Jamaica - good or bad?

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by Ikaikalani, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. codex57

    codex57 Earning My Ears

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    Nope. Wouldn't go again if I had a choice.

    I climbed Dunn River Falls. It was just ok IMO. We got hit up with the "would you like me to take your picture" by a guy wearing what looks kind of like a uniform for the area and then charging a dollar before handing the camera back. Btw that and the other aggressive sales people, it's just not worth it. Don't like most of the Western Caribbean to be honest.
     
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  3. elaine amj

    elaine amj DIS Veteran

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    We were in Falmouth in March with Royal Caribbean. We decided to rent a car - with Island Car Rental - travelled with 2 families and got a 9 passenger minivan. Everyone told us we were nuts and our friends thought we grew two heads. We researched it carefully and even found a blog showing the drive and pictures of the road.

    We arrived - the new port was clean and felt very safe. The rental place is within the port. We got the car within half an hour and drove to Dunn River Falls. A very easy drive along good condition roads that felt safe. The Falls were awesome - admission was around $20 for each adult. We absolutely loved climbing it - the highlight of the cruise for me. Very fun if you like adventure. A lot harder than I thought. We enjoyed it much more because we chose not to join a big group. So we didn't climb up holding hands with all those people.

    Afterwards we drove back, stopping to buy some coconuts from a roadside stand. They cost $US1 each. My DH and girlfriend got out to buy them and we were slightly nervous because the guy was using a machete! No worries though and the coconuts were delicious!! (They were $3/$4 inside the gated compound). We then stopped at a restaurant - we chose one that looked bigger, well-established and touristy (not a shack). Got some jerk chicken and curry goat - pretty good. Headed back to the ship, got slightly turned around in port, but no real problems getting back to drop the car off.

    The gated compound turned out to be very pleasant shopping with no aggressive vendors that you find everywhere else. The vendors just sat and let us approach them. Souvenirs were decently priced. My DD got some very cool necklaces at a steal -one stall had the ones she wanted at half the price of the other stalls - so it paid to shop around.

    Very pleasant visit and I wouldn't hesitate to go back.
     
  4. luv2sleep

    luv2sleep DIS Veteran

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    Same story here. Went in my 20's. Stayed at a very nice all inclusive on Runaway Bay. Hiked Dunn's River Falls, bike rode through some caves, learned how to scuba dive and windsurf. Really fun at the resort. Made the mistake of taking the bus into town. It was so sad, depressing, dirty, etc. People were understandably begging for money and haggling badly at the market place. I've never wanted to return to that island and have no desire to cruise there. Since it sounds like Falmouth is on the other side of the island it wouldn't seem appealing unless there was an excursion to a beach resort.
     
  5. CaliforniaGirl09

    CaliforniaGirl09 DIS Veteran

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    Add me to the list of been there, done that, never again. I've traveled extensively and Jamaica is my least favorite destination of all. It is the only time I have felt uncomfortable and unsafe. I'd much rather go to Costa Maya.
     
  6. Four Bears

    Four Bears Mouseketeer

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    I went to Jamaica on a Celebrity Cruise. We left the gated area on a van and the van driver dropped us off at one of the towns (not sure which one). I will never go back. The locals followed us from store to store, the shop people were in your face aggressive. And when I refused to have my hair braided by a hawker they got very aggressive, yelling out racial slurs I actually felt physically threatened. Instead of waiting for our van to return, we took a taxi back to the ship.

    The only way I would EVER go back if I was on an all-inclusive resort, but there are other islands with beautiful resorts that I can venture off the resort without feeling physically threatened.

    I am going to really have to think about Cruises for 2014. Although we leave in January on the Western and I hear Costa Maya is nothing special either.
     
  7. lzmom_of_twins

    lzmom_of_twins Mouseketeer

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    Hmmm I havent been to either. After this thread Im not sure what I should book. I have been on 6 cruises, but never on the western side.
    :scratchin
     
  8. SleepyDeb

    SleepyDeb Mouseketeer

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    Jamaica is the only place I have ever been to that I will never go back to, even for free. Was there on a company trip with 50 insurance agents and spouses. We were in a gated resort in Montego Bay. Three of the women in the group had their purses stolen. We took the resort's shuttle downtown and it left us off in front of a bank. About 30 seconds later an armored car pulled up to a screeching stop and three guys with machine guys got out and pointed the guns at the ppl on the sidewalk. Apparantly a delivery or pick up was being made. We bolted and didn't stay to find out. I was with DH and DD who was then 15. We went for a walk along the beach and as we approached the edge of the resort's beach where there was a stonewall, three men popped up from behind the wall learing at us. We turned around and they popped back down.

    The worst event was one of my agents and her husband went for a walk across the street from the resort on the golf course. A man with a machete came out from behind a tree and threatened their lives.

    All of this was in a 4 day trip.

