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  1. #1

    Default First time at CSS! We have questions!!

    This will be our first time staying at Couples and our first visit to Jamaica. We were wondering what activities everyone recommends doing? We dont want to regret missing out on anything (we realize we won't be able to do it all)! Currently we are looking at doing Dunns River, private dinner, couples massage, shopping, and snorkeling. Has anyone ever done the cooking class, nature walk, or couples massage class? Has anyone ever gone on the glass bottom boat? Is that used for the snorkeling trip?

    We have booked a penthouse suite but we are kind of worried about the balcony. We have read that some are not very private. We plan to do the precheck in so we can request a room with a more private balcony (I realize it won't be guaranteed that we get it but it never hurts to ask, right?). What penthouse has the best view and has a private balcony? We are both pretty fit so we definitely won't be deterred by stairs or a bit of a walk.

    Also we received the $300 resort credit and plan to use it towards the private dinner and massage. I know we should tip the spa staff but should we tip the staff for the private dinner?

    My last question (for this post anyway) has anyone had to pay the $30 departure tax when leaving Jamaica or is it usually included in the airfare? We have asked our travel agent repeatedly but she never has given us a definitive answer.

    Any advice you could give us would be greatly appreciated!!!

  2. #2

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    I can answer a few of your questions...

    Yes, the glass bottom boat is the same boat they use for snorkeling trips. I wouldn't miss taking at least one glass bottom boat ride. You can learn a few interesting facts about the places around Sans Souci.

    If you really want a private balcony, I would reserve a One Bedroom Beachfront Suite instead.. They're all private, especially the ones on the 3rd floor.

    Lastly, the private dinner staff is Couples staff, so no you do not tip them.

    Have a great trip!!

  3. #3

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    Outside the resort don't miss Dunns River Falls. It's a MUST DO for all first timers.
    Cigar Dude
    Smoke 'em if you got 'em!

    My cigar blog: http://tinytimblog.blogspot.com/

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    127

    Default

    We were just there in Dec and wasn't charged the $30. It must be included in the airfare.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    305

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    DEFINATLY do the Couples massage!! I was a "massage virgin" until Ruth made me a believer during our first Couples massage. It is now first on my thing to book when I arrive. LOVE the hot rocks massage!!
    And, while just my opinion, I wouldn't waste one minute spending time on the shopping trip! Just a bunch of junk being preasured upon you to buy.

  6. #6

    Default CSS balconies

    I would say that the BFS in blocks A&B are among those with the least private balconies. The One Bedroom Ocean Suites on the upper floors of G block especially can have very private balconies.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    104

    Default

    Great resort

    Get one of the guys to take you on Catamaran-Darien was good

    Go snorkeling

    Do a Bob Marley

    Enjoy room service for happy hour per diner snacks and drinks

    It's very romantic and

    The spa on the cliffs is real cool
    Get a massage and a scrub

    Cassanova is great

    Enjoy the entertainment
    One Love

  8. #8

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    We were at CSS this past October. You will love it. We did the glass bottom boat ride and Dunns. Definitely recommend both.

    We were in a deluxe ocean verandah room in G block. We had a large balcony and felt it was plenty private. There was occassional foot traffic going by.

    We did the Ocho shopping trip while staying at Tower Isle 3 years ago. It is fun and worth doing, but not worth doing twice in my opinion.

    Have a wonderful trip!
    Kelly & Troy
    CTI 2010
    CSS 2013
    CN 2015

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    76

    Default

    Get a hat made by the guy between the swim up bar and water sports.
    We had a shared balcony (Angela Bassett) with our penthouse and never had a problem. We did unscrew the light bulb to make it more private.
    Explore the place.
    Get your meal reservations when you get there, and try all the restaurants.
    Snorkeling is good, and use a waterproof camera. We got a canon and I love the movies underwater.
    Get a massage in a hut over the water.
    Make friends.
    Participate in the games at the pool.
    Risk making a fool out of yourself, you only live twice. Once at home and once in Jamaica.
    Get pictures with both of you in them.
    Get the water sports guy to take you out on a catamaran.
    The shopping trip isn't worth it.
    Our first trip picks are at:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/6691633...7630699073526/
    We stayed in the beach front suites our second time and loved them too.
    Have fun.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    127

    Default

    Dolphin cove is place not to miss. It's a little costly but well worth every penny. It's only a short $10 cab ride from CSS.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    47

    Default

    Depends what you want. Dunns River is great, but a truly great day out is Frenchmans Cove in Portland, its heaven.Cost about 150$ for the whole day out, ask Orville at CSS. Expensive but really really worth the cash for something special its the best secluded beach in Jamaica and you will see the real island as well

