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About withkids

  1. I posted my review (it's long) on the Resort Review section. We had a fantastic time! Already talk of going back next year!
  2. Arrival – Punta Cana Airport is nice. Couple of things to be aware of… they will take your travel cards they hand you on the airplane. You are supposed to keep them, but it didn’t matter. We didn’t need them to get out. After you collect your luggage, there will be guys wanting to take it for you to your bus. This was a headache for us. We had a large group, and most people took their bags and left which was good. We had 3 kids and 3 people who had mobility issues. They hurry you through and as I needed to go see our group rep, I ended up on the other side of security – there is no warning until you try to get back to your luggage and they stop you from going through. Take your time – get your luggage, then go through. As it was, a full cart of luggage to be taken to your bus by a handler was only $5. That was my only issue with the airport. Our group was so big and my party within the group didn’t stick together. Bus Ride to Resort –Hold on! We were late getting in so it was dark. The roads look very tiny and it was a bit hairy at some points, but the drivers are good. They stopped our bus (we were the only group on our bus) and the guide got us a box of beer off the airport at a local store. It is a 45 min or so drive on some bumpy roads, but you get to see a lot of the country and it goes by fast. Well worth it for the privacy of the resort! The Resort – BEAUTIFUL! I would go back in a heartbeat! No hesitations to return. It was clean, the staff were friendly, and the food was really good. Lots of choice. The grounds are well spread out and lots of room around the pool and on the beach. We went to Majestic Elegance for our “clean the dress†shoot – and although “elegant†– I much preferred the feel and layout of the Dreams resort. So much space, even though the rooms were all full, it never felt crowded! No wrist bands needed and when you are on the beach, you don’t get the wandering traffic from the other resorts, so it was nice and quiet. The pool is excellent. It is only 3 feet deep, but good to cool off and great for walking, floating and drinking. The kids had a blast! Someone would get up early everyday and grab a large covered bed for us, and we used that to hang out at and as a gathering area for the day. It was good to sleep on out of the sun. The lights on all the balconies go out every day at 11 pm. So be aware, it can look really dark when that happens. We didn’t hear much noise, but we were on the third floor. Being on the first floor may be noisier as they are the covered pathways from building to building – but no-one in our party complained. They have a newsletter that lets you know what is going on each day (so handy!!) and the theatre shows every night – some were really good! (some were hooky – but it is usually the day staff doing it so bravo for them!). The casino apparently was house side heavy. No one walked away with anything. I didn’t get a chance to go. The gift shops are pretty good too. If you take a walk up the beach (to the left) there is a market area off the beach and a little store called “Tropical Treasuresâ€. I was too busy with wedding and kids to make it, but others from our party went and said it was worth the walk. TAKE THE TIME to go and see a sunrise on the beach! We got a great one, one morning. The last morning we were there, we did a Champagne sunrise toast to use up our last bottle. Those who wanted to join us did. It was nice. Kids Club – we used the kids club and several times went to pick up the kids and they didn’t want to leave. It was fantastic! They have all kids of activities to keep the kids busy all day. You can come and get them or drop them off as needed. They did cooking classes, sea shell gathering, a fashion show, mini-disco, pirate activities, and too many other things to list here - supervised swimming pool with slide and pirate ship. They will even take the kids for their meals. Eating/Restaurants - World Café is the big buffet – so many choices – I don’t think anyone had any complaints about this restaurant. The only other ones I made it to were the Oceana for our wedding dinner. Really good sea-food. Parts of our group ate there several times, they really liked it. We went to the Sea-side Grill. It was good too. Prime rib was the only thing I heard anyone complain about. The corn chowder was really good! Others went to Portafino and said it was Excellent! The boys went to Himatsu for dinner one night (my hen night) with the kids. The non-adventurous of the group were not impressed, but no complaints from the younger crowd. For lunches, each of the bars has a bar-b-que set up. We used both the one at the Barracuda bar and the barefoot bar on the beach (hamburgers, dogs, potato chunks). We mostly ate there. Yummy. They also have a pizza bar at the World Café with good pizza. Excursions – We did 3. If you have a group, don’t be afraid to negotiate! We booked the Maranarium with Air Canada Vacations. We snorkelled with the rays and nurse sharks, then they take you to a shallower area where you can float around in the water. For a few of our party, it was their first time in the ocean. Then they have a dance party on the way back to shore. They also feed you LOTS of rum