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Beside the ocean can be as good as on it

November 2011

For some seniors who are accustomed to an all-inclusive vacation on the comfort of an ocean liner, our economic downturn might mean dry-docking your boat and holidaying on land. The savings can be substantial and your time away just as enjoyable.

If you’re rethinking your winter vacation to save money, an all-inclusive landlocked vacation can be just what the financial planner ordered.

You can organize a memorable two-week vacation at a beachside resort that provides all the charms you need. You just have to choose the right resort, and to do that you have to have clear expectations.

Gregoire Derohanessian, president of Jolivac, a Quebec-based wholesale tour operator, provided some candid insights into choosing a vacation spot.

“Most seniors have a tendency to stay put on their vacation. So the important issue you would have to consider,” he says, “is what the resort does and does not offer.”

You can eliminate a great number of resorts if you find the rumpus of young kids disturbing. Seniors tend to enjoy large, comfortable rooms, so that might eliminate Club Med-style resorts, which specialize in families and sporting activities to the detriment of room style.

Food is such an important issue at the Club Meds that they fly in chefs and fresh produce to ensure the highest possible quality. Seniors enjoy lots of poolside and evening entertainment, so that too would have to be on your list of must haves.

The Riu chain, owner of Sandals, emphasizes room quality and provides a high quality of sophisticated food and beverage bars throughout the site. St. Martins and St. Bart’s, where the food and weather are among the best in the world, hosts very pricey resorts.

According to Derohanessian, price is not the only factor to consider, but the location of the resort is. “You’ll find that the food in Jamaica is better than the food in Cuba. And that’s because Jamaica grows a larger variety and higher quality of produce that finds its way onto the tables of the resort system.

“The opposite can be said of Cuba or the Dominican Republic, which has to import produce at some expense,” he asserts.

Mexican produce is very high in quality and quantity and finds its way to even to the mid- and low-range all-inclusives.

“For good weather, price and food, Acapulco is the kind of destination that when you throw the dice will always come up double sixes.”

Research and feedback from other travelers is a must to make sure the dice is loaded in your favour when you seek out an all-inclusive destination.

Check out Google Earth, which displays pictures for the general public, to make sure that a “beautiful” resort is really “right on the beach” and is true to how it portrays itself on its website.

If you enjoy 14 or more days of sun, people watching, smoothies, cocktails, highballs and beer … cheerful people (generally) and mountainous quantities of food as well as some, but not too strenuous sporting endeavours, then a secluded, all-inclusive beachside resort would foot the bill.

But if you require “off the boat” diversions, you have to seek out those resorts that are a stone’s throw from historic sites and friendly towns.

Although a landlocked vacation may not have quite the allure of a cruise, overlooking the ocean is still breathtaking.

Consumer Alert

Many of my readers have been asking if traveling the urban environment on my electric scooter still has the same appeal as it did a couple of years ago. My answer is a resounding yes, but with one exception.

The EVT scooters my wife and I purchased—made in Taiwan and sold here exclusively by Ecomoto on Notre Dame—are moving lemons.

In the space of two years—with both bikes reading less than 4,500 kilometres—we had to replace the batteries and electric motors, at a considerable cost.

The EVT Canada head office in Vancouver was unresponsive to our complaints and told us to take up the matter with the Chinese company.

They offer extended warranties in British Columbia, but not here. If you need a part, expect to wait seven weeks.

It’s best to buy from a Quebec-based retailer whose reputation is based on good service and good products.



At November 9, 2011 at 9:06 PM , Blogger Adam Thomas said...

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