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  1. #1
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    Default CN Review - September 2010

    We stayed at CN last week for our 18th Couples vacation and 14th CN vacation.

    Getting There: Our flight left JFK at 6 am, which meant that we had to leave our house at 3:30 am. YUCK. We were two of three people seated in the first-class cabin. The other person was Lennox Lewis. Whenever we fly to Negril on TimAir, Curtis always points out sites of interest, and one of those sites is the Lennox Lewis estate. He was the last person to board and quickly took his seat. After the plane landed, some guy came running up from coach to be the first off the plane and stopped short when he saw him. He loudly announced Lennoxís presence, and some people got a little excited. Airport security was waiting for the boxer, and he was quickly whisked through Immigration before anyone in line at Immigration could get worked up.

    TimAir: I checked in at the Couples Lounge so that they could let CN know that we were en route and then proceeded to the TimAir terminal. Curtis was working with a new pilot named Cullen, and he was quite pleased that I recognized Lennox Lewis.

    I am very fond of the TimAir employees. Clovis in Montego Bay, Maurice in Negril, and Curtis have always treated us so well. Kevin and I purchased a flight for my sister and her husband, Kathleen and Damian, who were joining us at CN for their second trip to Couples (CSS last year) and first trip to CN. Their flight didnít land until about four hours after ours. These three TimAir employees went out of their way to take care of my sister. Clovis met them as they exited Customs (my sister and I look a lot alike [each of us has been confused for the other], so it wasnít difficult for Clovis to figure out who she was); Curtis approached them at the TimAir counter, introduced himself, escorted them to the plane, and flew over the resort numerous times so they could get a good view; and Maurice was waiting for them with Red Stripes in hand and offering to serve as their personal tour guide on his day off. Really great people.

    We Did Not Receive an Upgrade . . . . : Iíve had complaints about check-in at CN over the last few years, but Iím happy to say that check-in went without a hitch this time. We arrived at 10 am and were immediately greeted by a male employee who invited us to have a seat. While a woman brought us the materials to fill out, the guy retrieved cold towels and champagne. We were told that a room wasnít ready yet but that we could return at noon. I asked if there was a garden or beachfront suite immediately available and indicated that we would pay for the upgrade, but I was told that there wasnít a suite available. When we returned to the front desk at noon, we were given the keys to Room 6103. Our Romance Rewards perks were waiting for us in our room. Big improvement over our March trip. The employees this time were welcoming, friendly, and efficient. Good job.

    Our luggage (or lack thereof) has always served as a source of entertainment; weíve been asked so many times if the airline has lost our luggage that itís become a running joke. This time, Herbert knew we were at CN before he saw us. He simply saw our bags. I saw him approach the bags. He looked at them, smiled, then started looking for us and greeted us warmly when he found us.

    . . . . But My Sister Did: When I went to the front desk later in the afternoon to see if K&D has arrived (I knew when they arrived in Negril b/c I kept seeing the TimAir plane flying around and said to myself that Curtis was showing them the resort), I was told that they had arrived about 5 minutes earlier. As I was standing at the desk, the phone rang, and the man at the desk said, ďHold on. This is her now.Ē He answered the phone and then handed it to me. I learned that my sister was in 9308, which is a beachfront suite. She booked a garden suite and was very pleased with the upgrade. Although I denied it, she was certain that I had something to do with the upgrade. Hey, I canít even get an upgrade for myself when I offer to pay for it!

    Food: We ate at all of the restaurants and had very good meals at all. The biggest change I noticed in the food department was in the desserts at lunch. Previously, there were numerous cakes and tarts. Now, there are little squares that are about two bites each. I donít know if this is a cost-cutting measure or if it had to do with September occupancy rates. Wasnít an issue, just a noticeable change.

    Beach: As always, the beach was perfect. The water was very warm, much warmer than it had been in March, and very calm.

    There was a noticeable change on the beach this trip. There were almost no people (tourists) walking along the beach. I suspect that tourism is down in September. Our prior CN trips have been in January, February, March, and April, and there has always been a steady stream of people strolling along the shore.

