Apple Vacations LOVES Travel Agents! Yes, we do! How about you?

Today kicks off Apple Vacations 10th annual Travel Agent Appreciation Month! It is Apple Vacations turn to acknowledge and reward Travel Agents for the valuable experience, knowledge and service they provide.

How much does Apple Vacations love travel agents? Count the ways! In honor of our 10th Annual Travel Agent Appreciation Month, we’re extending the fun for a full six weeks! Travel agent appreciation month starts today and runs through June 6. If you are an Agent, make sure check with your Business Development Manager or log on to the Travel Agent Café, to see all of the exciting programs we have planned just for you! You don’t want to miss out.

New for 2014 is our “Agent Shout Out”. If you are an agent who follows us on twitter, Facebook or Instagram tell us your favorite thing about working with Apple Vacations; or Share a photo YOU have taken on an Apple Vacation! Post it and make sure you tag BOTH #applelovesyou and @applevacations in your post. We will feature a randomly selected agent on our Facebook page each week with a “Shout Out” to your agency! And if you are an Apple Vacationer follow our hash tag #appleloves you – so you too can see our great Travel Agent’s posts on our social media sites.

Here are some photo’s of our recent Travel Agent Golden Apple dinners where the “best of the best” received their Golden Apple awards.

Congratulations Agents!

Happy Travel Agent Appreciation Month 2014 #applelovesyou!

Weddings Complimentary* – Breezes Resort Bahamas

Miles away from everyday life, but only minutes from the airport, the Super-Inclusive Breezes Resort Bahamas is located on a breathtaking stretch of the powder white sands of Cable Beach. Crystal clear waters gently lap the shore as everyday worries drift away. Just a short stroll along the beach takes you to the excitement of Nassau’s glittering casinos and bustling nightlife. Located just five miles from downtown and within walking distance of the Crystal Palace Casino, this high energy resort accommodates guests 14 and older.

Breezes Bahamas

Breezes Resort Bahamas features casual, energetic fun all day and all night. Grab a bite anytime at the 24-hour Snack Attack. Test your skill on the flying trapeze at the Circus School or grab awindsurf board and set sail on an unforgettable journey across the magnificent crystal waters. Challenge yourself by scaling the daring rock climbing wall and enjoy some incredible views from 30 feet high! Be sure to get out there and snorkel right off the shore where the beautiful Bahamian water boasts visibility up to 100 feet down. Then get a massage or a rejuvenating body treatment at the full service Blue Mahoe Spa and rest up because when the sun goes down, things heat up!

Every night is an extravaganza of fun with Reggae Dance Contests, comedy night, a live cabaret, oldies night, toga night, and a pajama party. Swing by the piano bar for laid-back entertainment or show off your singing at karaoke.

At Breezes Resort Bahamas, it’s almost impossible to be hungry or thirsty. Premium cocktails and exotic tropical concoctions flow endlessly from bars located throughout the grounds. And there’s always a quick snack sizzling on the outdoor grills. The buffets abound with tropical surprises and traditional favorites. Or make reservations for an unforgettable evening at one of the casually elegant restaurants. Dinner is also served in casual elegance at Martino’s Italian Restaurant. Or indulge at the romantic Garden of Eden, where you’ll experience a five course meal set in a tropical garden. Snacks are available throughout the day at The Pool Grill. Try everything, and feel free to come back for more. It’s all included.

Weddings at Breezes Bahamas

Weddings at Breezes Bahamas

Thinking about a destination wedding? You’re in luck! Free Weddings in Bahamas

A Dream Wedding Planner, wise in the ways of love and master in the art of matrimonial bliss, will attend to every detail of your Dream Wedding. And just like virtually everything else at Breezes, it’s included.

Endless Love Wedding Package >

Selling Price: Complimentary!

Package Inclusions*:

  • Personal pre-planning consultant
  • Dream Wedding Planner
  • Minster or marriage official
  • Music
  • Organza draped wedding location in aqua, navy and blue
  • 2 tall glass vases with sand, blue glass pebbles and white shell decor
  • Navy chair sashes
  • Bridal bouquet & boutonniere
  • Classic wedding cake
  • Sparkling wine for the reception
  • Navy reception table covers and navy chair sashes
  • 2 glass vase centerpieces with sand, blue glass pebbles, candle and white shell accents
  • Blue and white paper lanterns
  • Marriage license
  • Framed 5×7 photo
  • 4 ceremony passes
  • Online bridal registry website
  • Just married T-shirts

*Government & administrative fees are not included. Ask your Dream Wedding Planner about dinner menus, hors d’oeuvres, wine, open bar, additional flower arrangements, decor and more. All available at an additional charge.. Table setting with cake and sparkling wine (or Champagne if included) for the bridal couple and up to ten guests. ❖Replaces item from preceding package.



