Club Med Punta Cana


Punta Cana - 1st time

nancyb
4 Posts
21
Nov
2010
edf40wrjww2FORUM_TOPICS:T_MESSAGE
We will be staying at Club Med Punta Cana in January 2010. It's our very first family vacation abroad - 6 of us, including 4 kids!

Anyways, just a few question I hope you can answer.

1. How much cash should one anticipate spending while at the resort for a 2 week stay? Is there anything food/beverage-wise that costs extra, or additional costs that Club Med charges upon arrival or discharge?
2. What is the preferred currency one should take?
3. I have some kids that really want to swim with the dolphins. Does Club Med offer an excursion or is it better to arrange that on one's own. If the latter, what is the best and safest company to deal with?
4. What is the security like at Club Med. Is it safe to go into town?
5. Is there an excursion one can take to visit sugar canes, banana plantations, etc. that is safe?
6. Does Club Med Punta Cana offer internet service? If so, is there a fee?
7. How do you make sure your digital camera doesn't get stolen when you depart the country?
8. Is there a secure place to store your passports?
9. Silly question maybe, but does one tip the staff (just any or all), and when to do it?
10. We want to have a family portrait done at the resort. Does Club Med Punta Cana have a professional photographer that can do this?
11. Is the teen club functional in January?
12. We have 2 connecting deluxe rooms, one couples room and one club family room booked. Would you be able to recommend which building would be best to stay in?

I know this is a long post, but I thank you in advance for helping me out!
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JAMESSITE
1652 Posts
21
Nov
2010
1. How much cash should one anticipate spending while at the resort for a 2 week stay? Is there anything food/beverage-wise that costs extra, or additional costs that Club Med charges upon arrival or discharge? YOU SIGN UP AT ARRIVAL WITH A CARD THAT YOU CHARGE ON FOR EXPENSES.JUST BE CAREFUL BECAUSE THEY CAN ADD UP QUICKLY. YOU CAN SPEND AT THE BOUTIQUE FOR THINGS OR CHARGE. SO YOU CAN MAKE FINAL PAYMENT WHEN YOU CHECK OUT.THERE IS A $10 TOURIST CARD CHARGE PER PERSON ON ARRIVAL AT THE AIRPORT, NO MATTER WHAT AGE. DID YOU BOOK FLIGHT WITH CLUB MED OR ON YOUR OWN? IF ON YOUR OWN, YOU NEED TRANSPORT FROM AIRPORT TO VILLAGE. IF YOU BOOKED AIR THROUGH CLUB MED, THEY WILL PROVIDE AIRPORT TRANSFER AS PART OF THE PACKAGE.
2. What is the preferred currency one should take? US DOLLARS IS FINE
3. I have some kids that really want to swim with the dolphins. Does Club Med offer an excursion or is it better to arrange that on one's own. If the latter, what is the best and safest company to deal with? THERE IS AN EXCURSION TEAM THERE. I DO NOT KNOW WHAT THE COST DIFFERENCE IS BETWEEN BOOKING THROUGH THEM OR ON YOUR OWN. BUT SOMETIMES EASIER TO PAY MORE AND HAVE THEM MAKE THE ARRANGEMENTS
4. What is the security like at Club Med. Is it safe to go into town?THERE IS SECURITY GUARDS AT THE VILLAGE. THERE IS REALLY NOT ALOT TO SEE IN TOWN OTHER THAN TO GO SHOPPING. IT IS USUALLY SAFE IN THE TOWN, BUT WOULD NEED TO TAKE CAB TO GET THERE, UNLESS YOU RENT A CAR
5. Is there an excursion one can take to visit sugar canes, banana plantations, etc. that is safe? ALL THE EXCURSIONS ARE SAFE. AND AS I SAID ABOVE, THEY HAVE AN EXCURSION TEAM ACROSS FROM RECEPTION. ONE PROBLEM IS SOMETIMES DEPENDING ON THE MAKE UP OF THE GUESTS, IT MIGHT BE PREDOMINANTLY FRENCH DURING SOME OF THE TRIPS AND SO THAT MIGHT BE A FACTOR
6. Does Club Med Punta Cana offer internet service? If so, is there a fee?THEY HAVE INTERNET SERVICE. EITHER COMPUTER ROOM OR WIFI SERVICE. THEY HAVE DAILY AND WEEKLY RATES. BUT SOMETIMES THE SERVICE IS NOT FUNCTIONING AND SO MIGHT HAVE LOST MONEY IF BUY A WEEKLY RATE. IT DEPENDS ON HOW MUCH YOU EXPECT TO USE IT
7. How do you make sure your digital camera doesn't get stolen when you depart the country? I ALWAYS CARRY MY CAMERA WITH ME WHEN I TRAVEL AND DONT PACK IT. FOR ME, AFTER WIFE AND PASSPORT, IT IS MY MOST IMPORTANT THING WHEN I TRAVEL.
8. Is there a secure place to store your passports? THERE ARE SAFES IN THE ROOMS
9. Silly question maybe, but does one tip the staff (just any or all), and when to do it? NORMALLY, IT IS NOT REQUIRED, BUT BECOMES YOUR CHOICE. THE HOUSEKEEPING STAFF IS USUALLY WHO YOU WOULD TIP. WE USUALLY TIP AT THE END OF THE VACATION BECAUSE YOU NORMALLY HAVE THE SAME PERSON EVERY DAY. HOWEVER, IF YOU DO IT EVERY DAY, YOU MIGHT BE GETTING EXTRA WATER BOTTLES IN THE ROOM.
10. We want to have a family portrait done at the resort. Does Club Med Punta Cana have a professional photographer that can do this? THERE IS A PHOTOGRAPHY TEAM THAT WILL TAKE CARE OF FAMILY PORTRAITS AND THEY WALK AROUND EVERY DAY TAKING PICTURES, USUALLY OF THE CHILDREN DOING THEIR ACTIVITIES
11. Is the teen club functional in January? IT SHOULD ALWAYS BE FUNCTIONAL. DEPENDING ON THE AGES OF THE CHILDREN THERE ARE DIFFERENT AGE GROUPS. AGAIN, THE BLEND OF THE CHILDREN'S GROUPS DEPENDS ON WHERE PEOPLE COME FROM. SO THERE MIGHT BE LANGUAGE PROBLEMS WITH THE KIDS TALKING TO EACH OTHER AND WITH THE GO IN CHARGE, IF THEY SPEAK ONLY ONE LANGUAGE.
12. We have 2 connecting deluxe rooms, one couples room and one club family room booked. Would you be able to recommend which building would be best to stay in? YOU NEED TO CONTACT PLANNING OFFICE ABOUT TWO WEEKS BEFORE YOU GO. THE IMPORTANT THING IS WHAT ROOM CATEGORIES ARE THE ROOMS YOU HAVE. ALSO, WHAT ACTIVITIES OR LOCATION IN THE VILLAGE DO YOU WANT TO BE NEAR.

