Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Sunwing Releases New and Exciting Flights from Western Canada

UPDATED! New Routes from Western Canada for Winter 2014/15
We have Grand Bahamas, Punta Cana and Liberia, Costa Rica added! 

For next year's winter season 2014/2015, Sunwing/Signature Vacations has just announced some exciting flight additions to it's family of chartered flights from Western Canada.

Punta Cana will now be offered from Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton. With the Dominican Republic being a top destination for honeymooners and wedding groups, these new flights are a warm welcome to the industry. All flights depart and return on Mondays, which is perfect for those wedding guests from across Western Canada who want to travel on the same day. These flights start December 22nd, 2014 and end April 6th, 2015.

In Punta Cana there is an abundance of unique product, anchored by the Royalton Punta Cana and Memories Splash, both resorts getting great reviews and feedback, not to mention the Riu properties (including Adults Only) and the very popular Hard Rock Punta Cana Resort.

If you are looking for something more unique for your romantic getaway, we are totally excited to announce that Grand Bahamas Island will now be offered from Calgary starting Saturday November 15th, 2014! Here, the best resort options would be the Grand Lucaya Resort, which is a 4.5 star property offering EP and all-inclusive options. The discounted group rate for the inaugural flight including roundtrip airfare, transfers and 7-nights all-inclusive accommodations is $1748 + $230 tax per person! However, the Memories Grand Bahamas Beach and Casino Resort, also rated 4.5 star, is packaged at a stellar packaged group rate of only $1458 + $230 tax per person! These rates include a Fuel Promotion of $160 discount per person, that is offered by Sunwing/Signature Vacations but expires on April 8th, 2014. 

Grand Lucayan Resort, Grand Bahamas


For those traveling from Edmonton, you will be delighted to hear that you now have the option to travel to Costa Rica! These flights will operate on Sundays and our top favorites here are the RIU Guanacaste Resort and the new RIU Palace Costa Rica Resort. Both are located side by side on the most beautiful stretch of sandy beach. For those who want the newest flight and newest resort possible, why not consider the brand new 5-star Dreams Las Mareas Resort, the newest addition to the Dreams Resorts chain and coming to Costa Rica on November 1st, 2014!

The added value to these Sunwing flights are a welcome glass of free champagne for everyone on-board with a hot meal, leather seating, in-flight first run movies, and complimentary bride/groom upgrade to Elite Plus and access to the Plaza Premium Lounge when 10 passengers are traveling together to name a few.

For more information and to obtain a quote for your honeymoon, destination wedding or romantic getaway, please contact Romantic Planet Vacations at 1-866-247-8123 or inquiries@romanticplanet.ca

Friday, March 28, 2014

Look at the Maldives for the most affordable Over-water Bungalow Travel Option

Romantic Planet Vacations is pleased to present one of the lowest priced ALL-INCLUSIVE over-water bungalow packages from Toronto that is available in the world - the awe-inspiring Maldives!

The Maldives are located Southwest of Sri Lanka and about a 18.5 hour flight from Toronto, with a stopover somewhere in Europe or Dubai, depending on the airline. 

The country is made up of 26 major atolls. A small number of these atolls are inhabited and many are the ideal setting for exclusive island-resorts with over-water bungalows, not often found anywhere else in the world. This tropical oasis of white sandy beaches and swaying palm trees offer perfect shallow lagoons and coral reefs that are most ideal for snorkeling and the resorts themselves have an aura of romance seclusion and privacy, making them a perfect setting for a honeymoon or romantic getaway.

The Maldivians reply on fishing and tourism for their income. The are descended from an ethnic mix of Aryan, Negroid, Sinhalese, Dravidian, Arab, Portuguese and British cultures. After being under Muslim rule in the 12th century, control passed hands to Portugal then to Britain, and finally gained their independence in 1965. The majority of the people today are Sunni Muslims.  

The French Polynesia and the famous island of Bora Bora in the South Pacific, also offers over-water bungalow style accommodations. Bora Bora is only about a 13 hour flight from Toronto, with a stopover in Los Angeles. With Bora Bora however, the package costs can be considerably higher than the Maldives, reaching upwards of $1600 per night for an over-water bungalow. Although two entirely different cultures and destinations, you still can find a gorgeous tropical paradise at both. 

