Well, after many years of wanting to take a trip, but not being able to (military), I am now in a position to take the honeymoon I meant to give my wife after we got married! Tonight, I booked a deluxe ocean view room at CN from June 18-23, and I must say I'm rather excited. It was a hard decision, but when I see so many people going back to the resort, I knew it had to be great. I can't wait! Now June just needs to hurry up and get here!
Now, we are first time visitors to Jamaica, and for those who have been numerous times, what are some things (excursions, attractions, etc) that you would recommend seeing? Also, how is the airport transfer? We will be getting in around noon, and want to experience the most we can, so is it worth getting the private flight to Negril?
How is the food (honestly) at CN? I've always been afraid to stay at an AI just because of the buffet horror stories I've heard.
Enjoy the wait until June, the trip always goes so fast I make the anticipation part of the fun.
If you want to do some reading up on excusions to see what really interests you that's a great idea but honestly don't make up your mind about a "schedule" or which ones you WILL do until you get there. Too many people book themselves full, keep too busy and don't take enough time to enjoy sitting on the beach and doing nothing. We've gotten so used to having our lives revolve around the calendar and the clock that we don't even give it a thought. When my husband and I are in Jamaica we book absolutely nothing that requires us to be someplace at a specified time and it's so refreshing. I'm not saying that extreme is for everyone I'm just saying, consider allowing yourselves some time to really unplug and enjoy each other. You'll be amazed at what you decide you just didn't miss if you don't try to soak it all in but instead take a really laid back approach.
The shuttle transfer is great...it will take roughly an hour and a half, maybe just over an hour depending on traffic. If you can afford the flight one way I'd do it the day you leave, the shuttle will pick you up about 4 hours before your return flight departure time if you are riding. If you fly you'll leave about 2 hours before your departure time. If you can afford it both ways that's something to consider but honestly I think going by ground at least once is a great way to see Jamaica.
When you land in Jamaica you will first go through immigration. You will have filled out forms on the plane and you'll need those, your passports and your return tickets here. Be sure you read the forms and fill them out completely. The lines here can vary depending on how many other planes are landing at the same time. No worries, nothing you can do so just be patient and go with it. Next you will collect your luggage, depending on how long it took you to get through immigration it may be already off the carousel so just relax and look around. Grab your bags and head to customs, use the nothing to declare lines. Now you will proceed down the hallway to the Couples lounge, it's easy to find if you just keep walking but if you feel you may be lost there are people asking where you are going. Once you hit the Couples lounge there will be some wonderful gentlemen there to take your luggage for you. Go inside and someone will ask which resort you are going to so they can see who is ready for the shuttle. The bar is at the back of the room, restrooms along the wall, have a seat and relax and in a short time your shuttle will be ready and you'll be on your way. The gentlemen that take your luggage out to the shuttle are not Couples employees so tip them as you board...$1 per bag is customary. The shuttle driver is also not a Couples employee and you will also want to tip him once you arrive at CN...$10-$10 per couple is customary. If you go by ground you will get to see some of Montego Bay and a number of the towns on the way to Negril. The sea will be off to your right most of the way. Often the driver will be outgoing and telling stories, sit up close to the front so if he isn't talkative on his own you can ask some questions as most are happy to speak if spoken to even if on the more quiet side. We had a quieter driver who didn't intiate a lot of conversation but we asked him questions and found him to be very friendly. After you've tipped your driver upon arrival at CN your tipping is over unless you leave the resort again. If you fly you'll tip the pilot about $20.
The food...honestly...incredible! Couples isn't your typical all-inclusive type fare. My husband ranks among the pickiest of eaters and he requested we eat all three meals everyday. It's not uncommon for him to skip a meal out of boredom with food. I ate even when I wasn't hungry because I had developed some favorites and couldn't resist sampling new things and also including my favorites.
Read the message board while you wait will help give you ideas and information. I have always kept a document on my computer so I can add to it easily when I'm reading, you could do the same on paper obviously. You could make notes on excursions so you can make decisions on what you might do. There is a thread on packing called I Wish I Would Have Thought Of That...it went of for a LONG time so tons of ideas there. Read reviews on CN, you'll pick up lots of hints in the reviews. Visit the CN web page, look at the map look at pictures and such so you have a good idea in advance what the resort looks like and where things are. There is an orientation but depending on when you arrive you may have several hours or even until the next morning to explore on your own so a little advanced prep will pay off. We skipped orientation because I'd been pouring over the message board for so long and we really love to explore on our own. Depends on your personalities but for us we didn't think we missed anything important.
Have a great trip, you chose the best resort chain on the island!