    Conversely, I have heard that "everyone knows you don't go to Montego Bay, you go to Negril". Not willing to check that out. Glad we have a western cruise booked for 2013.
     
  9. leahmichl

    leahmichl Mouseketeer

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    I last cruised to Jamaica with Celebrity in 2011. Loved it! Got a cab right outside of port and chatted with driver about where to head. Our group spent the day at a place called caliente where we were the only tourists. Ate, drank, played on the beach, perfect day and absolutely beautiful. No peddlers on property, but there were some close by and we walked over to get my daughter's hair braided. Clean bathrooms, too!

    ETA: can't remember where these itineraries are going, but this was in Ocho Rios.
     
  10. rance

    rance DIS Veteran

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    Very violent island. I would not feel comfortable going again especially with my children.

    I have a friend who lives there and to give you an idea on how cheap life is there there are approx. 1200 murders per year on an island with a population of 2.8 million.
    Mind you I'm sure they stay away from tourists but that is a crazy statistic.
     
  11. jodical

    jodical Mouseketeer

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    I used to be a corporate event planner and I took groups of executives and clients to the island 4 different years. The one year we took a break and brought them to Playa del Carmen instead and they wondered why we didn't go back to Jamaica - so we brought them back the next year!

    I've found Montego Bay to be a very nice, safe area. Our group stayed on a resort less than 20 minutes from the Montego Bay airport. The island's main industry is tourism - something like 80% are involved somehow with the hospitality/tourism industry. A recession here hurts them too and they had less far to fall - some a lot less than others. I sympathize with those who are trying to support their families.

    That being said, I have made wonderful friends there during my trips and I continue to keep in touch. I've traveled extensively and it is by far my favorite island in the Caribbean - well, Castaway Cay is probably my first choice to return to now that I've finally been there (last month).

    As far as excursions go, can you beliebe I've never even been to Dunns River Falls? I've always enjoyed rafting/swimming on the Martha Brae. There is something so serene and peaceful about it. I'm a sucker for it every time!

    Anyway, as someone who doesn't like to venture too far off the beaten path, I don't believe there is any reason to avoid debarking the ship in Jamaica. Take a sanctioned tour if you are worried but don't outright dismiss an absolutely wonderful port!
     
  12. perdidobay

    perdidobay <font color=green>Will work for travel ;-)<br><fon

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    My DD and DSIL just took a RCCL cruise that stopped at Falmouth.
    They said they would never go back and they are truly world travelers who aren't rattled by much. They said the vendors were super aggressive, they tried asking your name then carving it into something and demanding money, hawking drugs, and their excursion to Dunn's River Falls was horrible-hundreds of people were made to hold hands with each other while taking one step forward every 30 seconds... she said it was like being in a human production line, not fun at all. They were warned about locals who would hit up tourists for photos of you on the falls, they would want the money up front, never to be seen again at the end. After the falls the excursion they took included tubing down the river, they passed some really scary areas, with locals sitting along the banks of the river looking at them like easy pickings. The photos they showed me of the excursion convinced me I'd never want to go there!

    Also, reading Gambee's wonderful review on Cruisecritic, he warns Jamacia is dangerous for gays. Not that I am gay, but it's useful info to know for those that are.
     
  13. BosMan

    BosMan Very Cold in Boston !

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    My wife and I stopped there years ago on a RCL cruise. I vowed never to go back.... Certainly never take my kids.... Aggressive people, shady,always asking if we wanted "gonja". Everywhere we went. We went to a nice resort to use the pool.... My wife wanted to sit at the pool bar. I jumped out to get cash and jumped back in the pool. Holding it up so it won't get wet, the lifeguard blew his whistle.... He then waved me over, he saw my cash and said we need to talk!!! U need Gonja??????

    Geeze!!!!! No, I am in my baiting suit, in the pool at a nice resort, No I don't .
    We hoped in a cab back to the ship. On the way back the taxi driver decided he needed something from the liquor store... He pulled over .... There was a tough looking crowd hanging outside the store. I don't scare easily but we were nervous.....
    I'd skip this port ------!!! 200% skip it !!!!
     
  14. AndyR

    AndyR DIS Veteran

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    Jamaica seems to be a place folks either love or dislike.

    We've been there maybe 10 times in the past 15 yrs. All but one trip we've stayed in Negril, the other was on a Celebrity cruise with our then 6mth old daughter.

    Yes, its a poor country with aggressive higglers, but we see that throughout the carribbean.

    If you're expecting another St. Thomas/St. Martin experience then JA is probably not for you. JA is a place where you need to stop and let the place sink in and slow down for a few days, get with the vibe of the country. A 4hr or so cruise stop isn't going to do that.

    My 2c.
     
