Day 1: Easy flight and customs to get into Jamaica. Had time for a couple of beers at the Couples lounge (really friendly staff...and that goes for everything Couples). Our driver Greg was really nice. He stopped at a roadside stand and let us try this fruit that was sort of mushy...not sure what it was but it was good! We only had one other couple going to CSS while we where headed to CTI on our bus (I would like to check out CSS at some point on the trading places day...never got around to it this first trip). Got to the resort and was greated by Byron with a hot towel and some rum punch. Checked into the room (had a little trouble confirming our candle light dinner that we had from a Wed. escape deal...but it got worked out a couple days later no problem). Byron took our luggage to our room and was very friendly (hubby ended up really getting along with him the whole trip). Our room was great, the balcony had an amazing view and since it was raining we even had a rainbow. We grabbed a smoked mackrel sandwich at the veggie bar and hubby wanted a pattie at the grill. The beach party was cancelled due to rain but they did the buffet in the patio...no entertainment though :-(
Day 2: Woke up at sunrise which looked amazing! Had breakfast at the patio and Maxine came by to make sure everything was going great for us (an amazing lady she is so nice!). Talked to Loloyta and organized our wedding for Saturday. She was great! We picked out our wedding site, bouquet, booked my hair, make up and mani pedie. She even made sure we had reservations booked for all 8 of us at Bayside and 8 rivers, oh she also made sure we had a special table set aside for lunch and the gala that night! Then we went to the swim up bar and met up with some friends from yesturday. Also had some chips and dip at the veggie bar. Had dinner at the Patio with sweet potato leek soup, mustard crusted lamb and cous cous (unbelievable tasting). Hubby had the mahi mahi and seafood pizza (also great).
Day 3; Maxine met us at the patio in the morning and organized our horseback riding (again, she is so awesome!) We went to the Pioneer Plantation and where the only two on our ride! The horses are very well taken care of, I rode 'Pretty Girl' and hubby rode 'Fiddle'. The guides had lots of information and stories to tell, also its on a hillside and we stopped a lot for photo opportunities. Got back to the hotel and did the Patio for lunch. After that we decided to give the island a try (before family was going to show up). The Island was great! We where nervous, but once we where there we realized it was no big deal to be naked! We would definitely do it again. I however, got to much sun and had to go back to lay down for a bit in our room. I felt better for dinner and we met up with our friends who arrived that afternoon for our wedding. Unfortunately our friend found out she was allergic to the rum cream and had some problems with her lips swelling (the staff was really good and understanding about the problem and got her some benodryl right away). Hubby and I ate at the Veranda alone since she wasn't feeling well. I loved everything from the rasta pasta, lamb kabob, pumpkin rice, red snapper and chocolate moose for dessert. After that we took a walk on the beach and then had a night time dip in the budda pool. Then got dressed again and watched the steel band and hung out in the piano bar until bed time.
Day 4: Had breakfast at the Patio (I forgot to say that breakfast was amazing every day they had something new to try along with the traditional stuff and the omelet bar is great). Went snorkling with Choy and saw lots of sea urchins along the reef. Then we had lunch again at the patio with our friends and went for a shopping trip outside of the resort that is organized by the resort. I have to say, had I known that normally at the beach party on Monday their would be craft people I would have waited on shopping. Monday with the souvenir people around we got better deals than we had all week...wait for that if you want my opinion. When we got back from the shopping trip the rest of our group arrived (best man, my brother and my parents). Then we all did the Patio for dinner. I have to say I was worried about my dad and the food. He's very picky and can't stand anything spicy. But he actually enjoyed the food the whole trip! After dinner we all went for a beach/garden walk and hubby and I ended the night in the hot tub.
Day 5: Had breaky again with everyone at the Patio and then all just hung our at the swim up bar. Went snorkling again with our friends except my mom and dad who did the shopping trip. After I went for my mani pedie at the spa (it was so worth it, I'm a runner and had some horrible nails and clauses so it was definitely needed). For dinner we all met up at the Bayside and it was Friday lobster night so we had the lobster stir fry. Finished the night off with another walk on the beach.