Aside from the cost, the biggest difference between the contenders of Bora Bora and the Maldives, is that most of the resorts in the Maldives offer an all-inclusive package to include meals and drinks, Bora Bora however, does not.

Romantic Planet Vacations has been specializing in honeymoons, destination weddings and romantic holidays worldwide since 2004. They are offering an introductory honeymoon package for 7-nights all-inclusive with airfare from Toronto at only CAD $3,950 per person. Please contact them at www.romanticplanet.ca or 1-866-247-8123 for more information. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

How to Appease your Destination Wedding Dreams but also your Guests' Budgets

What? You Won't Come to My Destination Wedding Because of the Cost?

The most common concern that we hear from destination wedding brides and grooms is that they want and deserve the beautiful 5-star all-inclusive dream luxury getaway but not often are the guests willing to pay for it. In my nine years experience serving destination wedding groups, my best advice for your options are;

SMALL WEDDING BUT DREAM COME TRUE - You can still have the destination wedding of your dreams at the resort and destination of your dreams, but it may be just be for a smaller group who want to be there and can afford it. The reality is not every person you invite will come to your destination wedding no matter how inexpensive it is so sometimes you just have to go with what's right for you. If you can be okay with this, then you're on your way to having your destination wedding dream come true. 

My recommendations if you decide to take this route, is decide on the dream destination, resort and approximate dates and commit to this. Then, let all of your guests know in advance that the approximate travel package rates for air, airport transfers and accommodations for a week are approximately;

Cuba, Mexico, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic (all-inclusive)....... under $2,000
Hawaii, St. Lucia, Antigua, Bahamas, and Barbados (AI or not AI).........under $2,500
Ireland, Scotland, Greece, Italy.........................................................$4,000-$7,000
Fiji, Thailand, Bora Bora...................................................................$5,000-$8,000 

These rates are per person, based on double occupancy. You can do this through Save-the-Dates or even a wedding web-site that provides your guests with enticing photographs and details about the holiday. Both of these tools are provided complimentary by Romantic Planet Vacations, travel specialist in Destination Weddings. For those guests who can make it, that's great news!  But for those who can't, there is no sense of loss on your end and no pressure on their end because you can certainly celebrate with them upon your return.   

In this case, I'd also recommend that you speak to everyone you would like to invite, not just those closest to you. You might be surprised as to actually how many just jump on board once you commit yourselves. Sometimes it just that one or two guests who complain about the costs but are making the most influence on your wedding decisions, but they shouldn't. This is ultimately your wedding, not theirs. With this decision, you will see that your parents, closest family member and friends will support and follow you with whatever destination, date or resort that you pick you, no matter where, when, or how much. They just want to be a part of your special occasion. You'll see. Once you commit, they will follow.

LARGER BUDGET-MINDED WEDDING BUT REQUIRES A CHANGE IN THE CRITERIA - Although most all-inclusive packages are under $2,000, Romantic Planet Vacations has many travel packages that are under $1500 including airfare, transfers and all-inclusive accommodations per person, and in rare cases, some even under $1200 per person. However, these are only possible with limited resort, dates, or destination options. If you would consider traveling in the summer or shoulder seasons like April/May or October/November, you could potentially save $200-$300 per person then traveling in the peak of winter. Also, a mid-week departure may save you and your guests about $50 per person than a weekend departure. Definitely try to avoid holiday travel dates like Christmas and Easter and even long weekends in order to save the most money. And even though you might have your heart set on that 5-star gourmet luxury adult-only all-inclusive resort, you could potentially save this for a second week honeymoon instead and book the wedding resort at a 4-star more affordable property for all. You can even upgrade to that oceanview or oceanfront room category to give you that 5-star feel. By changing only a half or one star in your criteria, you can save about $300-$500 per person. You'd still get the amazing beach, all the food/drinks you can imagine with the all-inclusive feature, great resort facilities with restaurants, bars, pools and more, clean, comfortable rooms and an incredible wedding in the most picturesque setting. 

Romantic Planet Vacations regularly posts many discounted group rates online at http://www.romanticplanet.ca/destinationweddingdeals.html. Here you can compare the rates with different dates, destinations and resorts to try and find the most suitable for your needs and that of your over-all group. 

When booking with a more budget-conscious package and more than a year in advance, the wedding groups statistically tends to be larger so if it is more important to you to have as many people attend, then you will need to be flexible and open your mind to other possible dream options.

