spend more time with the couple, but I would've made the best of it and enjoyed that time on our own other than the wedding day.
I'm sorry you saw the wedding as factory. Resorts can pump out a lot of weddings, but that's because they are so popular. personally, I feel that church weddings are factory, just not so many in a day, but they still pump out the weddings every weekend in the wedding season (spring/summer). Reception halls are all booked every weekend, as well as florists and photographers... What's unique about that?
I had a DW. We had 14 guests. We did spend time with all of them, mostly in smaller groups, through out the week, although not constantly. They all wanted time to themselves as couples as well. My brothers and their wives used it as a time to catch up, since they live opposite ends of the country. They all loved our wedding and said it was the best wedding they'd ever been to.
So, way I see it, the "I feel left out" feeling is not caused by a DW, but rather by the size of the wedding. I'm sorry you didn't have a better time. In future, maybe attending another big DW isn't for you, but if it's a smaller one you may have a better time.
Re: Sneaking into this section with a non DW question
Finding the perfect place for great beaches and weather is a bit of a dilemma. It seems to be changing. We usually go in early...
Finding the perfect place for great beaches and weather is a bit of a dilemma. It seems to be changing. We usually go in early Jan. In 2008 for our wedding in Jamaica it was amazing weather, but then in years since there have been more cold spells coming down from Florida between Dec - Feb. Nov. isn't quite into winter yet, but still the tail end of the hurricane season which could bring you some rain.
We had a cool, windy snap while in Turks & Caicos. Then This past late Dec/early Jan. in Jamaica we had some cool weather and clouds. I was worried about rain, which it only did one afternoon. Cold is worse for a beach vacation. We spent a couple of days mostly in the hot tubs! It did get better, but still not as hot and sunny as we like.
Sorry, I am rambling, but only because I hear what you're saying. I am in search of the perfect weather on the perfect beaches too. Cuba, DR and Mayan are all very popular but quite North, which is my worry.
I agree with PP that you would likely get dry, decent weather at that time on the Pacific side of Mexico. The water and beaches just aren't as nice as the Caribbean though.
We did a Southern Caribbean cruise in Jan. 2010 and had fabulous weather visiting places like Barbados, St. Kitts, St. Maarten, Dominica, St. Thomas and St. Lucia (which was the only place it was cloudy and rainy and the beaches not the best). Barbados is a particularly nice island with great beaches and vibe. we'd love to go back. Another option is Antigua for great beaches, or south more to Aruba for better chances of heat and sunshine.
Just throwing ideas out there... food for thought? Good luck deciding
Re: Hurricane ?
There is a box of specified atitudes and longtitudes and within is the hurricane zone. This is mostly for insurance purposes for sailboats. Hurricanes so...
There is a box of specified atitudes and longtitudes and within is the hurricane zone. This is mostly for insurance purposes for sailboats. Hurricanes so not know the exact boundaries. lol. As was noted, the ABC islands are below, but they still get occasional storms. My DH got hit once in Bonaire (dive trip) in Nov.
The pacific side of Mexico experiences less, although in PV one summer we had a huge storm - thunder, lightning, power out and thigh high water in the steets. Next day the sun was out.
The summer is rainy season for Costa Rica, so even if no hurricanes you could get major non-stop rain. Had some of that there in April way back.
Hawaii is a pretty good bet. I dont think they get hit often. Summer is high season for Hawaii as the weather and water is best there then.
Cruises will reroute around a storm, but keep in mind they do not have to supply alternate ports, and likely will not. They typically just motor away, or float out at sea away from the storm.
Hurricanes are well tracked. Lots of people chance going to the Caribbean in season. If there is a hurricane they pull you out ot do not send you. Just get insurance if you chance it.
Re: Couples Resorts
No, Couples is not cheap, but if you perservere you may find a deal. Check out the Couples website. They have their 2012 early escapes...
No, Couples is not cheap, but if you perservere you may find a deal. Check out the Couples website. They have their 2012 early escapes rates on right now. They are based in US dollars, which is good when our dollar is high. They also offer resort credits which can be used at the gift shop or spa. You can put down a min. amount and pay later, in installments, or change your mind (great cancellation policy). Plus they now offer price matching.
Get on the email list for the weekly Wed. specials.
Remember that you save over many AI resorts in that Couples has a NO tipping policy and they include extras like snorkeling, diving, cat cruise, Dunns river trip, etc. You also pay a premium for adult only and the luxury of no children. So peaceful and nice being all couples.
We booked our lasr trip through their website and paid about $3000 per week for both of us, but that was high season over New Year. We also had a $500 resort credit per week, so in effect saved another $1000. We booked our air out of Seattle and saved another $1000 there. It was much cheaper than a package would have been.
