Gen Snipes DREAMS CANCUN Review. All words and no pics!
Posted 04 July 2009 - 08:14 PM
Ok Ladies, itâ€™s been a few weeks but itâ€™s time I pay it forward â€“ hereâ€™s my review! I have to warn you, as hungry everyone is for picturesâ€¦ I promised my fianc© (who is a very private person) from the beginning that I wouldnâ€™t post pics of him or our family online. I know, I know â€“ Lame! But Iâ€™ll try to make up for that with a long review!
Travel Agent / Swine Flu
We had a bulk of our party book with an agent who had arranged a room block at dreams. For the most part she was very nice and answered all our questions. She also arranged shuttles for us and it was nice to have our guests travel information all on one itinerary.
We had a bit of an issue however when, in the height of the swine flu madness, when we had 3 days to decide on whether to move forward with our wedding (for the refund deadline with the TA) â€“and we could not get a call back from her or any help from the agency. That was a VERY stressful 3 days. But in the end, we decided to move forward and let the chips fall where they may (the right choice!) After so many in our party had cancelled due to fear over the swine flu, we wondered if we were doing the right thing by moving forward. Iâ€™m so glad we did â€“once we made the decision- it was never an issue again throughout the trip.
Alaska Air / Cancun Airport
Our flights were pretty easy- breezy, no delays or problems. Looking back I wish we would have splurged on first class just the one time! (But it was too pricey).
The airport (arriving in Cancun) was mayhem. There was a thousand people trying to filter though about 4 lines, but no one knew where to stand because there were no real â€œlinesâ€ set up. I stood in one line with some luggage while my fianc© went back to get the rest. When he joined me, this one family started yelling at me that we were cheating (which I totally did not intend to do â€“ but it was pretty dog-eat-dog). I apologized, told them I didnâ€™t intend to â€œbutt inâ€ and let them go in front of meâ€¦ but the dad was so mean and even one of the kids yelled at us! Geez people â€“enjoy your vacation!
When we finally made it through the â€œno lineâ€ and had our luggage scanned the airport security seemed only momentarily concerned that I had an entire suitcase full of old navy flip flops. I told him I was getting married and he seemed way to busy and frazzled to want to press the issue. There was a medical form to fill out â€“you basically check yes or no to about 5 questions (do you have a feverâ€ etc). You check â€œnoâ€ and turn it back in â€“Thatâ€™s it! Once we were free of customs, we head out to the airport lobby, and having been there on a site visit- we know to ignore all the time share guys and head straight for the outside world. The hot, hot, outsideâ€¦
We came here for a site visit last year and our only issue with the resort is that the main area (although open and beautiful) is not air conditioned. Waiting to check in was a long line of folks literally dripping with sweat. This is still the only con I can think ofâ€¦The resort is at the tip of the peninsula and has by far the most ideal location for the wedding Gazebo. Itâ€™s pretty breathtaking. Check-In was easy and we went to check out our room (Master Jacuzzi Club Suite). What can I say â€“ GORGEOUS. Awesome huge room, with the most killer view. We watched weddings happen everyday before ours â€“so surreal. The room had a guest bathroom and a little makeup table /vanity and getting ready area.
We ended up having a bridal shower in the room which easily accommodated over 20 women - no problem. We ordered room service and it was a great time (note- if you want to order room service for that many people â€“it has to be ordered by separate rooms and then sent to the one roomâ€¦ still pretty easy). One not so great moment â€“the morning after the wedding I awoke to find the ceiling pouring out water onto the bar area. Someone did come to fix it, but it ruined a couple of my things. (Concierge was not able to â€œdo anythingâ€ about this, unfortunately). On a good note â€“ the A/C in out room was awesomeâ€¦ youâ€™d be dying of heat stroke in the little hot elevator, and then walk into a freezing oasis.
Posted 04 July 2009 - 08:15 PM
We wanted to do something fun for all of our guests so we rented a boat from Cancun Catamarans. It was fun and everyone had a great time except I got really sea sick and couldn’t really participate at all Basically there is a crew- they take you out on a snorkeling trip, serve drinks and play music. It’s 3-4 hours and really fun (if you don’t get sick).
Pros- everyone had a blast- it was different and fun.