SUPPLEMENT THE COSTS OR SHARE THE CREDITS - If however, you don't want to compromise on the resort, date or destinations but want as many people there as possible, there are still options to achieve both. One idea is that you can share your complimentary passenger credit with any or all of your guests. For example, if the package before tax was $1800 and the 11th adult was free, that's another $180 off x 10 adults! The complimentary passenger credit, if applicable, is provided to the bride and groom once everyone in the group reservation has paid in full. This credit and credit amount is always quoted prior to booking so will always have an idea of how much you will be receiving and thus, how much you are willing to share with your guests.

Alternatively, I've seen destination wedding brides and grooms in the past who've wanted the best of both worlds, allocate funds from their wedding budget to help supplement the cost of the trip for their guests. It's also a great idea for those parents who want to financially contribute to your wedding. Sit down and have a talk with them and discuss this option because many times they may want to find a way to contribute but don't really know how. If they, or you, have a contribution budget of $4,500 for example, to be used towards your wedding or trip, that would be another $150 off per person for a group of 30! 

If not for everyone in the group, you also have the option to just apply any supplements or credits of any value to anyone. This works best for those one of two guests who, as we discussed above, have a great influence on your wedding and are on such a tight budget. This can often be seen mostly with those in the wedding party for example. You want your best friend to be there at your side but perhaps she or he is still in school and struggling with the costs. Offering them $500 from your free passenger credits for being in your wedding party may be just the help they needed to make the decision to go. Now everyone can move forward to a great trip!

Of these three options, there's definitely a solution that is the best fit for you and your destination wedding. 

For more information on Romantic Planet Vacations, please visit www.romanticplanet.ca or contact our Certified Expert Destination Wedding Agents at 1-866-247-8123.

Laurie Keith
President
Romantic Planet Vacations
*Certified Destination Wedding Specialist
*Past Destination Wedding Bride
*Served almost 1,000 couples over the past 9 years




Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Why honeymooning in Bora Bora is the best option for romance

One of the most exotic and romantic destinations in the world still remain as Bora Bora, French Polynesia. It is a mystical and spiritual place where breathtaking mountains jet up from the turquoise waters and private over-water bungalows dot the landscape. It's a destination where your wedding engines can immediately switch from 5th gear to 1st gear as you coast through the slow-pace sights and sounds of of it's laid-back and relaxing island lifestyle. It's no wonder why so many honeymooners choose this unique destination to wash away all of their wedding stresses. 

The French Polynesia is only a 8.5 hours away from Los Angeles and after a couple of movies and dinner, you're already there. 

Not only does the warmth of the tropics welcome you upon arrival, so does the hospitality of the locals. Immediately you're embraced with Polynesian dancers and ukulele-playing singers.  If you pre-book airport transfers, you may be surprised with a fragrant flower lei, before heading off on your journey into paradise.

ISLAND OF TAHITI - This island is the hub of activity, shopping and nightlife and is your first point of embarkation into French Polynesia. It's great to spend a night or two here before traveling onto the outer and more peaceful islands. If you stay right downtown, you can walk to the market and other shopping straight from your hotel. Remember to keep your eyes open for the infamous 'Black Pearls' which can only be found in and around these islands and always makes a perfect post-wedding honeymoon gift. If you'd rather be outside of the hustle and bustle, there are other oasis-like resorts on Tahiti as well where you can even stay in over-water bungalows such as seen at the Intercontinental Tahiti. 

ISLAND OR MOOREA - You can see the greenery and mountainous landscape of Moorea across the azul sea from Tahiti so with your adventurous spirit packed and a bottle of water, it's easy to just jump onto a ferry to get there. As soon as you arrive, you will feel you have just entered a new world. It's a very laid-back island with roosters, chickens and cows roaming free and the vibrant emerald landscapes and colorful huts dotted along the one road that circles the island is breathtaking. Here you can snorkel or dive to your hearts content, and even commemorate your new marriage by getting a traditional tattoo - right here where tattoos where invented thousands of years ago. 


ISLAND OF BORA BORA - To get to Bora Bora you will need to jump onto a propeller plane for a short island hop from Tahiti. Through your tiny oval window you will see the clearest water and most majestic landscape you have ever seen. The plane will land on a private motu, which is like an island but is actually on the rim of a sunk-in old volcano. The rim continues around in a broken circle around the whole island of Bora Bora, where the towns are centrally located. Here, on the motus, are where most of the over-water bunglows are located. From the airport there is no way else to get to your island resort or into town other than by water-taxi or private boat transfers by the hotel, unless of course, you prefer to helicopter.

