The ‘Bachelor’ Heads to the Buccaneer Resort in St. Croix

The Buccaneer Resort St. Croix US Virgin Islands

The Buccaneer Resort St. Croix US Virgin IslandsThis week’s episode of The Bachelor will find Sean Lowe and his remaining potential fiances heading to the tropical paradise St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Founded in the 17th century and family-run for generations, The Buccaneer blends Old World charm with warm hospitality. Completely self-contained, elegant accommodations are placed throughout the property with expansive terraces and impressive views. Situated on 300 tropical acres, this beach resort is less than a five-minute drive to shopping, dining, and sightseeing in the historic town of Christiansted. 138 air-conditioned rooms.

The luxurious country club setting on more than 300 lush tropical acres features 3 picture-perfect beaches, an 18-hole golf course and pro shop, 8 tennis courts (two lit for night play) and pro shop,a health spa, fitness center, and watersports center.

Apple Vacations is offering a special air credit deal that includes The Buccaneer Resort, where some of The Bachelor scenes were filmed.

  • Receive a $300 Air Credit – Book an air-inclusive Apple Vacation of 6 consecutive nights to St. Croix valid for bookings from Dec 15, 2012-Mar 31, 2013 travel Jan 27-May 31, 2013
  • Participating hotels include: The Buccaneer, Divi Carina Bay Beach Resort & Casino, Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort & Spa, Caravelle Hotel, The Buccaneer (Buccaneer blackout dates Feb 15-18, 2013). Travel must be completed by May 31, 2013

For more information, contact Island Time Travel.

Apple Vacations Announces New Non-Stop Vacation Flights from Detroit to Jamaica

Good news!  Apple Vacations has announced some new non-stop vacation flights for next Spring from Detroit to Jamaica on AirTran Airways.  They will also continue their non-stop charters to Cancun and Punta Cana.  See below chart for exact dates and days of week.  Contact Island Time Travel for more information.
Apple Vacations new Jamaica Flights from Detroit
Related: Apple Vacations Launches Flights to Jamaica from Lansing, Mich.
Related: All-Inclusive Couples Resorts Awarded Apple Vacations’ Coveted Golden Apple Awards for Exceptional Consumer Ratings
Related: Is an all inclusive resort right for your vacation?

Save Money with a Mystery Vacation

Secrets St. James and Wild Orchid Montego Bay Jamaica

If you can be a little flexible regarding your resort and room type, mystery hotel deals are a great way to save money on your vacation to the Caribbean or Mexico.  With such a program, you save money, but you allow the resort chain or vacation package provider to select which exact resort you will be staying at.

I have done this type of program three times in the past and was very satisfied with the results.  While it’s no longer offered by Club Med, many years ago we used the Club Med “Wild Card” program.  We knew we would be spending a week, with charter airfare included from either Chicago or New York City, at one of the Club Meds in Mexico or the Caribbean.  The first time we did this program, we got assigned to the Club Med Cancun, which at the time was adults only.  We liked the program so much we did it again the following year and this time got sent to the Club Med in Huatulco (now Las Brisas).

My third time using such a program was the SuperClubs Resorts “Super Surprise” program.   We knew we would be staying at one of their resorts in Jamaica.  We were sent to Hedonism III (now the Royal Decameron Fun Caribbean) and had a great time.

This post will be a “work in progress” while I continue my research into which resort chains and tour operators offer such packages.

Apple Vacations

Apple Vacations offers their “Square Deal Program” which guarantees you a room at an all-inclusive resort in a pre-specified category based on Apple’s rating system, e.g. “6 Apple”, “5 Apple,” etc.

Couples Resorts

Couples Resorts offers the Secret Rendezvous program for their four couples-only resorts in Jamaica.  With this program, the resort you’ll be staying at remains a ‘secret’ until 7 days prior to your arrival.  3 night minimum  stay is required.  Savings off published rates is from 41% off to 51% off depending on the time of year.

