My Fiance and I will be at CSS Aug 15-24th 2010 for our weddingmoon. I was just wondering if anyone had any advice they can offer. We are young, 22 years old. We never flew before, never been out of the states, never been to anywhere like couples, And on top of it all were doing it all alone just the two of us. We've had our trip booked for a year already, but with it being right around the corner we are starting to feel the nervousness and excitement setting in. Although the nervousness seems to be taking over. I know there is tons of wonderful advice on the message board, any extra advice will be most helpful :)
Babygurlkt - There are 1000 reasons to be excited, but absolutely no reasons to be nervous! We can give you lots of advice about the resort, and send you some of our pictures from our 2 stays at CSS if you'd like! Just send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Just go and enjoy! Discover the most romantic and beautiful resort in the world. The only thing I wold worry about is how are you going to top your honeymoon, unless you return to CSS every year!
No worries Mon!
Oh please don't be nervous! Couples SS was my first all inclusive experience and I'd booked it for a honeymoon. The airport in Jamaica is small and foolproof. Once you're through customs/immigration there are greeters to point you to your transportation crew. All the resorts either have their own lounges at the airport for you or at least a counter for check in. August is low season so you should not experience too long a wait for anything. EAT SOMETHING at the airport. It's a long trip via bus to Couples SS from Montego Bay. About an hour and a half as I recall (and I just came back from another Jamaican resort 2 days ago, so it's more fresh in my head).
They will greet you at the hotel with refreshments, depending on your flight time your room will likely be ready and the staff at Couples are very accomodating. We booked a mountain view room and were glad of it. We spent all day looking at the beach anyway, we had a nice mountain breeze and a lovely view of the gardens.
The food was FABULOUS. I've stayed at oh, I think 5 different all inclusives now and this was probably the best. Frankly I'm a picky person so the buffet suited me fine but if you DO want a la carte dining, MAKE YOUR RESERVATIONS IMMEDIATELY upon arrival. Same goes for any other tours you might want to participate in - horseback riding, Dunn's River (bring good watershoes with grippy bottoms. The rocks are slick but it's cool and fun!).
Couples is not like Hedonism. It has far more class and style. You're not likely to find people getting it on anywhere they feel like it (but you may want to approach the garden hot tubs and hammocks cautiously, esp in the evening!).
I had not ONE complaint about anything there. Things and people are different so please keep your mind open (especially as first time American travelers leaving the USA). They do things differently there and it is YOUR job to respect THEIR way.
They say there is no tipping but trust me, TIP.
Oh, and everyone in Jamaica works on $5's and $10's so BRING SINGLES!!. Jamaica has their own currency but they run on US dollars.
The a La carte restaurants require men to be in collared shirts and ladies better-dressed so if you think you can get by in coverups and sundresses, you are wrong. Bring your pretty strappy shoes, too. They will turn you away because hey, rules is rules, if you are not appropriately attired.
Oh, and couples does mean couples of every kind, but ONLY couples. Mostly we met other Americans there, some young, many mature. There is a nude "beach" which is, in typical Couples style, a swim away from the "prude" beach (but still, there are so many topless people there (mostly unashamed Europeans) that you can expect to see SOME flesh) and has it's own bar.
First off, relax. You are going to one of the friendliest most romantic places on Earth. As for flying, allow yourself plenty of time. Look at the website for your airline and follow their guidelines for arriving at the airport. Be prepared going through security. Have your 1 qt. bag with your liquids and gels that you carry on. You can have a separate one for prescription meds. Wear the least amount of metal as possible--don't wear heavy jewelry, belt buckles, metal detailing on your shoes. You will most likely have to remove your shoes so be prepared for that. Honestly the thought of walking barefoot through the scanner is gross to me as it's not like they disinfect between each person. So I wear my athletic shoes, which I use anyway for horseback riding and socks. Just my opinion and preference. In your carry on, make sure to have pens and your itinerary handy for immigrations which you will most likely receive on the plane prior to landing. Complete these forms in full and if you have questions, ask the flight attendants. Most will be answer to your questions. Have your passport and make sure the name on your airline ticket matches your passport. Have some small bills handy for purchasing food and drinks on the flight if your like and some ones to tip bag handlers if you choose. Typically $1 per bag. When you exit customs, go directly to the left, you will see the Couples lounge. At this point you can turn your bags over if you like and they will get them on the bus. You do not need to have bag handlers before then unless you choose, but it is a short walk from customs to the lounge--just saying. If you have other questions that are more specific, ask away.
Start saving for the second trip now. It will become evident why when you get there, and even more so upon your return to reality. ;)
Other than that, have fun. We did the same thing at 25 and have been back for each anniversary since. It's an addiction...a drug...a necessity.
