For those of you who have never traveled with us before, you may find yourself asking “is Apple Vacations all it’s really cracked up to be?” Rather than hearing it from us, we thought we’d take the opportunity to share “The Score’s” Jason Goff’s published blog detailing his trip to Punta Cana with Apple Vacations.
Whatever expectations I had for the beginning of this 7 day experience, consider them surpassed. Apple Vacations really knows how to host a Bears player fan trip. A slight delay at O’Hare was more than made up for by the welcome we received once we set foot on Punta Cana soil. A little apprehensive at first about my interaction with the players, whom I’ve only dealt with on a professional level for the most part. That uneasiness was put to rest as soon as we all gathered on the chartered transfer shuttle from the airport to the hotel. As the guide pointed out everything from the local sights to the 3 person motorcycle taxi, Gabe Carimi and Matt Spaeth talked about previous vacations and picture taking. It was at that moment that I relaxed and tried to remember what it was like to be on a vacation. When we arrived at the Riu Palace Bavaro, all I could think about was checking in and getting to the room. Before I could be bothered with those thoughts, we were escorted off of the bus into a hospitality room where the locals greeted us with mixed drinks, food, and dancing (I have the pictures of Henry Melton to prove it). Everyone was friendly and they even had a “little zoom” (a staff member who looked like a deflated Jerry Azumah) that Melton, Charles Tillman; and was quite amusing. After check-in and a quick shower, we all headed down to a meet and greet by the pool around 7pm for the reason we’re all here; the fans. Chicago Bears fans are the most intense, passionate, loyal fandom that I hear from on a daily basis during the football season. Sometimes I forget that there are lots of nice people mixed in as well (you should take some of our Monday phone calls). Fans young, old, male, and female; all appreciated the time that Nick Roach, Matt Spaeth, Gabe Carimi, Henry Melton, and Charles Tillman took to talk football and interact with them. I might add that there are also plenty of women who brought their husbands along on this trip, so the following isn’t gender specific. After a couple of hours of hanging with the people, we all dined at The Grill Steakhouse. The players shared stories about various topics. Weddings (because a mother of a bride staying at the Riu brought us the wedding cake), exotic pets, and Gabe Carimi’s place at the head of the table, were all discussed (light heartedly of course). After being hustled by the pool shark that is Nick Roach, we called it a night. Day 2 was all about showing the fans what each player goes through on the field. A beach workshop by position at 10AM should get the juices flowing. Did I mention it’s all inclusive and there was a complimentary bottle of champagne in my room? This is going to be a good 7 days. Apple Vacations and RIU Hotels are spoiling us.
Stay tuned for Day 2!
Click here to read Jason’s full blog.