As told by Kelly Re, Destination Wedding Specialist

You’ve been dreaming of your wedding day since you were a little girl.

Don’t lie.

It’s been planned down to the smallest detail: the floral arrangements, the venue, the decorations, the dress, the wedding party. And your husband, well…I guess he’s in there somewhere too.

Every bride wants to make her day special, an event to remember for a lifetime.

Some couples go the traditional route. They surround themselves with close family members and friends and get married in a church or at the Justice of the Peace. Other couples choose to embrace more extravagant options—ritzy venues, expensive cakes, etc.

So, what’s a memorable medium? Believe it or not, there is a way to be kind to your wallet while still satisfying your taste for lavish indulgences. You can make your day special in a totally unique, affordable, and personal way that is tailored to suit a bride seeking even the most unusual experience.

How, you ask?

A destination wedding.

Destination weddings are amazing because they epitomize what it means to make a statement. It’s a vow ceremony, reception, and honeymoon surrounded by your family and besties all rolled into one. Apple Vacations Destination Weddings prides itself on delivering phenomenal service and insuring the wedding-planning process goes as smoothly as possible. You will be matched with a dedicated team of wedding specialists and guest coordinators to ensure efficiency and productivity.

Whether it’s a low-key island in the Caribbean, a scenic beach in Mexico, or an adventurous resort in the Bahamas, your destination wedding is guaranteed to be one of the best and most memorable experiences of your life. And Apple Vacations Destination Weddings  will be with you every step of the way, making sure your wedding is not just the wedding of your childhood dreams, but better. Get started today!

Still need inspiration? Check out our Destination Wedding Pinterest Board!



Honeymoon Planning – Help!

Aloha Juice Readers!


It’s been quite some time since my last post, but it’s good to be back.  I haven’t been lounging beachside, I’ve been off planning a wedding.  Thus far things have been pretty easygoing – not too much stress.  That was, until it came time for the honeymoon.

I know, of all things to stress about, the honeymoon?  I work for a travel company.  This should be a cinch right?  Wrong!  The number one question I have been asked this entire time is, “where are you going on your honeymoon”?  This is supposed to be THE trip.  The trip of a LIFETIME. That’s some pretty serious pressure.

So, after some serious back-and-forthing, we’ve made just a few decisions:

Now what?

Maui, Hawaii

Readers, this is where you come in.  Tell us what you think!  Any Honeymooning words of wisdom?  Where did you go? Have you been to Hawaii?  Can you offer a recommended “must see”?

As the trip gets closer, you’ll be able to following along with our planning, and your recommendations will become our reality!  And who knows, maybe we’ll drop you a few postcards along the way.

Mahalo for your help!



The Big  Island

Apple Vacations suggests you Ask An Agent!

A recent article came out. “9 things Travel Agents won’t tell you”. It was not a supportive article for the Travel Agent community and suggests “buyer beware”. I am here to say to the writer, Anne Roderique-Jones, you got it wrong!!!   I’ll address your 9 points.

#1 – They’re making commission. Well, yes this is true. That is how they are compensated for their expertise. Do you expect them to book your trip, provide first-hand experience, check flights, research, put you in the right resort for your wishes, work with your budget, walk you through the details, procure your tickets, and make dining recommendations and reservations for free? A Travel Agency is a business and they do get compensated for their services. I think that is a “no brainer”.  Any reputable agency will NOT sell you a vacation they do not truly think you will enjoy – no matter what the incentive is out there for them. They want you to be happy, so that you and your friends and family use them again and again. They make a living on repeat business. I challenge you to take the commission an agent makes, and divide it by the time they put into planning your vacation. Would you work for that hourly rate?

#2 – They can’t book all Airlines. WRONG. An agent can book anything. They do not get commission on most airlines, but most agents either book that part as a courtesy since you are booking the rest of the trip with them, or charge an up-front service fee to get you the airline you want.

#3 – They lie about their experience? Most agents I know love to travel. That is why they are in fact an agent. FAM trips are an essential part of the business. Agents jump at the chance to go. Apple Vacations runs them all the time, and they always fill up quickly. Good agents have been to the destinations they sell, multiple times. Agents are also a close community, and if one agent in an office has not been to a location or resort, someone in the office or their network most likely has. They share information (good and bad), details, photos and tips. They also take webinars, go to tradeshows, attend seminars and trainings. To question the integrity of “ALL” Travel Agents is unfair when I continually see so many agents continually traveling and educating themselves mostly on their own dime and time.

