Chapel Hill, NC (November 7, 2011) - When the Divi Carina Bay Beach Resort on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands converted to an all-inclusive earlier this year, it immediately saw its bookings rise. The switch, making it the only all-inclusive property on St. Croix, was a response to consumer demand. The all-inclusive vacation is increasingly popular in many locales as the economy has made more people mindful of their spending. "People still want to vacation," said Anne Ens, director of marketing of Divi Resorts, and, "the all-inclusive format offers a sure thing - a way to calculate your vacation costs beforehand."
Some travelers hold the all-inclusive as the ideal - a get-away from decision-making, hassle-free and a rapid entry into relaxation mode. It offers a time free from worry about a whopping bill at checkout and again when the credit card bill arrives. For family travel, it's a hard one to beat when the pay-one-price includes all meals, entertainment and activities. Plus, an all-inclusive resort offers one secure environment in which to relax.
Like any vacation, preparing to go away is the hardest part. Since not all all-inclusives are created equal, it pays to ask a few questions beforehand to ensure a vacation well spent.
What amenities are included in the rate? Distinguish between what amenities and activities are available at the resort and what are actually included in the rate.
Is an all-inclusive your kind of vacation? If the idea is to just to stay in one place for maximum relaxation, select a resort with a wide variety of activities. Look for mini-golf, tennis and kayak tours for family activities, free non-motorized water sports, multiple pools and restaurants.
What audience does the resort cater to? Some resorts cater to couples, some to senior travelers, others to families. If family or multi-generational travel is the goal, scan the list of activities to determine whether it meets your needs. Ask whether there is a kid's club and how much time is included in the rate. (For example, Divi Carina Bay includes four hours per child each day in their beachfront kid's club.) Also inquire about the types of restaurant and their hours.
Do children stay and eat free? Check the age limit and number of children allowed to travel with paying adults in the included price. Typically, one child up to age 12 is free per paying adult, but watch for specials that up the maximum age. Contact the resort directly to ask about the cost for additional children in the group.
How many restaurants on property are included in the package price? If you like culinary variety, choose a resort with multiple dining options.
Where is the resort located? Sometimes all-inclusives are situated away from town centers, so determine whether the amenities and activities will meet your needs for the duration of a stay. Opt for a resort with plenty of beachfront to avoid the feeling of claustrophobia. With a long list of activities, multiple restaurants, fitness center and places to go on premises, most travelers find their need for variety and diversions well met.
Divi Carina Bay Beach Resort 2012 winter season (January 15 through April 30) rates begin at $225 per adult per night based on double occupancy. One child up to age 12 per adult stays and eats free. Rate includes all food and beverage at four restaurants and four bars, entertainment, mini-golf, four hours of kid's club each day, lighted tennis courts, unlimited non-motorized water sports equipment, complimentary scuba dive course and a poker lesson for adults in the casino. The resort's private bay offers a tranquil and secure area for guided snorkeling and kayaking tours, both included in the cost of the vacation.