  15. pearljammer

    pearljammer Mouseketeer

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    So you have to ask yourself? What do you do? We've never been to Jamaica so for us it's more of a "okay, at least we've not been there". But I don't see any other options for summer cruises re Western itenerary. We have a cruise planned for March of 2014 that does NOT include the Jamaica stop which is cheaper due to time of year and the one in June with the Jamiaca stop. So it's depending on which time of year we eventually decide on. Again, if we cruise Western (as we're doing Eastern in Sept 13'), we have no choice of the Jamaica stop. It's not like we can choose the other itenerary that time of year.

    So I guess the question is, do we get off or not? We are more interested in the Cayman stop as we've been to Mexico. Also, our DS will be 6 almost 7 so it's more islands under his belt. :thumbsup2
     
  16. FrankF

    FrankF Earning My Ears

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    I have been twice to Jamaica, both times staying at Sandals Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay (very nice). Although we had a good time, neither my wife nor I fancy Jamaica. The resort specifically recommended that guests NOT leave the premises unescorted. Based on what we drove through on the short ride from the airport, there was no chance we would have done so even without the warning. Based on our experience, I am fairly certain that if we were on a cruise stop in Jamaica, we would likely enjoy a day on the ship, as I would not feel terribly comforable going on any kind of excursion.

    Quick comment on Costa Maya. We recently returned from a Western on the Fantasy. We did a Bike-Kayak excursion in Costa Maya, and it could not have been better. Our guides Sergio and Edgar were wonderful, the bike ride back and forth from the port to Mahahual was fun, and the kayaking was great! We never felt the least bit threatened or uncomfortable in any way. :cool2:
     
  17. Desi

    Desi <font color=990000>Seek color and ye shall receive

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    I think people are soooo tired of the Nassua stop, DCL thought they'd throw Jamaica in there. Our last cruise it seemed 90% of the people stayed on board.
    Unfortunatley, Jamaica isn't any better as for the crime, dinginess,& pushy, in your face sellers. I think they will find people will tire very quickly of the Jamaica stop too. I know we will not be getting off at that port.
     
  18. Golden Rose

    Golden Rose Princess by Choice

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    We've been to Jamaica twice, both on RCCL, once into Ocho Rios and once into "Mo" Bay. On the trip my DM was on with us, she did not get off the ship and kept our then (toddler) DS onboard with her. DH and I took ship sponsored excursions both times, and had a great time both times.

    On one trip, we did a horseback ride with Chuka Blue that went through an old sugar plantation and along a beach. They then took the saddles off the horses and had us ride bareback (more or less) on the horses while the horses swam in the ocean. It was absolutely gorgeous, and a wonderful trip.

    On the other trip, we went to a botanic garden and climbed Dunn's River Falls. Again, we were impressed with the beauty of the island, and had a wonderful time.

    We were approached by vendors wanting to sell us things or braid my hair, and while they were the most aggressive of any port we've been to, we said, "no, thank you", and never had any issue.

    We enjoyed our time there, and we would get off the ship if we happened to be there again, but we would go with a ship's sponsored excursion only and go straight back to the ship when we were done with it. We wandered around the port shopping area after one of our excursions, and we might do that again, but only in the the fenced area near the ship. We are comfortable going off on our own in most ports, but we would not do so in Jamaica.

    I do not consider it a plus that DCL is going there, but I don't consider it a particular minus, either. It isn't a port I would go on a cruise to go on, now that we've climbed Dunn's River Falls, but I'd find ways to enjoy it if we happened to go there again. It really is a stunningly beautiful island. Yes, there is a lot of poverty there, but that is true in far too many places, sadly.
     
  19. manateesmom

    manateesmom Mouseketeer

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    Vacationed at a Sandals resort in Mo Bay, would not have left the resort. There was a guy in a canoe paddling up and down the beach selling pot.

    I totally understand how desperate you could be if you're trying to feed your kids, so I get why vendors or panhandlers could be aggressive, there is terrible poverty in Jamaica.

    What I don't get is that there are these fancy resorts, an entirely new cruise port, and tons of port fees and tourist dollars going into this country, and no changes to anyone's quality of life as far as I can see. I'm genuinely curious as to why there's still so much crushing poverty with a good tourist industry and all the port fees being paid by these cruise ships, including the mega-ships from RCCL, as well as the tourist dollars being spent there. Is it just corruption? Who's pocketing all this money? I almost feel like I shouldn't sail here just so I don't perpetuate the problem. Someone's pockets are getting lined, and it's not the majority of the population.
     
  20. jlwhitney

    jlwhitney DIS Veteran

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    Corruption would be my guess.
     
  21. disprincess4ever

    disprincess4ever DIS Veteran

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    I actually really liked Costa Maya. I saw a lot of poverty when we drove an hour to the ruins, but the area was beautiful and the people were so kind! I'm kind of sad Disney is stopping there less because Costa Maya has very little tourism to thrive off of.
     

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