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7 Day All Inclusive Toronto to Cuba trip to Grand Memories Santa Maria (4.5 stars) - as low as $635 avail Nov & Dec 2022

Sr. Member
User avatar
Feb 16, 2016
851 posts
399 upvotes
Casselman, Ontario
Wow... Prices have dropped that much? I booked with my in-laws (7 of us) during summer and I paid 2k all in for Cayo Santa Maria through Air Canada Vacations. This is for a planned trip at the end of December.

Received an email a couple of days ago saying our hotel was shut down and we were offered 3 options. At first I thought it was a scam email but I'm pretty sure it is legit. We all received the email. I guess we're better off cancelling, get our 2k back each and reserve here to save a bunch of money? The free upgrade looks tempting though and the reviews are really good.
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Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Aug 29, 2011
5153 posts
3430 upvotes
Westmount (Montreal)
sexyj wrote: you don't goto all inclusive for food
I do

Not just food, but it's an important part.

I like to eat!
Member
Dec 30, 2013
378 posts
242 upvotes
Mississauga
Potrice wrote: Wow... Prices have dropped that much? I booked with my in-laws (7 of us) during summer and I paid 2k all in for Cayo Santa Maria through Air Canada Vacations. This is for a planned trip at the end of December.

Received an email a couple of days ago saying our hotel was shut down and we were offered 3 options. At first I thought it was a scam email but I'm pretty sure it is legit. We all received the email. I guess we're better off cancelling, get our 2k back each and reserve here to save a bunch of money? The free upgrade looks tempting though and the reviews are really good.
$2000 per person for 7 nights in Cuba? That's crazy, sounds like ripoff, don't care what time of year
Deal Addict
Aug 21, 2010
1542 posts
775 upvotes
toronto
been to the excellence in mexico playa mujeres a few times,,excellent beach..friendly staff,,staff has excellent memories,,everytime we come back, they know who we are,,,great food,,really nice place,,clean,,,but its adults only...for the other excellence , you might want to check if its adults only
Lafafa wrote: I’m looking to go to one of the Excellence resorts (leaning towards Mexico) in Feb or March with a 5 month old baby. It will be the baby’s first trip. Please share your experience at the chain by location
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Newbie
Apr 22, 2022
8 posts
4 upvotes
Lafafa wrote: I’m looking to go to one of the Excellence resorts (leaning towards Mexico) in Feb or March with a 5 month old baby. It will be the baby’s first trip. Please share your experience at the chain by location
your best bet wrote: been to the excellence in mexico playa mujeres a few times,,excellent beach..friendly staff,,staff has excellent memories,,everytime we come back, they know who we are,,,great food,,really nice place,,clean,,,but its adults only...for the other excellence , you might want to check if its adults only
Yes you’re right excellence is the adults only and finest is the family resort. Thanks for the feedback!
Sr. Member
Jun 3, 2007
877 posts
426 upvotes
Toronto
Lafafa wrote: I’m looking to go to one of the Excellence resorts (leaning towards Mexico) in Feb or March with a 5 month old baby. It will be the baby’s first trip. Please share your experience at the chain by location
If you are with a baby then you will be limited to the Finest resorts by Excellence.

Excellence resorts are adults only, while Finest has separate sections for families and adults.

Finest Punta Cana opened exactly one year ago, and Finest Playa Mujeres opened up about 7 years ago, so both are quite new.

I have visited Finest Punta Cana twice, Excellence Mayan Riviera Cancun, and Excellence Oyster Bay in Jamaica. All three are comparable, service was slightly better at Cancun, followed by Finest Punta Cana, however by my second visit, PC had improved and both stays were very enjoyable.

There is an upgrade available at each resort to Finest Club or Excellence Club rooms, which usually include upgraded amenities, higher end alcohol in your mini bar and better views. Also club level on some resorts give you access to additional lounges and restaurants.

As the Punta Cana resort is newest it hasn't gained quite a huge following as the others have, and as a result the prices are sometimes lower than their other resorts. At the moment there is a sargassum seaweed issue at most of the Caribbean resorts, but I did notice it was less intrusive in the Dominican Republic than it was in Mexico this year. There are multiple pools including a shallow pool for toddlers.

