Day 1 - Monday
Detroit Airport - Delta Airline 5:30 A.M. Departure to Atlanta then Jamaica
We wanted to get on an airplane that was already at the airport and allow time to get another flight if ours was cancelled on the same day. We arrived at airport 3 hours early to find out that the counter people do not arrive until 4 A.M. Hints… get your boarding pass online 24 hours in advance and find Domestic Counter. The agents arrived at 4:05A.M.
As we had our electronic boarding passes, they moved us to a quicker line, checked our two bags, and sent us downstairs to have our carry-ons screened. They only had two screening lines. As we were in line, a gentleman came down and told the back half of the line to go upstairs, as they had just then opened the upstairs detectors. We arrived at the gate at 4:45, and they were boarding the plane. We sat and waited, as they loaded the baggage and then de-iced. The 5:30 Departure was now a 6:15 A.M. departure, making connections a problem for many travelers.
We had already planned for the delay, as this is December in Michigan. Our connection was not until 11:20 A.M. in Atlanta to Montego Bay. I am sure dozens missed their connections, as we let many out in front of us before departing the plane. There is a direct Delta/Northwest flight from Detroit at 10:30 A.M. arriving Montego Bay 2:30 P.M., but it is coming out of LaGuardia to Detroit first. If LaGuardia is socked in or delayed, then the flight out of Detroit is in trouble.
We had about an hour in Atlanta even with the delay which allowed us to get to International terminal by tram with a little free time. We boarded on time and arrived in Jamaica at 1:15 P.M.
The Couples Lounge is very nice but could use more restrooms. Within 10 minutes we were loaded and on our way along with a few CTI vacationers. Sans Souci is the first resort, and then CTI is about 5 minutes away. The ride was about 1 hour and 30 minutes. We stopped once for gas, but the group did not depart the bus and did not want to stop along the way.
We received a towel and a glass of bubbly. Hint…if you don’t like bubbly, out the back door and down steps to left is a bar about 1 minute away. Do you homework on the where and when to eat at night prior to getting to resort….as an example Wednesday night is lobster night at Palazzina. You book dining right where you are sitting to do your registration. You can multitask. Double check the day prior to your dinner reservation, as one night they did not have us on the list when we arrived. We did get seated but they had to scramble which was an impressive response.
Day 1 – Page 2
We were booked into third floor of “A” block which had a wonderful balcony and ocean view. “A” block is about 100 steps down from the main lobby plus three flights of stairs up. We asked for a bottle of rum and vodka which they left for us. The property has many hidden beautiful nooks and crannies which we explored once we were settled in our room. We went to sunset beach at 5:30 P.M. to hear a saxophone player and watch the “sunset”. Sunset is not to be missed. Sunset Beach is very close to “A” block and is restricted prior to 5 P.M.
We booked and ate inside at the “Casanova” at 9:00 P.M,. as the outside was already booked. Excellent service and food!! We returned to the room, as we had been up since 2:30 A.M. and ordered breakfast room service for 8 A.M. The door tag has to be filled out and placed on your door before 2 A.M..
Day 2 - Tuesday
Sunny at around 7:15 A.M. with bright sun over the trees at 7:45. We noticed that the air conditioner in bedroom was making funny noises and the left sliding door was off the track, as we received our breakfast at 8:00 A.M. I went to front desk and talked to “Lij” about the repairs. We went to Sunset Beach after breakfast. The cabanas already had towels and shoes on them, so we camped out under a big tree.
Rain showed up at 10 A.M. for about 20 minutes. Water Aerobics at 11 AM (mineral Pool) were great, as Chris, the visiting instructor was excellent. Volleyball was cancelled throughout the week, since there were not enough players. Lunch at Sunset began about 12:30 and lasted until 2 P.M; there was a limited selection but it was quite good.
All ages and shapes were at beach. Jheanel, our bartender always had a smile and would remind me to “Breathe Easy”. Jack was lost, but she could find “Jim” for a bourbon and coke. We returned to room for a nap and found all repairs were made to the room.
The “river people” are an interesting group. If you spend any time on Sunset beach, you will soon recognize the fisher men who use the river and sand bar people who like to walk the beach on the other side of Sunset Beach. The current in river is swift and cold. One of the sand bar people tried to cross over to the beach, and the guard quickly turned him back to the other side. You are able to move back away from the river or go to the pool or main beach, if you are uncomfortable with the “river people”.