    While tourists strolling the shoreline were reduced in number, there were more people walking along the beach offering pot. In the past, they were always discrete. Not this time. There was a guy who walked along chanting, ďCigars. Marijuana. Cigars. Marijuana,Ē another guy offering pot brownies, and a third who walked along saying, ďPipes. Weed. Pot. Hash. Bob Marley Ganja.Ē Bob Marley Ganja? Hilarious.

    There was also increased police presence. Officers in the police boat stopped several guys on jet skis, and two armed officers strolled along the shoreline. On our fourth day, the police boat came speeding into shore, the officers intercepted Mr. Bob Marley Ganja, and they got into the boat with him and sped away. I have no idea what happened. From what we could see, there was no search, no altercation or resistance, and no arrest (at least no handcuffs were used). We did not see the guy for the remainder of our trip.

    Weather: We had rain for less than an hour on two of the days that we were there. It didnít affect our enjoyment of the resort at all. The rest of the time it was warm and sunny.

    Gym: I was generally the only guest in the gym when I arrived at 5 am. When I ďslept inĒ and arrived at the gym at 6 am, other guests would sometimes arrive, but there were few people who seriously worked out. Guests can schedule a FREE training session with the trainer; I encourage people who arenít familiar with weight machines but want to work out on them while at CN to do so. This guy came in one morning and was letting the weights come crashing down at the end of a circuit. He did it about five times on one machine before he decided that his workout was complete. I thought he was going to break the equipment, and the noise was jarring.

    CN Staff: In addition to Herbert, we were happy to see Tennyson and Franklyn again. I told them that my sister and her husband were joining us this trip (we have always visited alone), and both sought them out and introduced themselves. Really nice guys.

    It was also nice to see Gary Stephens again. We hadnít seen him since he was the GM at CN, and then saw him twice this year at CTI in January and at CN in September.

    One Little Mishap: I was going to the beach one morning and exited out of the doorwall when I slipped on the tile, banged my knee on the patio (OUCH!), and rolled off of the patio onto the sand yelling, ďSon of a Bitch!Ē As I was picking myself up/dusting myself off, a guy from two rooms away came running up to see if I was okay or needed help. I had hoped that no one witnessed my less-than graceful fall; now, Iím just hoping that someone didnít record it and put it up on YouTube.

    I Couldnít Get a Late Check-Out . . . . : Our flight left MoBay at 6 pm, and our TimAir flight was scheduled for 3:45 pm. I asked the front desk if we could have a late check-out but was told that it wasnít possible. I quickly devised a plan.

    . . . . But My Sister Did: I called my sister and asked her to request a late check-out. She and Damian had already settled their account, and the front desk happily gave them a 2:00 pm checkout. When they left the resort at noon, they simply handed us their keys.

    At 1:30 pm, we went to their room to shower. The front desk called to inquire about their TimAir flight, which was scheduled for 12:15 pm, so they were a little confused about how K&D could still be at the resort. I apologized for the confusion and told them that we switched our flight and were now scheduled for a 3:45 pm Tim Air flight. The guy actually offered to extend our/their check-out until 3 pm. We headed back to the beach for another hour. At 3 pm, we simply turned in their keys and, shortly thereafter, took the shuttle to TimAir.

    Returning Home: Yes, once again, our infamous travel luck reared its ugly head. Our flight left on time, but we couldnít fly to New York b/c JFK closed due to stormy weather. We had to land at BWI, refuel, and then sit there until JFK reopened. Instead of landing at JFK at 10:45 pm, I think we landed at 2:30 am.

    Global Entry: We recently became members of Customs and Border Protectionsí Global Entry program. We didnít have to fill out the Immigration form on the plane or stand in line in Immigration. Instead, we proceeded to the kiosks, scanned our passports, placed our right hand on the scanner for fingerprint verification, and answered the questions on the computer screen. Done! We proceeded to Customs, handed over the receipt printed by the kiosk, and we were out of there. The entire Immigration and Customs process took us LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES!!!!

    It took us less than an hour to get home, but our dogs were so excited to see us, that we had to sit up with them for awhile, petting them, lavishing them with affection, and reassuring them (especially Rudy) that everything was okay. Rudy lost his sight this year and gets very upset when we leave, even though we have a petsitter who stays with them. He actually cries when we come home. (Thanks, Rudes. I donít feel guilty enough!) We were EXHAUSTED and felt like we needed a vacation just to recover from the travel portion of our vacation.

