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Honeymoon Suggestions? Jamaica or Dominican Republic, All-Inclusive...?

Majide 374 August 7, 2013 at 10:12 AM in Travel
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Not sure where we should go. I posted in the Lounge, but I'm hoping this forum may have some more advice Smilie

I've visited a lot of the Caribbean, but my fiance has not. He has only been to Cancun. And although Cancun was awesome, and it is affordable, we would prefer going somewhere new. The other places I've visited were on a cruise, so we didn't stay at the ports very long, and I didn't really get to see a whole lot, so I'm excited to visit and stay longer somewhere.

It looks like our best bets might be Jamaica or the Dominican Republic. I've been trying to research Couples Resorts, Excellence Punta Cana, and Iberostar Grand Rose Hall. Having trouble deciding. So I'm hoping someone here has visited some of these locations, or has had other trips to all-inclusives that they loved and would recommend.

The preferences:
  • Preferably under $5k (including flight)
  • Adults Only
  • Flying out of either CVG or SDF (in Kentucky)
  • All-Inclusive
  • No dates set yet - some time at the end of September through October.
  • 7 nights (if we can afford more, then that is even better! Big Grin )

29 Comments

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#16
My husband and I stayed at the Excellence resort in Playa Mujures, close to Cancun and had the best time. We were treated like royalty. It is pricy but so worth it. Top shelf liquor stocked in our room, along with snacks and beers and sodas. So many restaurant choices with high quality food, it was very relaxing. We also stayed on the main strip of Cancun for a few days just to see more and get a feel for the town. I'm sure the Excellence in DR would be just as nice. I would not recommend Jamaica unless you never want to leave the resort. I have been there 2 times and hope I never go back. It is so scary there with the locals not leaving you alone, and it really was not that pretty.Have you thought about Puerto Rico? It's safe and relaxing with plenty to see and do and good on the budget, although I could not find an all inclusive there.
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#17
Quote from noungning View Post :
Did you get to check out the site I linked the other day?
Not yet. I always forget to check Slickdeals when I'm at home, and I don't really visit other websites at work. I've got this stickied though, so I'll try to check it out Smilie
Quote from Onemopoboy View Post :
I would skip the all-inclusive part of any resort. It's nice not to have to think about meals, but that is such a small part of the trip. And the included alcohol is usually shite.( I did that in Ocho Rios a few years back)
Eh, I loved my stay at an All-Inclusive in Cancun four years ago. I like being lazy, and I'm definitely going to need an opportunity to be lazy since I haven't been lately Coverlaugh
Quote from robertclemens View Post :
Just a word of warning on Jamaica, there has been some violence and muggings there and was warned by a few others that go there that it seems to be picking up -- take that for what it is worth.

I took my honeymoon to Playa del Carmen, Mexico and loved it.

You won't have a bad time anywhere, just be safe and cautious with money as is always good advice.

I personally believe all-inclusive will be more your thing -- especially for the type of trip you are wanting to relax. You won't regret it. Last thing you want to do is have to do too much thinking and hunting to make the trip cost effective. Have fun and RELAX!
Thanks, yeah I know my sister was afraid to leave the resort when they went to Jamaica. I know in the past when I've gone we were "stalked" by someone trying to sell something to us, but once we finally bought it, he left us alone. It wasn't anything threatening, just irritating.
And yep, I've always been paranoid about money, so I think I'm typically pretty cautious.
Quote from culdeus View Post :
Take a look at Excellence resorts in the cancun area. For the money in an AI it is a tremendous value imo. Many AI try to tier the people at the resort and this adds to the cost. At Excellence there is a tier system but it's for suckers. You get all the same food and drink access and basically lose an ocean view if you care about such things.