Not much music at Sunset beach if any; it is played very low. Bring a good book and sunscreen. Sans Souci is not a place to vacation, if you do not like the person you are with, as activities are limited. We experienced more clouds later in afternoon.
Day 2 – Page 3
Great little bar in front of “B” block prior to beach party with a lot of activity.
Beach party began at 7 P.M. in front of A and B Block. Party moved to Sunset Beach at 9:30 P.M. We skipped Sunset Beach and went back to room. We again ordered breakfast delivered to room.
Day 3 – Wednesday
Morning Breakfast then off to main lobby to catch ride to “CHUKKA ZIP LINE” at 8:20 A.M. to catch 9:00 A.M. transportation. It was a very cloudy morning. No transportation arrived, and “Lij” at front desk came to our rescue once again. Lij called Chukka – “no answer” then called a friend of his and found Chukka does not have anyone at their desk until 9AM. Towers are the first pick up, then Sans - so on and so on. We missed the transportation, as Chukka had no record of our internet booking, and our internet booking showed Dec 31, 2010. Lij worked it out, so we could go in afternoon and told me to make sure we confirm everything the day before with him.
We went to the beach from 9:30-11:30 and returned to front desk at 12 noon to try again. We were the first pick-up of three resorts. Michael, our driver was informative and entertaining. We were on the bus for an hour, as a cruise ship was in, and the downtown was packed. We arrived at the ranch and signed our lives away (smile), had a rest stop and a drink. We were held up at the ranch as they were trying to finish the cruise ship people. Then the exciting ride up the mountains began through 2 villages.
At 2:10 P.M., we reached the top of the mountains. Another van arrived with more adventure seekers including children around the age of 10-12 years old for a total of about 18 people with 6 guides.
The guides suited each person and spent a lot of time checking helmets and safety gear. We then as a group began to walk down 60 to 80 cut stairs in the hills. Bring tennis shoes, long shorts and do the mosquito repellant prior to leaving resort. Flip flops and short-shorts do not cut it.
The overcast day was perfect to do the 7 different platforms and zip lines. The guides were outstanding, as they hooked you up, gave directions, and had a guide at other end to assist you. There were many ages, sizes, and shapes on this tour. We arrived at last platform at about 4 P.M. and walked about 10-15 minutes down a park pathway to a refreshment and meeting place in the park. Michael was waiting for us. We went back to ranch to look at pictures for about 20 minutes.
Day 3 – Page 4 Wednesday
Two stops to return the guests, then we were back at Sans at 5:10 P.M. I would book zip lining in afternoon, as most cruise shippers do it in the morning and need to be back on ship by 5 PM.
On our return we discovered the game room and the Internet (4-5 computers) lounge to the left of the lobby. We probably should have taken the orientation tour. We stopped by bar down the steps from lobby to get a drink and head back to room. We booked dinner outside at Palazzina…lobster night or so we thought. When we arrived our room was not on the list, again we should have doubled checked the day before, as we had made this reservation on Day 1. They scrambled and once again accommodated us. Had a great dinner and headed to bed.
Day 4 – Thursday - New Years Eve
Overcast, raining, big waves, lights, stages, tables begin to show up on lawn in front of “B” block. This was our first day to go down to breakfast in the morning. Hint ..Omelets and waffles are outside on a side of the buffet. Good selection of items. After breakfast, we went up to confirm our Saturday evening dinner. Sure enough, we needed to correct the number of people at our table.
We went to the beach, but clouds and rain stayed most of day, then on to pool in front of “A” block to play Bingo in afternoon. Eight people played, and Marcel was great fun. They need to upgrade their bingo tokens and cards. As it was still overcast, we did fortune cards on the lawn in front of “B” block at a cost of $20 each from a very nice German lady. Interesting experience!
We ran to the room to get dressed for the 7PM New Years Eve Gala. Sans had three wonderful entertainment acts; steel drums, singers and a final singer brought us into the 2010 New Year. Food was outstanding! Dress was formal to casual. The front lawn was amazing. Champaign, hats, noise makers and the music continued to about 1 A.M.
What a party!!! Ordered Breakfast in room for Friday morning.
