Trip Coach: Jan. 31, 2006
Tim O'Keefe answered your questions on Caribbean vacations
Hi, Everyone. Thanks for joining me. Let's talk about the Caribbean.
Cresson, PA: My 2 children and I travel to the Carribean every year (without my husband). They are currently 10 and 11 (both boys). I have found that all-inclusives are the best way to travel with boys as they are always hungry.
Unfortunately we've stayed at several all-inclusives that claimed to have a children's club. In many cases, it is non-existent and always locked and dark. In some cases, it is just a couple of pre-schoolers coloring.
Is there any highly rated all-inclusives in the Carribean or Mexico coast that have great children's programs that are active? My boys like to play a lot of sports.
Tim O'Keefe: Hi Cresson, PA
Nothing like trying to relax on vacation and having a couple of bored boys looking for something to do. Check out the Beaches Resorts, which specialize in family vacations. I particularly like the one in Turks and Caicos-terrific beach, lots of watersports and a good video arcade in case it rains. Plus a spa for you.
Fairfax, VA: A big event is coming up - my 60th birthday. I want to bring my family - 6 adults in all - to a great place that will allow me to always think back joyfully to that day. My birthday is July 21...not sure if the Caribbean is good due to hurricane season. Would like to keep the trip to $5,000.
Tim O'Keefe: Hi Fairfax, VA
Don't blame you for worrying about hurricanes after the last 2 summers. Fortunately, July is before the most active period, usually in August and September. And some islands, like Barbados, are off the usual hurricane track. Wish I knew more about your interests to suggest something more detailed.
If you want an unforgettable vacation, go to Ladera on St. Lucia, located between the pitons. July just might be affordable. Otherwise, check out the nearby Stonefield Villas if you don't mind being off the beach.
A toast to your 60th!
Jacksonville, Florida: Going to St. Thomas May 13 - any cheap flights and from where other than Miami. Looks as if American has the better flights time wise
Tim O'Keefe: Hi Florida neighbor in Jacksonville,
Miami is definitely one of the best gateways to the Caribbean but also check Orlando and Tampa. You could always drive to Orlando for a good deal. Look at flights out of Atlanta, too. In the future, keep your eye on Delta, which is starting to make a major move into the Caribbean.
Auburn, AL: My husband and I will be going to Barbados in December of this year. We read in the February issue about EasyCruise and wanted to know will a ship be in the Caribbean at that time?
Tim O'Keefe: Hi Auburn, AL
For those who don't know, easyCruise is like a hostel floating between ports except the cabins are air conditioned. It's no frills-meals are extra--and caters to young people on a budget. The room prices are bargain basement, usually under $20 a night, and you can get on and off the ship in different ports but must spend 2 nights aboard. The cruise line is from the same people that started easyJet.
A ship departed Barbados on weekends this winter. However, the ship goes to Europe for the summer and next winter's schedule has yet to be posted. Assuming everything went well this season and people didn't mind sleeping in the company's signature "orange" rooms, easyCruise should be back in Barbados in December.
Colonia, NJ: I really want to go on one more big trip before I go back to graduate school, however, I have no one to go with. I was thinking of going with a tour group, but am looking for one reasonably priced with others in my simialr situation (age, activities, etc.). Any advice?
Tim O'Keefe: Hi Colonia, NJ,
Organized tours to the Caribbean are not common like they are in Europe and other parts of the world. The islands have heavily promoted their resorts and beaches but not their culture and history. An exception is Mexico's Caribbean coast where (if this is your interest) you can follow the route of the Maya and visit some of the most spectacular pre-Colombian sites in the Americas.
Divers, windsurfers and other active travelers often form groups based on their sport but this may not be what you're looking for.
The Caribbean may not be the best destination for you.
Berwick, Pa.: We are planning a week trip to St. Lucia 6/12/06 to 6/19/06. We have the hotel reserved. Any suggestions to when to reserve the plane for the best fares and the most convenient route of travel. Either from Phila. or Newark.