Feel free to ask more questions here before you leave. That is the purpose of this site. Also, if you have Facebook, I have a number of albums on it from recent Punta Cana visits, if you want to see what the village looks like. You can email me or contact me here if want to be Facebook friends.

Jim

How many gold bar beads?
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whrez
159 Posts
21
Nov
2010
1. How much cash should one anticipate spending while at the resort for a 2 week stay? Is there anything food/beverage-wise that costs extra, or additional costs that Club Med charges upon arrival or discharge

I would bring lots of small bills, particularly over a two-week stay. In addition to $10 airport arrival tourist card per person, there are potential airport porter tips on arrival, room tips (we tip @the beginning of stay), and then airport porters when you depart (they are very aggressive/proactive, but helpful in a way). To avoid additional random purchases, bring all the family toiletries+garmets/accessories you can imagine you'll need (sunscreen, bugspray, OTC meds, other toiletries, hats and sunglasses for all, etc.). The boutique is quite expensive (not a good place to buy US-priced souvenir T-shirts, for example), but the charges will appear on your total room bill at the end and can be settled with credit; it's useful if you lose something or just plain forgot something. Outside the boutique there sometimes vendors selling souvenirs and some of these require upfront cash payment (such as braided bracelets, or getting your hair braided/corn rows).

7. How do you make sure your digital camera doesn't get stolen when you depart the country?

If you mean prevent theft while in the village (as opposed to from your luggage - all things of value go in carry-on), we put valuables, including electronics, in the in-room safe. We have brought phones, laptops, and cameras for past three years without experiencing theft in the village. Same as you would at home, take care of your belongings - if you don't need your [electronic item], don't bring it around the village with you. If you bring it around, pay attention to it/don't leave it unattended. Recommend bringing a powerstrip if you have more than one or two things to plug in, as there are not tons of outlets in the rooms, and placement is somewhat peculiar. (Outlets are US-standard voltage and shape.)

10. We want to have a family portrait done at the resort. Does Club Med Punta Cana have a professional photographer that can do this?

There is a photography team. We (and many others) have found the prices to be quite high, so just be forewarned. We have purchased some, as there are photos taken of your kids during the day when you are not around. Might consider doing family portrait this year; those we've seen were pretty nice. If you arrive on Saturday and depart on Saturday, try to select and purchase your photos by Friday evening. Otherwise, you'll be stuck with the Saturday departure crowds who want their photos all at once. The photos are burned to a CD so you have the originals and can develop as you wish.

12. We have 2 connecting deluxe rooms, one couples room and one club family room booked. Would you be able to recommend which building would be best to stay in?

