Here is my review for Dreams Riviera Cancun I have been waiting to right the reviewâ€¦ it is almost as exciting as the planning! Ha ha!!
Wedding Date: June 19, 2010
Flight to Cancun: We flew American Airlines from Chicago to Cancun and everything went very smoothly. I originally put my dress in the overhead bin and the flight attendant came by and told me that this was unacceptable for a wedding dress and she gladly hung it in the first class cabinâ€¦ I thought that was very sweet of her!! However, traveling with a wedding dress is a definite pain in the a** when you already have so much luggage!!!!
Cancun Airport: I carried all of our items for out OOT bags with me, and with my luck, I was stopped in customs. I did not even have a chance to push the button to see if I got red or green. I guess when my bag went through the machine it looked suspicious so they went through my things. I had about 50 Old Navy flip flops and the beach bags in a large duffel bag and the concern was over the flip flops. Luckily, my sister had the receipt with her for the flip flops that showed I paid $1.00 each for them. Even though it said 2 for $5 on the flip flop tag the customs officer still gave me a hard time. When it was all said and done the officer laughed and told me that in Mexico flip flops cost $30 each! BRING ANY RECEIPTS WITH YOU AND YOU WILL AVOID THIS! You can only bring in $300 each, so split up any items. The funny thing was that I had my Swarovski crystal toasting flutes in my carry on that cost $300+ and they didnâ€™t care about those, but they stopped me for Old Navy flip flops!!! Once you make it through customs keep walking through the airport until you get outside. This is where you will find your airport transfers. There are several people inside the airport that try to sell you stuff. My mom came in by herself at night and one many told her â€œI am the supervisor and you need to come with meâ€. Luckily my mom knows better but I am afraid some of your guests might actually listen to them if they are uncertain where to go.
TRANSFER TO AIRPORT: We booked through Apple Vacations and the transportation was great! There were 8 of us together and we went straight to the hotel. It was only about a 20 minute ride.
CHECK-IN: Immediately upon arrival the waitress in the lobby greets everyone with champagne and water. I think this is for every guest, not just groups. We booked a Ocean-View Room and we were upgraded to the Preferred Club Ocean-View Room. We were originally put in room 2403, but this faced the outside of the resort and when we asked to change rooms there was no problem. They changed our room to 2304 and the view was AMAZING!
There were some Honeymoon Suites and Master Suites available but they would have been an extra $140 or $170 per night and we did not think it was worth it since our view was awesome already! When you check in mention you are the bride and groom and see what they can do for you. You can also upgrade for just the wedding night if you want to be in one of those rooms to get ready. They also contacted Ana right away and she came to greet us in the lobby. We then set up a time to meet with her the next morning.
HOTEL: Words cannot describe the hotel. It is amazing! The grounds are absolutely beautiful! The first day we saw an employee on her hands and knees picking weeds (very extreme for me, but this is how serious they are of the appearance). The first view of the ocean is simply breathtaking as you walk down the stairs from the lobby! The service was unbelievable! Everyone in our group enjoyed themselves and several of our guests are used to the service of top hotels, such as the Ritz-Carlton.
HOTEL ROOM: The hotel room is gorgeous. They are awkwardly laid out but you get used to it. If you are not comfortable with your mate, you will be by the end of this trip due to the lack of privacy This was not a problem for us, but be aware.
POOL: The infinity pool is gorgeous. The bar in the pool gets very crowded and the service is slow because they only have 2 bartenders down there. There are also a lot of kids in the pool and they sit at the bar ordering virgin drinks, which gets a bit annoying when you are waiting 20 minutes for a drink. Other than that the kids were not a problem. I just felt children should not be at a bar, but that is just my opinion. The kids did not in ANY WAY ruin anyoneâ€™s trip. Everyone enjoyed the pool and had a great time.
BEACH: The beach is swimmable, but it is not like the crystal blue waters of Cancun. The water is very turned up and there is a lot of sea grass. The trampoline in the ocean sucks! There is not tension on it and it is hard to jump up and down. Honestly though, this does not affect your trip! There are kayaks and sail boats available for all the guests at no charge and several of our guests used these amenities. It is especially good for those who cannot afford the extra excursions but still want to do something in the water!
FOOD: The restaurants are all great! The resort was not very full in June so we never once had to wait for seating. We also were able to eat in some rather large groups. At Portofino there were 20 of us and they put us at two longer tables. We also ate at 7:00 at Bordeaux and had no trouble getting in with 15 in our group. We sat at 3 tables right next to one another. You must do the Hibatchi tables at HImitsu!! The food was great and the show was amazing!!!!
