Need Help Deciding
My husband and I are headed back to Jamaica for the first time in three years, but this time we will be celebrating our 1 year wedding anniversary. Our first trip was to CTI (before the renovations) and was the best trip we have ever had. We are now planning a trip for May 2011 and can't decide which resort to go to. We immensley enjoyed CTI but are also willing to give the other resorts a shot. We basically just enjoy scuba diving and spending time together. I know all the Couples resorts offer scuba diving, but is one better than the other? I haven't seen any threads on recommendations for this. Any input would be helpful.
Also, we would be flying in from Seattle, WA and it seems that all flights require a night lay over. Anyone else from the pacific northwest have suggestions on flights? I would prefer to find a flight that gets us there in one day. But maybe a night stay in Florida is just required.
I can't wait to get back to Couples! Thanks in advance for your help!
For spending time together and falling in love all over again we highly recommend Swept Away, we don't scuba dive but the snorkelling was great.
The beach and grounds at CSA are amazing, even at fully booked status the resort is not crowded, so you always have a bit of breathing room. Congrats on your anniversary..
All the resorts are unique so each something different to offer it's guest. The best thing to do is to research and look at photos. You will find one that keeps drawing you back.
My recommendation is to go back to CTI and see the renovations. It is beautiful. With the renovations, you almost feel like you are at a different resort. BUT the restaurants still offer great food and the staff is STILL amazing. Then take a day and do the Trading Spaces to see CSS.
Hi CScott, being from NY we can't help you with your flight issues. We also can't help you with the scuba question. But, our first trip to Jamaica was also to CTI in 2003 before the renovations. We had a great time but the hotel feel and the small beach left us wanting. Our second trip was to CSA in 2008 for the beach and spread out, small building layout. We fell in love with the place. If you want to spend time together it's awesome. Our room was an Ocean Verandah Suite in the middle of the resort so we had to walk through the beautiful grounds to get anywhere. Strolls up or down the beach in the early morning were also a favorite thing to do. Nights in the Aura Lounge with Ultimate Chocolate singing or playing "Name that Tune" were so much fun. I'm a workout addict and the sports complex was the best we'd ever been to. We couldn't find anything to fault CSA for. I hope this helps. Which ever resort you choose for your second visit, enjoy your time in Paradise.
Getting to Jamaica from the west coast has gotten a lot more complicated since Air Jamaica did away with the LAX - MBJ red eye. My advice is to be creative with your connections, if you take a red eye flight you can easily be on one of the early flights into Montego Bay, and with luck and good traffic you could easily be having a late lunch at the resort on your first day.
Some suggestions would be to check into AJ flights out of JFK or Philadelphia, they are currently on sale. Jet Blue also flies to Montego Bay from JFK and Delta connects through Atlanta. I think Memphis and Houston are served by American and US Air. So you have some other options besides stopping in Florida.
You may also like to check on the non-stop service from Phoenix offered by USAIR. Depending on the time of year, this may be a good option as well.
Originally Posted by Cubismo
Why would you suggest JFK or Philadelphia to someone flying from Seattle? It would be much easier to go through Dallas, Houston, Atlanta or Miami...At least something going the same direction...unless I missed something in the original post. It would be terrible to fly CLEAR across the country and then down.
Coming from the west cost will probably mean an overnight somewhere. I'd recommend DFW (Texas). AA has a direct mid-morning flight from DFW to MBJ, and staying overnight at DFW is a lot easier than Miami International (I HATE that airport!)
Have fun and good luck!
I can't help you with Scuba, but I can with the flights. I have clients that fly out of SEA on a night flight to Mo-bay. The flights leave around 10:30pm, and you arrive in Mo-Bay around 9:30am the next morning with one change of planes. If you would like to contact me directly, I would be happy to help you with your plans. firstname.lastname@example.org
I know, you hear this answer from me all the time but...sure seems to me a good travel agent would be invaluable. A travel agent would do all the research for you in finding that illusive flight and would likely have the best advice. Talk to friends, family, co-workers, etc that have traveled and see if they had a travel agent they liked. Another great thing about a travel agent is that if something goes wrong you have a live person you can contact for assistance.
Here is a flight plan I whipped up right quick on Continental through Houston. The bad part is that is involves a redeye on the way down.
In May 2011, Continental will be sevicing MBJ out of Houston only on Saturdays, Sundays, and Thursdays, with only one trip each way per day. It services SEA every day, several times a day.
Just in case this link doesn't work, I put you leaving SEA on Friday the 6th (11:50 PM), arriving at MBJ at 12:19 PM the next day, and returning to SEA on Saturday the 14th, arriving at 9:40 PM. Three hour layover going down, and 2 hour coming back. Not a bad deal either at $418 + Taxes/Fees per person.
What are you dates and how flexible are they?
Hope this helps.
PS-- I vote for CTI!!
Thanks everyone for your help and advice!!!