    Overall: We ate too much, drank way too much, and had a blast. Canít wait to return in January.
    Last edited by Pamela; September 28th, 2010 at 01:14 PM.
    Pamela
    I know everything, and I'm always right (just ask my husband).

  2. #2
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    Pamela, Great, thorough review. Glad to see you had a good time. Can't wait until we return in November.

  3. #3
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    I am leaving for CN in 3 days(!)so this review came at the perfect time. So glad you had a great time and hopefully our travels will go more smoothly than yours.

  4. #4
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    Nice, informative review.
    I believe the room numbers may need some clarification however.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pamela View Post

    ...I was told that there wasnít a suite available. When we returned to the front desk at noon, we were given the keys to Room 6301.
    ...
    learned that my sister was in 6308, which is a beachfront suite

    We've stayed in 6301 and it is a Beachfront suite (3rd floor suite on the beach end of block 6).

    6308 is not a suite. It is on the 3rd floor, 2nd from the end closest to Cassava in block 6. It was classified as a Deluxe Beachfront room in the past, but that may have changed.

    I'm sure Pamela knows the room numbering scheme.
    Perhaps Pamela was in 6308 and her sister in 6301?? But with the "One Little Mishap" inclusion of rolling onto the sand pointing to a 1st floor room, perhaps Pamela's was 6103??

    While occupancy was also very low in July, we didn't notice much of a decrease in beach traffic (compared to Nov, Dec, Jan). We certainly didn't experience any of the "weed announcer" guys mentioned, just the same guys as usual - that sounds somewhat amusing. The beach security usually keeps tight reign on them and there is a female guard that is very, very strict. On a recent trip she even scolded one vendor for not wearing his "uniform". I imagine she would not have tolerated the weed announcer.

    Good to hear that you saw Tennyson and Franklyn. We miss them, along with others.

    "infamous travel luck" - lol, so it isn't just us. 3 trips out of 4 something bad happens to us.

    Again, thanks for the nice review - just trying to clarify the rooms for those interested. Based on previous posts, I wouldn't be surprised if Pamela has edited to correct the information by now.

  5. #5
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    Pamela - Did you receive any update on the boardwalk replacement?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rudi View Post
    . . . . I believe the room numbers may need some clarification however . . . .
    Good eye, Rudi. I made a typo and a transpositional error. K&D were in 9308; we were in 6103. I've corrected it in my review above.
    Last edited by Pamela; September 28th, 2010 at 01:43 PM.
    Pamela
    I know everything, and I'm always right (just ask my husband).

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by rudi View Post
    Pamela - Did you receive any update on the boardwalk replacement?
    I asked Tennyson and Franklyn, but neither knew anything about the promised deck replacement.
    Pamela
    I know everything, and I'm always right (just ask my husband).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pamela View Post
    I asked Tennyson and Franklyn, but neither knew anything about the promised deck replacement.
    OK, thanks. We were originally told about it by Karen and hoped she or maybe someone like Gary Stephens had provided a status. It probably doesn't matter as it is likely to be a trip or two for us before we see the new deck materialize.

    Thanks for editing the room numbers. Your clarification makes more sense and I expected that you would spot the discrepancy yourself.

  9. #9
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    Pamela...Oh,how I love your reviews..Very informative indeed.
    Do keep watching out for coyotes.
    I LOVE my shirt and do wear it on special occasions.

    Hugs from your old 10 0 C buddy

  10. #10

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    Interesting events about "Mr. Bob Marley Ganja". I had previously heard rumors that the police will sometimes plant a drug seller at resorts. Then the drug seller will report his sales to the police, and the police will bust the buyers. I really have no idea if this is true or not, but it somewhat fits in with your experience. Maybe when the police picked up Mr. Bob Marley Ganja, they were relocating their sting operation to another resort.

    JUST SAY "NO"!
    Last edited by jamaican_junkie; September 29th, 2010 at 04:47 PM.