Day 6: Wedding Day! Woke up at 5am to pouring rain and worried! But no problem mon! Rain was gone by 9am! Had breaky with the family at the Patio. Then mom and I went off to the spa to get my hair and make up done (she did such an amazing job! everyone who saw the photos say I looked like a model!) Went back to my room to get dressed, then dad came to the room to walk me down the isle. We met Maxine at the lobby and she walked us down to the ceremony area. The ceremony area was beautiful! I found out afterwards that there where a lot of people watching the ceremony...but at the time I didn't notice any of them! Our minister was great too, very funny! After the ceremony we walked to the garden area by the swim up bar to sign the documents and have cake. We did the fruit cake and it was like no other fruit cake I had before, I highly recommend it. We hired the resort photographer just to do the ceremony. He was very good but I honestly think that it was over priced for what we got. It cost us $450 for just 18 photos (he took a lot more than that but it cost $450 to pick 18). After that my brother took pictures around the resort, and did an excellent job! When we where done that we went to the Patio and they had a specially decorated table just for us! Then we went on the catamaran cruise (except for our friend and my dad who where afraid to get sea sick). It was great, they sang this hilarious song called 'The Big Bamboo'. They also stop in a bay for people to swim. Hubby and I jumped into the ocean in our full wedding garb! It was great! Everyone on the cruise counted down our jump with us! That night was the gala night and our group was treated to our own reserved table specially decorated again. the food was great as usual! Then we all went to the piano bar for a bit. My brother and one of our friends hung out there pretty much every night! That night we also had our room decorated with flowers when we got in and later had champagne and cookies delivered! We also had the rest of our cake and marriage certificate waiting in our room when we got back along with our just married tee shirts.
Day 7: Met up with everyone at the Patio for breaky. Then we all went to Dunn River Falls. It was so much fun! Definitely a must do. Just be aware of the tourist hell of gift shops at the end. Then we got back to the resort and did Bob Marley shots and Duck Fart shots at the swim up bar and hung our there for most of the day. that night we had dinner at 8 rivers (really nice atmoshpher and of course amazing food).
Day 8: We had our breakfast in bed but hubby was a little hung over and didn't really get to enjoy it. However, I had mine and of course again it was great! Hubby stayed in bed while I went out to meet up with the group and we hung out at the swim up bar. Our 2 friends and my brother decided we needed to get a taste of the local flavours. It turns out the resorts's jerk chicken uses chilli flakes instead of scotch bonnet. So we talked to staff and found out Scotchies is the place to go for jerk. Hubby decided he couldn't miss this and got up and dared his tummy to do the trip. It was so worth it. We tried the jerk chicken, pork sausage and jerk pork...all tasted great! When we got back we hung out at the pool for a bit and signed up for night snorkling (costs an extra $30 per person). It was OK but I wouldn't do it again. You stick very close together and can get flippers in your face a lot. We did see stuff we wouldn't have during the day though. My personal problem was that between the waves and the flash lights I had a hard time with motion sickness...but something kept biting me. After that we took a shower and met back at the beach for the beach party. Honestly, out of every meal that was my least favourite. It was still good...but I just found that the buffet didn't add up to the other dinners. The entertainment was great though! Bamboo dancers, fire breather, contortionist and a chair balancer. That was also the night of where they brought local shop owners in. I got a vase from the artist for $25 and a wood carving with two palm trees and they engraved it for $20 (everywhere else I saw them for 40-55).
Day 9: Had breakfast at the Patio one more time with my family and best man before they got on the bus to go home. After that we talked with our two friends and decided to meet up and get a reservation at Bayside again for the night. Then we sort of just hung out on our own for a while a the main bar. At 4pm we had our couples massage and of course loved it! I think we should have paid for an upgrade to an hour instead of 30 min. And our friends finally checked out the island and loved it! Then we met up at Bayside. The food was good again. Unfortunately for me it was very hot that night and the wind died right down and next thing I knew my stomach wasn't happy with me. So we left dinner early and grabbed a dessert plate at the patio for later. Then we all got in our swim suits and hung out in the Budda pool which helped out with my heat problem a lot. We had a great time just floating around and talking!
