No Problems Mon’ – Gran Bahia Principe in Runaway Bay

As the Senior Manager of Customer Care for Apple Vacations, I try to make an effort to travel just as any other customer would, and not as an extension of my work. Sometimes this is a challenge, some hotels make it so easy.


Photo Credit: Melissa Brown – View of the resort at Gran Bahia Principe Runaway Bay, Jamaica


I recently had the absolute pleasure of staying at the Gran Bahia Principe in Runaway Bay Jamaica, and what a pleasure it was! The resort is large, but not overbearing. It is also one of the cleanest resorts I have ever stayed at, with the nicest staff and most excellent food and drinks.


Photo Credit: Melissa Brown – View of the Bay at Gran Bahia Principe Runaway Bay Jamaica


The added bonus about staying at the Bahia Principe in Runaway Bay (as if the above wasn’t enough!), is that you really do get the use of a beautiful, crystal clear bay, in addition to the beautiful ocean, and gorgeous pools! The bay is large, shaped like a horse shoe and was very popular with families with small children. The parents quickly learn they didn’t need to worry about waves, as the water was calm; and even walking out 100-150 feet, it still only got waist high, ahhhhhhh.


Photo Credit: Melissa Brown – View of beach at Gran Bahia Principe Runaway Bay Jamaica


The steel drum band that played at the “Jerk Center” ( where they have an outdoor breakfast and lunch buffet everyday) was so much fun, many came by just to listen to the band. Those of us floating in the bay could hear it perfectly, which just helped convince me all the more that there were absolutely “no problems mon” at all with this lovely resort!

Interest in going? Look no further….

Warm up to Super Savings, with exclusive non-stop vacation flights and more all-inclusive resorts than anyone, Apple Vacations offers the all the best beaches and the lowest package pricing to paradise! We’ve got your winter vacation at a price you’ll like. Apple’s buying power and experience is second to none. After all, the Beach is our Business! Book by December 20, 2012.


Secrets Maroma – Affordable Luxury

If anyone is wondering to themselves, “gee, where can I go for a lovely Apple Vacations trip to an adults only resort with outstanding service, a drop dead beautiful beach, gorgeous rooms with nearly all ocean views…AND some of the most delicious and plentiful food you will find at any resort in the Caribbean”? I have two words for you, Secrets Maroma

Secrets Maroma

Secrets Maroma Resort & Spa - Affordable Luxury

I recently had the pleasure of staying 3 nights and 4 days at the lovely 4 Diamond, 6 Golden Apple resort that is nestled in the beautiful Riviera Maya, just a quick 30 minute ride from the Cancun airport. Honestly, from the moment you walk in the door, you truly feel like you are amongst old friends whose only goal is to ensure that your every need is fulfilled!

 My room was an impeccable ocean view room with the most comfortable bed I have ever slept on! It was clean and stunningly decorated. Our building concierge “Pilar” walked us into the room and explained where everything was, how it worked, etc. Pilar was stationed in our building to help with any little need, question or service you could possibly think of with a smile on her face and a true desire to make sure everything about the stay was over the top! She absolutely succeeded!


Secrets Maroma Resort & Spa - Beach View

I think my favorite thing about Secrets Maroma however had to be the food! In all my years of traveling with Apple Vacations I have to admit I have had some wonderful meals in many beautiful resorts. I honestly thought I had previously had the best of the best. I was wrong. From the lovely breakfasts, to the snack bars by the pool to the oh so fun Tepanyaki restaurant (what a show they put on!), to the yummy steakhouse, I thought I was in food heaven!


Secrets Maroma Unlimited-Luxury®

Then came Saturday! About lunch time about 20 chef’s in their whites all came marching out to the pool, each carrying a tray of food more appetizing then the one in front of him, it was literally a parade of food! Everyone stopped to admire this lovely sight and assumed (wrongly it would turn out), that there was to be a private event or wedding in the lovely wedding gazebo. We were all mistaken! All of these lovely people who work in the restaurants proceeded to then disperse and walk around and offer all of their lovely goodies to us!


Everyone was stunned and amazed at the sheer magnitude of food being shared. THEN, we all were even further amazed when some of them proceeded to actually get in the pool with their offers! Two actually got in a little boat and literally rowed around to those lounging in the pool! Others used a raft to present their treats! Now I really was in heaven! It was the most delightful surprise any of us had ever seen! Where else will you be so pampered that you don’t even need to leave the pool to eat? It was a first for me, but it won’t be the last; I will be returning to Secrets Maroma just as quick as I can!


Yikes! A Hurricane Wants To Ruin My Vacation!

