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  1. #1

    Default 40 Days to 1st Trip to CSS - A Few Questions for the Seasoned

    This is our first post and we are brimming with excitement as our first trip to CSS fast approaches. I do have a few questions for those who have been before:

    1. Do we need to sign up in advance for any activities? For example, is there a way to sign up for the trip to Dunns River Falls, restaurants, or the Trading Places to CTI before we arrive or do we simply sign up for these activities when we arrive?

    2. We are not really TV people but we may want to watch an occasional movie to unwind at night. Do the TV's have DVD players? If so we might bring a few DVDs to play. (We have ipods and iphones so no worries about the music.)

    3. I understand that Casanova is the more formal of the three restaurants open for dinner (we are fine with that and are looking forward to the dining experience). It looks like Palazzina and Bella Vista are a little more casual - how do the dinner experience at these two restaurants compare?

  2. #2

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    Hi Marley Dog,

    We have been to CSS 3 times..I'll try to help answer your questions.

    1. You will need to sign up for activities and dinner reservations as soon as you check in at the front desk. The Reservation/Concierge Desk is off to the side in the same room.

    2.I don't remember having a DVD player in our room. But there are lots of cable channels available and possibly HBO.

    3. Yes, Casanova is the more formal venue and quite lovely if you sit outside under the stars. The food is good to excellent, and the service is top notch. Palazzina is the place for breakfast and lunch buffets but also serves
    dinner, both inside with A/C as well as outside. I had a wonderful pasta from the pasta station and they also serve beef, chicken and a fish dish, I believe. Bella Vista is actually the Beach Grill in the daytime. But at night they place more tables out on the sand, quite near the water, with lots of twinkling white lights. This is "toes in the sand" dining, romantic but wear bug spray! Our meal was not very hot and the steak not the best, but we loved the ambiance!
    CSS is a special place and you will have a special time with the one you love! Enjoy!

  3. #3

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    1. Do we need to sign up in advance for any activities? For example, is there a way to sign up for the trip to Dunns River Falls, restaurants, or the Trading Places to CTI before we arrive or do we simply sign up for these activities when we arrive?

    Unfortunately you cannot sign-up for any activities before you arrive. When you do get there, you can sign-up for excursions (Dunns Falls or other non-included activities) and restaurant reservations in the lobby. Even if your room is not yet assigned, the staff will do their best to get you taken care of. As long as you are already signed up as a Romance Rewards member (you do that online on your own), you can sign-up for that in the lobby as well. While you are up there, take a peak at the Photo Desk, especially if your room is a Beachfront suite, you may not wander up to the lobby often. Watersports activities need to be signed up for at the watersports hut on the beach (closes ~4:30pm)

    2. We are not really TV people but we may want to watch an occasional movie to unwind at night. Do the TV's have DVD players? If so we might bring a few DVDs to play. (We have ipods and iphones so no worries about the music.)
    I do not recall seeing DVD players. We brought out laptop, so we used that. I think there is a DVD player/TV in the Games Room, but that is public space.

    3. I understand that Casanova is the more formal of the three restaurants open for dinner (we are fine with that and are looking forward to the dining experience). It looks like Palazzina and Bella Vista are a little more casual - how do the dinner experience at these two restaurants compare?
    My favorite of the restaurants is actually Bella Vista. It is convenient not needing reservations and the food is wonderful and depending on where you are seated/timing of the tide, you can be right at the water's edge (very romantic!). Pallazina does have great choices and dining inside and outside is very relaxing and I find it a bit more private than the other 2 restaurants. In a 7 night stay, we try for 1-gala, 1-beach party, 2 bella vista, 2-cassanova, 1-pallazina, with in-room dining as an alternate. You can check out the dinner menus at the various restaurants during the day and that might also help you decide.

    Have a wonderful trip!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    CSS 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
    CN 2012
    CTI 2013

  4. #4

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    We love CSS, it is so romantic!!! You can't actually sign up for anything before you get there. However, I usually have a plan as to where and when we want to eat and make those reservations soon as we get there. I do know others who decide daily and make there reservations accordingly. You can make Dunns River and trading places reservations after you register as they usually want your room number. Make sure you sign up for Romance Rewards, as that it a requirement for trading places.
    There is no DVD player in the rooms so bringing movies is not a option unless you pack a portable DVD player. Casanova is a fine dinning experience that usually takes about two hours with five courses. You can choose to sit inside in the AC or out on the terrace under the stars. Palazzina also requires a reservation and is more casual that Casanova. It generally has a antipasti/salad bar that is buffet, a pasta station that it made to order and then waiters bring you the make coarse and deserts chosen from the menu. It also offers an inside AC dining room or a covered patio outside. Bella vista is the most casual and is located directly on the beach. You dine under the stars with Christmas type lights in the tree and tiki torches around you. Each is very unique and all are quite good.

