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Sandals as an alternative?


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Ok, don’t flame me as I’m seeing more comments about anything but cruising  theses days here.

 

Anyone a fan of Sandals resort’s?  I ask because I have the Freedom booked in Jan 2021 for a 50th birthday celebration.  Should we not be able to cruise, I would like to find a backup sooner than later. 
 

appreciate your feedback.  
 

thanks!

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I got married at Sandals, Montego Bay, Jamaica.  Had a great time.  It's not a cruise vacation, but will certainly do in a pinch.  

 

We checked out a few possibilities for vacation in a Sandals resort in Antigua this year but even though they are open, there's still travel uncertainty.  We have ultimately opted to stay put for a while.  Even Florida is seeming like a no go...

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We’ve done both and Sandals is very high quality - Beautiful rooms, great restaurants and top notch service. I think the biggest difference you will find is the lack of activities and evening entertainment. It’s a quieter, relaxing vacation but if you like the daily and nightly live entertainment of a cruise ship, you will miss it.

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We are supposed to be on Freedom this January 17, 2021. We just booked Sandals in Antigua last night as a back up.  At the current rate I think it will our only chance to go anywhere. We stayed at this Sandals before and it has reopened in early June.
 

They are not all open yet, but they are scheduled to open if not already. Check their website for dates. We have also been to their resort in Nassau and Barbados this past January.  There is testing when you arrive in Antigua and mask wearing at the resort, along with social distancing.  However, you will not be stuck on a ship if it gets infected. You best check to see what happens if you test positive when you arrive at the island.

 

Final payment for our cruise is October 2nd.  Sandals has our fully refundable deposit and we have to pay by December 14th, for our late January stay. We will switch our flight from San Juan to Antigua.  
 

We booked a Ronoval with our own plunge pool, hot tub, bar, Butler and we are not far from the beach. If we need to social distance in January it will be easy to do in our room.
 

Hopefully one of these two trips can happen. 
 

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We have stayed at a few Sandals and really enjoyed them.  The service is outstanding. Food was very good as well.  If you stay on an island with more than one Sandals, you can play and eat at all of them.  They have a free shuttle between each one.  As someone mentioned, the evenings are quieter with a few activities.  I am sure they can arrange for a trip to a local casino or night spot.  Our favorites are on ST. Lucia.  Check and make sure the island is open to visitors.

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1 hour ago, Lazz said:

We have stayed at a few Sandals and really enjoyed them.  The service is outstanding. Food was very good as well.  If you stay on an island with more than one Sandals, you can play and eat at all of them.  They have a free shuttle between each one.  As someone mentioned, the evenings are quieter with a few activities.  I am sure they can arrange for a trip to a local casino or night spot.  Our favorites are on ST. Lucia.  Check and make sure the island is open to visitors.


We were going to day pass one of the three in St Lucia when we were cruising there in January. However that isn’t going to happen now. 
 

We have always found the service to be good. In regards to food we would compare it to specialty dining on the ship. The only thing we have found to be a bit hit or miss is house keeping.  At all three resorts we have had issues on 2 of 7 days with house keeping.  On the cruise ship housekeeping is almost always perfect. 
 

If cruising is not going to happen this winter the resorts can’t take more guests. Especially when you consider a resort like Sandals in Antigua on has 373 rooms, a fraction of what a ship can hold. 

 

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Sandals would be a very nice alternative...nice one in Antiqua.  Though..not just the Carib..there are so many other options to cruising indeed.

 

In the meantime:

 

--Just back from a week's stay in a condo on the beach in South Florida

 

--Leaving Wednesday for a "road trip" of B&Bs up the coast.

 

--Switched out my two week land trip followed by two week cruise in Alaska...to full four week land tour in August.

 

--Traveling in "the land yacht" in September to Florida state parks. 

 

There is life after cruising....but I still miss it.  

 

Edited by island lady
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Hi!  We've been to Sandals 15 times (ST Lucia is our favorite),  Our children even got married and did their honeymoons at Sandals.   Sandals is extremely different than cruising.   Absolutely gorgeous.  BUT QUITE, very quite.   It came to a point that we were bored at Sandals.....noticed as we got older it was difficult to fit in with the younger crowd (mid 20s / 30s).  Love cruising because there is so much to do anytime of the day.  Would we do Sandals again - probably not.  

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Thank you all for your feedback.  
 

We are looking at Sandals Antigua as we like the island and flight choices are good out of EWR.    I am hoping we can get back to cruising in 2021 though 🤞

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6 minutes ago, maggieq said:

Thank you all for your feedback.  
 

We are looking at Sandals Antigua as we like the island and flight choices are good out of EWR.    I am hoping we can get back to cruising in 2021 though 🤞

I think you've made a great choice.  The videos and pics of this resort look absolutely beautiful!

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20 minutes ago, maggieq said:

Thank you all for your feedback.  
 