  11. #11
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    Pamela,
    Loved your review!! It's so detailed and made me so homesick!!! I'm very interested in the free training session with the personal trainer..Did you do it? How was it? Who do I see to set up a session?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by oxbgirl View Post
    . . . . I'm very interested in the free training session with the personal trainer..Did you do it? How was it? Who do I see to set up a session?
    I work out with a trainer at home, so I'm comfortable working out on my own at CN. There is a trainer present in the gym to help people. I'm not certain what his hours are, but if you stop by the gym and tell him that you'd like to schedule a work-out, he'll be happy to work with you.
    Pamela
    I know everything, and I'm always right (just ask my husband).

  13. #13

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    Pamela, just wondering if you noticed if they had bowflex machines there, That is what I'm used to using! Saw pictues of the gym, it looks impressive for a resort gym.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jc View Post
    . . . [W]ondering if . . . they had bowflex machines there . . . .
    Bowflex is marketed for "home gyms," and I've never seen a Bowflex in a commercial gym or a resort/hotel gym. If you click on the link for the map and panoramic views for CN, you can click on the link for the gym and get a better look at the equipment. CN has Cybex weight machines.
    Last edited by Pamela; October 6th, 2010 at 07:57 AM.
    Pamela
    I know everything, and I'm always right (just ask my husband).

  15. #15
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    Default If this is true, our thoughts of Jamaica will change

    Interesting events about "Mr. Bob Marley Ganja". I had previously heard rumors that the police will sometimes plant a drug seller at resorts. Then the drug seller will report his sales to the police, and the police will bust the buyers. I really have no idea if this is true or not, but it somewhat fits in with your experience. Maybe when the police picked up Mr. Bob Marley Ganja, they were relocating their sting operation to another resort.

    JUST SAY "NO"!


    I would certainly like some clarification here if others will chime in. Back in 1998(our first trip to the island), I was told the same thing on a forum by an AI traveler. Most of us understand that it's just another crop for this poor country and a way of life for others. In all of our trips, this has not been the case and I have not heard of this "set-up" being allowed at any AI we have visited. I do not take or buy illegal drugs, but if this "setting up" of travelers is being allowed to take place (I do know others partake, but they also partake of the local coffee, food, and souvenirs as well), I for one would like to know because this would affect our future travel plans. After sinking over $10,000 in trips to Jamaica, this concerns us. After all, I thought we were going on vacation AWAY from the US where this type of ridiculous behavior takes place. Sorry this wasn't meant to be a sounding board for my beliefs, but reading this post has caused me to wonder if this is the norm.

  16. #16
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    Widely used or not, marijuana is illegal in Jamaica. If you aren't engaging in activities which break the law, you won't be caught in the "set up"s. I personally don't have a problem with them enforcing their rules.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by macmaniac View Post
    I would certainly like some clarification here . . . . I have not heard of this "set-up" being allowed at any AI we have visited.
    Couples does not have the authority to allow or disallow the enforcement of the law. Seven Mile Beach is a public beach in that members of the public can stroll along the shoreline. Just as Couples canít stop people selling drugs from walking along the shoreline, it canít stop law enforcement from enforcing narcotics laws should someone choose to engage in illegal conduct by buying drugs.

    Further, no one said that there was actually a sting operation in place. Reread Jamaican Junkieís post. Heís admittedly speculating about what I might have seen. Itís just as plausible that Mr. Bob Marley Ganja was arrested. No one has suggested that Couples was participating in any police action to the detriment of its guests, no one said that there was actually a sting operation in place, and no one on this entire MB has reported that ANYONE on resort property was actually arrested. Youíd have to really torture the English language to come up with such an interpretation of my posting or that of Jamaican Junkie.

    We've been to Jamaica 18 times, including three times this year, always to a Couples Resort. It's very clear from my initial post that what we saw last month was different, and we have NEVER seen anyone arrested at any of the resorts. Relax.
    Last edited by Pamela; October 6th, 2010 at 07:59 AM.
    Pamela
    I know everything, and I'm always right (just ask my husband).

  18. #18
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    Wow, I went and looked at CN and the gym and the pictures. I'm not sure how we missed it last year, but we did. Even though we went to Otaheite and Lychee. I guess food was more of a priority than exercise. I think maybe this year we may do the orientation just to make sure we didn't miss anything else.

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