We just returned from our second amazing trip to CSA (April 28th-May 6th, 2012). I wanted to let everyone know about our experience.
Airport: We arrived in Montego Bay around 1:30pm. I was a little worried since I have heard lines are really long at the airport on Saturdays. We did have to stand in line, around thirty minutes, to get through immigration, but customs was not too bad. Once we had cleared customs we headed to the Couples Lounge and were greeted with big smiles and a couple of Red Stripes. The wait was not very long before our shuttle was ready to leave for the resort. It was pouring rain when we arrived in Montego Bay but as they say in Jamaica, “there is no problem, only a situation.” Our driver’s name was Stuart, he was great. He answered all of our questions and kept us talking. We stopped half way to the resort for a bathroom break and a beverage. Last year our driver did not stop so it was nice that we got to do something different this time. Just as a side note, and totally my opinion. If you decide to get a rum punch on your stop, and they ask you if it is strong enough, be sure and tell them “NO!” It makes for a very interesting ride to the resort. When we arrived at the resort we were greeted with a cold towel and a glass of champagne. The staff was very nice and checking in was a breeze. Our room was ready when we got there so we were immediately taken to our room by Collin. We had a first floor BFVS room 4119, it was absolutely amazing!!
Room: The rooms are perfect! They are not marble and all fancy, but they do bring the island feel. Our room was very clean. It was cleaned twice a day, once in the morning and in the evening they are swept and you are given turn down service. The Housekeeping staff is very nice and polite. We always bring them candy as a “Thank You” for doing a good job. We do the same for the person who stocks our mini bar. Speaking of the mini bar, I have read past reviews of problems with getting the mini bar stocked. Our bar was stocked every day. Also, we were on the first floor and didn’t have any noise from guests who were walking by late at night, we never heard a thing.
Food: The food is wonderful in all of the restaurants. We ate at all of the restaurants this trip. Our favorite is probably Patios, with Lemongrass a close second. We did eat at the Cabana Grill late at night after leaving the night club. All of the servers in the restaurants were very pleasant; we never had any issues with them or our food. Some of the things you must try during your stay, in no particular order, are: the banana stuffed French toast; any of the pizzas; and the jerk chicken pasta from Patios. I would also recommend the sweet potato chips and fish tacos from sea grapes.
Activities: On this trip we did try a few new things, as the sand gravity got the best of us last year. We went on the glass bottom boat ride and did the snorkeling trip. Desmond was our captain both times and he was great. The glass bottom boat ride takes you out to the reef so you can see the sea life. It also takes you around to some of the sunken ships that are under the water. We were also able to see some of the other resorts along 7 mile beach. This was our first time snorkeling and it was a great experience. It was raining when it was time to go, so we just waited until the rain stopped and then got on the boat and left. Desmond was extremely helpful for us “newbies.” The actual snorkeling was awesome. We were able to see a lot of sea life. We also did an excursion to Black River, YS Falls, and the Appleton Rum Factory. This was an all day event, but I highly recommend it. There were only four of us from the resort that went that day. Our driver was Karl, he was great. On the Black River we were able to see crocodiles and learned a lot about the foliage and wildlife. After the river, we had lunch on this hill. It was alright, we paid $10.00 each for the lunch. The YS Falls was wonderful; however the water was really cold!! There is a rope swing that you can swing into the falls, which I did while my husband watched and took pictures. The guides there know exactly were to take you for the best pictures. The last stop was the Appleton Rum Factory, it was very informative. At the end of the tour there is a rum tasting, you are able to taste 12 bottles of rum until you can take no more. It is about a 2 hour ride back to the resort from the factory.
Staff: The staff everywhere we went was awesome!! We met so many new staff members along with seeing the ones we met on a previous trip. Everyone was extremely friendly and helpful. We have made new friends on this trip. We took several pictures with the staff. We met Cindy at the Aura Night Club, and we talked with her throughout the week at the Sunset Bar. Also at the Sunset Bar was Dermon, who we had the pleasure of meeting last year. This guy is awesome! I thought he did not work there anymore and one day at the Sunset Bar I heard, “Oh My God, you are going to love it” and my face lit up. The other bartenders at the night club were Dan, Frazer, Edward, Hericho, and Dwight. They all took very good care of us. We will post our pictures under Staff Shout. Couples is very lucky to have such a wonderful, caring staff.
Beach: The beach was awesome as usual. How can you not be in love with 7 mile beach? I did notice they added more palapas, which was a nice feature. We were able to get one each day we were there. The beach was busy a few days we were there, but I think it was because there were some large wedding parties there. It didn’t bother us at all. Everyone on the beach is respectful of your belongings. We always left our stuff on the beach if we went and ate lunch or did an activity. The vendors are not pushy and a simple “no thanks” works if you’re not interested, or you can go “check out their handy work” if you see something you like.
Overall Experience: This was our second trip to CSA. Our first trip was in 2011 for our honeymoon. This trip was the greatest trip ever! I’ve never had such a good time on vacation. Everything was perfect. I don’t think I can find one flaw or something that could be improved in the whole eight days we stayed there. The staff, atmosphere, beach, food, and activities - everything was great. It did rain on us more this year, but as they say “there is no problem, only a situation.” We had such a great experience that we are already planning a third trip back to CSA next year. We just can’t stay away!!