We are looking at Sandals Antigua as we like the island and flight choices are good out of EWR.    I am hoping we can get back to cruising in 2021 though 🤞

 

There is a nice snorkel tour (outside vendor) that will pull up to the beach right there.  We were on it while on a cruise in Antiqua, with the boat stopping there on the way out to pick up guests at Sandals.   The tour operator takes you to an island and does an outdoor lobster grill with sides for lunch.  Wonderful!!  🙂 

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we have done both sandals and iberostar and enjoyed them both.  But different experience than a cruise as mentioned above and way more expensive, at least for us when you tack on airfare.  we are a family of 4 and its usually $500-800pp for air alone.that and the cost of the room make for a very nice suite on most 7 day cruises out of FL because we can drive there. 

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11 minutes ago, pasodancer said:

Hi!  We've been to Sandals 15 times (ST Lucia is our favorite),  Our children even got married and did their honeymoons at Sandals.   Sandals is extremely different than cruising.   Absolutely gorgeous.  BUT QUITE, very quite.   It came to a point that we were bored at Sandals.....noticed as we got older it was difficult to fit in with the younger crowd (mid 20s / 30s).  Love cruising because there is so much to do anytime of the day.  Would we do Sandals again - probably not.  


I agree with most everything. At least when we have gone at we have felt to be middle of the pack age at 43 and 47.  The price is more compared to other resorts, and definitely cruises.  
 

We also like Paradisus La Perla in Playa del Carman. They have something called Royal Service which has a desperate pool, dining venue etc and is on the adult side of the resort. I guess you could compare it to the suite experience on NCL, with the separate pool, restaurant etc. 

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1 hour ago, pasodancer said:

Hi!  We've been to Sandals 15 times (ST Lucia is our favorite),  Our children even got married and did their honeymoons at Sandals.   Sandals is extremely different than cruising.   Absolutely gorgeous.  BUT QUITE, very quite.   It came to a point that we were bored at Sandals.....noticed as we got older it was difficult to fit in with the younger crowd (mid 20s / 30s).  Love cruising because there is so much to do anytime of the day.  Would we do Sandals again - probably not.  

We honeymooned at sandals st. Lucia, loved it. However, we were younger (28) and hung out with all of the other just married and met so many people. I don’t know if we would enjoy it as much now that we are in our 50’s, maybe I didn’t notice older people back then.

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Interesting topic.  We are looking at Sandals and other AI resorts in different places.  DW will love any of them but she thinks I will not be happy since I will not have the activities or escapes that a cruise gives me.  I do not do sun since my cancer so sitting in the sun is out and shade at a resort seems to be a premium.  The next year or 2 will really make us explore different vacation options.  This old dog might just learn a new trick!

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We currently have a reservation at Sandals Montego Bay. The rooms have been recently renovated, the grounds are beautiful, with seven or so restaurants, beautiful beaches. We booked it as a backup to an Alaskan cruise on the Ovation, which we ultimately lift and shifted. 

 

We we booked a Butler suite at Sandals at a price that I think was a computer glitch. Needless to say we have been really looking forward to it.

 

But of course Covid-19 has reared it’s ugly head. The rate in Jamaica was close to zero new cases a day when the island opened up in June. To rightfully protect Jamaican citizens, airline passengers receive two tests upon arrival at the airport: a nasal and throat swab. You can then go to your resort but not leave there until you get your results in three days. If you test positive, you are supposedly taken by ambulance to  quarantine for 14 days at a facility at your own cost. Some people on the Sandals Montego Bay page are testing in the US and quarantining until their test results are in.

 

There is no testing at this time when arriving back in US, but my husband would most likely need to work from home for two weeks. We thought the way things had been going here in Florida that there was a good chance that he could avoid the subsequent quarantine. Obviously that’s not happening so we are going to cancel. 

 

I understand that Antigua started out requiring tests, stopped testing, then had to start testing again due to rising rates. 

 

It it seems to me that the islands are facing some of the same challenges that cruise ships are.

 

Edited by seabeew
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If you enjoy evening entertain, AI's are not for you in my opinion. We've been to several over the years. There just isn't much to do other than eat and drink. The food at all of them is fairly standard too. Italian, Steak, Seafood, Hibachi/Asian and maybe a wildcard in there somewhere like Indian or Mediterranean. We did a stay at the Le Blanc in Cancun which gets rave reviews and were left indifferent about it (even with the $9k price tag for a basic oceanfront room). Service can be good, but we think higher end traditional resorts + food on our own is a better value. A higher end AI paired with a room upgrade so you're not stuck looking at a tree or the back of the pool gets expensive quickly. 

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56 minutes ago, Milwaukee Eight said:

Are the prices up/down for COVID19?

 

M8

 

I haven't really noticed any change for Sandals...we had been looking at Sandals Grenada for Feb and there's not much difference at all

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6 hours ago, not-enough-cruising said:

I wonder what the travel restrictions will look like for Americans to fly to some of these islands where the AI resorts are located?

We cancelled our Allure Med Oct.18. Planned to fly to Rome instead. Now that's out of the question. Looking at Secrets currently but not sure what travel restrictions will look like and since we're in Florida I'm even more concerned about booking anything at this point.

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7 hours ago, not-enough-cruising said:

I wonder what the travel restrictions will look like for Americans to fly to some of these islands where the AI resorts are located?

That's a good point, especially with the numbers trending the way they are. 

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