I will take the advice of those repeaters who say the "shopping tour" is not worth it (4 hours away from the resort, no real better deals, can get same in gift shop/airport).
However, if I wanted to steal away briefly to a mall (or mall-like) place, what would be the closest to CSS, what type of stores and what is the best way to get there if I just want to stroll through, and be back to the resort quickly?
Well, for one, the CSS shopping trip isn't 4 hours away from the resort. It's about 15 minutes into Ocho Rios at Island Village. The reason I don't think it's worth it is because the shopping center is pretty pushy and I prefer gifts made from the local crafters, as opposed to things like t-shirts. If you want to go to a mall-type place, then go on the shopping excursion. It's offered almost every day. Couples provides transportation though so if you wanted to leave early you'd have to pay for a taxi.
Amy, I think they meant that the duration of the excursion was about 4hrs.
The shopping trip to Ocho lasts for a little over 2 hours, not 4 hours. If you want to go shopping in town, do the Couples sponsored trip. They take you to different places on different days, but we enjoyed the Gem Pallace and Soni's Plaza (which is a shopping center). It's not offered every day...I think it's only about 4 times a week.
We just asked concierge to get us a cab to go into Ocho Rios. We set up a time for the driver to come back and pick us up. We didn't even have to pay him until he took us back to CSS and I believe it was only $5 pp round trip.