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  1. #1
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Caribbean Experience Anyone?
    I am now trying to choose between Jamaica, Aruba, Dominican Republic, Bermuda and St. Martin. Has anyone been? I would highly appreciate your feedback on the best price-quality relationship.

    Many thanks.

    Geno

    PS: I'm looking at all-inclusive packages.

  2. #2
    Best New ABW Member 2007 sfcom's Avatar
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    It really just depends what you wish to do there. If you wish to leave the property and go shopping and sightseeing, that narrows the options a little.

    If taking your little girl, I would avoid Jamaica and the Dominican Republic just for safety's sake. Those places, although beautiful are both full of crime and drugs. Although if you stay put at the all-inclusive, it won't be much of an issue.

    I can't speak about Bermuda, as I have never been there.

    Seems like St. Martin and Aruba would probably be your best bets if planning to venture outside of the all-inclusive resort gates.

    -sfcom


  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by sfcom
    I would avoid Jamaica and the Dominican Republic just for safety's sake. Those places, although beautiful are both full of crime and drugs. Although if you stay put at the all-inclusive, it won't be much of an issue.
    I agree.

    Quote Originally Posted by sfcom
    I can't speak about Bermuda, as I have never been there.
    I have never been to Bermuda either, but I have friends who have. They describe it as a quaint compact area. Beautifull. A place to relax. This is probably one of the safest places in the world.

    Not exactly Caribbean weather. Bermuda is a few hundred miles east of Cape Hatteras.
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  4. #4
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    What about Cancun, Mexico?

    Thanks.

    Geno

  5. #5
    Staril - Mad Cat Woman Sue's Avatar
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    I'd suggest St. Vincent ... especially Young Island. I haven't been there myself ... as yet ... but a friend spent a lot of time there and it seems to be a wonderful place. The first Pirates movie was shot around there.

  6. #6
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    Have you considered a cruise? There is a cruise terminal here in South Baltimore, about an hour and a half drive from your new home. I think they have seven day Bahamas cruises.

    We did our first cruise ever, five nights to Bermuda, last October. I would consider that close to all-inclusive, and we did get off the ship to explore Bermuda for two days.

    Just a thought. Mrs. Beachy and I have been thinking about our next cruise and that one is in the realm of possibility. There is Internet access on board - not cheap, but it is available.
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  7. #7
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    If you're thinking of a cruise (and especially if you're taking the princess!), I've had numerous people tell me that Disney cruises are by far the best cruises, even if you're not going with kids. Rather than departing from of Baltimore, I think I would fly down to a gulf coast port (Miami, Tampa, New Orleans, Mobile, etc.) and departing from there so that you would get more time in Caribbean ports. I would think that you would spend a lot of time going up and down the Atlantic coast on a cruise departing from Baltimore.

    My wife and I went to Sandals (a couples-only All Inclusive) in Jamaica a couple years ago, and we loved it. They also own Beaches, which is a family All Inclusive, and we hope to take the kids there soon. They're not cheap (around $500/day or more), but they're great. Kristin and Derrick went to Sandals for their honeymoon, so they can give you some feedback, too.

    I've heard that Cancun and the other Mexican resort areas have much more of a party atmosphere, which might not be what you're looking for.
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  8. #8
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Thank you so much for your ideas and experience sharing, all!! Zeus has recommended RIU hotels (via PM) which seem quite nice too... If anyone else has anything to add, I would appreciate it too.

    Thanks (and yes, we will look into a cruise too, Bill).

    Geno

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    Playa De Carmen or Cozumel would both be places you would all enjoy. We've stayed in Playa several times and love the Barcelo Maya Resort. Great beaches, excellent snorkeling, super nice resort property and a pool that winds through the complex (over 200,000 sq ft of pool) and has a super swim up pool bar and many good restaurants.

    It is an all inclusive resort, and super well worth the price Geno. Stay away from Jamaica - it is not worth the trip, and Aruba, while nice is not up to Cozumel or Playa De Carmen. Something your daughter would love (so will you and your wife) is the water park day trip that you can take. A nice air conditioned bus leaves the resort twice daily for the park. It is an inland bay that offers fantastic snorkeling, beautiful tropical fish species to view and has palm tree shaded lounge areas where you can relax, sun, read a book, enjoy a visit with your family and meet lots of people.

    They also have a fantastic dolphin show and for a fee you can ride a dolphin and participate in a swim with them. They are a wonder to enjoy. They also have several restaurants on property with good food. You can get details on the Barcelo Maya and local attractions (including the water park) on the Apple Vacations web site. Have fun young man!!
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  10. #10
    Visual Artist & ABW Ambassador lostdeviant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geno Prussakov
    What about Cancun, Mexico?

    Thanks.

    Geno
    Cancun has great weather, but it is an Americanized tourist trap.

    If you want to go somewhere cultural and not so expensive, I'd choose somewhere else like Puerto Escondido or Huatulco (on the southern coast not Gulf of Mexico).