and pass out sandwiches’. Although it was a drive from the resort, it was good. We then did the horseback riding. We used the guys on the beach (in the orange shirts). It was fantastic. Because we again had a large group (everyone who went on our trip except 2 people were with us), we paid $45 per person on their own horse. The horses look small, but they are Caribbean breed. They were telling us that they only do two rides each horse per day, only get used for a few days then they spend 21 days in the fields to rest. They apparently have 400 horses on their ranch. We rode through the jungle, along fields and across the beach. Well worth the two hours! The last one we did was a SCUBA trip through the guys at the poolside. It was really good too. The drive was 1:40, but you got to see other parts of the province, the sugar cane fields, a small city, etc. The dives were good too. One reef and one wreck. We had two divers with us who were not certified, so we didn’t do anything more than 40 feet. If everyone was certified, they would have done other dives for us, but these were fine. We had a group of 8, and it was only us on the boat. Take bottled water with you if you go. They stopped at a market on the way back – again – negotiate prices!! They also stopped at a local bar where the guys got out and bought several bottles of Rum with the help of the Divemaster. Good trip! The Wedding Stuff (somewhere in all that fun we did have a wedding!). Our photographer (Photo Phil) came at 10 and started pictures with the boys. He came to the girls room at 11:30. We had asked for our flowers to be there for 12. We got the bridal bouquet and the boutonnières at 1, but the extra bouquet for the bridesmaids didn’t show up until 3 (right at the start of the wedding). That was the only thing that happened. So it delayed the wedding by 10 minutes – no big deal. It’s Dominican Time! There was also a mix up with our upgrade. Not a big deal. We asked for our upgrade, but the upgraded us to a honeymoon suite. Well, with the kids it wasn’t much use to us, so we swapped with the best man who’s room happened to attach to my parents. It worked out well, they got good use of the whirlpool (he had hurt his back at the airport). The boys used that room to get ready. Yessica was amazing and made sure it all went well. We had our ipod with our playlists all set up for her, and it was perfect. The day before it rained all day (we had switched our days to Thursday from Wednesday – thank heavens!) and we had perfect weather. There is always a breeze off the ocean on that side of the island and it kept everyone from overheating. It all goes so fast, we didn’t do any extra decorations and the beach wedding was still simply elegant! The white was perfect. Pastor York was fantastic. Some yahoo was stealing our champagne after though. They do the toast just as your are coming back up the aisle. It gets dark around 6:15, so we did a lot of our photos prior to the actual wedding for the best light. We had the cocktail reception at the El Patio – it was great. We didn’t have a large party, and when it started to rain (for all of 5 minutes) – they just moved us inside. Then we went to the beach for more photos, dinner at the Oceana. Our cake arrived a little late, but it showed up. It was plenty for all of our guests. No need to order a bigger one. We got vanilla. Yummy! Then we headed to the beach for a bon-fire. It was great. We took our ipod with the mini-ball speakers and used that. We paid for a 2 hour bon-fire with a one hour bar. It worked out perfect. The bartender gave us the extra time for nothing. I think they were having fun. We brought glow sticks and marshmallows. I don’t think they had ever seen glow sticks. They were happy to take the ones we hadn’t used. The day went by so fast! The only issue I heard about after was that because we had the kids, our friends arranged a room for us. They quoted $150, but when they went to pay the bill, they were charged $150 each. They will be disputing that with VISA as the resort wouldn’t change it. Get these things in writing! If you or your guests are looking for things to take for the staff (they like the tip money, but extras are nice) – most of the staff are young and have young kids. They have no toy stores down there, so the staff were happy to take our dollar store kids activity kids (white boards, colouring books, crayons, blow-up toys, etc). As long as you sign a paper saying you gave it to them, they can take it home to their kids. We also gave our best waiter Domingo a hat. They appreciate perfume too. These people work hard to make your stay nice and get paid little (only about $250 a month). We also left some chocolate bars, marshmallows, a life jacket, and some other small items we didn’t want or need to carry home for our housekeeper. She had 5 young bambinos! All in all – great choice of resort! You will not regret your choice. We are talking about going back already! The best thing I did and the most appreciated from our guests was that I made each room booked a beach bag. Everyone used it every day. So handy. I saw some at Dollarama (after I had sewed them all) for $2. They would work well. We also gave everyone a Bubba which were put to good use, a deck of cards, a water wallet and the guys each got a hat. If you have any questions, let me know. Sorry this is so long but lots to fit in before I forget!
