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difference between major AI brands?

NJ
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600 posts
172 reviews
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difference between major AI brands?

As a change from our normal cruises, I'm thinking about an AI. I haven't been to one in over 15 years but I remember what they are all about.

What I'd like to know is what are the differences between the major brands: Sandals v. Secrets v. Club Med v. Dreams v. Breezes etc.? Who are the target markets for each? Is one more upscale or down market? Is one geared for couples, honeymooners, party animals, families with kids? What are their overall reputations in general?

I'm sure they all have fans & detractors. I realize I am looking for generalizations but I am also not seeking recomendations for a particular island, brand or location. At this point, I'm simply trying to get an overview, if that's possible.

T.Y.I.A.

Marietta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Beach Vacations, Bonaire
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4,081 posts
52 reviews
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1. Re: difference between major AI brands?

Each AI and/or AI chain tend to "specialize" in one or a couple of areas. Some are known for romantic getaways (like Couples and Sandals), some for what I call "external elegance" (superficial features that are not always backed up by quality structures), typically some of the large AIs in Punta Cana and Rivera Maya. Some resorts, such as Beaches, are primarily for familys and have a strong program in that area. Of course, all of these are across many different price ranges. For example, I believe Sandals, Beaches, and Grand Pineapple are all the same company with different target customers and price points (Grand Pineapple is the "value" resort).

We have been to a number of these resorts but some years ago settled on Club Med as our favorite AI resort. Club Med typically focuses on sports and physical activities and they have better sports facilities and equipment than any other resort we have found. We like sailing and windsurfing; other resorts have a couple of Hobie Waves, a very safe, simple, but unexciting sailboat. We just got back from Club med Turkoise (Turks & Caicos) and they had 6 Waves, plus one Hobie 16 and two Hobie 18s (MAX's). For experienced sailors, these are much more fun and interesting to sail. Where other resorts have basic beginner windsurf boards and small sails, Club Med has a decent selection of more advanced boards and large sails. Club Med Turkoise is a relatively small (300 rooms) resort but they have 10 tennis courts and at least one full time tennis GO (instructor).

Now, not everyone wants lots of sports facilities; some prefer a swim--up bar, lots of different restaurants, butlers/valets who hover around waiting to do something for you.... and the Club Med Turkoise has none of these (although some other Club Med villages come close).

Best for you to decide what what features you want in an resort, AI or not, and where you want to travel to, then post on here or on the forum for that destination and ask for the best resort for what you are interested in.

Pennsylvania
Destination Expert
for Playa Paraiso
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8,169 posts
65 reviews
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2. Re: difference between major AI brands?

The resorts' websites usually give pretty good description of the type of vacation vibe they offer. There are so many different AI "brands" that it would take forever to describe them all here.

Chandler, Arizona
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119 posts
66 reviews
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3. Re: difference between major AI brands?

I would check the reviews for each hotel. Secrets in DR are not as same as the ones in Jamaica, etc.. You can have a great experience in one and a bad one in the other. So the brand name does not mean anything (that's my experience).

durham
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25 posts
25 reviews
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4. Re: difference between major AI brands?

Remember AI is ok for the time you are on the ship but when you leave the ship and tour around the areas you are visiting.you will still have to pay for any drinks and meals you require.if you are only intending to spend little. Time on land the AI is good for you.infact you can almost get top shelf drink and quality food 24 seven.the choose is yours.we travelled on the Thompson dream AI around the carrabean and it was excellent.

Chester, United...
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59,611 posts
65 reviews
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5. Re: difference between major AI brands?

Hi

We have been to loads of AI Resorts and the three brands we prefer are - Excellence Group, AMResorts [Secrets & Zoetry] & Couples

Feel free to check out my reviews

6. Re: difference between major AI brands?

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