Cons – It was a little cramped with no shaded areas, and afterwards the crew went around asking our guests for tips ! when we had arranged to take care of them (quite well). This was frustrating
Restaurants / Rehearsal Dinner
We ate at Oceana the first night which was really good, but like many all inclusives, the service was very slow. It took more than 3 hours for us to eat. This made me nervous because we were planning on doing the rehearsal dinner there the next night. I couldn’t imagine what the service would be like if there was 35 of us! Because of this we decided to have the dinner at the World Caf©. Everyone ate at the world Caf© almost everyday (the buffet), and at first I thought people might be sick of it, or it might not be “fancy” enough for a rehearsal- but it was perfect. Instead of paying the fee per head for regular rehearsal / welcome dinner, we just spoke to the manager earlier that day and he said that if we purchased a bottle of wine for each table, he would block of an area of the restaurant for us. It was great –the waiters kept our drinks full all night and everyone could choose what they wanted to eat. We also ate room service too many times. I’ll be happy if I never see another grilled cheese! Also – Service at the beach was great – always someone coming by to see if you need a drink.
The first day I was there I went to the gym. The gym/spa door is this big heavy glass door that immediately slammed on my arm. It was incredibly painful and left me with a huge ol’ bruise for my wedding day. I was upset and talked to the gym/spa manager – I told him that it had really hurt me and was pretty dangerous, especially if a child was around. He seemed pretty uninterested in me. I did not go back to the gym the rest of the trip in defiance. I did have a massage however the morning of the wedding and it was great! When I was done with the massage on my way out I stopped to show the spa manager my bruise and how it was growing larger and blacker day by day
Posted 04 July 2009 - 08:21 PM
Claudia was great, very nice. She obviously has a lot on her plate- but she pulls it together and remembers everything you need. I had brought favors etc for the tables and she arranged everything. She is very â€œbehind the scenesâ€ but making sure everything runs smoothly. Thank you Claudia!
Photographer / Claudia Rodriguez
Claudia arrived right on time while the girls were getting ready. She is super sweet and nice and I am sure the pics will be great (although it takes 4-6 weeks? Yikes) It seems like a lot of other brides get their pics faster than that?, but maybe I am just being impatient. We did our pictures at 5:00 and even then the sun was so bright and it was so hot outâ€¦ I can only hope I wasnâ€™t a complete squinty sweaty mess! We also had the video taken (from the ultimate package) so I canâ€™t wait to see that as well.
I did my own make-up which was fine, but I left my hair to the last minute thinking â€œeh â€“Iâ€™ll just sweep it up somehowâ€. Ladies- make a plan and practice it. My hair was a little bit loco. I left it curly and it was all over the place, stuck in my lip gloss and whipping around. I would have straightened it and done it a little tighter had I been more prepared. I was able to give the hair and makeup that came in the package to my maid of honor (or you can trade it for a mani/pedi).
We decided to get married at 7:pm to avoid all the onlookers at the pool. It turned out to be the perfect time. The lights lit up on the pathway right as I was walking down the isle and the sun was setting. The gazebo was GORGEOUS. The waves were crashing as seagulls flew by. Everyone was slightly worried however by the huge storm clouds descending , so we just thought â€œjust get through it! No rain! No rain!â€ I seriously did not wait one year to have it rain on my perfect beach wedding! So the ceremony went off without a hitch and we headed down to the beach for our reception.
We had Sergio from Mannia as the DJ and they were all set up with the lighted dance floor. The tables looked great tooâ€¦ although I really wanted candles on all the tables (as well as the tiki torches) but the wind was a little too strong so none of them stayed lit. The food was delicious â€“thank god (since we had never tried any of the dishes). We had the organic salad, brushetta, salmon, lasagna, and cr¨me brule. The service was a little slow with the drinks, but people seemed to be having a good time. The beach locale was beautiful â€“ we had the white flags which helped â€œfancy it upâ€ a bit.
