Just returned and wanted to pass along what's new/changed from a year ago.
Drive from airport -- Drivers no longer try to sell you beer right outside the airport and no longer stop along the way -- you get to CN even faster where there is plenty of free beer! The road is in good shape and the trip is now only about 1 hr 15 mins.
Heliconia -- As others have said, Heliconia is no longer "Italian" per se. There is still an antipasta appetizer and one pasta dish each night. Other menu items are non-descript (in terms of ethnicity) -- "lemony chicken," "breaded snapper," clam chowder soup, Cobb salad, etc. It's perfectly fine but the restaurant seems to lack some identity. On the plus side, we found the service to be quite good.
Beach Grill -- There seem to be more menu items (shrimp skewer and Caesar salad). You now have a choice of mild, spicy, or extra spicy jerk sauce to put on your jerk chicken. The nachos are still there but no refried beans. The problem is that the beans were always hot and the cheese sauce isn't. No pizza but the "patties" (empanadas) are still present. One neat thing -- they have those restaurant-like buzzers rather than shouting out your name. Maybe less personal but works really well!
Cassava -- Evening buffets seemed better than we remembered and dinner a la carte menu seemed more limited. Breakfast omelet/eggs to order process was quicker than last year.
Facility Upgrades -- They replaced the tiles in both jacuzzis and the wood planking between the pool and beach bar/beach area. It looks very nice. Nice new lounge cushions around the pool. New paint in various places.
Red Flags -- They now use tiny red flags in the pool area.
Rooms -- I can't decide if the TVs are new since last year but they are large, flat screen. Bath amenities are Gilchrest & Soames and are in large containers (rather than small bottles). Decor is unchanged.
Shops -- Shades (logo shop) had more logo items, including some neat shirts and even hoodies. Prices were quite reasonable.
Repeater Rewards -- Much more organized this year. Shirts of the correct size were already in our rooms when we arrived. Vouchers were in our welcome packet. They even remembered what alcohol we liked (wine/beer only) and had set it up in our room on the first day without our asking. Really impressive!
Service -- Fantastic as always!! We've already booked our next trip and are counting down the days.
Thank you for the update on CN. We were there this year...going to CSA in Feb. 2011 but who knows, we may "split" our next trip but have to wait and see how CSA "affects" us as we LOVED, LOVED Couples Negril.
Thank you! That was a very helpful post! Our ONLY beef about last years vacation was the insanely long (about 2 hours) trip from Sangster to CN! If the road construction has finished and the traffic is better, we might cancel our plant to use Timair!
No traffic issues in December as the road around MBJ was complete. We arrived on a Saturday and the towns were a bit crowded, which is to be expected. However, it still only took about 75 mins. The return, on a weekday, was a bit quicker.
ggo85, thanks for the great update. CN is our favorite (CSS runs a very close 2nd) and we will be returning to our "Home" this coming April. Our last trip to CN was in 2007 and we look forward to rediscovering this beautiful resort. We spent the last few years at CSS & CSA. Our first Couples experience was at CN in 2004 so it has that "special" memory for us. We are looking forward to CN and your review was helpful. Thanks!
Just a side note on stopping part of the way on the drive from the airport, there have been times when the driver asked if anyone wanted to stop and most said no. So we didn't. Other times more people said yes and we did. I don't think there is a policy change in that.