Another way to save is by which Couples you go to. CTI is the cheapest, then CSS, then CN, then CSA the most expensive by a fair bit more. The reason being location. Negril has the best beach being long and white, but the Ochi reosrt have private beaches, which is also nice in that there are no vendors or jet skis. The resorts all offer great food and service. So if you can pass up Negril beaches and sunsets and go to CTI or CSS you can save. They also do a secret rondezvous which can save dollars as they pick the resort.
We went to CSA for our wedding and honeymoon, then did a CTI, CSS split this past winter. So we just have CN to try. We loved all the resorts in their own ways
Keep searching! We are going somewhere else for our next trip to save some money and try something new... but Couples is a very hard act to follow. So I warn you, once you go, you know... it is habit forming! LOL
Re: Tell me about Tofino?
I love Long Beach. I wish it wasn't so expensive and hard to book though! Easter 2009 we stayed at the Pacific Sands. I had...
I love Long Beach. I wish it wasn't so expensive and hard to book though! Easter 2009 we stayed at the Pacific Sands. I had stayed there many years ago. We had this amazing 2 bedroom villa (booked with friends), right on the beach (Cox Bay). It had a soaker tub with a view and fireplaces. They even supplied rain slickers! lol. (yup, it rains a lot there, even in summer) They have smaller units as well. If they do have anything, grab it. You would love it there I'm sure.
We've also stayed at the Middle Beach Lodge. Nice overall, but our 2 bedroom duplex cabin that was supposed to sleep six was ridiculously tiny! It on cliffs, not the beach. I wouldn't go back.
I grew up on the island camping at Long Beach. Absolutely go into the park area where there are no resorts, especially where you can walk the beach for miles. It just feels so endless! Parking is a pain to find, but it's worth it. I love the beach best when the fog (literally) rolls in. Gives it a special charm of it's own so unlike the Caribbean.
You can hike through the rain forest trails, or go up the top of Radar Hill (awesome views IF it's clear).
What about surfing? That's a huge past time there. The water is cold, so you wear wetsuits, but the bottom is sandy, and summer is calm water time, making it a great place to learn.
Have a great trip!
Re: Destination Suggestions
We did a Southern Caribbean cruise out of Puerto Rico and it was good in that we got to see a lot of new places...
We did a Southern Caribbean cruise out of Puerto Rico and it was good in that we got to see a lot of new places with 7 ports in 7 days. Most of the cruises out of Florida have a lot of sea days. That didn't appeal to us. For us being on the ship is like being at home... North American style food, casinos, clubs and entertainment. Think Vegas. Some do love the sea days. It seems people who cruise either do it for the ship or the ports. We are absolutely port people. We'd consider another cruise but only if it didn't have more than 1 or 2 max sea days.
Costa Rica is a good suggestion. Lots to see and you can avoid too much rain my spending time in dryer areas like around Liberia.
I like the idea of exotic locals too. Just be sure to check the climate in Nov. wherever you go. The South Pacific, just for example, is reverse of the Caribbean and has it's storm season Nov-May. Some rain is ok, but going soemwhere when it's cold or monsoon raining all the time would suck.
Re: Question for Cruisers! Pack more, or laundry?
We went on a 7 day cruise but had a night pre-cruise and then another week after the cruise visiting friends on nearby Virgin Gorda....
We went on a 7 day cruise but had a night pre-cruise and then another week after the cruise visiting friends on nearby Virgin Gorda.
So we did laundry at the end of our cruise. We went on Carnival and they had laundry rooms on each floor. We got change at the desk. I preferred that to having the laundry service not only because the bag you stuff is ridiculously tiny, but also because I am fussy about my clothes in that I only wash in cold and don't put things like dressy or cotton shirts, shorts, pants in the dryer. I hate shrinking clothes. We brought hangers and clothes pins along to hang those clothes in the shower, and threw all the other stuff like socks, underwear, t-shirts in the dryers. It worked out great, and we were happy not to arrive at our friends with loads of laundry (especially since they had this tiny washer that hooked up to the sink and no dryer)
I wish we could do that at AI's but they usually only have expensive laundry service where you pay a cuple of dollare per item! Yikes!
Do it, you'll be glad to not have to take so much, and really, spending part of a nigth or afternoon doing it isn't a big deal.
Re: Tell me about your resort.....
We were married at Couples Swept Away in Negril, Jamaica. Best decision ever. It's an adult/couples only resort on fabulous 7 mile beach. So romantic...
