When I came home from my FAM trip in Jamaica I was bombarded, excitedly, with honeymooners, weddings, and multi-generational family vacation requests. It has been a very popular request from my clients to have their families and/or family of friends go away together. They are booking through me months in advance to ensure availability and to begin the count down to a fantastic group vacation. I know that getting a few families together for a vacation (or anything for that matter!!) can seem overwhelming, but I streamline the process making it easy for all. Leave the vacation planning to me and get packing!!
I spend a lot of time making these bookings, researching these vacations, and participating in training sessions focused on top destinations/resorts so wanted to share three fantastic options that, over the last week, have provided me updates on their offerings that really impressed me!
- All-Inclusive resorts & Villa rentals: People think Villas and they think $$$$ but that’s not necessarily the case. There is information I can provide from a recent Barbados training session that shows how in some instances a villa on an island with staff (like a cook!) is equally economical as an all-inclusive resort.
If villas aren’t for you, there are so many all-inclusive resort options to consider. The all-inclusives are competing for your group business and there are a TON of perks to being a group leader. There are small options and large resort options, resorts with so many activities (including a Dolphinarium and Flow Rider on site, for example!) for all ages to ensure toddlers, tweens, and adults have options if they are looking for something to do. There are resorts that encourage you to visit their neighboring properties to enhance your experience or boutique resorts that provide a more quaint experience. Depending on your vacation vision, almost all have been putting in upgrades and enhancements with you in mind.
- Disney Cruise Line – I have so many clients who come to me and specifically ask for resorts/cruises that will give them the “Disney” level of service that they have come to expect and love. What I’ve learned about Disney Cruises is that they are perfect for multi-generational groups. The ships have kid areas, family areas, and adults-only areas (which they take very seriously!) to provide a retreat for all. The options for kids activities are not designed to just keep kids busy, but to engage them in the Disney experience. There are only approximately 4000 people on the ship (Fantasy for example). When participating in the MANY character experiences included on board, there aren’t 30 minute lines to wait in for a 30 second character visit. Being that there are less children on the ship then in the parks, your child will get more time with them! The adults-only areas all over the ship are a great retreat in the evening when kids are asleep and grandparents are watching over them in the cabin, or if you have aunts and cousins who don’t have kids but still want to join in on the cruise experience with your family, this may appeal to them. There are also a LOT of family activities to do together. The Character Breakfast is available on cruises of 7-nights or more, they have movie premiers on the ship, Pirate Night with fireworks, original Broadway-like stage shows, character Dance Parties and so much more. What I also loved is that food is included, soda, tea and coffee are included on the deck, you can bring booze on board, and gratuities are included in the price of the cruise already, providing almost a completely all-inclusive experience. The Disney Cruise, just like the Disney theme parks, in my opinion, can not be compared with other cruise ships as it is not an apples to apples comparison. It is a whole other type of awesome family vacation! Disney offers cruises not only to the Caribbean but also the Mediterranean.
- Another exclusive option are the all-inclusive, luxury included Beaches Resorts. When I visited the Beaches property last week, I brought a long a Disney and Atlantis lover who I knew could provide me with an honest, mom’s perspective on Beaches resorts. Her first words after the visit were “this is Disney’s level of service in the Caribbean!” Beaches has it all covered. The rooms are spectacular, the activities range from nursery, to a TON for teens to do, and of course their exclusive partnership with Sesame Street for those ages in between. I was really impressed that the resort was not completely Sesame Street engulfed and about how many tweens and teens were on property. I was also very impressed with the spacious resort layout. They were completely at capacity when we were visiting. Because the resort (in Negril) sits on 20 acres and is on the widest stretch of 7 mile beach in Jamaica, it wasn’t crowded anywhere. They provide so many options for activities and places to retreat and eat and have fun with your family so that no one is really crammed into one place and fighting for beach/pool/dining chairs. In addition, we did a comparison to her Disney Vacation Club (DVC) costs for an annual visit which showed that Beaches completely meets and sometimes beats the DVC cost, which was very interesting to us all. Beaches provides a fabulous family experience in the Caribbean.
Please review the slide show below highlighting our tour of Beaches Negril with captions that further explain some of the main resort highlights. I apologize ahead of time, I can’t figure out yet how to get some of the sideways photos up right just yet. (#BlogAmateur!!!) Of course there are many more details about Beaches, that would make this blog post longer, so for that information and customization for you group, contact me for details. Beaches is located in Jamaica and Turks.
As you get ready to jump into Fall/Holiday this is the perfect time to extend your summer and warm up the coming cold winter months with a vacation. Call me so we can deposit your next family vacation. A vacation is a priceless investment you and your family that touches hearts and creates a bond formed by memories that last a lifetime. I hope you will think of me for booking and planning your next getaway! DinaSilvestriTravel@gmail.com