Gary -- our dates are very flexible. We haven't set anything in stone yet (however I want to soon!) It looks like we will have to do an overnight flight, which isn't too bad as long as we can arrive in Jamaica early (I dont want to miss a whole day traveling).
Deb -- thanks for the offer to help. You will hear from me soon =)
As we are having a hard time deciding between resorts. Has anyone tried the Secret Rendezvous? I understand that you can only book this a few months ahead of time and that you find out the hotel you are staying at 7 days before you arrive. But, what room categories do you qualify for? Does that just depend on what they have open or is it always the lower category rooms (which are still nice!)?
Thanks again for all the help!
Hi. We're from Vancouver, Canada, so we fly out of Seattle lots to cut our airfare costs in half, so maybe I can help.
For our flight this Dec. from SEA to MBJ we've opted to do the red-eye on US Air through Charlotte. I'm not big on the red-eye, as I don't sleep, but we liked that it put us into Charlotte early morning and "orginally" got us to MBJ before 11:00 am (they just changed our flight though so we now get in at 12:30pm, which still isn't too bad. Another option was to leave SEA in the early afternoon, get into Charlotte in the evening, stay over night there and take the same first flight to MBJ in the morning.
However, we've flown to Turks & Caicos connecting through Miami with an overnight each way and I didn't find it ideal having to collect all our luggage and drag it to a hotel, then drag it back, then check in all over again.
If you fly with Delta you can do a similar connecting thing but through Atlanta. We've done that to the Caymans, so I think it'll work for Jamaica too.
When we went to Puerto Rico we went from LAX (from YVR) with a red-eye. It was with American and the plane was small and VERY old and very uncomfortable. I wouldn't red-eye that route with them ever again.
On the way back we're flying with American, which conveniently leavevs after 4:00 pm, so we're connecting through Dallas in the evening and getting to SEA late.
We book through Expedia or Travelocity. In Canada at least, TA's don't make money booking flights. You can certainly use a travel agent to book, but I suggest you do some of your own research.
As for diving, we're avid divers :) We were at CSA and dove quite a bit there. We've also dove in MoBay. Not as nice. We're going to the Ochi side to CTI/CSS for the first time later this year, but I hear that Negril is the best diving hands down in Jamaica. We enjoyed it. The dive staff were awesome, they have a good boat (unlike CSS's little glass bottom snorkel boat they use), and the sites are all close.
The diving in Jamaica isn't fabulous, but it's relaxing and easy and hey, we saw dolphins! I've never heard of anyone seeing dolphins around Ochi, but lots of people see them in Negril. Just can't expect the quality of T&C or Caymans for sure.
If I were you, I'd opt for CSA or maybe CN (they dive the same sites). We loved CSA for everything... the staff, the resort, the food, and of course the beach and the diving!
For the Secret Rendezvous, they put you in whatever room class that has space. You "could" be placed into any room class top to bottom. It is called "Run of the House". As you say, even the lowest class is good if it is cheaper than booking that class straight up. Least that is how I look at it. We have not used this booking method but if you don't care where you go and want to save some money....Hey why not!!! Its Couples!!
Red-eye flights aren't too bad and they get you into MBJ in the morning. We always try to take one out of Denver. It does make for a long day, but half of it is in paradise. Get some good travel pillows and take them on the plane with you. I can never sleep anywhere, but in a bed or couch and yet, I can get some cat naps with a good travel pillow.
While the diving isn't fabulous in Jamaica, the Negril side is better than the Ocho side, so since you haven't been there I'd suggest giving it a try. We've been to both CN and CSA, both are fabulous you can't go wrong with either one. CN is smaller and more boutique style while CSA is on Long Bay where you can roam on the beach forever.
Cleversole, I suggested those two airports because of the AJ fare sales, and the many discounted west coast flights to those locations. It's not the most convoluted route I've ever heard of, for example last time I tried to book a flight to Jamaica on Northwest, they wanted to route us through Minneapolis. Coming from San Diego. MMkay. I just was trying to illustrate ways to think out of the box.
Thanks Randymon, we did not know about the new Phoenix non stop flight. That certainly would be something to look into.
Lots of good flight info here! I just posted a thread questioning a similar issue, getting out of LAX and into MBJ early. I miss the Air Jamaica flight! Now I will have a little more research to do and hope that I get as good a response to my question as you did to yours! For what it's worth, we're going to CN again. :) I know it wasn't one of your options, but if you like white sandy beaches I would head to Negril for a change of pace and try CSA.
I've just started to search for our flight (CN-3/20-3/27). Lot's of good information here. Coloradojuli, I live in Denver too. Do you take the red eye into Charlotte or is there a better option from Denver? I found a early morning flight into Atlanta that gets us into MBJ same day, but with only a 59 min. layover in Atlanta. That seems tight to me (especially with unpredictable March weather in the Rockies).