Post # 1
A few pieces of advice…
Darling Husband and I just got back from our week-long year-later honeymoon, and there are a few things I would like to share. First of all, DO NOT STAY AT BREEZES RUNAWAY BAY. It was…. mediocre, at best. My biggest complaint is that our travel agent promised us it was an 18+ resort – uhh, there were 14 and 15 year olds running around all over the place. Not what I would call “adults only”. All the food was Asian themed. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Asian food, but not while I’m in Jamaica! I want jerk chicken and local fare. Book your off-resort activities before you leave. Use a reputable tour company, and you will save yourself tons of $$ and frustration. We didn’t, and it was a nightmare. We were supposed to leave the resort at 10am to go to Dunn’s River and shopping in Ocho Rios. We didn’t leave til almost 11, and they don’t want to take you to the shops at the ports in Ochi. They take you to a cluster of shacks on the side of a hill where you are harassed beyond belief. Darling Husband and I were done with this “shopping” and we kept asking everyone how to get back to our bus – but they pointed us in the opposite direction 3 times! Very frustrating. The one thing I was really excited about to do at the resort was the glass-bottom boat ride and snorkling trip. We went to reserve our spot for this the first day we were there, and were told that the boat was broken and there would be no snorkling trips – for the entire week. What?? You can’t get another boat just to take us out snorkling? I think quite a few other guests at the resort were upset and complained, because magically there was a boat the last 2 days we were there. Hmmm. The service was awful. My husband would order a drink from one of the dining room servers – and he would be done with his dinner and then some before it came! Like 30 mintues! Most of the time he would just walk all the way over to the bar to get our own, which to me defeated the purpose.
Now, that being said, Jamaica itself is a beautiful, relaxing, friendly country. We have friends who just got back from Sandals Negril, and they can’t say enough about how amazing it was. Just please be careful about where you stay – it can really make or break your vacation.
Post # 3
My husband and i went on a cruise in 2007 that stopped in ocho rios and we had a HORRIBLE experience. We booked the dun rivers falls and a swimming with the dolphin trip through the cruise. the dolphin part was fine but once we got off the bus at dunn river falls it was a nightmare. They actually stuffed weed into my husbands hand and shoved necklaces and stuff all over it and then accused us of stealing because we didnt handt hem money. so we would just take the jewelery off and hand it back and they were so rude to us. We were called many many names by women hanging around the falls. It is really unfortunate since it is so beautiful there.
Post # 4
We’re going to Jamaica next month for our honeymoon and we’re staying at Secrets Wild Orchid in Montego Bay.
Post # 5
My SO and I had our weddingmoon at Sandals Montego Bay last septmeber and it was disapointing to say the least. The food was not jamcan inspired at all, and to top it off not very good in general. The drinks were weak as hell, and although the resort says you aren’t supposed to tip because it’s included in your cost (which it is) if you don’t tip the service sucks. The wedding experience was a freakin’ mess!! I walked down the aisle to music played on a portable stereo!! Seriously?? Whoe does that??! Plus the photos were so ugly I can’t stand to show them to anyone. It was just some guy witha camera and he had no idea what he was doing. On top of that the pictures were printed out from a Kodak kiosk. We spent $500 for pictures that we want to BURN!!! Horrible!!!
They told us it would be soooo different, but once we showed up we realized what we were in for. The outside of the resort had barb wire fences and trash linning the street (I was scared to get off the bus, I was worried we’d walk inside and it would be just as bad! But the actual inside of the resort and suites and beach was really pretty), people would swim up to the beach on their broken in-half surfboards hasseling you to buy their stuff, and the security gaurds would just sit and watch. We were in an expensive suite with private butler service and it was a JOKE!! All he did was bother us about what resturaunts we might want to eat at in 4 days. Uuuum, hello? We’re on vacation! We don’t want to live by a planner!! The room service was pretty good except the food took over an hour to get to us everytime. On top of that we compared the pictures of the resort (from online) to real life and realized they airbrushed the surrounding area so you didn’t realize there is ugly houses all over the mountain side and it’s smack dab in the middle of a super poor area. One last thing…the resort is next to an airstrip so we heard airplanes taking off and landing all hours of the day and night. I really wanted to go to St Lucia, but we were on a tight budget and time constraints. Definitly NEVER going back to Montego Bay Sandals.