We did an AI to couples in negril once and excellence is roughly the same price and is WAY better.
Thanks for the input about Excellence! I just don't personally know anyone who has been to any of this places, and I know there are reviews out there, but I guess I prefer hearing from people Smilie
Quote from Count_Chocula View Post :
El Paso Texas, I spent a month there one night.
Whoa. Ermm Time flies, eh? A month in one night? Scratchhead
Quote from annsuzan View Post :
My husband and I stayed at the Excellence resort in Playa Mujures, close to Cancun and had the best time. We were treated like royalty. It is pricy but so worth it. Top shelf liquor stocked in our room, along with snacks and beers and sodas. So many restaurant choices with high quality food, it was very relaxing. We also stayed on the main strip of Cancun for a few days just to see more and get a feel for the town. I'm sure the Excellence in DR would be just as nice. I would not recommend Jamaica unless you never want to leave the resort. I have been there 2 times and hope I never go back. It is so scary there with the locals not leaving you alone, and it really was not that pretty.Have you thought about Puerto Rico? It's safe and relaxing with plenty to see and do and good on the budget, although I could not find an all inclusive there.
woot Another Excellence visitor! Yeah, I like the mini bars in the rooms Happy I especially like that you can eat/drink things from them, and you don't get charged like you would in regular hotels laugh out loud (Though, as a super-cheap slickdealer, I never do that).

To the bold part, I think you must not have had a chance to really see the place. I can understand if you are in certain parts of the island, I know it isn't pretty. It's poor, crummy, and pretty ghetto in some areas. But once we got out of town it was absolutely beautiful! One of the prettiest places I've been. Then again, quite a few of the places I've visited have been on cruises, so we don't really get to see too much beyond the port during some visits.
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#18
My wife and I went to Sandals Negril for our Honeymoon 4 years ago and loved it (flew out of SDF). We went to Riu Paradise Island last year and was not impressed with the Bahamas. We loved Jamaica so much were going to Grand Lido next month.

If you haven't looked at Secrets Resorts yet, I would check them out in Jamaica. That's probably where we will stay on our next trip.
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#19
You may also want to try to nail down what part of Jamaica you're going to go to before getting too far into which resort you're staying at. Montego Bay is a very different feel from Negril, which is very different from Ocho Rios. Depending on what (and how much) you want to do, that could make a big difference.

Then again, if you're looking for all-inclusive, you may not really plan to leave the resort. If that's the case, then it doesn't really matter where you go (or even to what country).
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#20
riu for ai in aruba
hilton in aruba but no ai great places to eat outside
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#21
I'd skip the DR. As mentioned, if you leave the resort there is absolutely nothing to do. Jamaica is fun, we have been to Mo bay, and negril. Negril, hands down would be my choice. The beach is great and you would be mixing things up with locals there. If mixing with locals isnt your cup of tea, I'd look elsewhere. You must realize these places you mention arent "Americanized" a whole lot, like cancun is. If I was in your shoes, I'd book a cruise. They are so simple, which is what you want on a honeymoon. The food would be better, the destinations would vary, and it would be totally up to you if just wanted to stay on the ship and honeymoon or get off and venture day to day. Your budget would buy a first class suite and perhaps a butler. Talk about being spoiled!
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#22
I'll have to check out Aruba. It was really pretty there, but I haven't looked at All-Inclusives in Aruba. I guess I figured it would be too expensive.

Quote from reaperman View Post :
I'd skip the DR. As mentioned, if you leave the resort there is absolutely nothing to do. Jamaica is fun, we have been to Mo bay, and negril. Negril, hands down would be my choice. The beach is great and you would be mixing things up with locals there. If mixing with locals isnt your cup of tea, I'd look elsewhere. You must realize these places you mention arent "Americanized" a whole lot, like cancun is. If I was in your shoes, I'd book a cruise. They are so simple, which is what you want on a honeymoon. The food would be better, the destinations would vary, and it would be totally up to you if just wanted to stay on the ship and honeymoon or get off and venture day to day. Your budget would buy a first class suite and perhaps a butler. Talk about being spoiled!
Smilie I realize they aren't "Americanized". I've been on several cruises to these places, and I'm slightly familiar with most of them.

I'd love to go on a cruise, but my fiance has vertigo issues. I still want to get him on a cruise ship someday, but I'd rather try for a short cruise as his first one. That way if he is sick the whole time, it won't be long. And I really wouldn't want him to spend his whole honeymoon with vertigo problems. So maybe next year Wink
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#23
We have been to Sandals twice (Ochos Rios for our honeymoon and Montego Bay for our 10 yr anniversary). Personally, I highly recommend Sandals. For us, these types of trips are NOT about sightseeing (we do those trips as well). They are about relaxing, leaving our kids behind with trusted relatives (obviously we didn't have that consideration on our first trip), and not having to worry about paying for anything once we arrive.

