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  1. #1
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    Jun 2013
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    Default Just Back from CSA! My Observations & Review

    OK! Sorry this is a bit long but we just got back yesterday from 6 days at CSA and after reading HUNDREDS of reviews before we left, I wanted to make sure and post about our experience for others who may be looking for advice. I hope it’s helpful! Also, feel free to contact me for any more info or anything I may have left out. We visited from Sat, May 3 – Friday May 9.

    First and foremost – Room Choice: DON’T FRET ABOUT YOUR ROOM! As MANY people have posted before me, YOU CANNOT go wrong w/ any room at CSA (from what we experienced). We asked for a 3rd floor ocean view and we got a first floor Ocean View – it was fantastic! We were located RIGHT next to Patois and the pool / bar / grill – it can get a bit noisy during the day and into the evenings. I am a person who NEEDS peace and quiet to relax so I thought this would bother me. The few times I felt annoyed about it, I told myself I’m on vacation and need to just relax my way and let others relax their way. It was usually pretty quiet by 10pm or so and though we are very early risers and early to bed, we did not have a problem sleeping - except for one night when there was some kind of party going on. I bring ear plugs with me when I vacation just for that purpose so I popped them in and I was totally fine. Our room was small’ish, but clean and the bathroom had a nice shower, lighted mirror, etc – the balcony was nice too. We were only about 100 yards from the beach so upgrading to a room right on the beach would not be worth it for us. We were located on the other end as the Palms and the Lobby so if it matters to you to be more central for getting around, you may want to ask your TA about that. Again, pick a room and go with it, you’ll love what you get. Bring ZQuil or earplugs in case you need them (road noise, tree frogs, late night partiers), my guess is, you won’t need them.

    We did not choose Club MoBay on the way down (this, after MUCH DELIBERATION!) We got in on a Saturday, the wait was about 1 hour and at first I kicked myself when I saw all these other folks going to the front of the line, but you’re in Jamaica, just chill and relax, you’ll get there! (Just as a side note, we DID purchase Mobay on the way out “just in case” and the non MoBay people got thru the line just as quickly as we did
    - but it was nice for peace of mind. Again, either way, you won’t be disappointed whether you choose it or not. Go w/ your gut.

    As far as staff friendliness, the reviews I read that said some staff are SO WONDERFUL and some are just ok and some act as if they do not want to be there is spot on. I think this would be true no matter where you travel. We were just kind to everyone and we got a lot of nice back. In my opinion, the people of Jamaica are warm, welcoming and sweet. It’s normally the culture there. Things do move at a slower pace, you will want to remember this DAY 1 so you don’t get yourself all worked up when your food doesn’t arrive immediately or it takes a while for someone to take your drink order. Go with it.
    The beach vendors, for my husband especially were pretty annoying for the first couple of days. Until we figured out they can’t go in the water and they can’t venture into the seating area of the beach. If you’re walking along the beach, chances are, you’ll be approached several times. We were always very polite but my advice, don’t engage and don’t stop to chat (our mistake). You want to be nice and respectful, but they will keep you talking for a very long time. Just a “no thanks, not today” is all you should give them. I did buy some bracelets and a wood carving from a couple of vendors and got to actually want to talk w/ them on the beach when I saw them. They are interesting and fun; but just know this is an unavoidable part of this vacation and you’ll be good to go.
    Restaurants: We really liked Lemongrass and it was worth making reservations for. We are not big Thai eaters; but wanted to “try everything” and we’re glad we did. I would NOT bother w/ Feathers – the staff was NOT friendly and the food was nothing to write home about (and it smells strange in there, musty or something). Maybe we got an off night, but for the effort of dressing up, I was hoping it would be a really great experience. This was probably the only downer of our trip. The Palms is always good. Usually a buffet which can get kind of old, but it was convenient and just nice to hang out there. We did not try Seagrapes though I wish we had, the timing just never worked out. We did try the Grill twice and the food is ok – nothing great, but when you just want jerk chicken and onion rings, it’s ok. Our favorite though was Patois – we feel we got the best service there (Monique and Eureka were our faves). They have a nice little bar and the food and service are great – plus it was right next to our room, so….