You planned every detail, poured over websites, glossy catalogs, asked for the time off from work and bragged to everyone you know that you were off for a tropical paradise vacation, great! Then as if it knew your very plans, a report of a hurricane comes out of nowhere to potentially put a damper on your long-awaited, and no doubt, much needed vacation!

Now what do you do? The answer partially depends – both on whether or not you booked AVOK Trip Protection and how flexible your schedule is.

Assuming you booked your vacation through your travel agent, the first thing you should do is to call your agent—they should always be your first line of defense and will have the latest updates for you, both on the hurricane and on the status of your vacation. Those that may have booked on our website or by calling our Reservation Center directly, we recommend that you check your flight status and airline policies by using our Travel Info Page. You’ll also find information about how the airline you were flying is re-accommodating passengers in the near future. This Travel Info Page provides similar details for passengers utilizing our charter services (USA3000 Airlines, Frontier Airlines and AirTran Airlines, for example). The information contained in this Travel Info Page is updated frequently, it is a great source of relevant information regarding cancelled flights, status updates regarding the hurricane, etc.

Those passengers who opted to purchase the optional AVOK Trip Protection please take a deep sigh of relief. You may call up to an hour before your flight is/was to leave and cancel your vacation with no penalties! The phone number for those of you who purchased AVOK is 1-866-860-2865. You must call us at least one hour before your scheduled departure, if you receive our voice mail, please leave us a message (voice calls are time & date stamped so please be sure to leave your name and booking number).

Once you figure out when it is convenient to re-book your vacation, Apple Vacations, or your travel agent, will be here to help you plan your new trip (depending on the level of AVOK you purchased, you will either receive vouchers toward your new trip or cash back, both less the initial amount of the AVOK trip protection). It is very important that you call to cancel your booking (again – at least one hour prior to your departure time), even if your plane doesn’t take off as scheduled. If you want to change course and go to a different destination – either at a different time or using your original travel dates – you can do so without incurring any change fees or penalties.

Now, for those of you kicking yourself for not purchasing the AVOK, don’t be too hard on yourselves, there are options, but they are a bit more complicated. If you decide to cancel your vacation you will be charged airline penalties and any applicable Apple Vacations penalties – some portions of your vacation may be non-refundable. So, it’s best to re-book your trip. We are here to assist you and have many other great offers to other tropical destinations – Punta Cana and Jamaica are among some of our most popular. Please understand that in this case there will be change fees and perhaps penalties associated with your change that we will unfortunately be unable to waive. The change fees and possible penalties vary on specific bookings and depending upon what airline you are flying, and you will need to speak to your travel agent or Apple Vacations representative to get the bottom line. Your flexibility and patience in understanding that thousands upon thousands of other travelers are now scrambling to change plans as well, will help get you to that Apple Vacations trip you were so looking forward to!

Hurricane season is always a challenge, but with the proper planning, Apple Vacations can help it be a lot less stressful!

Travel Like a Rock Star with Preferred Perks

090720_preferredApple Vacations offers something unique in the travel industry – a first class experience for much less than a first class plane ticket. Check it out – with your Apple vacation on USA3000 Airlines, for an additional $39 per person, round trip, you can:

  • Use the preferred (first class) check-in line at the airport
  • Use the preferred (first class) line going through security Continue reading

Confirm Your Travel Documents

090713_documents1Customer Care is not just here to take care of issues that might pop up while you are on vacation; we are also here to prevent those same issues from happening in the future to other customers.  As Manager of Customer Care at Apple Vacations, I try to be proactive when it comes to improving our products and services. I spend a lot of time reporting back to the hotels and our representatives about what we can do even better.   Continue reading

Why Apple Vacations?

090706_applelogoIn this day and age of competitive pricing and Internet deals, some people might still ask, “Why should I choose Apple Vacations”?

First, 40 years of doing what we do is key (many say Apple Vacations has not only set the bar, but perfected the act). We’ve handled millions of passengers and we know how to do it well. Our vertical integration means there is quality control at most every step of your vacation (our sister companies include USA3000 Airlines and AMResorts, which manage the Secrets, Dreams, and Zoetry Resorts brands).

Second, Continue reading

Understanding Apple’s Hotel Rating System

When you are looking for the right hotel on, you will notice we use our own ratings system as a guide to the hotels we sell, in an effort to give our customers as much information as possible to make the best hotel choice. I will often get asked, “What is the difference between a 2 Apple hotel and a 6 Apple hotel? What is a “Red” Apple versus a “Golden” Apple? What does a + sign mean? How do I know which is the best hotel for my needs?”. Here’s how I respond. Continue reading