We were married at Couples Swept Away in Negril, Jamaica. Best decision ever. It's an adult/couples only resort on fabulous 7 mile beach. So romantic and peaceful. The food is delicious and the service friendly. They have free/included wedding packages and do lots of weddings for just the couple without guests (as well as groups, but not as many since groups oftens equals someone with kids and/or singles).
It's an amazing resort and they really take care of you for your wedding.
Jamaica is super easy as far as requirements. Since its English there, no translations. No blood tests either. Very simple.
Congratulations! It will be amazing wherever you decide to go
Re: Couples Swept Away, Negril - Blue Mountain Coffee
Rebecca... We went to casino night at CSS too and also won some booze and a t-shirt. We played the horse racing with ShellyAnn. So...
Rebecca... We went to casino night at CSS too and also won some booze and a t-shirt. We played the horse racing with ShellyAnn. So much fun. I love that area around the Balloon bar patio at night. The casino night at CSA was indoors, but still a fun time.
We discovered rum cakes in Grand Cayman. OMG they are so good. Personally though, I miss the Jamaican patties most of all. Yum... and the jerk burgers. I love all the Couples resorts... I miss being home too.
We bought a bunch of spices and sauces at the gift shop. Like I said, we had a resort credit so we went a bit nuts in the CTI one. At CSS we spent it all at the spa!
The grocery store idea is a good one. I just checked receipts and we paid 14.47 for an 8oz coffee. (yes, I keep all that crap! lol) I'm sure you paid less.
It sounds like you might want to skip Rick's, or if you do go, go in the daytime. Honestly though, there's so much great food and drinks at the resort, why go to any bar/restaurant.
Do the cat cruise. You don't even have to get in the water at all but the sights are great. It's an excursion in itself. Way better that the one at CTI was.
The free resort course at CSA is a bit tough, unfortuantely. They have a hard-(beep) instructor there who insists people are able to swim above and beyond what's actually required by PADI. He makes them do a perfect front crawl. I'm an instructor so I know that you just need to be able to swim in ANY way without putting feet down or touching the sides. You need to be comfortable and able to swim and tread water in case your BCD (which infaltes like a life jacket) was malfunctioning on the surface, but you don't need to be an Olympic swimmer. He failed our friend on the swim test so he never got to try diving. So you can try, but if you can't swim laps with the crawl, don't be let down if they don't let you go further.
If the water is nice and calm, go snorkeling. It's a much easier way to start out, and if you're not comfortable with it you can get back in the boat.
Just floating on the floaties in the shallows off the beach, with a drink in hand is great too!
Re: Would you do it??
I think it depends on what AI you want to go to. Some are hard to book without a package (like the Royal Decamerons, not...
I think it depends on what AI you want to go to. Some are hard to book without a package (like the Royal Decamerons, not sure about the RIU's). However, if you would be considering a Couples resort (adult/couples only), then you can get it cheaper booking separately, without a doubt. That's what we just did. When I booked they had a promo going on which got us cheaper rates and a $500 resort credit at each of our two split resorts.
We flew out of Seattle which saved us over $1000, but with air miles you save even more! It was nice to pick the dates/times to fly instead of the tour op telling us when to go.
Oh, and for us it was the only way to do a split of two resorts. If we booked a package online we could've only booked at one resort.
Another nice thing about booking through Couples directly was that all we had to put down was a $400 deposit per booking, then the rest isn't due until 45 days prior. IF you need to cancel they have a very good no questions asked cancellation policy. You can even pay in installments with the "love away" plan.
Anyway, as others have said... do some research on resorts you are interested in and see how easy it would be to book separately and how the prices compare.
Re: Couples Swept Away, Negril - Blue Mountain Coffee
Lucky, lucky you! Enjoy CSA. We got married there and loved it. As for the coffee, just be sure it is a recongnized brand that...
Lucky, lucky you! Enjoy CSA. We got married there and loved it.
As for the coffee, just be sure it is a recongnized brand that is labeled as Blue Mountain coffee. There are also different percentages (much like the Kona coffee in Hawaii). Also be sure to buy it from somewhere that doesn't look ...shadey. There were reports on the TA forum awhile back about cheap imitation coffee packaged as Blue Mountain, but tasted nothing like it and had bits of twigs and what not in it!!! Jablum is a recognized brand.
When we were at CSA we bought ours from one of the staff who brought our coffees for morning room service. Not sure if the resort knew that was happening, so we kept quiet about it. The price was right.
This past trip to CTI/CSS we bought it right from the resort since we had a resort credit to spend. I do think it was more pricey than the shops, but less than the airport.
