Paris Permenter & John Bigley's
Caribbean Family Tripper travel guide

Your guide to Caribbean family vacations from a husband-wife team of professional travel writers and guidebook authors.

Become a CaribbeanFamilyTripper fan on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS feed:
Site Features
Family resorts
Caribbean travel news
Where to Go?
Antigua & Barbuda
British Virgin Islands
Cayman Islands
Dominican Republic
Mexican Caribbean

Search CaribbeanFamilyTripper.com


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Atlantis, Paradise Island Making it Easier to Travel with Babies

What's the biggest concern of parents traveling with a new baby? According to a new survey conducted by Atlantis, JOHNSON’S® and BabyCenter.com, it's bringing along all the stuff that babies require.

That concern will now be less of a problem for guests of Atlantis, Paradise Island resort; the Bahamas resort has joined together to develop Gentle Travel, a resort-based partnership that will provide families the opportunity to enjoy their vacation and maintain their routine while away from home.

What is Gentle Travel? This travel routine, created with a board-certified and renowned pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg, is designed to address the needs of parents traveling with babies. Delivered with each requested crib to the guest’s room, the Gentle Travel kit includes Dr. Trachtenberg’s baby routine tips, products from some of JOHNSON’S® product lines, including JOHNSON’S® SOOTHING NATURALS‘, JOHNSON’S® BEDTIME CREAM and HEAD-TO-TOE®. Also the kit will include a lullaby CD and a specially chosen nightlight. JOHNSON’S® will also provide chosen Atlantis families the opportunity to preview select new products before they are available for purchase.

Stresses of family travel

Seven out of 10 parents surveyed find it particularly difficult to settle kids down for bedtime after an exciting day -- especially young children whose routines may be disrupted during vacation. Dr. Trachtenberg developed bedtime instructions to help parents continue baby’s sleep routine even while on vacation.

“As a pediatrician, I often hear from parents about the stresses of family travel, and as mother of three, I have been there myself,” said Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg, pediatrician and medical director of YearsAhead.com, who developed the tips in the Gentle Travel kits. “This new program is exciting because Atlantis and JOHNSON’S® are providing parents with an all-in-one package containing the information and products they need from two of the most trusted names in travel and baby care.”

Atlantis has also created a new Prompt Response line to allow parents to order and quickly receive anything they need to care for their babies, including extra crib sheets, baby bathtubs, bottle warmers and sterilizers, strollers and small refrigerators.

Resort Babysitters

Parents can also request one of the resort’s more than 100 babysitters, all of whom have been trained on the Gentle Travel process. Each of the baby sitters has also been carefully screened through background checks and qualified in CPR and childcare. The resort will accommodate families with special needs, such as offering custom-designed meals at any restaurant on the property for children with severe food allergies.

“Last year, we serviced more than 6,500 cribs at Atlantis. As a leader in family travel, we recognized that this rapidly growing and important guest demographic required our special attention. The result was the development of our first partnership with a major consumer brand on an in-room program. To us, there is no greater leader in the baby category than JOHNSON’S®, and they were a natural fit to help us create this program,” said George Markantonis, President and Managing Director, Kerzner International, Bahamas (the parent Company for Atlantis). “Gentle Travel evidences our commitment to the guest experience at Atlantis, and that extends even to our tiniest visitors.”

For more information or reservations:

• visit atlantis.com
• call 954-809-2000 or 800-ATLANTIS.

Book Beach Butlers at Marriott, Renaissance Caribbean & Mexico Resorts

Here's a unique idea for family travelers: a Beach Book Butler to deliver beach-themed books while your family enjoys the beach! The program is found at Marriott and Renaissance Caribbean & Mexico Resorts eight Marriott and Renaissance Caribbean & Mexico Resorts including Aruba, Curaçao, St. Kitts, St. Thomas, and Cancun. Families can select from five book titles for adults and five for children. Beach Book Butlers will be available at every beach, and books can be returned on the beach or to the front desk at checkout.

