New Year’s Engagement? Caribbean Honeymoon Ideas for Those Now Planning Weddings

Check the Honeymoon Off Your “To Do” List, While Taking Advantage of Tremendous Values

As the ball dropped in Times Square, countless couples topped off their midnight kiss with an engagement for the new year. While the diamond rings still have that jewelry store shine, it is never too early to start planning that perfect, once in a life time, honeymoon.

With the downturn in the U.S. economy, travel providers are still struggling to fill space in hotel rooms, on cruise ships and to a lesser extent, on airplanes. As such, newly engaged couples, with just a small deposit, can secure outstanding honeymoon values today, even if the honeymoon is still six to twelve months from now.

While prices are largely dictated by the time of year you travel, we have assembled a short list of honeymoon ideas, some of which you may have never considered:

Aruba: Honeymooners departing from anywhere east of the Rockies will find Aruba to be a spectacular and affordable Caribbean destination. Despite some negative press regarding the Natalee Holloway disappearance, Aruba truly is a safe destination with a great variety of beaches, nightlife and adventure. Just off the northern coast of South America, Aruba is a combination of rugged desert and a modern beach community. Aruba offers some mild adventure, such as riding an ATV through the desert terrain or scuba diving in the crystal blue waters. For those looking for something more relaxed, Aruba offers fantastic beaches, exceptional dining, casinos and duty-free shopping. Most important, Aruba’s weather is almost always fabulous. For those planning a honeymoon during hurricane season (June to November), Aruba is as close to hurricane proof as you can get in the Caribbean. As a demonstration of Aruba’s value, consider a 7-night stay from August 30 to September 6. A couple departing from Chicago can stay at the 4.5 star Westin Resort on Palm Beach, including roundtrip airfare, ground transportation, and taxes for $2,660. This total, not per person, price includes a 30% discount for booking early.

St. John (United States Virgin Islands): While neighboring St. Thomas is the duty-free shopping Mecca of the Caribbean, St. John offers a more laid back honeymoon. Instead of the 10,000 cruise passengers a day and countless cabs nearly running you over, St. John is the destination for those looking for a peaceful escape. An added benefit of honeymooning in St. John…no passport is needed. Instead of dropping a couple hundred dollars getting you and your soon to be spouse a passport, you can save those dollars for a relaxing couples massage or fine dinner at your chosen beach resort. A couple departing from Atlanta on September 14 can enjoy 5-nights at the Westin St. John Resort for $2,839, including roundtrip airfare, daily breakfast, pre-paid resort fee and applicable taxes.

Riviera Maya, Mexico: During your college spring break days, you and 10 of your closest friends may have crammed into a hotel room in Cancun. Now that you are getting married, you want something more private and romantic. Over the past decade, the area south of Cancun has developed into a fabulous destination known as Riviera Maya. For those looking for an “all inclusive” honeymoon, Riviera Maya may be a better fit and value than competing resorts in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. Riviera Maya offers everything Mexico’s Caribbean coast is known for…the history of the Mayan culture, beautiful beaches and the adventure that comes with these. A couple departing for a 7-night honeymoon from Charlotte, NC, can stay at the 4 star Dreams Tulum “All Inclusive” Resort for just under $2,500. This price includes the roundtrip airfare, ground transportation, an all-inclusive stay at the resort (including food and alcoholic beverages) and the applicable taxes.

Caribbean Cruise: If one destination is not enough for you, maybe 3 or 4 destinations will be more appealing. A cruise offers you multiple ports of call with the convenience of unpacking your bags only once. With the recent economic slowdown, cruise lines have struggled to fill all the new ships they have built over the past decade. Depending on your sailing date, 7-night Caribbean cruises are selling for less than $500 per person. While these prices may seem appealing, make sure you understand what you are buying when booking a cruise. For those new to cruising, work with a travel agent who is well versed in cruises. A $500 per person cruise is a great value, but will you be content spending your honeymoon in an inside stateroom that is less than 200 square feet in size, with no windows? With stateroom categories varying greatly, you need to understand the difference between a balcony stateroom, an inside stateroom and an ocean-view stateroom. Nonetheless, there are many tremendous values on the market. For example, you can honeymoon in October on a Carnival Cruise Lines 7-night Western Caribbean cruise for less than $1,500. This pricing is for a balcony stateroom (complete with windows and a balcony overlooking the ocean) and applicable government fees and taxes.

The Caribbean truly is a fantastic honeymoon destination.

By planning ahead and making a small deposit today, you will be taking advantage of the great values being offered, while checking another item off your lengthy wedding “to do” list.