CSA - a few questions
1. Originally we were going to CSA 11/19 to 11/27. Now we are going 11/20 t0 11/28. For outbound flights on 11/28. I have 2 choices, Jet Bue Direct leaving at 2:50, or 5:25 Air Jamaica (not direct). The direct one at 6:15 with Air Jamaica is very expensive. Would you go direct or not direct and have a few more hours at CSA?
2. Is the acitvity schedule online up to date, or does anyone have a recent weekly schedule. Will it change on Thnksgiving?
3. I know this has been brought up before, but who are we allowed to tip?
4. Is there bug spray and umbrellas in the room? I know on one thread, it said to bring bug spray.
5. How do you claim the spa and store credit?
6. Do you have to worry about stingrays in the water?
I know so many questions. Just getting very excited. We travel a lot and I don't think I have been as excited as I am about this trip, mainly because of this message board. Just from all of you, I know already that we are going to love CSA.
I can comment on a few of those...
Q1 - Define very expensive... you will get there when you get there... this is only the outbound flight portion of your itinerary. How much are you paying per night for the resort? How does this compare to getting to the MoBay Airport 2-1/2 hours early? And remember, there are no guarantees with the airlines.
Q3 - You can tip anyone who is not a Couples employee. That is to say, you can (and should) tip porters (at the airport), the bus driver, the folks on the cat cruise (if you choose to go), cab drivers, purveyors of off-campus tours, etc. The folks who work at the spa should also be tipped for the value of their service.
Q4 - There is bug spray in the room, but not the stuff you put on your skin. This is provided for your use, should you feel a need to keep bugs out of the room (spraying under the doors, etc.). There are also umbrellas in the rooms.
Q5 - You will be issued a coupon for your spa and gift shop credits. Present the coupons as you use them, but don't attempt to pay with them, because once you give up the coupon, you lose it, whether you use it all or not. They will charge against your room, and then you pay any excess balance on checkout... but be sure you have your coupons handy at checkout, just in case.
Q6 - If you're really lucky, you will, indeed see stingrays in the water, even in the swim area... but you do not have to worry about them, since they are EXTREMELY shy. Most of them are very small, about a foot across; but this year (May) we saw a few that had wingspans of between 2 and 3 feet! Very cool!
Hope that helps...
Lots of questions. Here are a few answers (I haven't redeemed a spa/gift shop credit yet at CSA, only CSS, so I will defer on that one).
1). I travel and fly for business almost every week. Almost all of the travel writers will tell you to ALWAYS take a direct flight over a connecting flight. It's one less thing that can go wrong, one less chance to lose your luggage. I live in a city where there are very few direct flights, so I don't have this luxury. I would kill for a direct flight to Jamaica. I personally like Jet Blue (love the satellite TV!), but I have not flown the JFK/Jamaica route. All things being equal, you should also try to choose the earlier flight. Things tend to get backed up in airports during the course of the day (especially if there are any weather issues).
3). You can tip the shuttle bus driver, the catamaran cruise staff, and the spa personnel.
4). Yes on the umbrella. Bring "Off" or similar bug spray for your skin. The new tropical scented Off is not bad, and it's not sticky at all.
6). We have never seen a stingray off the beach on 3 trips to CSA, but others on the MB have. You may see a "skate" which looks like a stingray (very flat with large wings), but is much smaller and usually sand-colored. Heavens, they're not going to bother you. Of course, there are no guarantees, but I think that there are a lot of other things to worry about than stingrays. We snorkel almost every day when we are at CSA, and have never seen one on any of the snorkel trips, either. We have seen jellyfish and barracuda, though (neither bothered us - we kept a healthy distance). Just try to be aware of your surroundings and you should be fine.
Sorry, I wasn't clear. For the flight I meant going home flight.
Should I take direct or be able to stay a few more hours and take non-direct.
You get coupons? So you have to spend the spa credit all at once? What about the gift shop? Same thing? Have to spend it all at once? How do you prove you used coupon on checkout and avoid them charging to the room?
Aren't stingrays deadly? Isn't that how that famous animal person died?
Mary - on your flight home, it all depends on your schedule. Do you need to be at work early the next day? Or do you have the following day off? If you simply must be home for the following day for whatever reason, your best bet is to take the direct flight. Flights from the Caribbean can and do get delayed all of the time, regardless of the time of year. We just got back from Grand Cayman, and our flight from Grand Cayman to Charlotte was delayed over an hour (for absolutely no apparent reason, the weather was great and it wasn't a mechanical delay). We had a 2 1/2 hour layover in Charlotte, so we were in good shape to make our connection, but you should've seen people scrambling. Also, if you have a connecting flight, you have to go through customs and immigration on your port of entry into the U.S. (whatever your connecting city is). Therefore, if the plane is delayed at all, and you have to go through customs and immigration, you will be further delayed from catching your connecting flight.
As far as stingrays, have you heard of a single person who has died from a stingray since Steve Irwin? I sure have not. It was a freak accident, and he died because the stingray got him right in the heart with the stinger. A real fluke accident. Again, in Grand Cayman, they have a place called "Stingray City." It is near a sand bar in the Caribbean (so it is not necessarily a controlled environment). The stingrays here are very used to people. We got in the water and were immediately swarmed by dozens of stingrays. I fed them (they sucked the chum right out of my hand). As I said before, you should respect all animals and be cognizant of your surroundings. But you have a much better chance of dying in a car accident than you do of being stung to death by a stingray.
If by " that famous animal person " you mean Steve Irwin, he was swimming with a large stingray on the Great Barrier Reef...and what happened to him was not a common occurence. If it was, Sea World and every Aquarium in the world wouldn't have a Stingray Petting area. We have seem them ( and have pix ) by the shore at CSA - the locals are not afraid of them and neither should you be. Just shuffle your feet when you walk in the sea- they are much more afraid of you than the other way around.
As for your outgoing flight, keep in mind that you will need to leave CSA abuot 4 hours prior to flight time, so either way you are losing some resort time. I too, would opt for the non-stop but AJ is going through a lot of changes right now- so be aware
I thought those stingrays in the petting areas have the "stinger" ? taken out. But thank you all for your reassurance.
Going home I don't have to get up early the next day. Its a Sunday. I am off. My choice is to get a 2:50 direct Jet Blue, or a 5:25 connecting in Kingston heading to NY on Air Jamaica. AJ also has a 6:15 direct but very expensive. So we would be leaving the resort either at 10:30am or about 1:30pm ? I am thinking it would be nice to have a few more hours at the resort. What do you experienced Couples say?