CSA...The Second Time Around!!!!
A LONG review of our second trip to Couples Swept Away (May 5-10, 2010)!
We flew from New Orleans to Miami to MBJ. Flight leaving MIA was late so we arrived at MBJ at 11:25am instead of 10:30am. We were the ONLY plane landing at this time. We were through immigration, baggage claim and customs in no time. We were on the bus to CSA by 12:00!!! Our driver, Ever Ready, was VERY informative. He pointed out many spots along the way that we didn’t know. We stopped for jerk, beer and bathroom and were at resort by 1:45pm.
Check in was smooth. We were the only couples checking in. We asked for an upgrade but none was available. We did get a corner room as I requested. I told Kamoy (who we remember from our last trip) that it was Rodney’s birthday Sunday and she ordered him a cake to have delivered to the room. I thought that was very nice. In no time we were off to our room with Sherlon carrying our bags and welcoming us home!!! He is really a great guy!!!
We had a Garden Verandah Suite as booked – Room 3104. I was pleased we got a corner room and Rodney was pleased we got a first floor. It was an excellent view for a GVS. We could actually see the beach from our room. I was a little concerned about the noise as we stayed in the Ocean Verandah Suites on our last stay. We could hear road noise but it never bothered us. I thought it might because we live in a very rural area and there is never road noise. The room was clean and had everything we needed in it for vacation. Shawn, our housekeeper for the week, did a wonderful job keeping the room clean. AC worked VERY well. So well, that we turned the ceiling fan off. The bathroom was clean and stocked with shower cap, shampoo, shower gel, lotion and aloe vera.
The beach was pretty much the same as it was in 2008. We’re not ones to hang out on the beach all day (we’re already tanned;) I enjoyed being in the water while my husband played volleyball. We walked the beach a few times. I did notice a few more huts than before. They were still ALWAYS taken. I probably would have spent more time on the beach if I could have gotten one for a least a few hours. I don’t see where the resort could do anything about that. Only one time I was looking for a floaty and had to walk down a ways to find one not being used.
Breakfast – We ate at Palms everyday except one morning. We like the buffet for breakfast. We both loved the omelets (Denva is the best. He remembered us from 2008). I also enjoyed the fresh fruit smoothies, French toast and mimosas. I couldn’t leave Jamaica again without trying the Banana Stuffed French toast from Patois. I have to agree with everyone else, it was GREAT!
Lunch – We usually ate lunch at Cabana Grill. My husband enjoyed the cheeseburgers, nachos, jerk and onion rings. I LOVED (tried for the first time thanks to the MB) the blackened Snapper sandwich. I also enjoyed my daily Pattie!!!
Dinner- We ate at Palms (Friday night for the international buffet), Lemongrass and Patois Patio. I thought Lemongrass was ok but my favorite was Patois Patio (loved the pizza!!). BTW, the menu did change while there. We ate there Thursday and when we went back Saturday, the menu had changed.
Overall Patois Patio is my favorite restaurant.
Well, we had good intentions going into this trip. I printed the daily activities and highlighted everything we wanted to do that we didn’t get to on our first trip and everything we wanted to do again. I read a post before we left on how someone else had done that and everything changed once they got there. That’s EXACTLY what happened to us!!!! We actually scheduled the Cat Cruise and Snorkeling a day in advance….I think that’s what messed us up, by the next day, we didn’t want to move at that time! Lol We are on so much of a schedule at home until we really didn’t want to follow one so we didn’t do ANY water activities, and we were both ok with that!!!
Maybe we’ll fit something in on our next trip…and maybe not! Lol No problem mon!!!
We did do the shopping trip. It was okay. We mainly went because we wanted Jerk from this spot near West End. Unfortunately, the resort stopped going to that shopping center so we missed out. Although Jason was going to arrange a cab to take us, it wasn’t worth the money for a cab just to get jerk from there (although it is VERY good!!)
We’re not big drinkers but LOVED hanging out at the bars – especially the swim up bar. We met a lot of nice people and we loved talking to the workers!!! We were at the swim up bar a lot. Edwardo, Dwayne and Onique were GREAT!!! They kept us laughing. We made our way to Aura because I heard one of my favorite workers from 2008 was there now. It was great seeing and talking to Dermon. I heard so much about the Martini Bar until I had to get there this trip. It was a lot of people around when we went so I just ordered my drink and went to the pool room with my husband. I usually like to sit and talk but I wasn’t able to:( I enjoyed the Bamboo Beach Bar (I think???) and talking to Cardo, Colleen and the trainer (her name was long and I can’t remember it). They were characters!!! Hanging out at the bars was the highlight of the trip because we’re social people and got to meet a lot of cool people.