Day 10: Our last full day. We met up with Maxine who had breakfast with us and we had a great talk about everything we did that week. Then we said good bye to our friends when they boarded their bus to go back home. After that we decided to just have a layed back day on the beach and at the main pool. That night we had our candle light beach dinner. It was so great! Jarard our waiter was very nice. We had a citrus beat salad, sweet potato leek soup, and fillet minion with rock lobster tail for our main followed by chocolate moose, cherry cheesecake and rum fruit for dessert. We also got our menu printed with our names on it for a keep sake and their special wine to take home.
Day 11: I won't lie, I was a big baby and woke up crying. We had breakfast at the Patio and then I walked around saying good bye to everyone. We also got one last walk through the garden to say good bye to the parrots and walked the beach one last time. Then Loloyta and Maxine came out to say good bye and we boarded our bus...
I know that was long...but I had a lot to say! We hadn't ever done an all inclusive before and now I think we're addicted! We met so many nice stfrf (added a lot of them to our facebook!)We'll definitely be back. I just think next time I would like to do the trading places day and check out CSS too. Also make sure to fill out your survey at the end and don't forget to drop names of staff who stood out for you!
Thanks for the detailed review Jessica!! Very helpful!!
Congrats on your wedding! Sounds like a perfect day and holiday!!
Where did your ceremony take place? We are getting married there in 10 weeks and I'm thinking of the garden by the Spa for quiet and privacy...
LOL I was worried it was a little long. We did our ceremony on the beach. We figured we went all that way to have a tropical/beach wedding we where going to get it done right there at the water. Everyone was really polite during our ceremony (like I said, I was told by lots of people that they watched it...but during the ceremony I didn't notice a thing). They also decorated the area very nicly. The garden area would be nice too (we did pictures there afterwards). If you have any other questions just let me know! I'd love to help out. I know I appriciated the people who helped me with all my questions :-)
Great review and congrats! Although we are getting married at CSA you have me SO excited. I am glad your private dinner was good, we are on the fence about it. We are very picky eaters and I saw a seafood app, smashed bananas, and some other weird sounding stuff on the CSA menus so we might save the $170 and upgrade massages or do a dinner offsite. I'd LOVE to see pics if you can post
Pictures are posted! Let me know if you have a problem seeing them. Its up to you about the beach private dinner. We enjoyed it, but we're also pretty adventurous when it comes to food. If you go off site for a dinner and like spicy food I would suggest getting some good jerk food. What they have is nice at the resort, but I found out that they replace the scotch bonnet wtih chilli peppers. We decided to go offsite to go where the locals eat and loved it! Your at CSA...I don't know places in that area. But on the Ocho Rios side Scotchies is great! Best of luck! I know you'll love it.
Thankyou for your post!!! I am getting married at CTI on 12/28/2011 I am so so excited! We are doing the basic one love ceremony and I will probably upgrade on the bouquet, I want the traditional style, just curious if you knew how much in price they are? I can't believe 18 photos cost $450!!! Sharon the stateside planner sent me a price sheet and it says for 120 photos $500??
Thanks Lisa! We did the basic ceremony too. I was going to do an upgrade bouquet but was shocked with the cost (mine was quoted at $95 and it wasn't a crazy bouquet or anything). However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that they helped me with the bouquet I did have (doing the colors I wanted) as the complimentary bouquet. When i was looking at the cost though it was anywhere from 30 to 135...the best thing to do is send a picture of what you want and they can get a quote for you (that's what I ended up doing). As for the photos, yeah, its pretty pricey, and that was their lowest wedding package we where offered. I do wonder why they charge so much. But all in all it was the only thing we have to complain about so no big deal I guess! I'm sure you'll have a great wedding. Everyone is very nice and do whatever they can for you!