Beach books include:

1. Amber Beach by Elizabeth Lowell – When her brother vanishes, Honor Donovan settles into his cottage in the Pacific Northwest and hires a fishing guide to help her search for him, finding a tangled web of deception – and passion.

2. The Beach House by James Patterson – The death of a car valet in the Hamptons leads to a mystery that involves the secret lives of the rich and revenge Hamptons-style.

3. Beach Girls by Luanne Rice – Set in a quintessential beach community in Connecticut, childhood girlfriends are reunited after life and love pushed them apart.

4. Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh – This classic describes the author’s vacation by the sea, where, inspired by the shells she sees on the shore, she delivers meditations on aging, love, peace and contentment.

5. McNally’s Puzzle by Lawrence Sanders – South Florida’s premier sleuth-around-town attempts to solve a Palm Beach whodunit involving a psychic, blackmailers and an amateur production of “Arsenic and Old Lace.”

6. Beach Day by Karen Roosa – Kids will love this child’s view of a day at the shore.

7. Curious George Goes to the Beach by H. A. Rey – One hot summer day, George and the man with the yellow hat go to the beach, when the seagulls snap something valuable and George saves the day.

8. How Will We Get to the Beach? by Brigitte Luciani and Eve Tharlet – Roxanne is headed for the beach on a beautiful summer day with her baby, an umbrella, a book, a ball and their turtle – but getting there proves to be quite a trip.

9. Lottie’s New Beach Towel by Petra Mathers – Lottie the chicken takes her new red-and-white polka-dotted beach towel on a beach adventure.

10. Pigs on a Blanket by Amy Axelrod – Kids can use their math skills when a pig family plans a trip to the beach but run into all sorts of delays.

Special Rates

Beach lovers can also take advantage of especially low summer rates and special deals like the Escape! Family Package, which includes accommodations; breakfast for two daily and kids 12 and under; an in-room family pizza party with a movie and pizza delivery; and nightly turndown service with milk and cookies. Rates range from $189-$513, and kids 12 and under stay free with an adult and dine free when ordering off the children’s menu. (Escape! Family Package rate is per room, per night, based on double occupancy and subject to availability. Rate varies by season and by resort. Promotion is valid through December 16, 2006 and requires a minimum three- or five-night stay. Children 12 and under are free with paying adult. In-room movie and room service is valid for one night only. Blackout dates and offer restrictions may apply. )

For More Information:
• visit www.ParadiseByMarriott.com
• call 1-888-PARADISE (727-2347)

For More on the Escape! Family Package:
• visit www.ParadiseByMarriott.com/escapefamily
• call 1-888-PARADISE (727-2347) and refer to code MAJ

Monday, May 29, 2006

Carnival Cruise Lines Offering Lower Prices Than Last Year

Although gas prices have risen, Carnival Cruise Lines is pointing out that it is offering rates up to 20 percent lower than last year.

The Caribbean remains the most popular cruise destination with big values on short cruises (five days or less) within the region, with prices starting at $229 per person. Week-long Caribbean cruises start at $449 per person. Carnival's "Fun Ships" depart from 18 different North American homeports.

CheapCaribbean.com Now Offering "Free Your Mind" Program

A growing number of resorts are now offering hurricane guarantees and now CheapCaribbean.com is offering its own "Free Your Mind" Travel Protection Plan, included in every vacation package it offers. The plan covers hurricanes plus any other reason the travelers need to reschedule.

"If the boss schedules a meeting that cancels a getaway, or a hurricane spotted off the coast of Africa makes the customer nervous, as long as we're notified at least 3 hours before the customer's scheduled U.S. departure flight, they won't incur penalties for one-time booking changes or cancellations not covered by travel insurance," said Jim Hobbs, CheapCaribbean's President. "In addition, those customers receive a credit voucher for their full vacation amount redeemable for a CheapCaribbean Mexico or Caribbean vacation within one year from the date of cancellation."