5-STAR BORA BORA HOTELS - If you are wanting to arrive in style and be spoiled in total 5-star luxury, then the well-appointed Four Seasons Bora Bora or the St. Regis Bora Bora would make for the perfect humble abode.

4-STAR BORA BORA HOTELS - The most popular sellers in Bora Bora would be the Intercontinental Thalasso Resorts and Spa, Intercontinental Le Moana, Le Taha'a, Le Meridien, and Bora Bora Pearl. 

3-STAR PLUS BORA BORA HOTELS - For the most affordable yet beautiful retreats, you may consider Sofitel Marara Bora Bora or Hilton Bora Bora.

ISLAND OF RANGIROA - Although all of French Polynesia is a divers paradise, if you're really wanting to get into it and experience some of the best diving of your life, than a visit to the Island of Rangiroa is a must. A resort stay at the quaint Hotel Kia Oro Resort and Spa acts as the perfect home away from home, while you explore all of what the world under the water has to offer. Here, you have the opportunity to dive with wild dolphins right outside of the reef, eight foot lemon sharks along the reef, and giant manta-rays who gracefully swoop right over your heads right in the lagoon. It's an experience not to be missed.

Remember that summers in the French Polynesia are North America's winter and visa versa, but they tend to average around 30 degrees Celsius year-round. For those who are more concerned about the weather, it is said that September to May is least windy and April to October are the driest months but who are we kidding, every day in Bora Bora is paradise.

Besides of all of the awe and romance to be had, the other advantage of traveling to Bora Bora on your honeymoon is that if you are traveling within six months of your wedding date and can show proof of a copy of your marriage certificate, you will save on average 10-20% off of the typical trip to Bora Bora so let your quoting agent know in advance. 

Prices depend greatly on when you travel, how far in advance you book, how long you go for, what room categories you book in and what islands you choose to visit. The average airfare from Los Angeles will be about $1700 including tax per person. The average over-water bungalow is $1,300 per night but you have the option to spread this out by booking a beachfront bungalow at a lower room rate average of $500 per night, then spending your last nights in an over-water and/or breaking out the trip with some nights in Tahiti and Moorea where the average room night is about $300 or $700 for an over-water bungalow. The flight from Tahiti to Bora Bora is about $500 round-trip. So with all of your airport transfers, a 6-night 3-island package with your last 2 nights in an over-water bungalow will be about $4500 per person with flights from Los Angeles. The best kind of trip however is where you can stay longer and really relax and immerse yourself into the lifestyle experience more of the islands and over-water bungalows. In this case, try to budget around $8-$10,000 per person.  

For most newlyweds, it's been a difficult struggle with all of the plans of the wedding and taking care of all of the guests and now that all of the details are done you're ready for happily wedded bliss, now is the time to relax, enjoy and reconnect. It's what a honeymoon is all about. 

If you, or someone you know, are thinking about planning a honeymoon or romantic getaway to Bora Bora, the best advice is to contact a Certified Honeymoon Specialist and Certified Tahiti Specialist - which are both available at Romantic Planet Vacations in Canada. They have been specializing in honeymoons and destination weddings since 2004 and have visiting the islands of French Polynesia and most hotels. 

For your Bora Bora quote, please fill out the free Honeymoon Quote Form at http://www.romanticplanet.ca/honeymoonquote.html and one of their Specialists will get back to you shortly. 

Laurie Keith
President

Romantic Planet Vacations
www.romanticplanet.ca







Happy St. Patrick's Day Gift When Booking a Trip to Ireland

When you book your trip to Ireland with Romantic Planet Vacations between March 12th and March 23rd, receive a FREE skip the line Guiness Storehouse Tour in Dublin!



Please contact Romantic Planet Vacations for more details.
1-866-247-8123
Serving honeymoons and destination weddings since 2004.


Saturday, March 08, 2014

Sunwing/Signature Vacations extends Fuel Promotion

Great news!!!! Sunwing/Signature Vacations extends their FUEL PROMOTION of a $160 savings per person when the bride/groom books their group by March 30th!!! Don't delay and get your Destination Wedding quote today! Inquiries@romanticplanet.ca

Www.romanticplanet.ca