It is a really poor island and we knew that going in, but something just felt wrong about all the money that we were spending while our meal servers had missing and rotted out teeth. These people don’t get proper medical or dental benefits? It’s a freakin’ joke!! All the money we pay to stay there and you’de think their staff would be treated better. Utterly disapointing and a waste of time and money. Hence the reason we’re having our “real wedding” after my SO get’s home from Iraq. What’s sad is we got married and 2 weeks later my SO went off to war. That’s the last memory we had with each other; our crappy stay at Sandals. Sad.
Post # 6
I think it really depends on where you stay, we stayed at 2 Sandals in Jamaica, Negril and Royal Carribean (Montego Bay). We went over to the Montego Bay resort for dinner one night while at the Royal and noticed a huge difference and could not believe how loud the air planes were overhead which we didn’t notice at all just 15 minutes down the road. I also thought the staff at the Royal were much better, the staff at Negril were very pushy in trying to upsell spa services, etc. I would agree that tipping, while not technically permitted, happens all over Sandals and really changes the level of service received and this is a shame because tips are pre paid and the company should really take care of their employees. I also had servers missing teeth. We learned that working at Sandals is like the top of the line in Jamica so I can’t imagine what other resorts are like. It was also very clear who the management were as they generally had a more professional attitude and appearance. We enjoyed Jamaica and even booked another Sandals trip but it was not what I expected. For our honeymoon we will go to St. Lucia and I am curious if it will be different since St. Lucia is, overall, a richer island. In Jamaica, I kind of felt bad staying at a ressort where the wait staff could not even afford to eat there.
Post # 7
@Miss Snowflake: I stayed at Breezes in the Bahamas in 2004 for Spring Break and it was a great experience. The hotel was actually 18+ but they told us it was only because of Spring Break season, they went 18+ for 2 weeks in March and on our last day there, we started to see families with tween and teen children checking in. The ressort was overbooked and we got upgraded as a result which I’m sure helped me to enjoy our stay there.
Post # 8
I do think it depends on where you stay and if you know what to expect. We are staying at Couples Sans Souci and I have heard nothing but amazing things about this place so I cant wait! Also I have heard a lot about Dunns River but you just have to know how to handle the situation. Its not just this place that does this. We went to Colombia and were at an amusement park and the whole way out of the park on the bus people just kept sticking their hands into the windows. You just have to be firm and tell them NO. Also you never tell them your name because they will quickly create somethign with your name on it and then try to force you to buy it since it is now “yours”.
But besides that my suggestion for ANY resort is to do your research. We read hundreds of reviews on trip advisor before actually booking our trip. I have also emailed with people that have gone recently and all have great things to say. So im not worried.
Sorry your experience wasnt the best- but at least you went on a honeymoon! 🙂
Post # 9
Thanks, ladies, I think I just needed to get that out there.
@slicey19: That’s rediculous. I understand that they are a poor country, but there are parts of the US that are just as poor, and you aren’t treated like that there. Plus, I find it a bit offensive that we booked an “all-inclusive” but didn’t get the service we were expecting because we didn’t tip under the table. It’s like the company says one thing, and then the resort employees just don’t care and say another. Really leaves a bad taste in your mouth for a particular country/resort.
@clarebee: What’s funny is that resort is rated like #1 or #2 for resorts in Jamaica, which that combined with our travel agent’s advice, is why we booked it.
Post # 10
- Wedding: March 2011 - Rosehall Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica
thank you very much for this post!
I have a post coming up about our stay at Rose Hall resort in Montego Bay.
I def agree with everyone, it DEF depends on where you stay. We had a blast, but there were some issues. Keep an open mind when you go and just breathe!
Post # 11
@Miss Snowflake: I would actually disagree that there are parts of the US that are poorer than Jamaica. If you don’t believe me, watch the “Life and Debt in Jamaica” documentary. It is an island with an inconceivable international debt due to having such poor infrastructure/natural resources/industry. The resorts are NOT owned by Jamaicans, thus the wealth from them goes offshore. I would bet that the people serving you make a couple hundred dollara a month, tops, so yes, I’m sure that tipping them DOES make the service better. A little education about the local government and economy would go a long ways towards benefitting the poor island countries so many people put down when they visit. People shove bracelets onto people’s hands because they are DESPERATE and their island nations cannot support the populations they hold.
Post # 12
@Miss Snowflake: Breezes runaway bay is actually ranked number 30 on tripadvisor. It is ranked number 1 on runaway bay, but the catch is that there are hardly any other hotels to be ranked against on runaway bay. I have never heard much good about breezes.