Travelers with 'hurricane anxiety' hold back on booking Caribbean and Mexico vacation packages for late summer and fall, when some of the best luxury travel bargains are available, often including incentives such as free nights, stay and eat free deals for children, discounted or free spa treatments and golf rounds.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization's Director of Marketing for the Americas, Hugh Riley, stated: "The majority of Caribbean destinations are not affected by bad weather during this time. CheapCaribbean's 'Free Your Mind - Cancel/Change For Any Reason' program is a great step forward for both travelers and Caribbean resorts, erasing the anxiety factor of booking a Caribbean stay during this period."

Under the plan, vacationers enjoy traditional travel insurance coverage plus CheapCaribbean's own Cancel/Change For Any Reason One-Time Waiver protection for packages booked at http://www.cheapcaribbean.com or via its 24- hour call center at 800-915-2322.

Magic Johnson Enterprises Launches Travel Agencies

The last few years, there has been a real interest in celebrity travel as travelers note which resorts stars choose for their own getaways. Now one celebrity has taken that a step further with his own travel agency.

Magic Johnson Enterprises, in partnership with CruiseShipCenters, GOGO Worldwide Vacations and Royal Caribbean International, has launched the Magic Johnson Travel Group (MagicJohnsonTG). The launch took place aboard the brand new Royal Caribbean International cruising vessel Freedom of the Seas -- the largest ship to ever sail.

According to the press materials, the first multicultural home-based travel agent initiative and franchise network specifically targeting African-American, Hispanic and Asian- American franchisees and customers, MagicJohnsonTG aims to cultivate organic growth in the minority travel segment and incite entrepreneurs from Urban America.

Headquartered in Miami, MagicJohnsonTG features home-based franchises throughout North America.

"Magic Johnson Travel Group was created with the goal of building a network of culturally diverse home-based travel agents, who sell to their communities, neighbors and friends," says Earvin "Magic" Johnson, CEO, Magic Johnson Enterprises. "I have been privileged to partner with three well respected companies in the travel industry. My company's role is to provide a trusted voice for Urban America and to pass along entrepreneurial economic empowerment to those communities."

Minority travel has grown at a quicker rate than overall U.S. travel volume, with a 4% increase among African-Americans, a 10% increase among Asian-Americans and a 20% increase among U.S. Hispanics.

Trends in Family Travel

Caribbean travel fits right into some survey results we just received from American Express Travel agents. The survey of agents revealed some interesting travel trends for this summer:

• Family travel is on the rise
• family vacations are expanding beyond the traditional getaways to include newer, broader, more active and meaningful travel plans
• top motivators for family travel include the desire to introduce children to different cultures, customs and lifestyles, to experience new things together and create lasting memories.
And just who is taking these family trips? The bookings have grown beyong Mom, Dad and the kids:

• 81% of agents are booking family vacations consisting of multi-generational trips that include grandparents.
• 69% of agents are seeing grandparents traveling exclusively with their grandchildren
• 69% are seeing adult children traveling with their parents
• 67% often book family and family friends traveling together as one large group
The travel agents are also seeing trends in what the family vacation consists of:

• 62% are booking more outdoor, adventure family vacations
• 57% are booking more international family vacations
• 49% see cruising as a growing trend in family travel
• 64% are seeing a rise in mother-daughter getaways
• 36% see an increase in father-son travel
And just where are all those family travelers going on their international trips? London, Rome and Paris take top spots but the three other popular international destinations named in the survey are Cancun, Mexico, Nassau in the Bahamas, and San Jose, Costa Rica.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Melia Expands Family Offerings

The all-inclusive Melia hotels (a sister chain of the Paradisus resorts) is now offering an expanded special program for families

  • Flintstones-Land™ - An area professionally assisted for children ages four months to 13 years old, includes clubs and activities with Fred and Dino tailored especially for their enjoyment. Available at Meliá Puerto Vallarta, Meliá Cozumel, Meliá Azul Ixtapa, Meliá Caribe Tropical Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
  • Cyber & Teen Areas - Offer adventure and activities especially-designed for teens and tweens that include a rock climbing wall, zip lines, tight-rope bridges, and super jumpers
  • Nightly Family Entertainment- Activities such as Karaoke, nightly games of volley ball, and children’s movie presentations, all led by our professional entertainment coordinators, are geared for the entire family
  • Family Rooms - Located near Flintstones-Land™, are specially-designed for large families, and can accommodate up to three children under the age of 12, accompanied by their parents.
Children will enjoy separate living quarters, themed linen, and their own bathroom amenities.

