December 15th, 2010, 10:12 AM
Report on First Trip to CSA - and just booked next one!
Our first visit to Jamaica, first all inclusive (CSA) was better than we even expected - and expectations were certainly high! We were there Dec. 1 - 6 and the weather and temps were absolutely perfect except for raining on Friday night so the beach party had to be moved inside the Palms, but it was great anyway. We had a Garden Verandah Suite, was very happy with that, except I thought the bed was kinda hard for me. Didn't hear much road noise, but then I sleep with earplugs due to hubby's snoring. The AC was pretty loud, I would have been happy with the louvers opened though but we were on the first floor and hub prefers AC. Hopefully we can get a 2nd floor Atrium next time and enjoy the breezes. Anyway, highlights were food (esp. grilled lobster on Sat.!), drinks (new favorite: Purple Rain) and catamaran cruise. And beach wedding of Blair and Ryan from Canada, who we just met on the shuttle to CSA. And our new friends Joel and Yaninqe from our own home town of Bear, DE. Oh yes, and sweet potato chips at Seagrapes and onion rings at Cabana Grill and banana-stuffed french toast and pretty much everything we ate. Had dinner at Feathers which of course was fabulous. Even got a palapa a couple of times right in front of one of the beach bars! Interesting though, from reading the message boards, I decided to wait until we went to the airport for our return trip to buy little gifts for my co-workers such as the gift packs with little bottles of rum creams, coffee, etc. since I read the prices were better; it turns out that the airport gift shops didn't have the cute gift packs like they sold at the resort gift shops, only the larger individual bottles of rum cream, rum, etc. I did find one small basket with Blue Mountain Coffee and a small bottle of rum, but that was all they had, so next time I'll be sure to pick up those types of things at the resort gift shop. We only had carry-ons and they were stuffed to the max.
Just rebooked our next trip (which we decided on the first morning we were there) for same dates next December, this time an Atrium suite - I'm so hoping for 2nd floor with that lovely vaulted ceiling.
A couple of questions: (1) we can't book our airfare yet, it's too early, but I know Air Jamaica offers an early flight from Philly non-stop so we can get on the beach by noon which is terrific. But we've heard some not-so-great things about Air Jamaica (one of the security guys at the Philly airport was even talking about that), and wondering if we should stick to US Airways even though it's a later flight.
(2) Also, I want to take several cans of spray sunscreen in our checked luggage - since we ended up buying 3 cans in the gift shop @ $20 each and didn't even use one of them and had to leave it. I'm assuming the spray cans are acceptable in checked baggage (not carryon)?
Best vacation EVER - can't stop thinking about it even with Christmas and my upcoming retirement on Dec. 30 - and happily obsessing about next year's trip already! Thanks to all of you on the board for the great suggestions on what to pack, what to bring, what to expect - it made it even better for us!
Diane & John
December 15th, 2010, 09:09 PM
Wow! Lots of info you gave.
Flew Air Jamaica Last year had no problems. Leaving on Air Jamima this year the 26th of December at 6:00 a.m. I do see us on the beach by noon the 26th of December. I havn't been to CSA yet but will be there soon and I am really looking forward to booking again for 2012.. Am I crazy????
December 16th, 2010, 09:14 AM
I'm surprised you didn't find the little gift packs of rum cream at the airport. When we were there in November I saw those at the airport and even remarked what a nice gift it would make. Maybe they just didn't have them at this time of year, but you would think they would stock up. Glad you loved your Couples vacation. Welcome to the family.
December 16th, 2010, 06:53 PM
Yes, the spray cans are ok in checked baggage. We always take a couple to use on the beach.
I'm with you on the countdown to next year! 331 more days!
December 16th, 2010, 10:26 PM
DianaD -- so glad to hear you loved your trip....this is the first time we've had an Atrium room, and we LOVED it! If you don't mind losing a TV, I think you may just fall in love with this category! We had a first floor, and really enjoyed the convenience of in and out without stairs, but we stayed in a BFS with the vaulted ceilings, and just loved it, so I'm sure it's a similar feel. Just one thing for you to note about the vaulted ceilings - in the BFS the walls to the bathroom don't go all the way up to the ceiling....wasn't a problem for us, but there was a spirited discussion about this on TripAdvisor a while back....
Welcome to the obsessed Couples community!! We just got back and I can't wean myself from this board!!
December 17th, 2010, 12:14 PM
Thanks for the replies -- actually, as far as our Garden Verandah Suite bathroom went, the one wall did not go up to the ceiling either, so that doesn't bother us. I was surprised at how nice the shower was even though it didn't have a "door" or a "front" (more like a spa shower, I would guess). We stayed in a first floor and of course my hubby managed to lock himself out on the verandah twice (fortunately I was there but was in the shower!). And he swears he won't miss a TV - as long as he can check the Eagles and University of Delaware football scores on the internet, he's happy. We MIGHT consider bringing a laptop .. you can pretty much watch anything on a laptop anyway these days. The Beachfront Suites looked awesome, but since I heard the Atrium suites were so great, decided on that to save money so we can board our 3 dogs next time at a kennel - our son did NOT enjoy his houseguests on our trip!
December 20th, 2010, 10:33 PM
So glad you had a great time. We love CSA and can't wait until we get back. The place really does stick with you. It's fabulous. Thanks for the great review.