    Excursions: We were there celebrating our 20th anniversary and my college graduation so we wanted to do some special stuff. We booked the Swim w/ the Dolphins at Dolphin Cove (see Jackie at the tour desk, she’s awesome!) The excursion was fun, not my IDEAL bucket list “swim w/ the dolphins” but I can say I did it and did enjoy myself. We also did the Negril Shopping Trip – THIS WAS NOT WORTH IT AT ALL! Don’t waste your time. They drive you to a “mall” which is basically 4 jewelry stores and 5 souvenir shops – all the stuff you can find from the beach vendors at the hotel. Our entire shuttle group said it was a huge waste and they wish they would not have gone. The one excursion I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND (and I know it’s pricey people) but I cannot stress enough, The PRIVATE SUNSET CATAMARAN cruise was AMAZING. THE best, most romantic and fun thing I could’ve ever hoped to enjoy on this trip! This is booked thru the concierge and the captain of the boat is with Couples. (I am at a loss for his name) but he and the Dive Master take you out on the boat for 2 hours. Up the entire coast, stopping at this place and that for photos, snorkeling, whatever you want to do – it’s your trip. Then the way back, you’ll get champagne, he’ll take photos of you and your honey with the sunset. My hubby and I cannot tell you how much we enjoyed this part of our trip. Something we’ll always remember! Also, we boarded our private boat the same time as EVERYONE ELSE boarded the crowded, hot, (free) catamaran. I’m sure it was fun – I’ve heard it’s a great time – but it’s a booze cruise and just not our style. Loved it!

    The other things worth mentioning, you’ll see a few resident beach dogs and cats – I loved them, they made me miss my pups a little less. Floaties for the ocean are SO AWESOME, take advantage of those and float around in the beautiful, pristine teal blue water.
    I planned this trip forever ago and seriously worried myself to the point of ridiculousness ahead of time about did I book the right room, pack the right stuff, bring enough shoes, etc. Don't worry -- go with your gut, get the stuff you need to planned and the rest will fall into place. This will give you more time to just look forward to your trip. We didn't plan anything in advance, we just waited til we arrived, got a feel for everything, then planned what we wanted to do. Space it out, don't cram too much in and leave the day before you leave completely open to relax.

    Above all, enjoy, relax, have fun and enjoy Jamaica – One Love! It was our first trip but MOST DEFINITELY will not be our last! Yah, Mon!

  2. #2
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    Jul 2010
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    Glad you had fun but I'll just say that too bad you weren't impressed with Feathers, we've always had a great experience there and the cat cruise really is the highlight for us every trip. It's a little crowded but thats the fun part. It's a party atmosphere and it's hot in Jamaica.
    I do agree about the rooms, don't sweat it, they are all good. Next time, you have to try Seagrapes, it rocks!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    So glad you enjoyed it. We are heading back to Jamaica in 7 days for our 7th trip to the island, and I cannot wait! It really does get addicting. No matter where I travel, Jamaica is still one my favorite places. I love the people, and the vibe of the island. Can't wait to get back home to CSA!
    CSA - May 2009, May 2010, March 2011 (wedding), December 2012, May 2014 CSS - December 2011

  4. #4
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    Jul 2009
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    Great review, and your comments about staff is right on and honest. We ate at Feathers our last trip and had pretty much the same experience. Will try it again our next trip just to see if it was an "off" night. It was not the staff for us, but the smell and the food was so, so. 162 days till we are home again.

  5. #5
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    Jun 2009
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    Miss Bliss - thank you for posting such a detailed and well written review. We also did the private sunset cruise. In fact, we enjoyed it so much, we booked it a second time with friends of ours. One time the trip was on the dive boat. The second time, they took us out on a small catamaran. Either way, it was amazing, both the service and the views.

    We also enjoy Lemongrass, especially if we can get a table on the verandah. We thought that Feathers did a great job on our last trip (we ate there twice in January). However, I know what you mean, it can be hit or miss at Feathers. I guess that is true for any restaurant.

  6. #6
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    Jun 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by softail19 View Post
    Glad you had fun but I'll just say that too bad you weren't impressed with Feathers, we've always had a great experience there and the cat cruise really is the highlight for us every trip. It's a little crowded but thats the fun part. It's a party atmosphere and it's hot in Jamaica.
    I do agree about the rooms, don't sweat it, they are all good. Next time, you have to try Seagrapes, it rocks!
    I'm sure the cat cruise is fun for those looking to party -- that's not our scene and I am sure for many others too. Since it was the highlight of our trip, I wanted to mention it for others who may not (1) know it exists or (2) wonder if it's worth the money. I have a skin sensitivity and cannot be exposed to direct sunlight for long periods so I was worried about the "free" cat cruise and having no where to find relief from the sun. Everyone likes something different which is why I wanted to mention it.

  7. #7
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    Jun 2013
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    BobandJudy -- I'm so happy to hear you loved the private cruise as much as we did! We were on the dive boat and we will 100% book this again whenever we end up getting back there. Just so fantastic. yes, smroot, You are spot on with the "smell" at Feathers, it was so strange (I can't place it) but it was definitely not a welcome smell (thank you for not making me think I was nuts!) Enjoy home in 162 days! I'm sure it will be a while before we're back but we sure had a lovely time!

  8. #8
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    Mar 2014
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    Thank you for mentioning the shopping. I know my husband will be happy to skip it. Because of your review I'll stick to the beach vendors.

