First Timer Review of CN
Just returned from 12 nights at CN celebrating our 20th anniversary and wanted to share my impressions.
We had booked our trip last August and were very excited to be getting away.
Transportation: Booked Club Mobay for both arrival and departure. Our flight arrived at 1030 on Saturday and the airport was virtually deserted. As others have said, it's a crap shoot. I'm sure if it had been busy, we would have really benefitted for their service. On the way out our escort somehow managed to lose us at the security checkpoint, either that or she had finished her duties. We found the lounge without any problem though and had time for a quick drink before boarding our flight home. We also booked a shuttle flight from MB to Negril and enjoyed the short trip. Somehow though another couple from our flight arrived before us and had not used either Club Mobay or the air shuttle, so again no time saved. Having said that, I would probably use Club Mobay again, but for the expense, probably not the air shuttle.
Room: Because we arrived so early, we did not expect our room to be ready, but it didn't take very long and we enjoyed a drink or two while waiting. Our beachfront suite was exactly as we hoped and expected - building 5, ground floor. It was nice to be able to walk directly from the room to the beach from the patio. Noticed ants aroud the sink on the first day, but a quick spray from the supplied can of bug repellent and I don't recall seeing them the rest of the trip (12 days). Good condition overall. We did have some rowdy neighbors, but not to the point of reporting it to the front desk.
Food: Not quite as good as our last AI experience, but still tasty. It took a little coordination to work out which restaurants were open at which times and the wait at Lychee seemed a bit much. Great food there and we did eat there twice, however both times there were only a handful of other couples yet the wait seemed a bit lengthy. Great patties for a quick bite at the Heliconia. We ate breakfast most days at the Cassava (vice the in room continental offering) and the couple with us didn't have great luck at the omelette station, not wanting cheese on the omelette, yet getting it anyway several times - sometimes getting it corrected gladly, but once "not so much".
Service: Overall, very good. It made a difference if you made an effort to get the person's name and engage them. If you didn't, the service seemed a bit mechanical at times. Mini bar was always stocked within the estimated 15 minutes of your call. One suggestion however might be to fill out a form upon check in and then your mini bar is automatically replenished to that level vice having to call every day. A maintenance request was handled in a timley manner.
Spa: We only took advantage of the spa once for a couples massage and it was fantastic!. Those ladies really know what they are doing. My recommendation would be to use the spa facility as oppsed to the treehouse or beach locations only because the spa itself was so peaceful with nice music and the rain just added to the effect. Even with the "please be quiet" signs I doubt the beach would be as relaxing - we often sat on the beach near the massage hut and the beach vendors and motorized watercraft must have been distracting.
Water sports: The catarman cruise is a must do! Very entertaining. Night snorkel is another must do event. Many things to see that you don't see during the day. Hobie cats were very good and easy to check out. After the required lesson, I don't think I ever waited more than 10 minutes to sign one out. On my first solo sail though I did notice a mechaical issue with the main sheet cleat not locking and pointed it out to the staff who assured me it would be fixed right away. For the remainder of our stay that cleat remained broken despite my mentioning it each time the staff offered me that particular Hobie.
Excursions: We did three - the One Love Pub Crawl, the Black River/YS Falls and the Times Square shopping trip. The Pub Crawl was one of the vacations highlights! Lenbert knows how to show a good time and I highly recommend it. The travel desk arranged a private driver for the falls trip and that is the way to go! For the $20, you go when you're ready and stay as long or as short as you like. We saw crocodiles and loads of birds in addition to the falls. It was one of those 'check the block, get the T-shirt' type excursions for us. Nice to have done it, but wouldn't do it again.
Weather: Hot and humid with short bursts of rain once or twice a day. Water temp was perfect.
Overall opinion: Great vacation. Will we return? Possibly.
I find this interesting:
"Service: Overall, very good. It made a difference if you made an effort to get the person's name and engage them. If you didn't, the service seemed a bit mechanical at times."
So, are you saying that if you spoke to the staff, they were happy to speak back, but if you didn't, then they didn't? Isn't it amazing how treating others with respect makes them want to engage you back? That's called rapport. People tend to respond favorably to rapport building. If you don't engage them, then they assume you don't want to be talked to.
I should have explained better I suppose. What I meant is that I noticed a distinct difference in attitude after I made the first effort. In a service industry (in which I have worked fairly extensively) I expect the initial interaction to be normally upbeat and 'all smiles'. More than once, I was greeted at a restaurant with a moderately 'robotic' and perfunctory 'good morning'. Then when I made the effort to read the person's name tag and engage them positively, the reaction became what I had expected from the outset. I always treat others with respect (I'm retired from the Navy and it is my nature). So to address your comment, yes we are all people that deserve respect, but the onus for setting the tone in a service industry is not on the customer, which was my 'take-away' on several occasions.
Thank you for your review. It is nice to read something and feel it is honest. It would be nice to say it is 100% perfect, but we all know it is not true. It is a fantastic resort and for us it has become our annual "be pampered, do nothing" home.
And you are 100% correct about service. Part of a job in the service industry is being the one to start the interaction and making it a welcoming pleasant experience. I will say, it is tough to be "on" every day, but, I have seen the same "moderately 'robotic' and perfunctory 'good morning'". Not a deal breaker, but by all means a very accurate description.
Not a deal breaker for us, we are headed back for trip # 8 in December and #9 is booked for 2014!
Casey, what flight were you on that got you into MoBay at 10:30? Thanks for the info.
Margi, we were on AA flight 505 from Boston to Miami (left at 0545 and arrived at 0905) and then transferred to AA flight 1791, leaving Miami at 0955 and arriving in Mobay at 1030. We may have even arrived a bit early on that last leg.
Originally Posted by Margi
Omelets: See you should have watched the Couples Youtube video of Chef Ulysees cooking omelets; he clearly says "you can't have an omelet without cheese, that's not an omelet.. its just egg with stuff inside"
All Inclusive Dining in Jamaica - "First Class" Omelets with Chef Ulysee - YouTube
Just kidding, but that cheese, imo, was fantastic in the omelet.
Originally Posted by Casey
I hear ya, and I didn't mean to sound abrasive. I spent 6 years in the hospitality industry myself. The difference is that these are not servers at Applebee's or TGI Friday's or the Ritz-Carlton in Vail, for that matter. I personally do not care for the fake service people, like that annoying guy Brian from Office Space. Jamaica has it's own unique culture, and it's important to point out the different thought process on when to, or not, engage in conversation. Over the years, I've read slamming reviews on the staff for not leading the way with communication. However, for every person that expects to be engaged, they are at least that many people that want to be left alone, so its sort of a catch-22. That being said, not everyone is perfect, and there are times when a staff member acts like they're just doing the job, because they "have to", so I do agree with you in that respect, but that's every restaurant or resort.
Casey - thank you for taking so much time to review as in depth as you did. My wife and I honeymooned there in 2002, and 2 kids later we still try to go back once every year or two. It kind of feels like home. However; I read your review and I have to agree with you. The food was excellent years ago, and we have found that now it is just o.k. The Lychee is the best spot on the resort for dinner for sure. One of the things that always made us love CN was the staff - and they have become a bit indifferent. Enough to the point we are going to Swept Away this year in hopes that it is more what we have come to expect from couples. Thanks again for your honest review. Ten years ago you would have said, will return - Absolutely!
Originally Posted by Casey