Day 5 – Friday – Trading Places
Clouds have cleared, and we climbed up the stairs to the main lobby (they will shuttle you). The bus arrived at 8:30 AM for a 5 minute ride. We signed up for trading places on our first day at resort (Lij’s suggestion). The shuttle back to Sans is at 4PM. First impression of the Towers - white, white and whiter, art deco was retro 50’s, 4-5 stories with blue accents.
The resort is much easier to walk around as not as many stairs, and rooms were closer to beach. It was clear to see that a lot of money was spent to upgrade resort including the main bathrooms.
Day 5 – Page 5 - Friday – Trading Places
We boarded a small boat (4 -5 people) to go to island which had a very diverse group of ages and sizes. Had a small bar and pool at one end and a small pier with a walkway to water on other end. The restroom was in tower along with a stairway to top.
After spending time on island, we returned to main land for lunch and the soft ice cream machine. Unlike Sans, no food was on island, although we were allowed to take plates over to island from grill.
Time went quickly and we left island at 3:15 to make sure we were able to shuttle back on time, and we wanted to try some more ice cream. Five minute return, bar just below lobby was calling us, then back to room. We met our friends at bar in front of “B” prior to going to dinner.
Another hidden treasure is the dining in the area attached to the “B” building beach bar. Very good service - you can eat at the beach. Food was very good! We ate at 8:15, and they are open until 9:30 P.M. We ordered in the room breakfast - love this option!
Day 6 – Last Day Full Day
We went to beach most of morning, as it was a very sunny day. Volleyball game was cancelled again, but Chris the water aerobic instructor was very good. Lunch at beach was again very good. We stayed at beach until 3PM, and I went to lobby to see if we could do electronic check-in, but “No” as printers were not available. I can see printers could be a headache to keep repaired.
We were originally placed on 11:30 shuttle for a 3:30 flight, but I wanted to get on the 10:30 AM shuttle (baggage out by 9:30). Don’t miss putting your bags out, as it is a long hike with luggage to front desk. We changed to earlier shuttle, as we worried about traffic and the new check-in regulations. We were warned on our flight into Jamaica. Again, we were graciously taken care of by the front desk.
The game room television had the Rose Bowl, but the bars don’t have TV’s. We returned to our room to watch the game. We had dinner after the game.
Interesting tidbit(s) or personal observations learned from the bar - the bathtub jet switch is outside the bathroom door above your head between the bathroom door and the closet. Entertainment is limited, along with athletic activities. Staff members are entertainers not playmakers. Sans Souci would be a good place to come with another couple to share the experience.
Day 6 – Page 6 - Last Day Full Day
Watch out when adjusting water in shower…it moves from hot to very hot depending on water how many are using the water. Sans never, ever felt crowded, and A and B building people tended to hang together.
Sans Souci would not be a good choice for a three day weekend, as travel time varies; however, it is an excellent choice for 5-6 days. There is a jogging track around pond at “A” building.
Day 7 – Breakfast and the Airport
We ate the breakfast the night before and began to pack. I hated getting my jeans out. Most of our week was sunny except for two days of intermittent, liquid sunshine and clouds, and the temperature low was 77 in evening and 87-89 degrees during the day.
They picked up our bags at 9:20A.M. and we went to game room (main lobby) to look at our flight times for any schedule changes. We talked to friends in lobby, until the shuttle arrived at 10:30 AM. Our bags and names were checked off the list, as we entered the shuttle.
We had a very smooth and quick ride to airport about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Airport lines went quickly at Delta/Northwest desk, and, although long, we went through screening smoothly. We purchased liquor and coffee at airport. Liquor is cheaper at airport, but coffee (unless you buy a 5 pound bag for $95) is more expensive.
Our airplane started boarding at 2:45 PM departure at 3:30 PM. All carry-ons, purchases (keep your sales slips), and shoes were searched at the boarding gate. Passengers were patted down. Clearly, there is a new sheriff in town.
One hour and fifteen minutes before landing, we were warned to go to the bathroom, as no one would be allowed out of their seats (a long line formed to the bathroom), and nothing was allowed on your laps. One hour exactly from landing, everyone returned to seats, and all electronic equipment was turned off. Everyone on board was cooperative, and the stewardesses were apologetic but firm.