    Baz & Caz

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    662

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    Name:  Couples San Souci 2009 008.jpg
Views: 975
Size:  215.9 KB
    This is the balcony on D-14 Penthouse. You can see the lattice provides some privacy but not much as we found out one night...lol We also stayed in another Penthouse, E-10. There are walls separating the rooms but it was a smaller balcony than D-14.
    For some reason I was unable to upload a picture of E-10.
    As far as shopping goes, we didn't really enjoy the shopping trip that CSS provides (too rushed) and we went by cab on our next trip. The open market is good fun if you can handle being somewhat pressured. It's how a lot of Jamaicans make their living so they do there best to sell you something. Just a polite "no thank you" if you're not interested in something is all you need.
    We usually do our shopping at the airport which is pretty much a shopping mall now. It helps kill the 2+ hours waiting to fly home.
    We never paid the tax when leaving...I believe it's already included in your plane ticket cost.
    Great choice on CSS BTW, you will love it!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    352

    Default

    The departure tax is already paid for. This is included in your payment to Couples.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    157

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by acouplemiles View Post
    We were wondering what activities everyone recommends doing?

    My last question (for this post anyway) has anyone had to pay the $30 departure tax when leaving Jamaica or is it usually included in the airfare? We have asked our travel agent repeatedly but she never has given us a definitive answer.

    Any advice you could give us would be greatly appreciated!!!
    First, if you think you MIGHT want to explore the au natural beach (Sunset Beach), do so as early in your trip as possible. You'll most likely enjoy it and want to spend as much time as possible there! Explore the property, lots of paths to wander down. Get Tony "the tiger" (bartender at the main swim up bar and sunset beach bar) to serenade you with some Bob Marley songs. Try all different types of foods, there is so much good food to be had! Try the "patties", ask at the beach bar/grill. Try a jerk burger. Go through the drink menus and try everything!

    For massages, ask them about the "$99 special" for the couples massage. I believe it's $99/person ($198 total) and is the same couples massage but includes a sea salt body scrub at the end. (Not recommended if you're sunburned though) It will save off the published cost of the couples massage (if they have it during your visit).

    Nope, didn't pay the $30 at the airport, it's included in your ticket. I do recommend purchasing the Club Mobay passes for departure at least....skip all the hassle of the customs lines!
    CSS 5/21-5/31/13



  15. #15

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    Go to Scotchies!!! World class Jamaican jerk. You mentioned the cooking class - go to Scotchies and get the real deal. It's a 20-minute taxi ride from CSS. Make sure you buy lunch for your driver.

    Don't bother with the flea markets in Ocho Rios, all the shopping you want can be done at CSS or the airport on your way out. I haven't paid the departure tax in over 10 years; I believe it's already part of your airfare.

    Snorkeling is great exercise if you swim most of the time you're out there, but there isn't much to see. If you are avid snorkelers, then do it, it's free. Remember to put sunscreen on your back and the backs of your legs!

    Dunn's River Falls is almost a requirement for first-timers, like an initiation. Climb it once and you don't have to ever do it again. ONLY go on a day when there are no cruise ships docked in Ocho Rios because it is the tourist attraction in Ocho Rios and you can wait hours if there are a couple of large ships in port.

    While we go to CSA on a regular basis, I have been to CSS 3 times in the past. It is the most romantic of the four Couples resorts. The landscaping is spectacular, walk the grounds, take the nature tour. You have chosen well for your first trip to Jamaica. It will not be your last.
    Ricky Ginsburg
    Boca Raton, Florida
    (just a 75 minute plane flight from paradise)


  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    86

    Default

    By all means, take the Orientation. You'll get an informative tour of the entire resort, and the guide might be your first friend! Ours spoke to us every time we saw each other for the rest of our stay.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    126

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    Anyone have a picture of the Prime Ministers Suite balcony, is it private and have a sun area like this patio?

  18. #18

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    Wow! Thank you all for the responses! All of you have given us wonderful advice!! We are beyond excited to go to Couples! We love how friendly everyone is on this message board and we hope to meet some of you at Couples someday (We are already pretty sure we will be going back and we haven't even been there yet!!). Worldtex, we can't thank you enough for the list of things to do and for being so kind to share your pictures with us. Rjammin thank you so much for your response and for uploading the picture of the balcony! It was very helpful to see what others have been talking about when they mentioned some balconies not being very private. Is E-10 also on the cliffs? We are a little confused by the locations of the buildings shown on the resort map on the Couples site.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    86

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    This overlay of the resort has been on the MB before, I just don't remember who posted it. Maybe it can help you with the G-block vs E-block questions:
    Name:  Couples Sans Souci CSS resort map..JPG
Views: 931
Size:  213.7 KB

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    662

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    Name:  SanSouciJamaica.jpg
Views: 634
Size:  109.9 KB
    Yes, E-10 is up on a cliff. It has an incredible view and faces the water. I attached a map of CSS which should help.

