Jamaica Grande Trip Report

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Jun 5th, 2000, 04:47 PM
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Dizzi
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Jamaica Grande Trip Report

We had a great time at the Grande! Stayed for 6 days/AI & it was definitely worth it! This trip report is long!

Arrived on Sunday, bus ride was fine -- time flew cause driver told of history, sightseeting & jokes along the way; we were in Ocho Rios before we knew it. Stayed in South Tower (9th fl.), rooms were adequate, nothing spectacular, altho the Bath & Body Works toilitries is a nice touch. Watched
the Knicks beat Miami Heat while waiting for our luggage; around 4:30pm, threw on swimwear & jumped in the pool. Nothing to do on Sunday nite so we explored the resort. When checking in, make sure you give either a cash deposit or credit card or you can't make any long distance (or collect) phone calls, had to go down & wait on line again to do this. I called mom collect & when she heard my name she didn't accept (costing her nothing, me $3.50) but boyfriend insisted on talking to his mom, which caused problems
cause the phone system (on the entire island supposedly) was down for almost 2 days & a lot of guests were having problems calling the U.S. Also, ask them for a room safe lock at check in cause we had to go back to lobby (3rd time) for that too.

Maybe we went at a bad time of year as far as the disco is concerned, but Jamaica Me Crazy really sucked (we check it every nite). People spent more time there drinking & watching big screen TV, it never got going during our entire stay so we partied off the resort at the Little Pub & Cocktail Lounge, both of which were great & inexpensive. Little Pub costed $2.50/pp to get in & Cocktail Lounge was free! Both were in walking distance from RJR & I must say that I didn't feel threatened in any way while there. When we decided to hit the Little PUb, we asked bell captain to call us a cab & he said just walk down the hill & around the corner. This was at 1:00 a.m. and we walked down, lived to tell & wound up at a great Jamaican party! The 1 club we didn't get to but constantly heard good things about from the Jamaicans we met was Amnesia.

Did Dunns River -- good experience altho I'll never go again cause I was paranoid most of the way up that I would fall or someone else would fall & take me down with them, but glad I did it; boyfriend loved it & would have gone up again if I weren't there. Took the Red Stripe cruise to go snorkeling & dunn's river -- I usually enjoy snorkeling but the water was rough & choppy, so just jumped in & swam around for awhile. Also did the Red STripe Sunset cruise which was great! We used all the film we took &
videotaped it, but of course the camcorder conked out at the worst time, so we don't have anything to show for it. Just 1 more reason to go back!

The highlight of our trip happened off the resort. We went to Evitas for the MOST ROMANTIC DINNER I've ever had in my life! The weather was perfect, ate at sunset & the food & service was excellent!!! We just sat there awestruck by the view & agreed that life can't get any better than this!

Food at RJG was good as well, but not great (we didn't starve!) The breakfast Buffet at Mallards court has something for everyone. Dragons was excellent, altho the appetizer portions were smaller than my boyfriend
desired. L'Allegro was good, we may have liked it better had we not gone to Evita's first. Definitely go to the "Taste of Jamaica Grande" night & test out the different restaurants. Cafe Jamaique is great for late night snacks, we were regulars there between 1:00-2:00am every nite. My only complaint about the Grande's food/bars is that at least 1 place should be open 24 hrs (Cafe Jamique is the latest, closing at 2am). Also, snack bar located near
the pool is not part of the all inclusive -- you must pay for what you get there. We ate at all RJR restaurants & they were all good.

The Fantasy pool is so cool. We spent a lot of time around there, so much that boyfriend got sunburned by the 2nd day. I've never gotten sunburn so didn't know what to do, but luckily we went to the nurse & she gave him some solarcaine to cool him off. Spent a lot of time in the lobby bar area, where
they have the most soft, comfortable chairs, coolest breeze & drinks! Also went to the casino, not expecting to win big but just enjoying each other & the resort. Didn't lose too much but had fun playing!

thanks in part to this board, I didn't have to attend the tour orientation. The tour
agent at RJG didn't even suggest the Red Stripe tours, I asked her about them & she took some flyers out of a drawer & booked it for us. She also booked Evita's for us, along with a cab ride there and back.

The town: went to craft market -- the constant prodding to buy, buy, buy can
be annoying, but understandable since this is how they make their living. We saw on the news & talked to a few vendors who told us that cruise ship passengers are discouraged to go to the craft market cause they say its not safe, which is a shame & not our experience at all. Cruise ship passengers spend all their time & $$$ in the mall across the street. The bottom line
is at least 98% of the vendors (market and mall) all have the same merchandise, you just have to find a price you want to pay. We didn't haggle too much because we know they need the $$$ (no, we're not rich) & the prices we paid weren't exhorbitant. The mall across the street basically has the same stuff at double the prices, NO haggling -- & air conditioning! But it consisted mostly of jewlery stores. We also found if we had bought our liquor at the airport, we would have saved at least $4.00/bottle (more in some cases) than we did in Ocho Rios AND the liquor was cheaper at RJG stores than in town. We walked from 1 end of town to the other with no problems, no hassles, no threats, etc.

We left on Saturday morning (just before Memorial Day) longing to stay 1 more day (even went downstairs & priced it), but people were checking in in droves & it was at least twice as crowded as when we 1st arrived (and getting even more crowded by the minute), so we were kinda glad to go
because the lines were getting longer, restaurants more crowded & the elevators were packed, whereas earlier in the week we had free reign on the resort. Plus I was afraid of rescheduling a flight on a holiday weekend. All in all, we had a great trip & were discussing when we will return by
our 2nd day there! Weather was good for us, it was very hot & altho it was partly cloudy during each day, it rarely rained & the overcast weather helped my boyfriend survive w/his sunburn. It only rained twice -- once on Thursday around 4:30pm for about 40 min. and once for about 20 min. while we waited to check out on Saturday, so can't ask for more than that! Altho we really enjoyed the Grande, we may stay somewhere else next time (have to fight w/my boyfriend on this) just to get a different experience, but not because we didn't like RJG. At least we know we can always count on old faithful RJG! Any questions, feel free to email me.

 
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