Hello. My name is Joleen and I am a Negril A Holic.
Yes, I said it. I LOVE Negril and I LOVE the people and I LOVE the Vibe of the long beach and the bay. However, I have been drawn to the Ocho Rios side of the island for a while and have finally made the leap.
If you go to the Negril portion of this website and look me up by name, you will find my last trip report and that tells you a lot about me and my prior travels. You will note, there is no trip report from last year.
I am ashamed to admit it, but I spent my hard earned travel dollars in the Dominican Republic last year. My best friend's daughter had a wedding and my travel agent was just dying to get us out of Jamaica, so we went elsewhere. I won't spare you with tons of details, but I will tell you we will not return to the Dominican for a multitude of reasons….the main being you can't drink the water (I had severe stomach issues), and the DR just doesn't have the wonderful feeling of Negril.
We chose to go to Ocho Rios this year because I knew that if we went to Negril this year after spending last year in the DR that we would never go elsewhere. You see, I want to LOVE the entire island of Jamaica. I believe it is possible.
This year we are flying first class with a layover in Charlotte, NC. The cost of this flight was almost the same as a coach non stop flight. We thought it would fun to see how the other side lives. We are flying US Air this time. We are hopeful the meal time flights and drinks with being first on and first off the plane will be worth the hassle. Unfortunately, in order to arrive in Jamaica at a reasonable time, our flight leaves MSP at 5 am, which means we have to leave home at 2:00 am. My parents are taking us to the airport and picking us up and taking care of my little dog while we are gone. I am so thankful to them. It is so wonderful to be dropped and picked up at the curb.
In the end, we decide the layover is not worth the upgrade to first class. US Air does not provide meal service if you flight is under 3 hours (both legs were like 2:50), they don't offer us drink service before we take off and the stewardess simply sneers at me when I ask for champagne. In lieu of champagne, I settle for white wine which is served in a plastic cup. And, there is no movie or some sort of in flight entertainment. Over all, I am pretty disappointed with our flights.
One advantage we do find is that there is plenty of room in 1st class for our carry on baggage. This is the first year we carry on in lieu of checking bags and we are thrilled with the fact that there is no baggage to wait for.
This is a service I cannot and will not EVER again do without. We arrive into MBJ at around 2 pm on Saturday and this place is PACKED. We are met at the end of our gate by a rep from Club Mobay holding a sign with our name on it. She wisks us past what seemed like 1000's of people and we stand in line for about 15 minutes before we see our immigration officer. The CM rep apologizes for this delay, which just makes me giggle. One guy walks up and demands to be able to purchase the service NOW and is told he must pre purchase. He was NOT happy. For some reason, his unhappiness makes me giggle (you could tell this guy was not a nice person). Because of our carry on bags, there is no bags to claim (YAHOO). And we do the 2nd leg of customs with literally no wait at all.
The CM rep takes us over to the Couples Lounge and it is busy. The Couples rep comes over and say "Welcome Home" and decides he is going to take my bags and put them in a pile of other bags. I tell him I will be happy to keep my bags. We have come to far together for me to lose site of them now. Honestly, the Couples lounge was pure chaos and I don't think I was over reacting.
The CM lounge is right next door to the Couples lounge and because Couples only offers beer, we decide to go over to the CM lounge and have a rum punch (HEAVEN) while we wait for our transfer.
We waited for about 15 minutes and our driver grabs us and another couple for the drive over to Ocho Rios.
The couple we are with are ADORABLE. Late 20's/early 30's, she is pregnant (obviously so) and from Oregon. This is their first trip to Jamaica and they will be staying at Couples Tower Isle. They are vegetarians and seem a little concerned about what they are going to eat and having been to Swept Away in the past, we tell them they have no concerns as Couples caters to your every need.
We stop half way to our destination at a roadside stand, get a couple of drinks (I have the Red Stripe Light with Lime and really kind of like it, even thought I am not much of a beer drinker), and we buy our driver a juice. Hubby and I split a patty, which was just okay.
By the time we get to Couples Sans Souci, we are a little drunk. Remember we flew First Class and of course took advantage of the free cocktails (there was not much else to take advantage of…lol), we fast tracked thru immigration, had rum punch at the lounge and then 2 beers on the way to the resort with only half a patty each.
CSS checks us in quickly, takes us right to our room (E10) which is a Penthouse Suite. We decide in lieu of unpacking, we have to go and get something to eat. It is now about 5 pm and we have been traveling all day, drinking all day and not eating all day.
We head down to Bella Vista and we have the egg roll, salad, the Surf and Turf (steak and shrimp) and dessert. The food is good. They continue to keep our wine glasses full. There is a live 3 piece reggae band playing in the background and we are sitting steps away from the ocean. We are beyond happy, but also exhausted. We collapse into bed to the sounds of the live music coming from the Balloon Bar and sleep well.
Tomorrow we unpack, take a look at our new home for the next week and decide if CSS will satisfy us. If not, I have a plan…….I will simply go to the front desk and kick and scream and throw a fit until they agree to transfer us to Negril.