  3. We got back on Sunday. You should be able to get a group into any restaurant there for a rehearsal dinner. Or make a reservation at the Himatsu (the only one that takes reservations). The other restaurants will group you together if you come as a group, but you may be at two tables, and you may have a few minutes wait (at the bar - no problem!). It's pretty dark by 6:30. Would you consider doing your pictures before the wedding? Our photographer started at 10:30, and even then we took pictures all day. We did a "reveal" at 1, where the groom saw me for the first time all "done up". Pictures take for-ev-er!! Lots of great places to do shots though! Or talk to your photographer. He/she may just have to do lots of lighting/backlighting.
  4. We booked a regular room and got the upgrade to the honeymoon suite.
  5. Hola!! We got back this morning, I will post a longer review later... but excited to tell you that our trip was amazing and so much fun! There were a few glitches, but overall - so worth it! What an amazing resort. Such a great choice! More later...
  6. Getting close - so much to do. The place I ordered my dress is going (has gone) out of business. I was one of the lucky ones who actually got to get their dress. Phew! What a scare! We are just in the process of finishing up and handing out our OOT bag stuff. I made a bunch of beach totes, we got Bubba's for everyone and had stickers printed, decks of cards and some "waterproof wallets" (not great ones, but we tried), and I would like to finish a booklet I started about who's coming and some things to do and spanish phrases etc. One word of advice - don't do this around Christmas with kids! LOL We met with our photographer on Saturday (Phil Stiengard). Went through the plan for the day and the trash the dress session. I'm so glad we got him! He's got everything down and he's gonna walk us through the day. He also knows Pastor Rick York well, so I'm not stressing about when we're there. Just packing! Merry Christmas everyone!
  7. Are you looking for new or used? They have dresses at Value Village and Salvation Army. You might find one there.
  8. Count down is on! We leave in 58 days and married in 63. Can't wait. I haven't been here in a while, but poking around.
  9. @Sherylh I got a price of $14.99 per person for a la carte dinner for January 2013. Half price if the kids eat off the kids menu. Our plan is to do a reception for guests while doing our pictures, then go to dinner. They will reserve a section of your selected restruant for you. At least thats what we've been told by our WC. We were going to do the bonfire, but were told the price is not just $200, it's $200 PER HOUR! Thats crazy! So now we need a plan for after dinner. Most likely just go dancing or hand out at a bar somewhere.
  10. Hi there, just checking in... We have had some issues with our group travel agent(s). Trying to work those out. So dishearting and embarrising when you've asked people to use a specific company and everyone gets the run around (as well as us, but we are documenting everything and hopeing to get things worked out). We figure we can't do much more planning until we find out how many people are actually coming! Dinner plans, bar plans etc. all on hold. On a happy note. We've confirmed Pator Rick (yay!) and we have confirmed Photo Phil! Nice! He has been my families photographer since I was a kid, he did my sisters wedding at home so we are happy to have him coming to do our wedding! He does such great work! We are planning our OOT bags. Travel mugs, beach bags, maybe sunglasses (try www.stlouiswholesale.com I just ordered some stuff from them, great service!) and then standard sunscreen, etc. We plan on handing them out at a pre-party so we don't have to bring it all down with us! Except those who we won't be seeing before hand.
  11. I am working on my passport invites right now. Using information from the net, other posts on this forum and MS publisher. Time consuming yes, but they are looking pretty cool. I bought some cards from Micheals and will staple the booklet inside that. I have some scrapbooking tools and will round off the corners of the booklet and can cut them down to proper passport size. For those who we are just inviting for "fun" we will send out an email .pdf with all the details. This was supposed to be my simple wedding!! LOL I have a feeling our prices will change. The adult price has already changed once. Hard to tell people what to expect when it keeps changing!
  12. oops. Sorry, I posted that question twice. I was posting the orgininal from work and it didn't appear to go so I posted it again. sorry, new at this fourm thing!
  13. Question for 2013 brides getting pricing - Our Travel Agent gave us the wrong quote for kids (which was one of the deciding factors of choosing this resort). We've paid our deposit and then they give us the new kid rate (oh - not happy). Anyway. Have any of your Travel Agents been able to confirm if the kids stay free promotion will extend to 2013? It will make a big difference to our guests (and us...). Just one more hiccup in trying to plan a year in advance I guess. Also, for recent/upcoming brides - If you put your deposit down and then want to change the wedding package, can you do that? Did anyone do a buffet on the beach? What we would really like is a simple buffet on the beach with a bonfire - anyone been able to pull that off? Thanks!
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