**Definitely** contact room planning as Jim mentioned.
Here is link to village map with the "new" (post-renovation) building names:
http://puntacanamom.blogspot.com/2009/03/club-med-punta-cana-map-and-new.html
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John-Chicago
1356 Posts
21
Nov
2010
Let me throw in my two cents.

When I go on vacation I take two cameras-a DLSR and a point and shoot. The DSLR goes into a camera bag with all my lenses which I carry on board. I also keep all my papers, passports, pens, etc. in that bag. The P&S goes into the luggage. If you are only carrying one camera, always take it on board, along with your CF or SD cards.

Americans aren't big excursion people (to my way of thinking, a mistake if you want to see more of the culture than a beach). The club excursions are well run and safe. If you want to see what they are like, you can see my photos at jdlphotos.smugmug.com. I would guess that the excursions are about 1/3 English speaking and 2/3 French speaking. It's no big deal.

The tipping thing is touchy. The club was founded on the concept that to tip someone is to put you in a Master/Servant relationship and was vigorously forbidden. Today, tipping is still not expected. NEVER give a GO a monetary tip. Some CDV's will fire a GO who accepts money. If they solicit money in any way, they are gone.

As Jamessite can assure you, the boutique is expensive, and in recent years, has had a pretty poor selection to choose from. As a side note, and I don't know why this is, the Asian zone clubs have an excellent and creative selection to choose from in the boutique.

John
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JAMESSITE
1652 Posts
21
Nov
2010
John

They just dont want us to be able to use any of our Gold or Silver member benefits. Cant use 15% in boutique on non-CM items, which is 99%. That is unless you want the only CM shirt sold in boutique, the famous "45" shirt.

Jim

How many gold bar beads?
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nancyb
4 Posts
21
Nov
2010
Thanks for all those replies! That's awesome! I'm not too worried about the language thing as my hubby and 4 kids are bilingual (English/French). For me, it'll be a bit challenging as I have limited French.

By the way, how much are those "45" t-shirts and what does the "45" stand for?
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JAMESSITE
1652 Posts
21
Nov
2010
Have to check in the boutique for the price. One of the stories is they were made for the CM 45th anniversary. They made some for 50th, but they did not sell, so only have the 45th shirt. The other story when you get down there is ask what is and how did the wreck appear in the ocean. Anyone who tells you they know is most likely full of misinformation. But the important thing is with the room, contact planning and tell them your room category and where you might like to be located. When are you going to be in Punta? The map from whrez shows you where facilities are and so determine what you might want to be near and if you want 1st, 2nd or 3rd floor. Not all room categories are in all buildings and can be spread out throughout the village. As I always say, contact Planning about 2 weeks in advance. They should respond and tell you the cannot guarantee your room request, but at least you have planted the seed in their mind as to what you want.


The two parts of the wreck at a distance at sunrise.

The wreck for the ocean side.
John C has a picture from the "good old days" when both halves of the wreck were above water. For the days of the palm tree grove and the rectangular pool and 4 buildings. Hostesses and bar beads.
Jim
How many gold bar beads?
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Kiki de M
2828 Posts
22
Nov
2010
Welcome to CMP, Nancy.

Since you're new on the forum, I suggest you read yourself a bit through older posts.
Regarding the '45', you will find this long thread interesting:
http://clubmedplanet.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=6932&SearchTerms=45

As for the prices, you should know that there are usually different types of T-Shirts like tank tops, T-shirts in short and long sleeves version. IMO, the prices are pretty steep (around US$ 35.- or more), but it makes a nice souvenir, nonetheless.
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Quebec
5 Posts
25
Nov
2010
3. I have some kids that really want to swim with the dolphins.

I'm a 40y/o hunter, fisher and an avid meat eater and I cannot support an industry so cruel towards living creatures as the dolphin industry.

Prior to leaving for Punta Cana, do yourself a favour and rent "The Cove" to see what really takes place inside the dolphins industry.

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JAMESSITE
1652 Posts
25
Nov
2010
Nancy

so when will you be in Punta Cana?

Jim

How many gold bar beads?
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nancyb
4 Posts
28
Nov
2010
Last 2 weeks of January.

BTW, I understand from previous posts that there is a photographer that takes stay & play pics, but I would like to hire a photographer to take professional quality pics (developing family portrait to 20 x 24). Do you know if CM can arrange that for me or would you know of a great photographer who I could contact?

TIA
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JAMESSITE
1652 Posts
29
Nov
2010
they have a photography team there. i do not know anything of their quality or cost, but you can check with them when you are there. we will be in Punta January 9 through 16. I wonder if we will coincide at all.

Jim

How many gold bar beads?
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nancyb
4 Posts
29
Nov
2010
We're coming in on Jan 18. I'm afraid we'll miss each other.
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