#4 – I am not sure why you think agents are inflexible. Call an agency … standard protocol is … what can I help you with, location, dates and are you flexible? Yes, an agent may recommend different departures to save you money, or get you better flights. The bottom line is agents present options. If you are flexible, and the best rate is what you want, let them know.  Again, they are a service industry and if they know a day later may give you a better flight time or price, then take advantage of that knowledge.

#5 – Insurance may not be necessary? I find this to be an irresponsible statement. Trip protection is ALWAYS recommended. We never get complaints from Travel Agents or vacationers that took trip protection and had to cancel for an emergency or unforeseen reason, and got their money back or were able to rebook at a later date. Really, we never received one. However, we have heard from vacationers when something unforeseen did occur and they could not travel. We never want to see anyone lose their hard earned money and we certainly don’t like when customers are unhappy when a trip cannot be changed.  Therefore, we always recommend trip protection. Also, trip protection has numerous benefits in addition to cancellation. It covers you in resort, medical, baggage, trip interruption and unforeseen circumstances. The statement you made would better be phrased “What trip protection is right for this vacation?” as there are many plans available. Any good agent WILL and SHOULD recommend trip protection and will walk you through your options. A vacation is an investment, and like any investment it should be protected.

#6 – Only use an agent for a special occasion trip? Isn’t every vacation a special occasion? If you are spending your hard earned money and taking the time away from work or responsibilities, don’t you deserve the best your money can buy? Please, don’t lower expectations before you even book. A vacation is an event, an experience, and we hope to always not only meet but exceed all of your expectations on every vacation.

#7 – On – Line sites now offer refunds and cancellation policies. This is correct, new DOT rules that came out last year, allow all customers to cancel any flight booked within 24 hours of booking (if the flight was booked more than 7 days prior to departure date). This is a new industry standard no matter where – or how – you book. I also think this is one of the #1 reasons to USE a Travel Agent. They have relationships with airlines, resorts and wholesale companies such as Apple Vacations.  Because of this, they understand the fare classes, room categories and terms & conditions when booking. They are EXPERTS. Lean on their expertise, don’t criticize it.

#8 – They won’t find the best price? Go ahead, challenge them! What do you have to lose?

#9 – Sign up and use a travel rewards club. It’s a good idea to use credit card points, Apple Vacations has a card. But one club or card most likely can’t take care of all your travel needs. I suggest you find a travel agent you like. Get to know them, and let them know you. They will learn your preferences and expectations. If an agent knows what you like, what you don’t, who you typically travel with, when you like to go and what is important to you; they will know what you are looking for in a vacation. When you are ready to travel, they will know what vacation is just right for you!

There are also so many key reasons you SHOULD book with an agency.

There are sometimes unforeseen circumstances that affect your trip. Let’s say you book your trip yourself. You are enjoying this amazing vacation, but in the days before you are about to come home, you find out your home airport is closed due to weather (snow, bad winds, tropical storms) and your flight is cancelled, do you want to enjoy your last days of vacation or do you want to be on hold with an airline for hours and negotiating a last minute rate with the hotel? Travel Agents don’t get a rain or snow day! They are working long into the night, placing calls, researching flights, waiting on hold to assist their clients and get their travel plans back on track.

Do you want to be the first to know about a sale or promo code? Many times Travel Agents get a “sneak peak” to these. Do you want inside tips and personal reviews? Do you want a professional looking out for you and taking care of you? Using their “pull” to get you free upgrades and perks. Making sure you don’t get bumped from a reservation due to a hotel or airline or car overbooking. Making sure you don’t book an impossible connection. Making sure you get proper compensation when vacations do not go as planned. I could go on and on. The bottom line is Anne; I think you placed an unfair stereotype on an industry that does not warrant it. I am sorry if you had a bad experience. I personally know many, many, many, many, many agents who are all hard working, ethical, knowledgeable and professional. They are a true resource when booking your vacation. I’d be happy to recommend one for your next vacation. I am proud to know them, be in the industry with them, and call many of them both colleagues and friends. Go ahead and Ask An Agent when booking your next trip. I know I will!


Ask An Agent

Puerto Vallarta – Speed Reviews!

Have you heard of speed dating? Well, here is some speed reviewing! After visiting many of the resorts in Puerto Vallarta, here are the top reasons to book these resorts right from our sales reps– what made them stand out from the rest!  The Apple rating of each resort is listed for your reference.