Post # 13
We honeymooned in Negril, Jamaica, at The Rockhouse Hotel, and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s not all inclusive, but it sounds like it was much better, and probably cheaper in the long run. (We spent about $2K for 10 days, for room/food/drinks/play). And while it’s owned by Australians, it’s run by locals, and sources everything locally, and the employees appeared to be very happy with their jobs, not to mention much wealthier than the general population. I don’t think it’s for everyone, because it was very quiet (not much of a nightlife), but we didn’t miss that.
I’m sorry that you had a bad experience in Jamaica! I just wanted to add that not everywhere in Jamaica is like that.
Post # 14
We stayed at Couples Swept Away and it was wonderful. We didn’t have any problems at all, other than a crazy ride to and from the resort on the bus. The food was great, the beach was incredible, and the staff were fantastic. I would highly recommend this resort.
Post # 15
Woooow, I totally just lost an entire and long post I wrote, wow…. that really stinks!
@Miss Snowflake: Your insinuation about comparing the US and Jamaica is beyond words. As a Nation….
- In Jamaica: 9:10 kids don’t know who their father is
- In Jamaica: by the age of 8 most girls have been raped
- In Jamaica: kids by age 10 are sexually active
- In Jamaica: If at age 13 you are not sexually active, there is something wrong with you and you are ostracized.
- In Jamaica: There is only 1 hospital bed per 1000 people. Only .8 doctors per 1000 people. Many Jamaicans still rely on witch doctors. And you wonder why they are missing teeth?
- In Jamaica: There is a revolt against anything “slavery” related. This includes agriculture and service. There is a national stigma against those involved in those industries. This can also contribute to the poor service. While tourism is a huge part of their economy, and a large payer of citizens… it is still frowned upon to “serve.”
- In Jamaica, Although there is a huge revolt against anything slavery related… they still speak Patwa, which originates in slave times.
- In Jamaica: They have the highest murder rate in the entire world….
I could go on and on… But what is real jamaica like? Where do these horrible employees live and come from?
The blue container on this home is the only water supply for this house. It catches the rain water.
The girl on the right in this picture grabbed the hand of the priest we were with, and petitioned him to “spend the night with her for money.” It is still the saddest thing I’ve ever experienced.
In rural Jamaica, Cars… and even horses/mules are luxury
It’s not uncommon for houses like the small brick one in front to hold 6-8+ people
Basically, as much as it sucks, many of the bad experiences were avoidable by research.
- adult only – This is valid and I would complain about this to the travel agent
- Food – Jamaican food isn’t really an entire category of food to base a week long menu off of. You’ve got Jerk, Ackee, and beef patties. I’m not sure how well Goat Curry goes over on a “vacation.” Our hotel in Mexico has little mexican food, and focus is on beef, seafood, and Asian as well. Mexican food is different to all countries… In fact, I think whenever I did eat at Jamaican “restaurants” I had chicken salads or sandwiches… Nothing really “unique.” Anyhow, menu’s and restaurant info is available online and in reviews online…
- Activities: Any vacation and any online guide I’ve done and seen has said it’s best to book anything before you go. This includes reservations for places on resort that may require them. This also enables you to see reviews of certain tours before booking. If anything, again, your travel agent should have informed you of this.
- Pushy Vendors: This is no secret to Jamaica. It’s been mentioned on the bee here many times, on pretty much any review of Jamaica, and one of the first things we learned in training before heading to Jamaica for mission work. You don’t even look at them. Looking at them acknowledges them and they will harass you until you give them money. we also learned about how they will try and put the bracelets on you, put stuff in your bag, etc… Basically, don’t look at them….
- Bottom line, most things were avoidable, and for that I would fault your travel agent… not the nation or the people.
I’ve been to “poor america” and I’ve lived in “poor Jamaica.” There is no comparison at all. We’re not talking a region, town, or locality. We’re talking an entire nation…. Jamaica is so amazing, so I’m really glad you could still take that away. I love the people there so much and it’s such a huge part of my heart and life. It has it’s issues, but it’s I think key to remember, America is a league of it’s own. Anytime we leave research is so key. I.e. the place was ranked 30th….
I’m with @clarebee:, Research, research, research. We also contacted people who had stayed there many times and asked them about the worst of their experiences.
I’m sorry you didn’t have a good experience. But think about all the good times you did have!
Post # 16
I went to the Royal Caribbean with my Fiance on vacation a few months ago. We loved Jamaica and the people were very good to us. We did venture out a few times and did not have any problems. I would definatly reccomend going to Jamaica for a honeymoon!