    If you want to go to a place full of bars, and restaurants for American tourists with a good beach then it is the perfect choice.

  11. #11
    Affiliate Manager Howard Gottlieb's Avatar
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    Geno we are avid divers and go to the Caribbean a lot.

    One of our favorite places is San Pedro in Belize. Nice little island. Terrific people. Food is reasonable and wonderful. Diving is excellent. Downside is there a little white sand beach.

    We also love the Cayman Islands. I believe it has the best diving and it has fantastic white sand beaches. Food is expensive. Condo rentals are very reasonable.

    We went to Aruba a few years back. To me its over commercialized. Back side of the island is interesting. You go from lush beach to desolate desert.

    Like the others I would recommend a cruise. Personally we like the destinations that the Southern Caribbean cruises go on.

    One thing for sure .. the water is magnificient where ever you go. I believe its the clearest water and best diving in the world.
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  12. #12
    Best New ABW Member 2007 sfcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by visitourmall
    ...Personally we like the destinations that the Southern Caribbean cruises go on.
    Just keep in mind that for most Southern cruises that they require either a an arrival or departure flight into/out of San Juan. This adds to the cost of your overall trip, since Florida to DC return airfare is cheaper than San Juan to FL to DC or even San Juan direct to DC.

    If you are seriously considering a cruise, I would recommend using cruisecritic (dot) com. Anyone who has visited there can tell you that they are the premier resource for cruise planning and info.

    -sfcom


  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    So, I'm not sure about all-inclusive, but I had a very, very good experience on St John (US Territory) We rented a house for a week. 2/3 of St. John is a US national park. The snorkeling is very good and the beaches are terrific. It is small and quiet.

    We did not care for St. Thomas, which we stayed at for one day at the end of our trip. The airport is on St. Thomas and you take a water taxi to St. John.
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  14. #14
    CPA Network Rep Dina - MarketLeverage Blogger's Avatar
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    What all-inclusive are you looking at?

    I have been to Sandals in the Bahamas and St. Lucia. I would recommend both of them.

    I have also been to Beaches in Turks & Caicos. The beaches there were the most beautiful I have ever seen. The water was absolutely gorgeous. There was a reef that we snorkeled around that is right by the shore, we didn't have to take a boat out in order to see it.

    All-inclusive is the way to go. It is so nice not to have to grab your wallet every time you leave your room to go eat.

  15. #15
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Thank you SO MUCH, everyone. I am now seriously looking at my options at Playa del Carmen (Mexico).

    Geno

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    I think it sounds wonderful. I'm desperate to go to the Caribbean for a little relaxation. Generally I head to Cuba for a week of all inclusive, and I feel way safer there than in the Dominican Republic.

    Geno, whereever you choose, I hope you have the most wonderful time!

  17. #17
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Thank you, Doug.

    Since the thread has been bumped, let me ask an additional question. I've had a friend tell me to get a malaria vaccination before I go. Did those of you who have been do one before going?

    Geno

  18. #18
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    There's a vaccine for malaria?
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  20. #20
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    There's a vaccine for malaria?
    I've searched around, and looks like there is! A good insect repellent!

    No, seriously. Would any vaccination (if not for malaria, then for something else) be useful?

    Geno

  21. #21
    Visual Artist & ABW Ambassador lostdeviant's Avatar
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    A hepatitis vaccine is always good to have, but you aren't at a high risk because of your trip. General hygiene and well cooked food will protect you from most illnesses.

    If you are worried about parasites you can buy Vermox at the end of your trip. I normally buy one treatment a year just-in-case.

    If you are in Mexico, either buy bottled water, boil water before drinking it, or add the solution sold in tiny bottles at the supermarket. I can't say if you should do that in other countries. It becomes a habit so much that I don't think about it much. The brand I have in my apartment right now is called "BacDyn". I use it to disinfect vegetables.

  22. #22
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    This might be a bit far, but I absolutely loved Palau. It's a small series of tropical islands in Micronesia. It's virtually untouched by mainstream tourism and is very peaceful. Among the things you can do there is swim in a lake full of sting-free jellyfish, swim with sharks, snorkel over coral reefs, walk into the middle of the ocean along a sand bar, see giant clams and enjoy some incredible tropical scenery. Would be quite a flight from the east coast though.

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  23. #23
    Affiliate Manager Howard Gottlieb's Avatar
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    Geno we travel to the Caribbean at least once or twice a year and have never vaccinated for anything prior to travel. The only exception might be for those planning extended stays in the jungles regions in some Central American countries.
    Last edited by MichaelColey; February 16th, 2008 at 04:58 PM. Reason: Fixed Typo
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  24. #24
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by visitourmall
    ...and have ger vaccinated for anything prior to travel...
    Did you mean to type "have never vaccinated", H.?

  25. #25
    Affiliate Manager Howard Gottlieb's Avatar
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    Oops. Meant never. Yes.
    I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die
    to find out there isn't, than live my life as if there
    isn't and die to find out there is.

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