We made our first trip to Jamaica and out of the US to Couples Swept Away Aug 17-24, 2009. This was our honeymoon and we had high expectations from all the great things that we heard and read about CSA.
Since this was our first trip outside the US we did have some questions on the Jamaican customs form but our flight attendant was great and answered all our questions…make sure you read the form closely we didn’t realize it was asking for departure information at the bottom and had to redo it. We arrived in Jamaica excited and ready to go. We had no problems getting through immigration or customs in Jamaica. We spent more time waiting on our luggage to get off of the plane than we did waiting in line at immigration and customs combined.
Check-in was quick and easy at the Couples Airport Lounge and we enjoyed a nice cold water and Red Strip in the lounge while we waited about 10 minutes for our bus to arrive.
The 90-minute drive to Negril was the worst part of our trip. Our driver barley spoke and drove like a nut. My wife left marks on my leg from digging her nails in. I realize that they drive a lot more aggressive in Jamaica but this guy was over the top. Our ride and our driver was much better on our trip back to the airport when we were leaving.
Once at CSA, we were greeted by smiling staff, a cold wet towel, and a glass of sparkling wine. Again check-in was quick and easy and then we were shown to our room. We were staying in an Ocean Verandah Suite. The room was clean and welcoming. We had a nice view of the pond and had a partial ocean view. We did have a couple of problems in the room when we first got in there. The mini-bar wasn’t stocked fully, the Ipod dock wasn’t working, and the ceiling fan on our verandah wasn’t working. A call to the front desk and the mini-bar was stocked and the Ipod docking station fixed in a matter of 10 minutes. Sadly the ceiling fan was never fixed our entire stay. Our room was cleaned every day and fresh towels left. The turn down service was really nice and the thought for the day cards were a great touch.
CSA itself was amazing. All of the staff was very friendly and appeared to be happy to be at work. They really made an effort to learn our names and they were always asking how we were doing. The NO TIPPING policy at CSA really means NO TIPPING. We were told by friends that have been to none Couples all-inclusive resorts, that we would still need to tip to get good service….THIS WAS COMPLETELY NOT TRUE AT CSA. We never tipped anyone and received amazing service. We saw a couple staff members refusing tips from other visitors and we never felt pressure to tip.
We ate at all 5 restaurants while we were there. Lemongrass was my favorite and the wife really liked Seagrapes, but the food was great at all of them and we never had a bad meal. I could go on and on about how good the meals and deserts were!! We also took advantage of the continental room service breakfast every morning. It was really nice to have this delivered to our room and we enjoyed it on our verandah. The food was always within 10 minutes of our selected time frame.
The beach and blue water were as beautiful as the pictures and the green flag drink service worked great. We never had any problems finding a beach chair or a float raft. There was plenty of shade if you didn’t want to sit out in the sun. The only thing we didn’t like about the beach was CSA’s beach towel policy. It would have been nice to just get fresh towels when our room was cleaned each day. Also when we were leaving we had to turn our beach towels in by 4pm the day before we left so we could get our towel receipt for checkout since we were leaving early the next morning. So we didn’t have any beach towels for our last afternoon at CSA.
The bugs were pretty bad while we were there. The sand fleas really took a liking to my wife but they didn’t really bother me. It really seemed like the women at CSA got bug bites a lot worse than the guys for some reason. We also had some ants in our room and a nightly visit by a small lizard that we soon deemed our Jamaican pet. All of this was to be expected visiting a tropical place in the middle of August.
For entertainment we visited the Piano Bar twice. We had so much fun with Ultimate and had many good laughs with all the people we met there. This is a must do for anyone going to CSA. We also went on the catamaran cruise, which was a blast. Finally I got certified as a scuba diver while at CSA. The guys in the dive shop were the best and I didn’t talk to one diver that wasn’t having a lot of fun.
We had a 350 credit at the spa and 150 at the gift shop for a promotional booking. The spa was so relaxing and enjoyable you really should check it out at least once. The gift shop on the other hand was disappointing. We had a hard time trying to spend all of our 150 credit and mostly just got t-shirts. The t-shirts we did get were poor quality…when we got home and washed them (even in cold water) they shrunk TWO sizes and are pretty much worthless.
We would rate CSA an 8.5 out of 10. There were some things that could be improved on like most places but we had the best vacation of our lives. We would recommend CSA to anyone we know looking for an all-inclusive resort and we can’t wait until we can come back.
I would also recommend that you book the cheapest room in the room category and use the money that you saved on the room to spend an extra night or two at the resort. We hardly spent any time at all in our room and the cheaper room category was right behind our building by maybe only 15 or 20 feet.
THANKS EVERYONE AT CSA FOR A GREAT HONEYMOON!!!!!!!!!!!