Golden Crown Paradise / 5 Apple.  Great location!  This is an Adults Only resort with a pretty cool Disco!  Nice beach with many, many palapas.  Hit the Breeze Bar for excellent Sushi every night!

Crown Paradise Club / 4+ Apple. Right next door to the Golden Crown Paradise.  This resort specializes in Family Fun and is Family of 5 Friendly!  Family room offers a king bed with a dividing wall that encloses bunk beds with a trundle pull out and a TV just for the kids!  Kids Club for 4-12 year olds.  And, an Infant Club for 18 months-4 years old!  Ultra – cool Pirate Ship themed water park.  Children have their own drink menu at all the watering holes!  Adults only access to the Giant Jacuzzi swim up bar.  This is a quality product especially on a family budget.

Barcelo Puerto Vallarta / 5+ Apple.  WOW! Some of the largest suites EVER SEEN!  The rooms are HUGE!  You walk into a living room area, and then pass the bathroom area going into the bedroom.  Then, there’s another living room area!  Families looking for space – this is the place.

Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta / 6 Golden Apple.  Single parents get a special discount.  Boutique Spa where you can grab a pedicure while enjoying the stunning ocean view.  Free WIFI throughout the property AND on the beach!  Unique open-air amphitheater offers nightly shows.  They offer $1500 in in-resort credits!  The majority of the hotel rooms have a French balcony with no seating.

Marival Resort & Suites / 5+ Apple.  This is a quaint and comfortable resort with a great children’s water park.   Room service is available from 7am – 11pm for a $5 fee.  Dining reservations required but you can make them online for up to 7 nights prior to arrival!  For the rate, this is a fantastic value!!!

Riu Vallarta / 5 Apple.  “Art–Deco” resort with a stunning lobby. You can make dining reservations 2 days in advance.  Family friendly with a kid’s pool with slides.  Huge beach with hundreds of shady palm trees.  Clients enjoy exchange privileges next door at the 4+ Apple Riu Jalisco.

Riu Palace Pacifico / 6 Golden Apple.  Bi-level junior suites. Guests can make dining reservations 4 days in advance.  Complimentary 24 hour Room Service.  Exchange privileges with Riu Vallarta and Riu Jalisco!  Everything you’ve come to expect from RIU Resorts – great food, great service and a great value!

Grand Palladium Vallarta Resort & Spa / 5 Apple.   50 minutes from the airport in the Punta Mita area of Riviera Nayarit.  Lovely drive along the coast through the mountains.  This resort offers a Kids, Teen and Baby Club! Botanical walking paths and mini zoo.  This resort is very hilly and may not be the resort for vacationers with mobility issues.

Occidental Grand Nuevo Vallarta / 5+ Apple – Apple clients receive private check in and check out.  The room has a shower that looks into the bedroom area. Junior suites are actually a true one bedroom suite.  Resort has an adults- only pool.  Apple clients have no dining restrictions but are required to make reservations (up to 48 hours in advance). Everything connected with covered walk ways. Beach is HUGE, WIDE, CALM and very SHALLOW – great for families. Majority of rooms do NOT have balconies.  Upgrade clients to the Royal Club on the 6th and 7th floors for private restaurant, bar and beach with cabanas. Great shopping is a 5 minute walk away at Paradise Village. Nice property!

Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort / 6 Apple. This is the first all-inclusive Hilton in Mexico! About 5 minutes from the airport. Nice, bright and modern. Has a bit of a sleek Miami Beach feel. Rooftop adults only pool and bar area known as “O West”.

Iberostar Hotels & Resorts will be opening a new resort in Punta Mita area in December of 2013.  It will be located about an additional 15 minutes past the Grand Palladium (about an hour from the airport).

Stay tuned, we have our final Puerto Vallarta review coming in the next few days.



Aloha Friday – Step Up Your Stay at Starwood Resorts in Hawaii (Mexico & the Caribbean too)

We are in the final booking week of Sunsational Savings at all Starwood Resorts!

Book by July 22 and travel July 1-December 15, 2013 and bask in the splendor of Starwood Resorts on the sun-drenched beaches of Mexico, the Caribbean and the Hawaiian Islands. Apple Vacations offers the most convenient and affordable ways to get there.

Apple Vacations is celebrating Starwood with a host of exclusive value-added extras like guaranteed room upgrades, complimentary breakfasts, food and beverage credits, spa discounts and more!

Click here for specific resort details.

And check out our Pinterest board featuring Starwood Resorts here.