We were kind of let down (at first) to find out that NO ONE was there from our last trip. That last a short time because we ended up becoming closer to this group than the last. We thought the entertainment team was WONDERFUL. They all did a great good getting people to participate with out being pushy. If you didn’t want to participate…no problem mon!!! My husband played volleyball daily where we met a lot of fun people, participated in the pool tournament, casino and audition night and the talent show. We also watched to movie on the beach. I know a lot of them have other career goals but I wish they could stay there. They are all such an asset to CSA. We thought the entertainment was great at CSA!!!
I changed the setting on my iphone from the thread here and it worked like a charm – NO roaming charges. I bought a calling card from the gift shop to call and tell my dad happy birthday. It was $9 for 90 minutes.
Wifi is all over the resort now. Just ask for a code when you check in. I think it’s good for seven days. My husband was VERY excited about that. We got excellent signal in our room.
Rain – It rained quite a bit our first day (afternoon and evening). After that, not more than 45 -60 minutes of rain a day and not all at the same time. One day there was no rain. The showers were never a problem, we just pulled up to the swim up bar and waited it out. We heard they needed the rain anyway.
Don’t know what kind they were, but the bugs were worse this time. Bring bug spray or wipes and you’ll be fine.
We came back home though Dallas. I wanted to mention this because I’m not sure if it was the time of day, but immigration and customs was a breeze.
I was able to bring back nine bottles of rum cream without a problem:D There was a discussion on this a while ago so I just wanted to give my report!
We talked to a lot of people on our last trip but this one was different. We still talked to a lot of people, but this time I think we met guest we will continue to communicate with. We really like CSA because age or race doesn’t matter to most of the guest. We talked to couples that had just gotten married and those that were married 30 years ago and some in between!!!
We were sad to learn that our friend Bob’s (next to the resort) dad had passed days before we arrived. I could tell he wasn’t the same but we still enjoyed talking to him!
There were two things that disappointed me:( The birthday cake situation and them running out of departure packages. With that being a romance reward perk I was shocked and disappointed to here they didn’t have any when we checked out.
If anyone is wondering how we met so many wonderful staff members…it’s really simple and easy…TALK TO THEM!!!! We found if you start talking to them, most of them will open up and become talkative!!!
One last thing, we had a hard time adjusting to not tipping because is more expected than customary here in the states. We did leave candy with a note for our housekeeper. We also left school supplies for a near by school. We left a package with some supplies for a staff member at the front desk with a note that it was a gift for his little girl. Talked to him a couple days later and he was VERY appreciative and thankful. I’m not saying everyone has to do these things, but everyone should take time to fill out the comment card before you leave. Management read these cards and it’s truly how staff receives raises and promotions. So please take out the time to fill them out and remind other guest while you’re there to do the same.
STAFF SHOUT OUTS
Well it’s come down to one of the main reasons we wanted to go back to Jamaica and CSA – the staff. I will admit that this time around overall I didn’t find the staff as friendly as 2008. I really hate to type that because A LOT of them were VERY nice and went out of there way. I’ve already mentioned my favorites from the bars and Kamoy and Sherlon from check in. Some of our other favorites were Alaica Stewart. She was Team Leader Trainee at Patois one night and when the week changed, she was at Lemongrass. She was an angel. There was a small problem with our food at Patois and she went out of her way to make sure we were satisfied. The next night at Lemongrass, it was my husband’s birthday and he didn’t really like any desserts on the menu. We were going to go to Patois for him to get a Sundae but she insisted on letting her get him one from Palms. She did with two candles and they sung happy birthday. We thought that was really nice of her. Again, she went out of her way to make sure we were satisfied. Jermaine, our waiter at Lemongrass was excellent also. Very good people skills. We ate at Lemongrass our last night and by then I was sure my favorite waitress’ from 2008 wasn’t there because I hadn’t seen her and we had been to every restaurant except Feathers. Then I hear my husband say, ‘there you go, we’ve been looking for you’. I looked up and saw Ulesa. She remembered us and was still very pretty and nice. Next time I’ll ask around when we first arrive!!! It was a pleasure talking to her!!! Well, I’ve saved the best staff for last – our ‘friends’ on the entertainment team…Jason ‘the legend’…Mr. GQ – Oniel…Akeem…Paul…Neisha and Sina. We really miss them. Thank God for Facebook because some will probably be in school or doing other things when we get back ‘home’!!!
I was a little worried that we wouldn’t enjoy the second time around as much as the first. Besides from us getting married the first time around, we enjoyed this trip a lot more. Overall we have a fantastic time and can’t wait until October 2011 to return ‘home’!!!