Post # 1
I am ridiculously thrilled right now – we have a ton of Marriott points from work travel, and I just learned they can be used at Ritz Carlton’s!!! We’ve been trying to plan our honeymoon in the carribean and I haven’t been thrilled with what I’ve seen of the Marriott properties and the reviews of them, and have been afraid I’d end up going with Sandals, which would have been great, but would have added to our budget.
We’ve narrowed it down to Grand Cayman or St Thomas – I wanted to get opinions on the two islands as I’ve never been to either. We would be going in late March and I am not sure what is better for that time of year. If it helps, we’re quiet, beach people that enjoy eating out – we wouldn’t be into any big nightlife though we don’t care if it is around (I enjoy Vegas, I just don’t go out and party when I am there, if that makes sense). We also enjoy snorkeling which I have a feeling is possible in both locations.
Any help in narrowing it down is greatly appreciated!!
Post # 3
Congrats for being to take such an awesome honeymoon!!
I have been to both islands. here are my opinions-
Grand Cayman- I LOVE IT. The Ritz there is incredible. I didn’t stay there (I think I stayed at the comfort suites, this was 3 years ago) but we had lunch at the ritz one day and it is gorgeous. I would either rent a car, or see if you can get a driver from the hotel to get around the island. The beach at the hotel is nice, but there are better beaches (some of the best i have ever seen!) that are not around the hotels. Cemetery beach is one of them- a lonnnggggg strech of goregous, unspoiled, secluded beach. There are coral reefs everywhere, and you could swim out a long way. All the beaches are public, so you can go anywhere. The locals are very friendly, and everything is safe. There are a number of great restuarants around the island. There was one in particular, I can’t remember the name but I will try to research it for you, which is located in a bird sanctuary, it is open-air with incredible birds and plants etc. around, and the food was incredible. All the food I had everywhere was iwonderful there is a nother restuarant at the other end of the island from the ritz, it had something to do with a lighhouse- I really need to look these up for you- and that was INCREDIBLE (I have used that word so many times!). I bet if you say it is your honeymoon they could give you one of the best tables at the end of the dock. That place was pretty fancy as far as island dining goes. The island is really breath-taking, the reefs are plentiful and beautiful, I loved it! It is also a small island so you will feel like you saw most of it. I would also recommend getting a private boat tour thing of some other reefs and sting ray city since you mentioned liking to snorkel, to do some snorkeling off the shore. (sting ray city is a must).
St. Thomas- I was not there for that long, I flew in and then spent a week on st. john 2 years ago. The idea i got of st. thomas is that it was more metropolitan then st. john. I don’t think that the beaches are as good at grand cayman, and it is more focused on nightlife then both grand cayman and st. john. BUT, you could do a number of day trips- I went to the BVIs for example, and those are tons of fun. The ritz on st. thomas is supposed to be really wonderful, but i feel that the island is more "exciting" and lively then grand cayman, which might not be what you are looking for. Plus, the snorkeling at grand cayman is definately better.
I hope this helps, I bet you can tell I am bias, but either would be a memorable trip! Let me know if you want me to figure out the restuarant names! There are really incredible places to eat on grand cayman. Good luck choosing!
Post # 4
I’ve been to both as well and my opinion is actually the exact opposite of LisaBee.
We were in Grand Cayman about three years ago, the island IS beautiful. Lots of shopping to be had -but I felt very touristy- and I didn’t really feel safe walking away from the main ports. However, if you are into scuba diving it has some of the best scuba diving in North America according to The Travel Channel. There’s also snorkeling and ship diving to be had! My opinion is that the island was pretty pricey compared to St. Thomas.
I LOVE St. Thomas, when we were first thinking of island destination wedding St. Thomas was where we wanted it. Some of the most crystal clear water I have ever seen in my life. The islands I thought were beautiful way nicer than the ones I went to in Grand Caymen.The pristine sand where crystal white the water crystal clear with tropical fishes swimming around your feet. There is also some good shopping to be had!
P.S. As a side note if you are into jewlery save some money up! The gold/diamond/stones in the Cayman are the best in the world and the prices are to die for!
Good Luck! I think both are beautiful and would be wonderful.
Post # 5
Thanks so much!
We are actually leaning towards Grand Cayman b/c we really want to snorkel and the main thing we will do is lie on the beach. The # of points for the hotels is the same, so that doesn’t help sway us one way or the other, but the flight time does – it’s a shorter flight to Grand Cayman from where we live by about an hour and a half each way.
We’re actually thinking of spending 8 nights in Grand Cayman, then coming back through Orlando and spending two or three days at Disney, then coming back to Atlanta.
Post # 6
I’m crushed! Yesterday when I spoke with Ritz Carlton they said there was no problem booking with points for the entire trip – they even offered to go ahead and book it, but I declined so that I could do more research. Today I call to book the exact same dates – and they tell me that point redemptions are no longer available for 3 of the 8 nights – right in the middle of it – and that they’d be happy to book it but we’ll have to pay $538 per night for those 3 nights in the middle. 🙁
Post # 7
I’ve walked near the Ritz in Grand Cayman and love Grand Cayman.
I cannot fairly say which island to visit, since the other island is on my list of "to go" places, but yet haven’t made it there so far.
Seriously..the brand is so consistent you probably can’t go wrong either way! T love and adores St. Thomas. We’ve been talking of taking a vacay to the Virgin Islands..he swears it’s so naturally gorgeous.
Cayman is fairly flat. But there are many interesting things to do, water clarity is amazing if you dive or snorkel, and the friendly stingrays are something to see and interact with. Plus there’s this lizard (think it’s an iguana) on the endangered species list there that’s cute..
Post # 8
We are going to Grand Cayman and staying at the Ritz!!!
I am sooooo incredibly excited. My FH’s business partner is giving us the trip as a wedding gift (he says: "instead of some horribly expensive crystal vase that we’ll never use!")
I feel so blessed. We weren’t even going to take a honeymoon until next year (to Bora Bora) because we’re spending so much on our small wedding at a winery (the budget miracously doubled!) and renovating his house.
Post # 9
We decided on Grand Cayman! Since the Ritz wouldn’t let us use points for the 3 days in the middle of our honeymoon, we are staying at the Ritz for the first three nights and then switching the Westin for an additional 5 nights (also with points).