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With summer — and school break — just around the corner, it’s time to start planning a great getaway for the whole family. These money-saving deals are suitable for a group, whether you’re taking the kids to Orlando for some theme park hopping, planning your next family reunion on a cruise, or hiding out at a Caribbean resort where little ones stay free. We found those deals and more, good for travel throughout summer and fall, starting from just $87. Book soon to lock in the best savings.
Not sure what to do with that $100 Sears gift card you got for the holidays? Now through February 29, you can pay for a Caribbean vacation at Elite Island Resorts with your unused gift cards. Walmart, Home Depot, Amex – whatever you’ve got, Elite will take it, up to 25 percent of the cost of your stay.
On top of that, Elite will donate the gift cards to children’s charities including Ronald McDonald House, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, the Make a Wish Foundation, among others.
Grab your best girl friend and get to Sugar Ridge in Antigua for the Sugar Bliss Spa Escape, a 5-night package loaded with three stellar spa treatments. The package starts at a low $139 per person, per night – just $9 more than standard rates – and includes $175 in spa services.
The day of your arrival, start off the rejuvenation with Sugar Ridge’s signature one-hour Elemental Nature Massage. On day two treat your hands and feet to a soothing mani/pedi. Finish up your pampering with a deep conditioning treatment and Indian scalp massage at the salon.
During the rest of your stay, lounge on your private verandah, take a dip in the two pools (many rooms also have private plunge pools), or browse the shops at on-site Sugar Ridge Village. For dining, choose from the open-air international/Caribbean Carmichael’s and the Mediterranean-infused Sugar Club.
The $139 per person, per night rate is valid during low season, April 15 to October 22; high season package rates of $175 per person, per night (the same as standard high season rates) are a steal, too. You can also make the spa package all-inclusive – covering all meals, house drinks, and wines by the glass – by tacking on an additional $99 per person, per night.
For general trip-planning information, see our Antigua Travel Guide.
The Caribbean island of Antigua, only a 4-hour flight from New York City, might as well be a world away, especially in winter. As you step from the dry plane cabin into the humid air under the strong island sun, it’s hard to resist letting out a long sigh of satisfaction.
Antigua tops my list of Caribbean destinations because it has the right balance of luxury (without being snobby), and offers quiet relaxation (without desolate beaches), modest nightlife (no spring breakers in sight), and European culture (it’s a former English colony).
The next big decision is where to stay. My vote is The Inn at English Harbour, a lush oasis on the southern side of the island. The neocolonial-style property of the Inn, as locals call it, has a laid-back, boutique feel and it offers a good value, as the all-inclusive rates (covering breakfast and dinner) are lower than those at the high-glamour hotels. Set on a white sandy beach with swaying palm trees and sailing yachts anchored nearby, the Inn is so perfectly situated it could have been created by Hollywood. While I prefer one of the main suites by the pool, the somewhat simpler airy beachside cabanas also provide a good value, and are just steps from the water.
This Thanksgiving, forgo the family tradition of turkey, stuffing, sweaters, and shopping, and instead relax poolside on the Norwegian Dawn as it sails through the emerald waters of the Southern Caribbean. Rates for the nine-night cruise start at just $429, a 73 percent discount off rack rates, and include a free $50 onboard credit per cabin as well as a free bottle of wine on select categories! The Dawn will set sail from Miami on November 19 before calling to port in five locales, including Samana, Dominican Republic; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; Antigua; Barbados; and Saint Kitts – all of which boast stunning natural beauty. Travelers will then have two carefree days at sea before returning to Miami.
THE VALUE: The starting rate of $429 comes out to just $48 per night!
THE CATCH: Airfare to Miami not included.
THE DETAILS: To book your cabin onboard the Norwegian Dawn, visit www.vacationstogo.com.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find great rates on flights to Miami, Florida.
THE LUXURY Azamara Club Cruises (formerly Azamara) provides destination-focused itineraries with lengthier port visits. On November 29, the Azamara Journey will sail the Caribbean on a 12-night cruise from Miami that includes visits to French-fl avored St. Martin and St. Barts, verdant St. Kitts, beach-centric Antigua, and prime ports in the British and U.S. Virgin Islands. During four days at sea, programs will provide insight into the region, while culinary demonstrations will showcase local cuisine.
THE VALUE Prices have been reduced 50 percent to $1,999 a person for inside cabins, including gratuities and a $1,000 ship credit. Mention the magazine when booking an oceanview cabin or a berth of higher value and receive an additional $150 for onboard spending. This exclusive offer expires October 31.
THE CATCH An oceanview cabin is priced $600 higher than an interior cabin.
THE DETAILS 877/999-9553 (price codePRSH01); azamaraclubcruises.com
From the fall issue of Smart Luxury Travel magazine, by ShermansTravel.com.
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