  5. #5

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    The only thing I would add is that palazzina has more variety than bella vista, but bella vista wins for location - you can't beat sitting under the stars and the big tree.

    One night just after we arrived at bella vista, my wife went to the restroom - the cleanest restrooms (with AC) are near palazzina so i knew she would be a few minutes - she was gone for almost 10! When she arrived back at the table I knew why! She had stopped by the pasta bar at palazzina on the way back - it's that good! Note that she is a vegetarian & this was her best option that night so no one was offended or cared.

    I would also note that although Palazzina requires reservations - in our experience it was never full so it was usually possible to walk right up and get seated - especially early and later Times.

    This was helpful for us as we tend to just go with the flow on many days and we don't like to reserve our entire week in advance.

    When you arrive - reserving dinner a week from now at 5:00 might seem like a good idea, but once the sand gravity hits, a quick dinner at 7:30 might be better!

    Cassanova is a different story - you must plan in advance and make reservations.

  6. #6

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    Hi Marley_Dog
    You are so going to love CSS. We were there March/12 for 2 weeks and it was the first time we have really hated to head home. Plus that "vacation feeling" survived even a month back at work.
    One other excursion you might consider is the Martha Brae -it's wonderful but be warned - you have to pay extra for it and the drive there and back takes quite a while (it is just outside Montego Bay).
    No DVD in the room but the tv is great - we were able to watch the news on the Toronto station we usually watch back home.
    One good thing is the "alarm clock" - which is also an iPod dock. It was nice to be able to put on "ocean sounds" when we went to bed.
    As for Casanova - the "formal" means, for guys: a nice pair of slacks, a collared shirt and no sandals or running shoes, and for ladies what you would wear to go out to a nice dinner. After a day spent relaxing in the ocean or in one of the hot tubs, it's nice to dress up a bit for a wonderful meal.
    Enjoy yourself - CSS is as close to "Heaven on Earth" as you will find anywhere. In fact, we tried CN this past March and it didn't come close to CSS - so we decided we'd go back to CSS this Dec 16th to get married. Just 87 days to go :-)

  7. #7

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    We're going to CTI on March 12, 2014. How was your weather? Thanks

  8. #8

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    Thanks so much for all of the replies! Your input has been very helpful. We will schedule activities and make dinner reservations when we arrive - in 35 days now. No worries about no DVD players - we will I am sure have plenty of other ways to wind down in the evenings. It sounds like all three restaurants are great with each having their own personality. I do understand that lobster is now in season. Do folks have any particular favorite restaurant of the three for the Wednesday lobster nights? Also, do you have any favorite drinks at CSS?

  9. #9

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    Hi Marley

    We have been to CSS many times and love it

    1. Activities
    no worries. Schedule after you get there
    Often good to wait a day and unwind. You might meet some people that you would like to go with for activities

    2. DVD
    Don't think there are players
    After sitting in the sun/pool and drinking at the swim up bar
    then going to a wonderful dinner
    then going to watch the Entertainment at Showtime
    we rarely have enough energy to even turn on the TV
    the only exception is during the World Cup, but I didn't even watch the baseball All Star game last July when it was in our hometown

    3. Restaurants
    We love Casanova
    we like to sit outside and usually get a late seating (7:30 or 8:00)
    It feels like a fancy date night every night

    Pallazina is also nice but seems a little less formal
    I agree with the poster that mentioned the pasta bar
    it is great and can easily be your whole meal

    Bella vista has the best ambiance
    it is very romantic to sit right on the beach. You can hear the waves gently lapping at the shore
    The food is also very good

    After 11 or 12, it reopens as the beach grill so if you are hungry for a late night snack it can be great

    Have a great time
    John

  10. #10

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    Sign up for activities after you get there.
    No DVD players (as far as I remember)
    ALL the food is good to excellent. I have never had a bad meal at any.

    ENJOY!!!!!!!!

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