We liked Sandals better than some of the cheaper AIs because of the number of restaurants/variety of food, and the trusted reputation. We LOVED both trips and I'm happy to answer any questions.

I agree about Jamaica not being somewhere you probably want to go off on your own - but we don't do that when at an AI anyway. What we did was find the cheapest Sandals (based on airfare, etc), and pick that one - they all have the sandals experience, reputation, variety, etc, and Jamaica is always cheaper, and for us, faster to get to.
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#24
We honeymooned in Ocho Rios, Jamaica in July and truly enjoyed it. We stayed at Sandals Grande Riviera [sandals.com] in a honeymoon room. We shared a small pool with 4 other couples and had a very private location. Cost was under $3,000 for the week. We flew nonstop out of Orlando, FL on JetBlue for pretty cheap. Jamaicans are very friendly people. Our biggest complaint was the shuttle from the airport in Montego Bay to Sandals, while it is free and included it was not very friendly.
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#25
I say it depends on what you want. I have been a bargain hunter for years with a focus on bargain travel (and the occasional gadget). If you are looking for lots of activities versus offerings of a resort that would likely put you on a different island/country. If you are looking for a really nice resort with great food options, awesome beach, superior service with plans to stay on site more than playing the tourist, this would put you looking at different options. I have spent some "quality time" in DR and Mexico. The beaches in DR are awesome. There are some great options in Mexico (highly suggest Valentin). We just returned from Cabo and it is one of my new favorites. It is a bit more pricey than other areas but the humidity is low and it is not as busy. Note that they water in most areas is "do not enter" due to waves and current. In the end, I would strongly suggest all-inclusive. Some take this option do to the free-flowing booze. I like it as it really removes some of the "pressure" and anxiety that sometimes can come around meal-time. And they are great bang-for-buck in many cases. With the budget you have set you should be able to do most anything anywhere. I typically work with less than half that for the wife and I for a week... and have been pleased with all of our trips.
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#26
Aruba is good and very Americanized, but DO NOT do AI there. There's no need, plenty of good food in the hotel areas.
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#27
Quote from infiniti029 View Post :
Aruba is good and very Americanized, but DO NOT do AI there. There's no need, plenty of good food in the hotel areas.

This.

All inclusive is great for someplace the rest of the city/country is awful. It's like being in an incredibly nice and fun prison.

Aruba on the other hand there's lots of awesome things to do and places to eat OUTSIDE the resort so AI is a waste.
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#28
I think there is some comfort in knowing that everything is included with AIs (you'll probably want to pick an AI resort that has room service just in case you don't want to go out - it is after all your honeymoon) but you can save a lot of money and experience actual local cuisine if you're in a location that is safe and has accessible off-site food.

We've been to the DR and it was just very dirty, there were way too many people selling things (you can even make it out of the airport without being bombarded by timeshare sales) and there were a lot of children begging for money when we did excursions. I would agree with those who have recommended Aruba....it's very clean, the people are nice, and we felt safe. Price-wise we spent about the same amount for both places (both all-inclusive) and enjoyed Aruba by leaps and bounds.
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#29
It seems you have already done some cruising as well as AI. Just my .02 but, having done both I would get the best deal I can find on a cruise and skip the excursions. Sea days on a cruise are just like being at an all inclusive resort. And if you skip the excursions you'll have the ship almost to yourself as well as the freedom to go walking and shopping in port, if you desire.
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#30
Quote from Rockalittle View Post :
It seems you have already done some cruising as well as AI. Just my .02 but, having done both I would get the best deal I can find on a cruise and skip the excursions. Sea days on a cruise are just like being at an all inclusive resort. And if you skip the excursions you'll have the ship almost to yourself as well as the freedom to go walking and shopping in port, if you desire.
Yeah, I would love to do a cruise, and for my husband to experience it. But he has vertigo, and I would hate for him to be sick the whole time.

Plus, I figure if we ever do a cruise together, we would try something short first, so if he is sick, he isn't stuck there for a week. But I'd like my honeymoon to be more than three or four nights.
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