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Planet Hollywood Cancun - LIVE - April 11-19th


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I'm starting this a week early. I'm flying to Cancun a week from tomorrow. This is a different board for me so this time will give the people who frequent this board (all 7 of you) a chance to get caught up. 

 

These are newest to oldest:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://saintgregtravel.com/breezy-like-sunday-morning/

 

 

https://saintgregtravel.com/seven-days-of-freedom/

 

 

https://saintgregtravel.com/i-will-triumph/

 

 

https://saintgregtravel.com/leaving-the-elation/

 

 

https://saintgregtravel.com/r1-my-intro-to-cruising/

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Planning

This is my first all-inclusive resort booking. After shopping around for a couple of months, I don’t think it will be my last. I found quite a few resorts I would like to visit and as long as cruises continue to get canceled, I will continue to book all-inclusive resorts.

 

When you search for Cancun all-inclusive hotels, you will actually find hotels in three very different areas: Riviera Maya, Hotel Zone, and Costa Mujeres. I found hotels in all of these areas that interested me. Ultimately I decided on Planet Hollywood which is a brand new resort (opened on Jan 29th) in Costa Mujeres.

Dining

The most important factor for me was dining options. Some of the resorts only have a buffet. Many have a number of their specialty restaurants closed or on a rotating schedule where you only have one option each night due to COVID-19.

 

Planet Hollywood has a coffee/pastry/ice cream shop and a buffet that are open for all meals. Guy’s Burgers is open for lunch. The Italian restaurant is open for lunch and dinner. They have Japanese, Indian, and Mexican restaurants as well as a sports bar that are open for dinner only. The dinner restaurants are on a rotating schedule where only about two of them are closed each night.

 

If you are on the adult side, you also have access to seafood and Brazilian restaurants. One of the two is open for dinner each night. The seafood restaurant is open for lunch every day. Having the seafood and Brazilian restaurants was important to me and one of the reasons I booked the adult side. I have since found out that adults staying on the family side can eat at the adult side restaurants for a fee.

 

I read that they also had a chef’s table called 6th Sense but I haven’t seen or heard of anyone who has been to it. I have heard it costs $180 per person and they require a minimum of 10 people to have it. 

Room Types

I knew I wanted either an ocean view balcony room or a swim out room. I was leaning swim out but in the end the hotel’s availability made the decision for me. The only ocean view rooms they had available for my nights were on the family side in STAR Class. The total cost would’ve been the same as I paid for an adult side swim out without STAR Class. While I would’ve gained STAR Class privileges, I would’ve lost access to the Seafood and Brazilian restaurants which was the deal breaker for me. If I booked STAR class on the adult side, I would’ve lost the swim out and I couldn’t get ocean view either. Availability made my decision to book a junior suite with a swim out on the adult side without STAR Class an easy one.

 

There are many other room types. They have entourage suites, director suites and producer suites. The producer suites are really amazing with two bedrooms, a separate kitchen and bar, a living room with a pool table and big screen TV, a dinner table that seats about 10, and a large balcony with entrances from all rooms that includes loungers and a jacuzzi. All of those are way outside of the scope of what I need for just me.

STAR Class

What do you lose by not booking star class? Let’s take a look at that. This is the list of Star Class benefits currently being distributed to Star Class guests at check-in.

 

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Green Lounge

I have seen pictures of the building 21 snacks. They consisted of small bites served buffet style so I probably would’ve skipped that.

STAR Class Pool

I have heard the STAR Class pool is the only heated pool on the property. That has been big when reading reviews from February. The negative I’ve heard about it is all of the STAR Class kids are also using that pool. For that reason many of the STAR Class guests on the adult side have been sticking to the adult pool. I have also heard that the fun activities during the day are happening around the adult pool.

STAR Class Bar & Grill

The way I understand the STAR Class Bar & Grill is just a pool bar/grill that is only open for lunch. I have heard that it does have good food. It’s probably nice to have but not a necessity to me. The aspect of it that they don’t even mention which has potential to be big is I have heard the STAR Class pool bar has alcohol the other bars don’t have. This is definitely something I want to investigate further while I’m there.

 

I wonder if that means you have to go to the pool bar to get the upgraded alcohol? That’s what it sounds like to me. If you’re in the sports bar or on the beach or in the nightclub after the pool bar is closed, I’m thinking you won’t have access to the additional alcohol options. Some have said the differences aren’t worth the upgrade cost. I will try to find out during my trip.

 

For beer I have heard that all bars have Dos Equis and Dos Equis Amber while the Star Class bar also has Coors Light and Heineken. That works for me because I would pick Dos Equis Amber out of all of those beers.

