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I have written a couple of reviews on my resort and the airway i flew with so i thought i would write a review regarding the tour operator who i booked through.
I have used Thomas Cook twice now and i have found them to be very good, i personally have had no problems with them, had to chase them up on a few things but nothing major. The guide book best to show the resort we went to is Carribean Holidays by Virgin Atalntic.
In february 2004 we decided that we wanted to get married at Club St Lucia in St Lucia. Now we have been there before and we enjoyed it ,as it was so good for the children. We have 2 little boys aged 8 & 9 and as you appreciate little children eat and drink all the time so this was good for us as it was an All Inclusive resort. We went to see Thomas Cook and make the arrangements. In total there were going to be 10 of us going which included parents, best man and us and our kids. We did have a litle shop around beforehand but found Thomas Cook Signature (subsidary of Thomas Cook) the cheapest. We booked the holiday and they required a deposit of all of us which was £135.00 for each person including the children. Now that included a £10.00 each for our travel insurance through Thomas Cook which was excellent. Nothing had to be then paid until 12 weeks before we flew. As we were not flying until 1st feb 2005, our grand total for everyone had to be paid by the 1st of November giving us the time to save up for it. Now they will not send a reminder to you to let you know when the holiday is to be paid by, that is on your receipt that you get when you pay your deposits. We chose the Virgin Airway (see separate review) as we have flown with them before and enjoyed the flight. It is a long flight at 8 hours but well worth the flight for going to St Lucia.
When we had paid in full we were delighted to be told that Thomas Cook had give us a free helicopter tour around the island for booking with them a second time. This was to be for 8 adults (no children allowed). This was fine because i didnt want to go in the helicopter anyway, so i would be able to watch the kids. We had to book the day and time when we got there.
When you book a wedding through Thomas Cook abroad, everything is arranged for you. No worry , no hassle. The wedding package cost us about £350 extra but that included all of the below;
The cost of the registrar, legal fees, licence and your marriage certificate. Decorated gazebo overlooking the ocean. A bridal bouquet. A buttonhole for the groom. Wedding cake. Sparkling wine. Dinner for the bride and groom at the Grand House (exclusive restuarant just off the resort) Champagne breakfast in bed
If you book 5 or more rooms you get all of this free. I only had 4 rooms so just missed this offer.
You can even book a steel band, guitarist or horse and carriage for your wedding reception. I chose to have the Guitarist and the horse and carriage. The Guitarist will play anything you ask for, for example we had, Bob Marley, One Love and Lionel Ritchie, Endless Love and a few others which we left to the Guitarist. The Horse and carriage is beautiful, although you dont have far to go on the day of the wedding, he takes you around the resort and then down to the wedding area. We paid for the photographer there (about £40.00 for 30 photo's). They are standard photo's but beautifully natural which is what i wanted. Thomas Cook will send you the wedding package around 12 weeks before you go and in this package you can book all of the above then. I had to ring several times to get mine as they had run out.
In this document it lists all the things you need to take with you ie Original birth certificates etc. Thomas Cook will then deal with everything else.
£1289 per adult £ 299 per child
That is for fully inclusive holiday and all transfers to and from airport.
£350 extra for wedding package That is for fully inclusive
We flew direct from Gatwick to Hewanorra airport in St Lucia with Virgin Atlantic. Sometimes you have to make a stop in barbados, we did this last time and we wernt keen to do it again, try getting a direct flight if you can. When you arrive you get picked up at the airport and get taken to the resort. This is about 1 and half hours drive to get there. Very dodgy roads over there!!
We got to the resort, Club St Lucia by Splash, like i said we have been there before so we knew what the resort was like. When we checked in we all assumed that we would be together, although my parents were having the children in their room as it was our wedding/honeymoon. We were given our keys and much to our suprise me and hubby had been given a honeymoon suite up in the Hummingbird village (different areas of the resort). We got to our room and it was beautiful with a massive four poster bed, lovely balcony with a double hammock on the balcony. A bottle of champayne and fresh fruit also lay in our room.
The first morning of the holiday, obviously very tired, but we had to meet with the wedding coordinator at 9am. We got there and she explained everything to us and what would happen. We had to go back later that day to see the lawyer and to sign all the paperwork we had to sign. You choose the colour of the flowers you want, can be any colour. She will show you pics of other brides so you can get a good idea of what different bouquets look like. I went for creams, cos i just wanted everyhing natural. She also tells you to book your hair straight away because obviously they get really busy, nails need to be done one day b4 wedding. This was very cheap, about £20.00.
We had been there a week by the time we got married, i think you have to be on the island for at least 4 days before the wedding. Our wedding was booked for 1pm, you choose this on your first day with the wedding coordinator. The morning was very relaxing, breakfast, quick swim/tan then of to the hairdressers for 11am. I was in there for about an hour, they put my hair up and attached the veil for me. I then went back to the room to get dressed. Unfortunately my bouqet hadnt turned up, so i was getting a litle worried as time was moving on. we phoned and they eventually came up at 1.30pm! i know i know the wedding was supposed to start at 1pm. it doesnt matter over there though because everything is so chilled and relaxed, they dont worry about time. I was ok really but my hubby waiting for me wasnt, he started to panick at 1.30pm!!! This is the only thing that went wrong really . Anyway, got married eventually at 1.45pm. The sun was hot, the sky was blue and te scenery stunning. We were in a gazebo on top of a little hill overlooking the sea. The ceremony itself took about 15 mins, which included us having a little dance! We had photos done in wedding area and then onto the beach. Afterwards you go to your reception which is laid on for you privately in one of the bars. You can invite anyone you like in, we did as we met other wedding couples over there. In out room they had scattered petals all over our bed, with another bottle of champayne waiting for us. That night we went for our special meal, which was beautiful. Stunning food! We had a continental breakfast bought to our room the next morning. Sheer Bliss!
We waited for about 2 days for our photos, and we went to view them. They give them to you, so you can choose which ones you want, they always take extra. You then go back next day and pay for any extra ones you want (very cheap!). When you get the photos you also get the Wedding Certificate. Now you are all legal, officially Mr & Mrs!!!!!
There are many extras you can pay for, ie having a video done, more photo's taken. That can all be arranged by Thomas Cook before you go.
In my opinion, i wanted a hassle free wedding, plenty of sunshine, lovely wedding day. And, in my opinion Thomas Cook gave that to me.
I just got married so i can see how this could save you a lot of time and hassle. A good review, and could sway a few people to spend their most memorable day abroad. Good Review and hope you have a happy life together! Although you've been together ages now...lol
unquietmind 14.10.2005 21:25
It sound close to the dream wedding and your pictures are stunning. x A really good review. x
helenmayclark 16.05.2005 16:48
Its sounds like you had a fantastic day. You look gorgeous in the photos, as do your boys and husband! Helen