  21. #21

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    Thanks so much to all of you who have posted so far!! We are amazed at the friendly mentality on this message board!! It is awesome that there are so many people willing to take the time to give us "newbies" advice on how to get the most out of our vacation!!! If everyone is as sweet and friendly as all of you are then we are in for an amazing vacation!! We love to meet new people!! Oh and by the way, the resort maps posted by cclanc and rjammin were GREAT!!! They certainly helped clear up the locations of different buildings!!

    We have been doing an endless amount of research on this trip and we can barely contain our excitement!! We have noticed that on different sites a lot of people caution others about the shopping trip and even a few in this thread have discouraged going on it. I hate to miss this excursion because I want to experience the Jamaican culture without putting ourselves in any bad situations but I'm just not sure if we should go. Would it just be better to do our shopping at the airport/resort gift shop? Is there anything we can't get at those locations that we could on the shopping excursion? We always like to get a coffee mug, piece of pottery, and of course liquor from every new place we visit!!! Also, does anyone know how much liquor we are permitted to bring back through US customs?

    On another note, we are going in May so does anyone know if the mosquitoes are bad that time of year? We have been looking at tons of reviews on bug sprays and I hate to use anything with Deet. I found a natural alternative called Cactus Juice. Has anyone ever used this? I am definitely attractive to mosquitoes, they love me!!! I don't want to get bitten because there's nothing more irritating than a million mosquito bites!!!

    We definitely want to go to Casanova for dinner one night, is that the only restaurant that requires men to wear slacks? Can my husband get away with nice shorts and a collared shirt at the other restaurants? I'm just not sure what to have him pack for dinner. I saw somewhere else that it said tank tops are unacceptable for women to wear to lunch...I find that very hard to believe!! Please tell me I can wear my tank tops or I will sweat to death lol!! Any clarification on the clothing issue would be greatly appreciated!! Also, what about Dunns River? I read somewhere that you should wear a bathing suit that's suitable for being active, I am...well let's just say well-endowed and bikini tops sometimes just aren't conducive to physical activity beyond swimming for me. While I do plan to try out SSB I would rather not expose the "girls" elsewhere!!! Any advice on what to wear for this excursion?!

    One final question, I noticed that you can have pictures taken and then purchase those if you'd like. Do they do a photo session on a specific day or can you set up photo sessions any day you would like? We arrive on a Saturday and I am hoping that we can do a photo session in the first day or two before I indulge too much and bloat!! Also do they take your picture at dinner? I'm just confused as to when they take these pictures!! I really hate having my picture taken but at my husband's request I have agreed to do a photo session...the things we do for love...

    Your help is greatly appreciated!!!

  22. #22

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    Fawnridge, how do we find out what days to avoid Dunns River? Is there a website that shows when cruise ships will be docked in Ocho Rios?

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    2,378

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    Sunday is a good day for drfalls. I don't believe any cruise ships visit that day. That's when we went. There was an older lady with a waaaay too small bikini on when we went to the falls. She had such problems keeping her bottoms up if you know what I mean. Wear something that you don't mind getting wet, skimpy suits are a hassle. If we went again, I might wear shorts and tank top..
    Speaking of tank tops, women can wear them at lunch. I think it's frowned upon for men though I'm not sure.
    We had Photos taken at our private dinner in the wedding gazebo, we bought about 6 or 7, kind of spendy but fun. I'm sure you could do a shoot and walk around the resort. They do have photogs walking around at dinner mostly that will snap y our picture and you choose if you want to buy it later on. At csa, they are $15.
    We have never had a big problem with mosquitos on Jamaica, it's the sand fleas that love me!

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    91

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    We were there last may and the mosquitoes are nothing compared to the ferocious beast that drained our blood in mexico! But yes, there are mosquitoes and you should bring repellent of some sort.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    10

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    acouplemiles...we'll also be there in May as first-timers, and the one thing I'm worried about is bug and sand flea bites. Unfortunately, my blood is like nectar to anything that bites. I've heard good things about cactus juice and was going to try it until I learned that it contains parabens, which I try to avoid. I'm thinking about trying this product: Incognito After Sun Moisturiser with Insect Repellent. Here's a link to all of their products: http://www.incognito.us/shop/

    Also, there are a few websites that post cruise ship schedules, which come in handy when scheduling off-resort excursions. Here's one: http://www.cruisett.com/ports.php I've heard you should check the schedule for both Falmouth and Ocho Rios when planning your trip to Dunn's River Falls.

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