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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    53

    Default A few CSA questions, trip around the corner!

    We are at 22 days and a wake up left to go until we hit the beach at CSA!!! I have a few (mostly schedule-related) questions I'm hoping can be clarified for me before we go...

    1) Arrival questions. Our plane arrives at 1158 am... About what time can we expect to be at the resort (I know that this could vary based on customs...) and will there be a buffet or something open for lunch at that time? Also, I know Saturday (the day we arrive) is lobster night. Since we will have just arrived, we won't have reservations to any restaurant. Will we still be able to get lobster since I'm assuming we'll have to eat at the buffet?

    2) I know Monday night is repeater's dinner. We went to CSS in 2010... Assuming we count as repeaters? We were also thinking of doing trading places at CN either Monday or Wednesday- if we did it Monday, would we be back in time for the dinner?

    3) it is a $300 cc hold, correct? I read a conflicting report of $500... And do they take cash for this or only cc?

    4) speaking of trading places, when do you sign up? And do you eat breakfast at your home resort or the other one? Is it possible to get a treehouse massage while at CN on a trading places swap?

    5) restaurant reservations- I've heard "do this right after you check in." But I've also heard "check in and then the bellhop shows you to your room." Does this mean you go to your room, drop everything off, and then trek all the way back to the lobby for reservations?

    6) Are there certain days of the week that the Cat cruise goes out? How about the intro to snorkeling class?

    7) anyone done the YS falls excursion? If so, with whom did you book and can you say about how much it cost? Did you double up with any other excursions that day? Not sure we'll actually go because sand gravity might take over but we did Dunn's at CSS and loved it, so it might be worth looking into.

    Thanks in advance for any info! Just trying to get an idea of what our week will look like... In between the dirty bananas and lounging on the beach and such.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,307

    Default

    1.) If you arrive at noon on a Saturday, you should get to CSA between 3:00 and 4:00. The Cabana Grill is open at that time (not a buffet). You can get jerk chicken, burgers, sandwiches and those type of items there. Cabana Grill is located near the Great House. There are two non-reservation restaurants, neither one serves a buffet at dinner on Saturday night. The Palms does have a salad bar and a pasta station, but the entree is ordered ala carte. We enjoyed Lobster Night at the Palms in February and it was very good. We've also eaten lobster night at Patois (non reservation also) and it is also very good. You won't have any problem finding lobster!

    2.) Yes, you count as Repeaters, but be sure to register for Romance Rewards and do a pre-check-in so that you will get the invitation without any problems.

    3.) We always use our credit card for the "hold." The last I saw it was $300. Yes, you can use cash in lieu of a credit card. You will get the cash back when you check out assuming you don't charge anything to the room. This is VERY standard practice for hotels.

    4.) You can sign up for Trading Places at the concierge desk whenever you like. The van leaves CSA around 10:00, so you should eat at CSA before you go. You can eat lunch at CN. The van picks you back up at 4:00, so you are back at CSA in plenty of time for dinner. Can't answer about the massage.

    5.) After you check in, you can take your time and stroll over to the concierge to make dinner reservations for Lemongrass and Feathers if you like. The bellhop is not standing there waiting for you. Whenever you are ready to check into your room, a bellhop will be there to take your bags to the room. All of the bags are placed near the lobby.

    6.) The cat goes out almost every day (I believe 5 out of 7 days). There is no "intro to snorkeling" class. Sign up for a snorkeling trip. When the boat gets to the reef, the water sports crew will ask if anyone is a first time snorkeler. They will then take the time to show you what to do.

    7.) Never done YS. Too much sand gravity.

  3. #3

    Default

    all good questions!... we will be there in less than 2 weeks for the first time. Look forward to the responses.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    35

    Default

    We leave in 22 days...thank you for all of these questions and answers!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    53

    Default

    Thanks for the response BobandJudy! I meant the "intro to scuba" class, doh!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    11

    Default

    BobandJudy answered most of your questions but I will throw in my 2 cents

    1.) I would grab a quick bite at the Montego Bay Airport. Since you are arriving at Noon you probably didn't eat lunch before you took off and you are going to be starving by the end of the 1.5 hour shuttle. The Cabana will still be open or if you make it in time head to SeaGrapes and grab some Fish Taco's. They are an excellent way to start your vacation Lobster Night is seasonal. When we were there last month they did not have it. We had reservations at Feathers on Sat. night and it was not an option.

