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Need Help Choosing Family Destination

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Need Help Choosing Family Destination

This will be our first family vacation ever. I am seeking feedback on the best choice for a family with kids 4 -14. We have on our list Jamaica and PDC. Anyone vacation as a fam. in these places.

We have considered a cruise. Anyone? lots to ask, so thanks.

Shiner, Texas
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937 posts
72 reviews
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1. Re: Need Help Choosing Family Destination

Try Starfish or Sunset Jamaica Grande-Ocho Rios

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115 posts
4 reviews
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2. Re: Need Help Choosing Family Destination

It really depends on your budget and your preferences. We love both Jamaica and PDC, but for your first family trip, I personally would prefer PDC. We went to Sandos Playacar last June and absolutely loved it. It has the best beach in the area (wide, lots of room, clear water) and lots of activities for kids. It is not fancy, nor does it have amenities like rock walls, trapeze, etc., but the staff does a lot of organized pool and beach games, fashion shows, etc. With a family, you would definitely want to stay in the original section, as the new section has nicer bigger rooms, but is a trek to the beach and activity pool. We also really liked Barcelo Colonial - great kids club, water slides, snorkeling - a much bigger, soomewhat "dressier" resort though, so depends what you are looking for.

In Jamaica, one of our best family vacations was at Beaches Sandy Bay. The pool is small and basic, but the beach is gorgeous and the size of the resort is such that you get to know everyone and you didn't need to worry about the kids running off and getting lost. When we were there, the rooms were very basic and could have used renovations, but that isn't a big deal to us. Plus you can use the facilities at Beaches Negril (which is considerably more expensive.) We found Beaches Negril to be a bit zoo-y and crowded for our tastes. A lot of others however, found Sandy Bay too small and quiet, so again, depends on what you are looking for. Good luck!

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3. Re: Need Help Choosing Family Destination

RDCC in runaway bay is a great resort for families. they work hard to keep everyone entertained young and old..

At RDCC you can do water activities too and they do cycling tours everyday..Have great entertainment in the day..

good beach, pool and fun place.

safe to go off resort for a walk along the road..

you are close to places to see outside the hotel too if you wanted to do any trips such as dolphin cove, mystic mountain, your youngest may not be able to do this though, luminous lagoon, green grotto caves, coyaba gardens waterfall, dunns falls not sure for 4yr old..

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4. Re: Need Help Choosing Family Destination

I agree with acrv,

Starfish Trelawny would be my top recommendation.


Beautiful beach, excellent safe area for children, best value family a/i you'll find, excellent kids club with tons of daily activities for all ages, FOUR free form pools, two waterslides, trapeze, trampoline, rock climbing wall, mini golf, synthetic ice rink, basketball, volleyball, games room... Lots of dining options, a short drive from the airport, private island just off-shore, excellent staff, excellent price!

I have vacationed there as a family 3 times and will again.

Blessings and respect to you.


Powhatan, VA
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5. Re: Need Help Choosing Family Destination

Our family of 30 has gone to Beaches Boscobel Bay twice and loved it.

Service, food all excellent. We aren't picky so there is always something to choose from for foods and entertainment for everyone.

The beach is small, but we mostly were on a hobie cat, banana boat, snorkeling or at the pool.

My sister has gone to Beaches Negril and liked BBB better. Great views.

Since we have drinkers in our family, we don't cruise and go AI. Alcohol on a cruise isn't included.

Never been to Starfish, but I like all of JA Steve suggestions on the board.

Good luck with your choice.

Middletown, Rhode...
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589 posts
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6. Re: Need Help Choosing Family Destination

All great advice from posters. I've been to Starfish Trelawny, FDR Pebbles (which is next to Starfish), Beaches Sandy Bay and Beaches Negril, Sunset Beach in Montego Bay, and I have also been to both Sandos and Viva Maya in Playacar, and Barcelo Maya Beach (about 10 to 15 minutes south of PDC.) They all have strengths and weaknesses for families. They all differ much in price too. Proximity to airport can be important for families with young kids, it's an hour/hour and a half depending on traffic to both Negril in Jamaica from the airport, and about the same for PDC in Mexico. So after all that flying you get on the bus for another hour/hour and a half. Sunset Beach is 10 minutes away from the Mo'Bay airport. Starfish and FDR Pebbles is about 20-30 minutes away. Starfish is probably the biggest bang for your buck. FDR has more top-shelf perks and great food, but the beach is not as nice as Starfish, and they have less to do for teens, FDR is geared a little more towards parents with little ones. Sunset has a big waterpark, and is on its own peninsula w/very calm, shallow water. You'll have to look at travel time, what kind of amenities you want, etc. to help make your decision. The Beaches in Negril are wonderful for service, but you pay for that, plus the ride is long (not horrible though.) Kids love cruises, but the extras, and the booze, and the end of the vacation tipping, really add up fast. Keep researching and ask questions so there are no surprises. This site is awesome for that. Good luck!

Hemet, California
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7. Re: Need Help Choosing Family Destination

When cruising works it the best family vacation on earth. Research and choose ship carefully:

Disney - in a class by itself but top $$$

Carnival Fun Ships - all have water slides, the new ones with a water park - The Splendor

Royal Caribbean - H2O zone. The Marina of the Sea has rock wall, ice skating rink and all kind of bells and whistles.

Surprise charges - Soda card are approx. $30 each. Sodas are not included as a part of your cruise. Irresistible pictures at $25, so wait until the end before purchasing, and of course foo-foo drinks around $7. Tip per person is $10 per day, luckily they are getting rid of the fuel surcharge. Need be, pack your favorite booze in your luggage to cut back on the alcohol tab.

Special Feature: Childcare for teenagers until 1 am. For younger ones childcare until 10 or 11 pm.

Dollar for dollar we prefer cruising.

Best site for cruise: www.cruisecompete.com.

Good luck!

8. Re: Need Help Choosing Family Destination

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