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barbmouse
06-23-2009, 01:47 PM
Please let me know if you have stayed an AI resort. This is budget related because I would need to start saving now for summer 2011!! I am mostly interested in family friendly resorts in Virgin Islands or Mexico areas but would like to hear about other areas.

We usually cruise but may try this next time. If you have experience with both cruising and All inclusive resorts which do you feel is a better deal for the $$$$??

TIA!!!!

woody5
06-23-2009, 02:11 PM
Barcelo Maya Resort in Maya Riviera MX. We just spent week with 2A and 2 teens for $1400 total. This was rate I got b4 the whole swine flu scare. Beautul resort. Google unofficial barcelo forum to find a site dedicated to the resort, Can't wait to go back.:thumbsup2

Darcy03231
06-23-2009, 02:11 PM
We've stayed in the Iberostar Resorts in both Punta Cana and the Mexican Riviera and really liked them both. We also enjoy cruising. For us it all depends on what type of a vacation we're looking for. With cruising we tend to be very active and pretty much on the go most of the time. At an AI we tend to be beach bums for most of the week, with maybe doing a snorkeling and/or catamaran trip mid-week. I don't think you can go wrong with either one. I will say that the AI trips tends to be less expensive than the cruise because (1) we don't do as many excursions and (2) all the alcohol is included. Neither DH or I are huge drinkers, but one or two a day will add up over a week.

trinchick
06-23-2009, 02:58 PM
After about 8 or 9 cruises, we tried our first AI resort last year and had a marvelous time. We stayed at the Catalonia Bavaro in Punta Cana for a week ($2000 for 2 adults and 1 child, including air from Boston). We're heading to the Iberostar Punta Cana for 2 weeks in November ($3000 for 2 adults and 1 child including air).

Brief comparison between cruising and the AI:

Food - Cruise food is better hands down. However, we always found something to eat and enjoy at the AI. There were omelet and pasta stations that were great at breakfast and dinner, but we had them literally every day since the other food was just so-so. LOOOVED the fresh-squeezed juices that they made to order.

Beach - This is the best part of the AI. We rolled out of bed, headed to the beach, and sat around all day. Ahhhh. When we went to the beach on the cruise, we had to walk down the pier, manage an aggressive taxi driver, ride to the beach, and rent chairs. Then we had to watch the clock and make sure we were dry and ready for the cabbie to return.

Cost - Our experience at the AI was that it was truly all inclusive. No one tried to sell us the drink of the day, bingo cards, soda card, or photos. We chose not to do any excursions, as none seemed appropriate for our small daughter. Our only expenses were the tips we CHOSE to give to our waiters and maid. It was a treat not to have anyone expecting a tip at the end of the week or asking for positive remarks on a comment card.

Shopping - I had hoped to buy something nice in Punta Cana but there was really no opportunity. We didn't leave the resort all week, except to walk to a small market up the beach, where we bought coffee and a couple of souvenirs. There are far more and better shopping opportunities on a cruise.

Activities - The shows are better on a cruise than at the AI. But I noticed that there was more nightlife at the AI we went to. There is a big bar scene of people just hanging out and enjoying a cocktail after dinner. Not wild partying, but social, laid back and fun. We didn't participate as we had DD with us, but it looked like a good time. During the day there is an animation team that leads beach games, water aerobics, Spanish lessons, painting lessons, etc. You can also pay for excursions, such as a catamaran trip, parasailing, etc. Cost was on par with a cruise excursion, perhaps a bit less.

Sorry for such a long post. Whatever you decide to do, hope you have a great trip!

Jsme
06-23-2009, 03:38 PM
I love cruising but I also like AI's. We have done a bit of other. If you are already into cruising then you might have problems doing an AI. We can not do one for more than like 4 days because we are cruiseaholics. Cruising allows you so many options and you have so much to chose from that you never ever get bored. I love to just sit by the beach and I do not need 100 things to chose from but I do get bored after a few days at an AI vacation.

Cruising is cheaper than AI's. Well I say that because of the AI's we have done was about $2000 more than a cruise even when you add in your On board account balance.

We love St Thomas and Punta Cana. Punta Cana is amazing and I swear the best beaches you will ever see. St Thomas is wonderful too.

Faith09
06-23-2009, 05:15 PM
I love the AI resorts in Mexico. One thing about it once you pay your bill there's nothing else you owe.


Faith

barbmouse
06-23-2009, 05:19 PM
Wow!!! :goodvibes Thanks for all of the great info so far! I knew my BB buddies would have good experiences and advice to share! You have given me some great ideas as I begin researching.

I forgot to mention that we would be using our timeshare to book an AI. If anyone has done that who could offer advice I'd love to hear it. I'm trying (see this is budget related:)) to schedule a vacation that would be cheaper than the cruises we have done. :love: WE love love :love::lovestruc cruising but boy is it expensive during the summer months when we need to travel.:teacher:

Thanks again:lovestruc to everyone who has posted so far. :cool1:I know nothing about AI and you have helped immensely!!

barbmouse
06-23-2009, 07:34 PM
bumping for more info

4Seasons
06-23-2009, 07:40 PM
Cruising and a land based AI vacation are really pretty different. Each has it's benefits and drawbacks.

Virgin Islands will be more expensive than Mexico or some of the other island destinations because remember it's a US territory so wages are higher.
Mexico, and Riviera Maya in specific is fantastic. Other great destinations are Punta Cana and Jamaica.

I just got back from Jamaica last night. Loved it. Any specific questions about any of the destinations, just ask! :goodvibes

CLR4321
06-23-2009, 11:36 PM
Stay at a Palace Resort....they have them in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Right now they are running a kids stay free deal and an airfare discount deal, but it's just for this summer. I stayed at the Aventura Cove Palace in the Mayan Riviera several years ago...it was awesome! I used to be a travel agent, and the Palace Resorts were always big sellers. When we'd go to tour the properties, they treated us very well, plus of course they showed us around, and they were all very nice. I do remember the Beach Palace having a large kids club area, although others may have added kids clubs since I was there. They are 100% AI, including premium liquor. The food, service, and entertainment were great. Here is their web site: http://www.palaceresorts.com/ Take note that a few of them are adults only resorts.
If it were my vacation, I would look into the Moon Palace in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. :thumbsup2