    2.) Our previous trip was in 2004 and they still counted us as Repeaters. Register for the Romance Rewards and you will have a Repeaters invitation on your pillow after check-in. The food at the Repeaters Dinner is great. It was our favorite meal of the week.

    3.) I was concerned about the $300 hold as well, but it actually works out pretty well. We had a photographer take some sunset pictures (highly recommended, no obligation to buy) and purchased a few of the photos as well as some gifts for our children. We just billed it to the room and it came out of the $300 hold. At the end of our trip Couples refunded the remaining balance.

    4.) Nothing new to add.

    5.) The restaurants only take reservations a couple of days in advance. I made all of our reservations by just calling the concierge desk from our room. I never had a problem getting one and CSA was fully booked when we stayed.

    6.) You book the snorkeling at the water-sports hut one day in advance. The morning trips last month seemed to fill up pretty early so get there in the morning if you want to do a morning trip. I think most people wanted the morning trips to avoid the afternoon rain.

    7.) I haven't done YS but I hear it is nice. I think you can book a trip from the lobby of the Great House.

    Have a great trip!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    916

    Default

    JustBeachy,

    You definitely wouldn't want to do YS Falls as a solo stop, because it's about an hour and a half each way. When we did this excursion in 2007, we did the Black River Safari/YS Falls/Appleton Estate rum tour, booked through the tour desk at CN, and it cost about $95/pp, but I've heard it's at least $100/pp now, if not $110/pp.

    The van picked us up around 9a, drove through Negril, Little London, Sav la Mar, and various other towns to the town of Black River, which took about an hour and 15 minutes. For the safari, we took a large pontoon boat up the actual Black River to take in the wildlife and learn about the natural environment. After the safari, we ate a jerk chicken lunch at a restaurant right at the dock, which was included in the cost. Then, we went up to YS Falls for a bit, which is only 10 minutes away, where you can get in the water. There is also a zipline, but that carries an extra cost. After YS, we went another 15 minutes or so to Appleton Estate which is up in a mountain valley. We took a tour of the distillery, which was awesome, and pretty much had a free for all on taste-testing the various products. The ride back only took a little over an hour and a half, and we were back at CN by 4p.

    As a reference, CN and CSA are literally two and a half miles apart, so they use the same tour operators and offer the same excursions with the travel times being nearly identical.
    "Brutalize me with music..."

    CN: 11/2007, 11/2010, 11/2011, 11/2013

  8. #8

    Default

    We will be doing the trading places from CN to Swept Away. What restaurant would you recommend for lunch?

    At CN their are two restaurants (the grill and the buffet) available for lunch. The grill is right by the ocean and near the watersports area.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,307

    Default

    Classy - there are four lunch options at CSA. The Palms has a buffet (menu varies from day to day). You need coverup to dine at The Palms for lunch. Patois has an ala carte menu for lunch. We love their pizza and pasta for lunch. However, you can't show up in a wet bathing suit for Patois. We usually put on shorts and a t-shirt before eating lunch at Patois. Seagrapes is on the beach and features healthy dining options (veggie burgers, sushi, fish tacos). You don't even need a cover-up for Seagrapes. The Cabana Grill features burgers, jerk chicken, fries and that sort of fare. It is located next to the swim up bar, and you can walk right up in your bathing suit there, too.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    612

    Default

    And just to add my 2 cents - I would NOT plan to eat lunch at Montego Bay....From what I recall, there really isn't much food at the Arrivals area (I think maybe a patty stand)....If you think you'll be fainting from hunger, bring a few energy bars or something to tide you over. Once you get to CSA, just head to the Cabana Grill and get yourself some of the Couples brand of "fast food" (gotta LOOOVE those onion rings!) and a nice cold Red Stripe from the pool bar....And my recommendation would be to do Lobster Night at Patois (although check at the concierge - you may be able to squeeze in at one of the reservation restaurants - my suggestion for Lobster Night would be Feathers).... We LOVE CSA, and hope you will too!!

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