For More Information:
• visit Sol Melia Resorts

New Family Concierge at Paradisus Resorts

We just returned from the brand new Paradisus Palma Real in the Dominican Republic a few weeks ago, an excellent all-inclusive that has a lot to offer families. Now the Paradisus resorts are going to adding another feature that will be of special interest: the family concierge.

The Family Concierge service will include:
  • In-room children amenities such as tyke-sized bathrobes and slippers, children’s towels and bathroom amenity kit, and Play Station (optional)
  • Fully stocked mini bar offering juices, chocolate- and strawberry-flavored milk
  • Walkie-talkies to communicate with the family concierge in order to accommodate guests’ needs and coordinate resort activities and excursions throughout their stay
  • Special recreational activities for families
For More Information:
• visit Sol Melia Resorts

Flight Attendants Offer Family Tips

The US is predicting a busy air travel season this summer with both fewer domestic flights and more demand overall. On busy flights, it's tough for even road warriors to stay cheery but it can really be difficult for family travelers. Here are some tips by American Airlines flight attendants for flying with your child this summer:

Do keep your child calm
during the flight by…

· …discussing the travel process with your child before the trip. Read books or watch movies about airplanes and airports with your children to familiarize them with the sights and sounds, security procedures and appropriate behavior. Knowing about turbulence and air pressure changes will ensure that your child doesn’t become frightened inflight.

· … introducing your child to crew members before the flight begins. American Airlines allows families to pre-board, giving you extra time to get your family settled and meet the crew members on board.

· … bringing something familiar. A favorite blanket or stuffed animal will comfort children who are fearful or nervous.

Don’t let your child become bored. Keep children engaged by…

· …bringing activity, coloring or reading books for you and your child to enjoy together. Books about airplanes or travel can help children identify things they will likely see during your trip.

· … wrapping small, inexpensive “gifts” to be opened periodically throughout the flight. The novelty of a surprise toy or book will last longer than familiar toys, and when it finally wears off… time to open a new one!

· … embracing technology. DVD players and portable video games will keep children occupied for hours. Don’t forget the headsets!

· … getting creative. American Airlines flight attendants have witnessed some great families at work – learning origami together, having a picnic and doing each other’s hair and makeup.

Do keep your child safe and healthy by…

· … bringing an approved car seat for younger children and keeping them in their seat and buckled at all times.

· … leaving your child’s socks and shoes on during the flight.

· …packing any medications your child may need in your carry-on, including pain relievers and decongestants to assist with depressurizing sinuses during take-off and descent.

· … seating children in window or middle seats when possible. Aisle traffic is disruptive to children and flight crew may not be able to see over food and beverage carts.

Don’t forget the basics. Make sure your family is prepared by…

… packing sanitary wipes, a change of clothes (for kids and adults) and a blanket or sweater in your carry-on.

… bringing a small selection of your child’s favorite food and drinks on board. Children can get cranky when they’re hungry or dehydrated, and flight crews have a limited selection of refreshments on board.

… traveling at the best time of day for you. Correspond flights with nap times if possible. Otherwise, early morning or late night flights tend to be quieter, less crowded and less disruptive to children’s schedules.

New Nanny Services at Jumby Bay, Antigua

For Moms and Dads seeking unfettered bliss on their Caribbean getaway, Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort offers the Pampered Parents Program and new Nanny Services.