There is a children's club, however at 5 months, I imagine this won't be of much use to you yet. In between some of the restaurants there is a play area shared by 2 restaurants which allows the staff to babysit while the parents can eat comfortably alone. There are a number of restaurants for a la carte dining in the evenings, as well as breakfast and lunch buffets. Several times a week they might have special themed buffet dinners outside,

There is live music and entertainment, live music usually outside at about 8 PM and then shows at the theatre after 9.

You can download the app called Excellence Collection which gives you a basic overview of each resort, what amenities they have and you can look at the menus on a daily basis before you go out for dinner.

There are also Facebook groups for each resort, here is a link to the Finest Punta Cana, please let me know if you have any other questions.

https://m.facebook.com/groups/574248916 ... rce=result
Deal Addict
Nov 15, 2014
2750 posts
3037 upvotes
Richmond Hill, ON
Uh oh, 4.5 stars and Cuba, here come the snobs saying 5 star or nothing. Lol, thnx for the heads up. Looks like a great deal
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Nov 3, 2009
1702 posts
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Calgary
Does the price include the air ticket too?
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Mar 22, 2007
28710 posts
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Hamilton
ibuddler wrote: Does the price include the air ticket too?
Yes
hated on but respected.
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Jun 27, 2004
1406 posts
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Toronto
I was there a week and a half ago. Paid $599 for entire week (all in - flight, hotel, all-inclusive). It was an Air Canada Vacation trip booked via iTravel2000 but prices are pretty consistent across travel agencies. Definitely worth the price. The resort is on Cayo Santa Maria so it has its own power generators, whereas the rest of the country is mostly in a power outage state. Remember that Cuba a a third world country so don't expect the Hilton. However, the Cubans really try hard to make the stay pleasent. Beaches are amazing, food and room is "acceptable" - let's just say that you won't go hungry and rooms are very clean.
Deal Guru
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Sep 19, 2006
11090 posts
5988 upvotes
Toronto
Azenha wrote: I was there a week and a half ago. Paid $599 for entire week (all in - flight, hotel, all-inclusive). It was an Air Canada Vacation trip booked via iTravel2000 but prices are pretty consistent across travel agencies. Definitely worth the price. The resort is on Cayo Santa Maria so it has its own power generators, whereas the rest of the country is mostly in a power outage state. Remember that Cuba a a third world country so don't expect the Hilton. However, the Cubans really try hard to make the stay pleasent. Beaches are amazing, food and room is "acceptable" - let's just say that you won't go hungry and rooms are very clean.
nice price 👍🏻👍🏻
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User avatar
Jan 31, 2007
12768 posts
445 upvotes
Toronto
Azenha wrote: I was there a week and a half ago. Paid $599 for entire week (all in - flight, hotel, all-inclusive). It was an Air Canada Vacation trip booked via iTravel2000 but prices are pretty consistent across travel agencies. Definitely worth the price. The resort is on Cayo Santa Maria so it has its own power generators, whereas the rest of the country is mostly in a power outage state. Remember that Cuba a a third world country so don't expect the Hilton. However, the Cubans really try hard to make the stay pleasent. Beaches are amazing, food and room is "acceptable" - let's just say that you won't go hungry and rooms are very clean.
you went to the same resort as the deal? was the resort busy?
One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Treasure
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Jul 8, 2019
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Is anyone aware if there are vegetarian options at the resort? Or restaurants outside the resort serving vegetarian fare?
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Jun 27, 2004
1406 posts
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Toronto
Aznkid2000 wrote: you went to the same resort as the deal? was the resort busy?
Yes, same resort. You book for the Grand Memories, but if it is not busy you get bumped to the Memories Sanctuary (adults-only) which is better. The site actually consists of three resorts (sort of a super resort). There's the Memories Paraiso (been there three times), Grand Memories, and the Sanctuary. It is great when they are all open since you get to go to any of the many pools, bars, restaurants, etc. During low season (i.e. when I travelled, September) only the Sanctuary was open. It was nice because the beach was pretty much deserted. Two beach bars were open and also the beach grill (no lines). BTW, ocean and pool water temp was at 28C (like being in a bathtube) - totally amazing.