Babygurlkt - I was extremely nervous when we went to CN 5 years ago. I had never travelled out of the country and am afraid of flying. It was so bad that I didn't enjoy myself for the first 2 days we were there! It was a bit of a culture shock when we first arrived.
I found out that by joining in on the activities helped a lot. Once we started to meet other people and unwind I had a great time and didn't want to leave. So make sure to just jump in with both feet and have fun!
Shoot me an email if you need any advice or tips!
"They say there is no tipping but trust me, TIP" NO DO NOT. These people can loose there job if they accept a tip. We have been there twice and are going the third time in December. We have never tipped, and service was always fantastic. Also, if you search "tipping" on the web site there is a few posts on it. They all say you only tip non-Couple's employees such as the baggage handlers, bus drivers. The only tipping on the resort would be at the spa. They are allowed to take tips.
I will reiterate DO NOT TIP, Just4Fun is wrong and you can get an employee fired for tipping them. Do not put them in that situation.
Also, not sure what Just4Fun is talking about, but there are no "Mountain View Rooms". There are only ocean view or beach front rooms. So it makes me wonder if Just4Fun is talking about another resort.
Also, there are no buffet dinners except for the Gala and Beach Party. We did not have any problems booking anything and did not do it immediately when we arrived. So take your time and figure out what you want to do before rushing into anything.
As far as dressing, yes, men are required to wear long pants and collared shirts at the reservation restaurant, but ladies are fine in sun dresses and sandals. You don't need to bring 'strappy high heels' if you don't want to. Sun dresses with sandals (even nice flip flops) are perfectly fine.
Once you have been through customs and immigration you will go to the Couples Lounge where they will show you to your transportation. Do have singles ready as you will need to tip the baggage handler who takes your bags to the shuttle. $1 per bag is customary. You will also want to tip the shuttle driver. We tip $10 per couple. Once at the resort, put your money away. No need to tip anyone except for spa personnel.
We had a lovely time and never experienced any public display of affection even at night from fellow guests. Couples management has requested that those type of things be kept to the rooms. So no need to be cautious of where you go at night. Couples really is a classy resort and that type of activity does not exist.
Have a fabulous time and take one afternoon to roam the entire property. Grab a bike and ride around the lake, explore the grounds and take a dip in all the pools, a soak in all the hot tubs, and get a drink from each of the bars.
Tipping--never tipped in our visits. Not resort staff. They can lose their jobs. Now Cat Cruise, Tour Guides, Shuttle Drivers, Baggage Handlers (at the airport) are not Couples Staff. They can accept tips. Spa staff can be tipped as they are contracted, but that is CAN be tipped, you don't have to. But I look at it as, I would tip at home, so I will tip them there.
Oh, another thing on tipping, if you are caught tipping or trying to tip resort staff, you can be asked to leave the resort. As Lindad posted, do a search. Randy posted something a few months back about tipping.
You're Sooooooo lucky! The biggest thing you should remember is to bring your passport and a couple of black or blue pens. There will be some forms to fill out on your plane ride to Jamaica. Fill out both front and back. There's a piece of the form that you'll need to save for your trip back. Be sure to get these forms completed on the plane and your movement through customs/immigrationin Mobay will be easy as pie.
Also, remember to DRINK A LOT OF WATER!!!!!!!! Dehydration due to lotsa free alcohol and lotsa hot sun can definitely put a damper on your vacay.
Wear more sunscreen than you think is necessary. It's better to have a lot and not burn than to suffer from over exposure (and don't forget your feet (bottoms if you're laying on your stomach) and your ears!
Finally, smile and be nice to the staff - they're great, and are a big reason why we've been to CSA 6 (going on 7) times....
You're in for a huge treat!!!! Congrats on your upcoming nuptials!!
If you feel the need to "tip", do what we did...bring some treats to leave for the staff.
We brought saltwater taffy and mini Hershey bars. We left some on our bed every morning, and then left some for the check-in attendants and some for the ladies at the activities desks when we checked out.
Congratulations on your upcoming weddingmoon.
I'm sure most topics will be covered, but here are two that may be a little bit more obscure:
1. Tip your minister (he's not a Couples employee).
2. Depending on how long your flight(s) is(are), you may want to pack a lunch/snack. The food available on the plane is expensive and often runs out. We usually stop at our local deli the night before and grab a couple "dry" sandwiches (avoid mayo-based salad-type sandwiches) and then toss a few condiment packets in the see-through liquid/gel bag. Be forewarned that if not consumed, they may get snagged on your way into Jamaica.