THENâ€¦ right after the main course the wind whips up and the sand starts flowing and rain starts falling. We waited a few minutes thinking â€œmaybe this will pass â€¦PLEASE PASS!â€. But it started getting worse, so we grabbed the centerpieces and everyone went up to the lobby bar. It could have been WAY worse, but everyone had eaten, so the only problem now was where to party? So the DJ set up everything on the Lobby terrace and we danced the night away out there. (I only wish we hadnâ€™t paid so much for that dance floor now!). What originally had been the worst case scenario, turned out to be not so bad. People actually had more room to dance and quicker access to the bar (which was right there). We did the chair dance in the lobby and did the cake there too. I had the wait staff keep the bar open an extra ½ hour and the DJ stayed late as well. Everyone had fun and I was a dancing maniac. I drank white wine all night instead of red so I wouldnâ€™t spill on myself, which I could totally see happening. I saw Claudia near the end of the night just chillin in the corner, I was like â€œitâ€™s late â€“ go home!â€ I promised to take care of her in the morning. (I will say we did tip everyone very well that night for taking care of us â€“itâ€™s a must!).
DJ / Mannia
So I had reserved Carlos from Mannia many months prior to the wedding and confirmed several times that HE would be the one doing our wedding. He assured us each time that it would indeed be him. We requested to meet with him the Friday before the wedding at Dreams to give him some of our music and go over the details. We ended up meeting with someone else from his company (Sergio) who mentioned that Carlos was on Vacation, but would be available for our wedding (but then later he said he was sick, which was confusing). We ended up really liking Sergio from our meeting, and since Carlos was sick/ on vacation, we said it was totally ok if he was the one to DJ. We gave him an ipod with songs clearly labeled for Dinner, Dancing, etc. which for the most part he stuck to (except for the occasional Celine Dionne which was quickly vetoed!). Sergio was super sweet and accommodating. He had great energy and when it rained he was super quick about getting set up on the terrace and moving all the equipment. Because that took a bit of time though, he even stayed a little later. I definitely recommend him. (side note- as we were winding down, I noticed there was another guy wrapping up the equipment with him- which turned out to be the elusive Carlos!)
So in the end, after a few bruises and leaky ceilingsâ€¦and RAIN â€“The wedding was great â€“I couldnâ€™t have asked for a better vacation. The families raved about how fun it was and that it was the best wedding they had been to.
HONEYMOON (Mini-moon really)
@ EXCELLENCE RIVIERA MAYA
Wow, this place is pretty Gorgeous. We were impressed by how luxurious it felt, with a beautiful lobby and pools everywhere you turn.
The club swim up suite we reserved was the same price as the dreams master Jacuzzi suite â€“but it was about ¼ the size. I was a bit surprised by this, but it was still very nice. Also, our room had a â€œbackyardâ€ leading up to the club pool which had its own jacuzzi tub, lounge chairs and hammock. The club pool had great poolside service as well. The Beach was awesome there too, with tons of lounge beds to go around. Also â€“the restaurants were all very goodâ€¦there was more variety than dreams, and the service was a little quicker as well.
The cons: We kept putting the privacy sign on the door, but that didnâ€™t keep employees from banging on our door at all hours! We had the concierge banging loudly on our door at 8:AMâ€¦I was totally confused why they would be doing that so early when we had a huge honeymoon banner and a privacy sign on our door. He said he was â€œjust checking to see if anyone was staying in our roomâ€. We checked in with him personally the day before! That happened a few times and was very frustrating. I hate to sound super picky â€“but when you only have 3 days to relax and sleep inâ€¦ you want to sleep in (especially for that price!) Also we had bad luck with room service- it came consistently late (and was sometimes not what we ordered)
For those who are sad about leaving their cats at home (like me).. I was so excited to meet the sweetest cat of all time who lives outside the club concierge lobby. Spreckles (okay, okay I named her that) the cat lives around the resort with some wild friends. She is however the nicest of the bunch. We snuck her into our room and gave her some Tuna leftovers. She was so awesome, I was sort of crushed to say goodbye. If anyone goes to the Excellenceâ€¦ befriend Spreckles and give her lots of love! (and some Tuna)
I wonâ€™t be on this site that often now I imagine, but Iâ€™ll do my best to answer any questions you all may have
Good luck to all the future brides, and thatnks to all who wrote reviews in the past. It has been a great help!!!
Posted 05 July 2009 - 01:07 PM
Posted 05 July 2009 - 03:55 PM
Posted 05 July 2009 - 11:52 PM
Can I ask what favors you gave at the wedding and also what kind of music you had for the ceremony? and what kind of cake did you have and was it good?
thanks for the review!
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