  9. #9

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    Just curious what the private catamaran costs? We are coming May 21st for a week and looking for romantic things to do other than sit on the beach and stare at each other. Thanks for the review. Can't wait to get back to Jamaica.
    Dustin

  10. #10
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    Jun 2009
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    We eat at Feathers at least twice because it's the best meal there. You chose the wrong dish. And no mention of the patties or fish tacos which means you didn't know what to even try. Maybe next time.

  11. #11
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    Jun 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sublimebrad View Post
    We eat at Feathers at least twice because it's the best meal there. You chose the wrong dish. And no mention of the patties or fish tacos which means you didn't know what to even try. Maybe next time.
    Wow! so a girl can't share her PERSONAL experiences on this MB? I thought that's what It was here for. Please don't tell me I chose the wrong dish or assume I don't know what I like to eat!? Your opinion is your opinion, Glad you have good experiences there, we however, did not and I was stating MY opinion. It's not personal for pete's sake - it was our experience. Relax, mon.
    Last edited by Miss_Bliss; May 14th, 2014 at 02:47 PM.

  12. #12
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    Jun 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dustin&Laramie View Post
    Just curious what the private catamaran costs? We are coming May 21st for a week and looking for romantic things to do other than sit on the beach and stare at each other. Thanks for the review. Can't wait to get back to Jamaica.
    Dustin
    Hi Dustin- So glad you're going back! The private boat was $300 but please dont let that deter you. It was seriously SO romantic AND fun and amazing. You will NOT be disappointed! They will ask you what snacks and drink you would like to have and what activities you would like so it's YOUR cruise. If you choose to do it, you'll be so glad you did. I realize not everyone can spend the money; and I'm sure the "free" cat cruise is a lot of fun. We were just looking for something a bit more our style. Best of luck to you - ENJOY!
    Last edited by Miss_Bliss; May 14th, 2014 at 02:44 PM.

  13. #13
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    Jun 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dustin&Laramie View Post
    Just curious what the private catamaran costs? We are coming May 21st for a week and looking for romantic things to do other than sit on the beach and stare at each other. Thanks for the review. Can't wait to get back to Jamaica.
    Dustin
    One more thing Dustin - you can just book this right thru the Concierge - so no need to do anything before you get there (on this).

  14. #14
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    Jul 2010
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    The catamaran has a large cover for people that cant handle all the sun, plenty of shade. Some people cant afford a private expensive cruise on to of everything else. to each there own. Ill stick with the "free" cruise but glad you had fun on yours.
    Last edited by softail19; May 14th, 2014 at 05:10 PM.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Miss_Bliss View Post
    Wow! so a girl can't share her PERSONAL experiences on this MB? I thought that's what It was here for. Please don't tell me I chose the wrong dish or assume I don't know what I like to eat!? Your opinion is your opinion, Glad you have good experiences there, we however, did not and I was stating MY opinion. It's not personal for pete's sake - it was our experience. Relax, mon.
    Go get em girl!!! How dare you criticize something about your trip! It's all YOUR FAULT! Everything was perfect! LOL Sometimes this MB is way off.

  16. #16
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    Jul 2009
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    Miss Bliss - Thank you for the great and honest review. Our first trip to CSA was this past September for a 25th Anniversary. We loved it so much I booked another trip for this coming November. I have to say I never knew about the private Cat Cruise. Since I do tend to get sick this might work for us since I can get off the boat and in the water anytime I need to. Since my husband does not come on the message board I think I will keep this to myself and surprise him when we return in Nov. Im sorry you didnt enjoy Feathers, its one of our favorites. Maybe it was an off night? Again, thanks for sharing.

  17. #17
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    Apr 2014
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    Can you get a private sunset catamaran cruise from CN?

  18. #18
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    Oct 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dustin&Laramie View Post
    Just curious what the private catamaran costs? We are coming May 21st for a week and looking for romantic things to do other than sit on the beach and stare at each other. Thanks for the review. Can't wait to get back to Jamaica.
    Dustin
    I believe it is $300 for up to 4 people.

  19. #19
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    Jul 2009
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    Wow! So now I am not even eating the right food. Did not know that my tastes were public knowledge and I am a Zimmerman type of guy when it comes to trying different dishes. We both acknowledged it could have been an off night and I even stated I would try it again. Is good Mon, chill out.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodbridgeata View Post
    Go get em girl!!! How dare you criticize something about your trip! It's all YOUR FAULT! Everything was perfect! LOL Sometimes this MB is way off.
    LOL Wodbridge! Thank you! I was telling my hubby I was feeling pretty bad that all I wanted to do was share my experience (as I've read so many others that have before me) and I felt later I wish I wouldn't have said anything. Boo! Anyway, appreciate the chuckle your post brought me! Cheers!

  21. #21
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    Jun 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by kieran3008 View Post
    Can you get a private sunset catamaran cruise from CN?
    Kieran3008 - I'm not sure on that one; but I'd contact the concierge at CN if you're interested! (I bet they offer something like this!) You'd love it, of that I am sure!

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