UPDATE: Also, forgot to mention that the weather was sunny and warm the entire time except for one day when it "spitted" a bit. Weather forcast on the internet showed clouds with rain every single day, but when you look at the rainfall it said anything from less than 1mm upwards to 3mm each day. And, the hourly forecast showed that these few mm of rain to occur mostly at night or very early in the morning morning. Honestly, I don't understand why the weather people drop cloud/rain icons into there forecast when it "spits" a few mm for a few minutes only at a time when you're generally sleeping - absolutely rediculous.
Last edited by Azenha on Oct 11th, 2022 12:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Jan 31, 2007
12768 posts
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Toronto
Azenha wrote: Yes, same resort. You book for the Grand Memories, but if it is not busy you get bumped to the Memories Sanctuary (adults-only) which is better. The site actually consists of three resorts (sort of a super resort). There's the Memories Paraiso (been there three times), Grand Memories, and the Sanctuary. It is great when they are all open since you get to go to any of the many pools, bars, restaurants, etc. During low season (i.e. when I travelled, September) only the Sanctuary was open. It was nice because the beach was pretty much deserted. Two beach bars were open and also the beach grill (no lines). BTW, ocean and pool water temp was at 28C (like being in a bathtube) - totally amazing.
thanks - also are you worried about the US visa issue? It was either this thread or the other one that mention if you been to Cuba after Feb 2021? that a visa is required to enter to the US.
One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Treasure
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Feb 10, 2007
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darkhorz1 wrote: Is anyone aware if there are vegetarian options at the resort? Or restaurants outside the resort serving vegetarian fare?
vegetarian is not a thing in Cuba...

there's always vegetable stations, rice/beans and bread
[self promotion rule violation, removed twice already][self promotion rule violation, removed twice already]Trolling or Threadcrapping Trolling - woooooooo 3k on a laptop woooooooo 3k on a laptop woooooooo 3k on a laptop woooooooo 3k on a laptop
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Jun 27, 2004
1406 posts
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Toronto
Aznkid2000 wrote: thanks - also are you worried about the US visa issue? It was either this thread or the other one that mention if you been to Cuba after Feb 2021? that a visa is required to enter to the US.
I've been travelling to Cuba for over 30 years and never had any issues getting into the US or any other country. If you don't want your passport stamped, just ask the Cuban boarder services. They give you a paper VISA which is used to enter/exit that is stamped. Frankly, I have about a dozen Cuban entry/exit stamps and never any US issues. BTW, there was a US doctor with friends vacationing at the resort. I've also met other US citizens over the years. They travel from a Canadian airport and simply don't get their passports stamped on entry/exit from Cuba.
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May 18, 2015
1778 posts
801 upvotes
Ottawa,Ont
Azenha wrote: Yes, same resort. You book for the Grand Memories, but if it is not busy you get bumped to the Memories Sanctuary (adults-only) which is better. The site actually consists of three resorts (sort of a super resort). There's the Memories Paraiso (been there three times), Grand Memories, and the Sanctuary. It is great when they are all open since you get to go to any of the many pools, bars, restaurants, etc. During low season (i.e. when I travelled, September) only the Sanctuary was open. It was nice because the beach was pretty much deserted. Two beach bars were open and also the beach grill (no lines). BTW, ocean and pool water temp was at 28C (like being in a bathtube) - totally amazing.

UPDATE: Also, forgot to mention that the weather was sunny and warm the entire time except for one day when it "spitted" a bit. Weather forcast on the internet showed clouds with rain every single day, but when you look at the rainfall it said anything from less than 1mm upwards to 3mm each day. And, the hourly forecast showed that these few mm of rain to occur mostly at night or very early in the morning morning. Honestly, I don't understand why the weather people drop cloud/rain icons into there forecast when it "spits" a few mm for a few minutes only at a time when you're generally sleeping - absolutely rediculous.
Any access to internet?
Sr. Member
Dec 24, 2018
817 posts
893 upvotes
Canada
Azenha wrote: I've been travelling to Cuba for over 30 years and never had any issues getting into the US or any other country. If you don't want your passport stamped, just ask the Cuban boarder services. They give you a paper VISA which is used to enter/exit that is stamped. Frankly, I have about a dozen Cuban entry/exit stamps and never any US issues. BTW, there was a US doctor with friends vacationing at the resort. I've also met other US citizens over the years. They travel from a Canadian airport and simply don't get their passports stamped on entry/exit from Cuba.
This. This is what I needed to hear. I always wanted to go to Cuba, but I am afraid because I still visit the States a couple of times a year. Last thing I want is to end up in Guantanamo Bay because of my trip to the communist Cuba... God bless our PM for he is the son of the great Fidel Castro.
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Nov 25, 2010
5702 posts
2371 upvotes
Abbottabad
Is there any Covid testing requirements when you land in Cuba?

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