Available for children ages 2 - 9 years old, the Pampered Parents Program offers time to indulge in Jumby Bay's many luxury amenities while their kids frolic under the watchful eyes of well-trained and fully qualified childcare staff. Children enjoy nature walks, treasure hunts, tracking sea turtles at their nesting sites, myriad arts and crafts projects and more.

Jumby Bay is also now offering new Nanny Services for infants and children at $60 per four hours. Outfitted in distinctive uniforms, the resort's nannies provide strolls for their charges throughout the resort in classic Harrod's Silver Cross prams. Silver Cross jogging strollers are also available on an hourly, daily or weekly basis to guests who wish to exercise with their little travelers.

The Pampered Parents Program at Jumby Bay includes:

· Full Day (9:00am-4:00pm) of childcare and activities, including lunch
· Welcome note and amenity bag for children, delivered to room the first night of participation
· Arts & crafts, nature walks, treasure hunts, sea turtle tracking, and more
· Children's menus at the Verandah and Estate House restaurants, as well as in-room dining
· Cribs and/or rollaway beds upon request, subject to maximum occupancy and availability
· Cost: $25 per child, per day; available for guests' children ages 2-9 years
· Available during select holiday breaks (Christmas, Spring Break, Easter, et cetera) and from July 1-August 27, 2006

For reservations or more information:
• call 888-ROSEWOOD
• visit Jumby Bay

Sandy Lane Offers Summer Family Program

Barbados's luxurious Sandy Lane is offering a summer family program through October 31st 2006.

The Family Fun package includes a stay in an Orchid Room and up to three children under the age of 12 receive a 50% discount when they stay in their own room. A Sunday brunch for the family is also included in addition to unlimited use of the Treehouse Club. Parental rates start at $3,400 for a five night stay while the child rates start at $2,125.

*All summer packages include a Full English Breakfast and are subject to a 10% service charge.

For more information:
• visit Sandy Lane
• call Sandy Lane at (246) 444-2001 or toll free at 866-444-4080

Sea Turtle Adoption Kits at Four Seasons Nevis

Nevis is known for its wildlife (you'll find that the monkey population is larger than the human population!) and this time of year sea turtles take center stage. We just received this fun news from Four Seasons Nevis:

The turtles off the shores of Nevis may not be racing, but tracking their travels is now much easier thanks to a novel partnership between the Caribbean Conservation Corporation (CCC) and Four Seasons Resort Nevis in the West Indies.

When endangered hawksbill, leatherback and green sea turtles climb onto the beach during their nesting season, many of them are outfitted with special devices which transmit signals to orbiting satellites, allowing scientists to track the migratory movements of each turtle.

Between June 1 and October 31, families checking into the Resort will receive a complimentary sea turtle adoption kit, including a certificate with their turtle’s name and photo. (Four Seasons will also make a donation to the CCC on behalf of the family.)

When young guests return from their vacation, they can also log on to a special Web site to track their turtle’s movement. All while enjoying some chocolate ‘turtle treats’ and a toy turtle courtesy of Four Seasons.

And boy, do these turtles get around! ‘Shelldon’, an adult female leatherback, was released off the coast of Panama in June 2005. Since then, she has traveled more than 6,000 miles and is currently hanging out in the Atlantic Ocean close to Canada.

Welcome to Caribbean Family Tripper!

Welcome to Caribbean Family Travel News on CaribbeanFamilyTripper.com! We have been traveling the Caribbean for 20 years with our family and have authored over two dozen guides to the islands including Caribbean with Kids (Open Road Publishing). In the past six weeks, we've been to the islands three times attending area travel trade shows to obtain the latest information for our readers. We're looking forward to bringing you the latest news of interest to family travelers, from new resorts to attractions and activities of interest to families headed to the islands! --Paris and John


Copyright 2006-2009
CaribbeanFamilyTripper.com is a division of LT Media Group LLC
All rights reserved
No text or photos from this site may be used without permission of LT Media Group LLC