We think the Jamaican BM coffee is WAAAAYYYYY better than Kona. I find that too bitter and strong. However, Costan Rican coffee is still the all around best in my books. (I sound like a coffee snob! lol)
The Rum cream is yummy, but so is the Appleton Rum, which you can get it duty free much, much cheaper than back at home.
Oh, we didn't do Rick's, but a lot of people love it for the party atmosphere. We did go on the cat cruise which went to the cliffs at Pirate's cave. People were jumping there. The cat cruise is very fun and scenic... a must do.
Have a fabulous trip!!!
Re: Jamaica resort recommendations or bewares
We've stayed at: Royal Decameron Montego Bay - in Montego Bay (duh, lol) - 2006/2007 Couples Swept Away - in Negril - 2008 Couples Tower...
We've stayed at:
Royal Decameron Montego Bay - in Montego Bay (duh, lol) - 2006/2007
Couples Swept Away - in Negril - 2008
Couples Tower Isle - in Ocho Rios - 2010/2011
Couples Sans Souci - in Ocho Rios - 2011
We love the Couples resorts, and highly recommend them all. But for people who have kids, and/or are on more of a budget, really the RDMB wasn't bad for a 3.5 star, especially at a deal of a price. I've heard some mixed reviews about some of the newer Spanish chains. I can't comment personally, but they tend to be much larger and don't have that tropical, "Jamaican" feel. Some have chopped all the trees and have man-made beaches. It wouldn't give the best/truest first impression of the island, I think.
I would like to mention location, since we've stay at 3 different resort areas.
Montego Bay - It may not have the best beaches, but they aren't bad, and the closeness to the airport and not having to drive 1.5 - 2 hours to a resort is a bonus, I think. It's also good for those who like to shop.
Ocho Rios - It is lush and green, but it's known to get more clouds and rain in this area. I believe it. We experienced it. I looked through a lot of people's photos too, and noticed a lot less sun. The beaches aren't as nice here. They're browner sand and more hard packed. All in all, although I loved the two Couples resorts there, I'd probably avoid that area due to the higher chance of crappy weather and the lower quality beaches.
Being on the North coast also means more wind and choppy seas, which isn't a plus when you love water sports.
Negril - Ah, Negril. It has the most beautiful beach on the island in 7 mile beach, plus the cliffs for those who prefer the resorts there. The bottom in the water is sandy there, and there are a lot more palm trees along the beach too. There's a mix of AI's and smaller non AI resorts. The vibe is laid back and beachy, and it's not over run because there are no cruise ships there. It faces west, so you get incredible sunsets here, and the water is typically calmer.
All in all I would choose a resort in Negril over anywhere else.
Next time we're going back to Negril to CSA and maybe try Couples Negril as well for a split... but probably not for a while, just due to the expense.
Re: SeaTac Hotel
We stayed at the Best Western Airport Executel. This was our second stay there. First time we parked for 12 nights for the sleep and...
We stayed at the Best Western Airport Executel. This was our second stay there. First time we parked for 12 nights for the sleep and fly package price we paid. This time the website said nothing about how long you can park for. So when they charged us an extra $40 for parking because they "apparently" have a 7 day and a 14 day package, we weren't impressed. The staff were snotty too.
Don't stay there. I'm going to write a nasty review on TA and we'll never stay there again.
Re: Resorts in Jamaica?
Hedonism 2 is a dump. (Hedonism 3 is no longer. Now (or becoming) a family resort). No, we haven't been, but some divers from our...
Hedonism 2 is a dump. (Hedonism 3 is no longer. Now (or becoming) a family resort).
No, we haven't been, but some divers from our dive shop went because it was cheap. It's a really old run down resort with lousy food.
Plus, it can be more than just a nudist resort. It is an "anything goes" (sexually) type resort. Depending on the type of people there at the time, you could see more than you want to.
We witnessed that on their catamaran while on our cat cruise. Plus we talked to a Jamaican who worked there, so we had first hand stories to make your jaw drop.
Don't go there. I think you'd be sorry and hate Jamaica.
Also watch out for the Sunset in Ocho Rios. It is right in town and people from the cruise ships use their beach every day.
We just came back from Couples Tower Ise and Sans Souci. Couples are AMAZING resorts.
But since they are out of your budget, I would recommend the Royal Decameron Motego Bay. When we went from YVR it was quite cheap (for Jamaica, which will be more expensive than Cuba) It's a 3.5 star but decent for that level and what you pay. The rooms have a great view and the beach is private. Plus it's close to the Hip Strip for shopping. I don't know about the other Decameron in Runaway Bay. Check the reviews. Could be the best bet for your limited budget.