 

Flow Rider

For anyone not familiar with the Flow Rider it is the surfing machine you may have seen on Royal Caribbean ships. I think listing it as free for any STAR Class guest who stays at least three days is a little misleading.

 

As you can see from the document below you only get a one day pass with a three day stay as a STAR Class guest. I have also seen schedules that show a time each day when the flow rider is free to all. You may have to deal with longer lines but if you just want to try it without paying for a full day or purchasing the STAR Class upgrade, that’s an option.

 

38103-AED-D960-4512-95-DE-6505-E1-C69708

 

The Rest

I’m really not concerned about personalized check-in, late check-out, turn down service, spa treatment discounts, or the personal assistant. I have seen some people say the personal assistant was very helpful and others who said they never saw him. Apparently you get his what’s app number and that’s how you communicate. So if you are going to use this service you probably want to download What’s App and register your account.

Activities and Entertainment

The fact that I’m going to this resort during COVID-19 was one of the reasons I chose a secluded resort away from the Hotel Zone with a lot of activities. In addition to the restaurants and pools this resort has a sports bar, mini golf, flow rider, water park, water sports, a lazy river, a movie theater, and a nightclub on weekends. While I am going to have my second covid-19 vaccine dose prior to leaving, I didn’t know that was going to be the case at the time of booking. I wanted to make sure I booked a resort with enough activities to keep me busy for eight days if I chose not to venture outside of the resort during my stay.

Flights

I was really happy to be able to get Spirit Airlines. It worked out where they had one of the best prices and the flight times were just what I was looking for.

 

I added $149 worth of upgrades to my flights. The checked bag was $43 one way and $42 the other. The exit row aisle seat with additional leg room upgrade was $27 one way and $29 the other. Finally for $8 I got a shortcut security line. This may not be necessary but I remember last year when I flew out of DFW in the morning I thought I was going to miss my flight due to long lines. Fortunately they let me cut to the front line since my flight was boarding soon.

Travel Agents/Booking Websites

I found booking an all-inclusive to be much different than booking a cruise. With cruises it seems to be pretty much the same price no matter where you book it. But you can get onboard credit or other perks by booking through a travel agent.

 

My agent only books cruises so I didn’t really check with a travel agent for this trip but I did watch a lot of travel agent videos that included some sample pricing and it seemed like booking with them would’ve been about 33% more than what I paid.

 

I cast a pretty wide net for my search. At one point I was close to booking a resort on Cheap Caribbean, then I was close to booking a different resort on Hotwire. I checked Expedia as well. For this resort I got the best price on All Inclusive Outlet. I saved about $150 off of what it would’ve cost to book it on one of the other sites and $500 off of what it would’ve cost to book my room directly through the hotel. Plus I got my flight and a shuttle from and to the airport.

 

The resort upgrades were pretty much $165 each. Going from the family side to the adult scene was $165 (they are listed as separate resorts on the websites). Going from a Junior Suite to a Junior Suite with a swim out was $165. Upgrading from regular class to STAR Class would’ve been $165 as well. I have heard an upgrade to STAR Class at the resort itself is anywhere from $40-80 per day. For me that would’ve been in the $320-640 range.

 

My shared transportation option was a $23 upgrade. They did have private options in the $75-100 price range as well.

Travel Documents/Fees

Passport

My passport is valid until 2028. The passport application/renewal cost is $110. Information on obtaining a passport can be found here.

Tourist Card

Everyone traveling to Mexico has to get a Mexico Tourist Card. They are free and easy to get. If you don’t get your card ahead of time you’ll will have to do so at the airport.

Visitor Tax

As of April 1st the state of Quintana Roo has a visitor tax of $11 per person. You can pay yours online ahead of time on the visitax website or you will have to pay prior to boarding your return flight.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

 

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One thing that has bothered me the past year on my reviews is the video quality. It looks bad. It looks even worse when you spend a bunch of time watching these resort videos people are posting..and I watched A LOT of them while deciding which resort to book.

 

There's no reason for my videos to be that bad. I always have either the newest or second newest iPhone. I have the 11 pro max now. I had the the XS Max on Panorama. So looking at it I noticed when I turn my camera on it never defaults to the best quality video. You have  to manually change it every time. I was never doing that before. Maybe there's a setting to make it default to 4k video. 

 

If there are any video experts feel free to comment on the difference between. 24/30/60 frames per second or any other advice you may have. It seems to me that 60fps would be the best setting but I've seen videos out there of people debating whether 24 or 30 is better. 

