It really depends on your preference. We have been to both and prefer CSS, but others have been to both and prefer CTI.
What are you looking for in your vacation?
The beaches at CTI & CSS are small especially compared to the beaches in Negril. The sand is also not a silky soft in Ocho Rios as it is in Negril.
CTI is a very compact resort. Hotel style with most things reached via a common hallway in the hotel. It is known for its friendly and helpful staff. The island is a fun place to be, but a bit small for us. The rooms have fabulous views of the ocean and island. There are four dinner options for eating and starting in August (21st) all rooms will have mini-bars and room service 6am-11pm. CTI also has a very fun catamaran cruise included. We also think the dive staff at CTI is better than CSS' (just by a hair).
CSS is very spread out and oh so romantic. The buildings are spread out all over the resort and there are a lot of places to explore. There are four pools and 3 hot tubs throughout the resort. There is a lovely pond and they supply free bikes and you can grab a bike and ride around the pond. All of the rooms are suites and have mini-bars and room service included. There are 3 options for dinner (plus room service). We really prefer SSB to the Island as there is more room, you don't have to wait on a boat, and they pool is HUGE compared to the Island's pool. Plus there is a beach. The Friday Night Gala is fabulous and the entertainment can't be beat that night.
I'll stop there. So the main question is what are you looking for out of your vacation. I wouldn't let Dunn's River make the decision for you. There are also "River" options near Negril that are very nice and not nearly as touristy. First decide what is important to you and then select a resort. Plus, you will only be at the 'river' for a few short hours and the rest of your time will be spent at the resort you choose.
We have been to all four resorts. They are all different in their own way and each has their cheerleaders. Decide what is important to you, post those requirements, and then we can help fill in the missing blanks.
Juliann & Jeff
Jamaica Soon Come