MLT Vacations

MLT offers two types of Mystery Deals, offering incredible savings:

  • The first option provides customers with the brand name of the hotel in their select destination, but not the exact hotel
  • The second option provides customers with the rating of the hotel in their select destination, but not the hotel name, or the specific location in the destination

Funjet Vacations

Funjet Fun For Less

Funjet Vacations offers a mystery hotel program they call their Fun For Less program.  You’ll stay at one of Funjet’s best hotels in Mexico and the Caribbean, but won’t find out where you’re staying until 7-10 days prior to departure.

  • Huge Savings!  Get the best deal by booking a mystery hotel — you are guaranteed a hotel with a star rating that’s equal to or greater than the advertised rating
  • Multiple-room bookings on the same reservation are GUARANTEED to be placed at the same hotel for bookings made 10+ days prior to departure.
  • Incredible product lineup in Mexico and Caribbean destinations
  • The actual hotel name is provided 7-10 days before departure
  • For some of the deals, Funjet will tell you the resort chain
  • Note that no special room requests are allowed and rooms with disability access cannot be guaranteed.  Rooms will be in the lowest category.

The Next Hot Caribbean Travel Destination: Cartagena

Royal Decameron Barú

Remember, you heard it here first.  Well, maybe, unless you caught this recent article by CNN Travel.  Even before reading the CNN article, I had the opportunity to attend an Apple Vacations training seminar here in Columbus, and I learned about their newest Caribbean beach destination: Cartagena, Columbia.

Columbia is located on the northwestern tip of South America, sharing borders with Panama, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, and Equador.  Columbia boasts a pleasant, tropical climate with an average temperature of 81 degrees.   The city of Cartagena lies on the Caribbean coastline, less than a three-hour flight from Miami.  The government has made dramatic changes to its socio-economic landscape and as a result, tourism has thrived in the past decade.

Apple Vacations is currently offering only a few resorts, and the highest rated one in the brochure (using Apple Vacations “apple” rating system) is the Royal Decameron Barú Beach Resort.  This 330-room resort is located in the Rosario Islands (specifically Barú) only 90 minutes (including ferry ride) from the Cartagena City International Airport.  An all-inclusive resort,  it features five restaurants, five bars, and three swimming pools.

Some points about Columbia from the CNN article:

  • Between January and August 2010, more than 111,000 international visitors came to Colombia, up 9% from the year before, according to Colombian immigration authorities.
  • Historically, Colombia’s struggles with crime have scared away tourists.  But violence associated with Colombia’s infamous drug trafficking is steadily declining, and Cartagena continues to be one of the safest cities in Colombia.

Sources: CNN and Apple Vacations

Related: The Free Trade Agreement between Colombia and the United States also benefits Tourism
Also see: A Cartagena Quarter Emerges (NY Times)

Why use a travel agent?

Another reason we love dealing with Apple Vacations. They have been around for more than 42 years, and have sent more leisure travelers to Mexico and the Dominican Republic than any other vacation company worldwide.

All-Inclusive Couples Resorts Awarded Apple Vacations’ Coveted Golden Apple Awards for Exceptional Consumer Ratings

Couples Negril BeachAll-inclusive Jamaica resort chain, Couples Resorts, has received Apple Vacations’ Golden Apple Award for every resort within the brand.  All four Couples Resorts were awarded the company’s Golden Apple at an awards ceremony held in Chicago on September 13, 2011.

Couples Negril received a Crystal Apple award, one of the most coveted in the travel industry, for Best Staff & Service in the Caribbean area.

Award recipients are chosen based on vacation satisfaction questionnaires completed by Apple vacationers upon their return home.  Hotels and resorts are evaluated on the quality of its products, installations and services.  The Golden Apple is only awarded to those hotels and resorts with the highest standards of excellence and exceptional hotel operations.  Couples Tower Isle, Couples Sans Souci, Couples Swept Away and Couples Negril each received the award.

Couples Resorts, headquartered in Montego Bay, Jamaica, owns and operates four properties in Jamaica – Couples Tower Isle, Couples Sans Souci, Couples Swept Away and Couples Negril.

At Island Time Travel, we’ve been to three of the four Couples Resorts and we loved them.

Thank you to for this info.  Read the full article here.