 

Here is a look at the difference between a default setting video I filmed with my XS Max last year and a 4K 60 FPS video I shot in Galveston last weekend...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Saint Greg
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These range anywhere from $30 to over 200. I did a bunch of research and settled in on the Hohem iSteady X. I wanted a three axis gimbal that was compact and could still handle of phone of my size. I decided this was the best one for the price. It lists at $80. I found one on Amazon for $70 that had a $14 coupon. After taxes it was $60. 
 
I received Gimbal last night and he was missing his charging cable and wrist strap. I did the text help thing on the amazon app and within 10 mins they had me a return label and a guarantee of a new one being delivered no later than tomorrow. 
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Following and looking forward to it...Have never heard of a Mexico Tourist Card...but have only visited Mexico via car...and cruise ship...is this for AI resorts...and or people who fly in for vacation ?  It will be great to have a review to follow....thanks!

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4 minutes ago, jbhcw said:

Following and looking forward to it...Have never heard of a Mexico Tourist Card...but have only visited Mexico via car...and cruise ship...is this for AI resorts...and or people who fly in for vacation ?  It will be great to have a review to follow....thanks!

 

Welcome!

 

I don't know if it's just a new thing or what. There are land and maritime options on the form. Not really a big deal. It's free and it just has like my name, birthday, passport #, flight number, the hotel name, and my date of departure. After you fill it out the form you need is in your email box instantly. Maybe they waive it for cruise ships. It's been a long time since I've crossed the border in a car but nothing was required then. 

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Woohoo!!! I’m onboard Greg!! Can’t wait to see your view of the AI experience in Mexico!!! Also the Tourist Card For flying in isn’t new however, that said... In the past you got one on the plane flying in to fill out to present at customs or you had to fill one out waiting in line. (This has been my experience in the past visiting Cabo, Isla Mujeres, Cancun etc.)Now that it can be done ahead of time and online it should speed up and streamline the process through customs some I would think. Can’t wait for more Greg!!

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1 minute ago, JRL81 said:

Woohoo!!! I’m onboard Greg!! Can’t wait to see your view of the AI experience in Mexico!!! Also the Tourist Card For flying in isn’t new however, that said... In the past you got one on the plane flying in to fill out to present at customs or you had to fill one out waiting in line. (This has been my experience in the past visiting Cabo, Isla Mujeres, Cancun etc.)Now that it can be done ahead of time and online it should speed up and streamline the process through customs some I would think. Can’t wait for more Greg!!

 

I noticed on the website they mentioned that some airlines no longer pass out the form. I'm guessing that made for longer customs lines. Good to have as much done ahead of time as possible I think.

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27 minutes ago, Hogladyrider said:

Whew........ready for a vacation after all that prep work you did!

 

Looking forward to following along with your vacation.

 

And I thought that was the short version. 

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Greg-

Also sorry for the late replies but I have been off the boards the past few years and had to restart (new screen name) lost everything on here lol... but have followed from the beginning and read all your reviews and all of your and aids tips have helped me tons over the years.. but now that I’m a solo (divorce final after a four year battle)🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻 I can finally put all those extra tips and bar hopping foodie places through their paces!!!

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thinking about it...we had to fill something out several years ago when we flew into Jamaica for a week at Hilton Rose Manor...an AI resort....it was quite a wait to go thru customs or whatever it was....like I said have only cruised to Mexico and driven across the border into TJ....thanks JRL for the info..

 

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Posted (edited)

I packed my suitcase last week. I still have more to go. I have amazon shipments coming every day through wednesday. I don't know what I'd do without amazon. I'd probably have to go inside stores.

 

I have an inventory on my phone of everything currently in my suitcase and back pack. Most of the important things are packed like medicine, plastic straws, duct tape, and antibacterial soap. I do have one important item to add.

 

 

 

 

 

.

 

B466-C590-A4-DF-421-B-8-C69-3-AE4-EB023-

Edited by Saint Greg
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Look forward to “joining” you on this trip.

With all trips cancelled - we haven’t left AK since late Nov 2019...

This long of zero travel outside is a first for us😎 

I do recall a Tourist Card on my first trip to the interior in 1981...

Next trip/crossing wasn’t until 1994 - no card required then or since...

Can’t wait until you get this party started!

 

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24 minutes ago, Von & John said:

Look forward to “joining” you on this trip.

With all trips cancelled - we haven’t left AK since late Nov 2019...

This long of zero travel outside is a first for us😎 

I do recall a Tourist Card on my first trip to the interior in 1981...

Next trip/crossing wasn’t until 1994 - no card required then or since...

Can’t wait until you get this party started!