ACTIVITIES: The resort gives every room a newsletter the day before called the Sundial. It lists all the dayâ€™s activities and the hours for the restaurants. This was very informational and it helped all of our guests. It also listed the newlyweds for the day and is a nice little keepsake Several people also went on excursions. We took a cab into Playa del Carmen to shop one day. It was $70 each way for a large van that seats 9, or it is $35 for a regular cab. The van driver then waited for us in Playa and drove us back to the hotel. We also did the dolphin swim at Dreams Cancun. This was my gift to my niece and nephew who were in our wedding and they loved it! Some other guests went snorkeling and 2 went to XEL-HA. The two that went to XEL-HA said it is a definite must! However, it was about a 2 hour drive from the hotel.
REHEARSAL: I spoke with Ana during our meeting and asked her what would be available for a group of 45 to eat for the rehearsal dinner on Friday night. She did not get back to me so I had to call her on Thursday to find out. She was able to set up dinner for us at 6:00 at El Patio for all of us, we just had to pick out a menu. This was awesome! The service at El Patio was amazing! They were so much fun and entertaining. It was my favorite dinner the entire time we were there! At the end of the dinner they brought out shots of Sprite and Tequila and everyone took a shotâ€¦ including grandparents! It was a riot! Everyone had a phenomenal time. I would recommend this instead of setting up any private events.
OKâ€¦. ON TO THE ACTUAL WEDDING!!!!!!
CEREMONY: Our ceremony was at 5:00 on the beach. It was perfect. There were very few people on the beach and I did not notice anyone while the ceremony was happening. You will be so wrapped up in the moment you will not even notice! We gave our CD to Ana and the technician knew when to play every song. I did see some people get married at the gazebo while we were there and they used the BOSE sound system and the quality was amazing. I could hear the music in my closed hotel room! However, you would need to have someone in the wedding or a guest change the music from the different tracks.
OFFICIANT: We used our own script and the officiant received it 2 minutes before the weddingâ€¦ I watched Ana hand it to her! I met the officiant about 5 seconds before the ceremony! The officiant was great! She spoke pretty clear English and she did exactly what was on the script. We had to family members to readings as well and she introduced them before they spoke. I would not worry about getting your script to them; they are professionals and did an amazing job. I was concerned as we walked to the ceremony about this but by that time I had to accept whatever fate would bring, luckily, it went off perfectly!
RECEPTION: We had our reception on the pool deckâ€¦ it was awesome! They set up the buffet very nicely and they label everything for you. There is no need to make food labels or even menu cards. I ended up doing turquoise overlays without chair sashes and it looked great. Other weddings I saw used the chair sashes with no overlays. I would not purchase any overlays for the buffet. They use their own tables and already put overlays on them. I saw one wedding where they used blue, pink and red overlays for the buffet. I did not want this and asked for only pink and white, which they did. The food was amazing. We went with the Caribbean buffet because of the rave reviews it has had on the forum. It was a good choice! We also had the chocolate cake. They did not bring it out until my mom went asking for it. Even with the delay it all worked out just fine! My family is from New Orleans and we do the cake pull tradition with the bridesmaids and single ladies (in place of bouquet toss). Ana made sure they made the cake correctly and put the pulls in for me! I was very happy with this! She also set up my centerpieces exactly as I explained. Do not worry, Ana comes through in the end!
SOUND SYSTEM: We opted to use their sound system and our iPOD for the ceremony and the reception. This option ended up costing $198 for the ceremony and $303 for the reception. The reception costs $303 NOT $198 time 3 hours which would be $594! It is $198 for all 3 hours of the reception PLUS $35 an hour for the technician which is $303. I had my entire playlist on my iPOD and the technician was very nice and let us change anything we wanted. When we were ready for our dances my brother went over to him and asked him to stop after the next song, which he did. The good thing about the technician is that it comes with a microphone. You need this for the ceremony. If you do not have it your guests will not hear you and they will have then traveled all that way to miss all of your vows and everything else! Unless your sound system had a microphone I would suggest using theirs.
PHOTOGRAPHER: We went with Adventure Photos at the resort. I originally had Juan Navarro and was going to pay the extra $250 an hour to have him stay for the reception to get pictures of the dances. Ana told me if I used Adventure Photo I would not have to pay the extra and they would stay all night, so I went with Adventure. Well, Ana lied. The photographer had another appointment that night and did not make it to the reception Our photos came out great but I really wish they would have been at the reception! Luckily, we had some guests with some really nice cameras at the reception
FLOWERS: I used the bouquet with the Love package and it was GORGEOUS!!
I also opted to not have a ceremony centerpiece and Ana gave me 3 bridesmaid bouquets instead.
The final cost for my wedding was ONLY $3011 and it was perfect!
Overall, I would not change my wedding for anything! We had such an amazing time and Dreams Riviera Cancun was the perfect choice for us! I know this review was long, but if you have any other questions please ask! I will post the professional pictures once I have the link!