 

 

I'm so fortunate to have taken that trip just before everything was shut down. I can't imagine if it had been since 2019. And now I've taken a few weekend trips...Galveston, Houston...places like that but it's just not the same. And watching all of these resort videos had me kicking myself that I didn't start this sooner. People pretty much had resorts to themselves in the fall and winter. I was stubborn. Since I paid with gift cards I really have a lot of money tied up in Carnival. So that was part of it. But no way I thought cruises would be canceled into April. But here we are. Canceled through May or June. I can't keep up. My next one is the end of August and I won't book one before that.

 

I had an Alaska one in April. Currently debating on whether or not to reschedule that for next summer. Excursions are expensive on that one so I would like to get one of my $600 OBC FCCs on an Alaskan one. My issue now is if my Mardi Gras cruise gets canceled, maybe I'd want to schedule Mardi Gras next summer. I already have Glory in the spring for the "Sailabration." But I do have that spot where I try to schedule a December cruise. So now I'm thinking of doing another Mardi Gras in December and Alaska next summer.

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I'm looking forward to following along. It's going to be so amazing to actually have a new trip report, even if it isn't a cruise, to read. Hope you have fun! 😀

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39 minutes ago, Saint Greg said:

 

I'm so fortunate to have taken that trip just before everything was shut down. I can't imagine if it had been since 2019. And now I've taken a few weekend trips...Galveston, Houston...places like that but it's just not the same. And watching all of these resort videos had me kicking myself that I didn't start this sooner. People pretty much had resorts to themselves in the fall and winter. I was stubborn. Since I paid with gift cards I really have a lot of money tied up in Carnival. So that was part of it. But no way I thought cruises would be canceled into April. But here we are. Canceled through May or June. I can't keep up. My next one is the end of August and I won't book one before that.

 

I had an Alaska one in April. Currently debating on whether or not to reschedule that for next summer. Excursions are expensive on that one so I would like to get one of my $600 OBC FCCs on an Alaskan one. My issue now is if my Mardi Gras cruise gets canceled, maybe I'd want to schedule Mardi Gras next summer. I already have Glory in the spring for the "Sailabration." But I do have that spot where I try to schedule a December cruise. So now I'm thinking of doing another Mardi Gras in December and Alaska next summer.

Our 03/15/20 X Eclipse cruise, Santiago, Chile to San Diego, was cancelled on the 14th...

We had so looked forward to it, as we had cancelled a Miami to Santiago, Chile cruise a few years back...
Hoping we'll find a cruise similar to one of these 2 in the future 🙂
Alaska is also an amazing place to visit via land/train/air/ferry...

Good Luck on your booked cruises sailing!

AND - have FUN in Cancun!!!

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3 hours ago, Saint Greg said:

 

I have an inventory on my phone of everything currently in my suitcase and back pack. Most of the important things are packed like medicine, plastic straws, duct tape, and antibacterial soap. I do have one important item to add.

Especially the duct tape!

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As I mentioned this resort is new. They just opened two months ago. The big problem they are having is all of their rooms are not ready yet. I’m not too concerned about it for me because all of the complaints seem to be on the family side, particularly suites with multiple bedrooms. So I’m not too concerned about my room. The good thing about it is while Cancun recently raised their capacity from 30% to 60% this resort is still below 60% because they don’t have enough rooms for 60%.

 

I would’ve expected a resort to finish all of the rooms first to get the people in and then have people complaining about the water park isn’t ready or the mini golf course isn’t ready or the lazy River isn’t ready. There’s none of that. Everything is open. It’s just a matter of if you’re  going to have the  room you booked.

 

I guess Saturday is a big check-in day. So yesterday I was reading about a couple of families that didn’t get their entourage suites or whatever.  They were each given two junior suites next to each other instead. Not adjoining. And one of the mothers was talking about having to either split the adults or put kids ages 5,9,10 in their own room which she seemed opposed to. It made me think about how on cruises people put their kids across the hallway no problem. I was surprised by it when I first started cruising because that wouldn’t have happened when I was a kid. Not until high school at least.

 

But anyway if they do tell me they don’t have a swim out for me I’m already schooled in the forms of compensation people have been getting. Upgrades to Starclass. Free cabanas. That’s what I would ask for. A cabana for every day I don’t have my swim out. Those give you a front row seat to the poolside activities and are equipped with TVs and plunge pools. I believe they start at $75/day and then go up to $100 with a bottle of liquor or $125 with champagne.

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I'm still trying to picture a "swim out" room... The pool goes all the way into the hotel room? If so, does the door go all the way down into the water?

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