Thursday…. We got up at 4 a.m. and got ready for our 20th Trip back to Jamaica since 1998. We left the house at 4:45 a.m. for the airport. We checked in and went through security. For the first time since my knee replacement April 2015…I stayed in the pre-check line and did not inform them of the artificial knee and surprisingly I did NOT set off the machine with my new knee. They told us the last time that knees manufactured less than 2 years ago don’t set the machines off…So I was very happy about this. We boarded our flight and left on time at 7:20 to Charlotte. The next flight also went without a hitch. We arrive Montego Bay at 2:15…went through immigration and checked in at the couples’ desk and boarded the bus. The ride to Couples San Souci took 90 minutes. We checked in and were given room A17…. second floor A building. Check in went very smoothly. I had prebooked dinner reservations on line and had chosen our repeater gifts. We got two t shirts as a second-time repeater and a $100 resort credit. We went to our room and they delivered our luggage. I unpacked. Our room was lovely…the view was great. They filled our bar. We set up our computer and hooked to the free internet which worked quite well all week. We changed and went to the martini bar at 5:30….and enjoyed Clive’s wonderful music. Then we went to dinner at Bella Vista at 7. We both had the Caesar salad. I had curried chicken and Steve had Jerk Beef. Both were good. It had been a long day and we retired early.
Friday November 11…We got up at 6:30 and saved our chairs and had breakfast at Palazinni at 7:30. Steve had ham and cheese omelet and I had sausage and cheese omelet. There is still a line issue at the omelet station. While waiting to order an omelet, you block access to some of the buffet items. I think they need to put up some sort of barrier to define where the omelet line should stand. It started pouring down rain but it only lasted about 45 minutes and the rest of the day was beautiful. We saw the new girl peacock. We are so very sorry the boy died. We then went to SSB for the day. Clean towels arrived about 9:00 every day. The bar opened at 10. There were ALWAYS 2 bar tenders this year as opposed to one last year…so the line never got exceptionally long to get a drink. If you bring your own cups…the bartenders cannot fill them. They give you your drink in a plastic glass and you must pour it into your own cup. They will give you two at once. I am not quite sure what this rule is about but it seems kind of silly to me. We had lunch at SSB at 12:30. The buffet is nice but I wish they would serve salad at the buffet. We went to the martini bar at 5 but it was closed. I did look it up and the martini bar is closed Tuesday during the beach party and Friday during the Gala. We went to the grand gala for dinner at 7. It was muddy but nice.
Saturday November 12…. We got up at 6:30 and saved our chairs. We had omelets for breakfast at 7:30. We then went to SSB. For lunch at 12:30, we ate at SSB. We went to the martini bar at 5. For dinner, we went to Palazinni at 7. Steve and I both had lamb chops.
Sunday November 13… We got up at 6:30 and saved our chairs. We had scrambled eggs for breakfast at 7:30. We went to SSB. We had lunch at SSB. We went to the martini bar at 6 for the Facebook Couples group meet and greet. We went to Casanova for dinner at 7. Steve had fish and I had a salad. Service was MUCH better this year.
Monday November 14…We got up at 6:30 and saved our chairs. I had a western omelet and steve had ham and cheese omelet at Palazinni. We had lunch at SSB. We went to the managers cocktail party at 6. We had dinner at Bella vista at 7. I had snapper and steve had beef.
Tuesday November 15 2016…We got up at 6:30 and saved our chairs. We had scrambled eggs for breakfast. We went to SSB. We took our rock we bought last year over to the man we bought it from and had him update it and refresh it. He did not charge us…but we gave him $15. We went to Pallazinni for lunch so I could get a salad. We went to the pool bar for drinks at 6:15. They have installed a couple of tall drink makers and they block the view across the bar if you are sitting in front of them. We had dinner at the beach party at 7. We were told that there are 150 rooms and there were 284 people attending the beach party…which means the resort was nearly full. I will say that most of the patrons go to SSB. People do go to the main pool but this year we did see some people at the pool beside the spa. Last year we did not see anyone there.
Wednesday November 16 2016…. We got up at 6:30 and saved our chairs. The chairs we had been sitting in all week were taken…so we had to move. I wish Couples would adopt the system that club orient in St. Martin has. Upon check-in, you are given two tags with your dates and name written on them. You tag your chairs and those are your chairs for the remainder of your visit. There is no scrambling to get chairs every day. This fighting for chairs is certainly an issue every day. We had breakfast and went to SSB. We had lunch at SSB at 12:30. Right at lunch time it started pouring down rain. It was thundering and lightening. It rained the remainder of the afternoon. We went to the pool bar for drinks at 6:15 and then went to the repeaters party at 7:00 inside Palazinni. We had surf and turf and it was very good. There were 73 repeat couples.
Thursday November 17 2016…we got up at 6:00 and saved our chairs. I could not believe our original chairs were already gone again. We walked all around the resort taking pictures. We then had breakfast at 7:30. We went to SSB. It started pouring down rain again about 9. We went back to the room to get ready to leave. Our flight was at 3:30. So bags had to be out at 10:30, Checkout was at 11, and the bus departed at 11:30. It poured down rain the entire trip back to the airport. We checked in. We went through security and went to Margaritaville for a cheeseburger, onion rings and a margarita. Our flight left on time. We flew to Charlotte. This year we got our global entry so we went straight through immigration. We got our luggage. Turned it back in and went to the admiral’s club to wait for the flight home. We got home about 11 pm.
We were very pleased with our maid service. The only complaint is that the room was never serviced before 4 p.m. every day. We are early risers so there is no reason to wait until 4 p.m. to clean our room. By 4 p.m. we are back from the beach ready to shower and dress for the evening. We recognized very few activities directors or wait staff from last year. There must have been a sizable turnover in the past year. We also did not have anyone who we felt went above and beyond this year. Do not misunderstand me…they all did a good job and I have no complaint…but there was no one that was exceptional.
Our favorite place on the resort remains the beautiful lake. We love seeing all the different birds and turtles…and of course Krackers the parrot is a delight. He always says hello and good bye and loves having his picture taken.
We have been to several resorts in Jamaica over the last 18 years…and every one of them had a no tipping policy. We however…have always tipped…and it has never been refused. This trip was no exception. We tipped the bus driver $5 to and from the resort. We tipped the baggage handlers $1 a bag. (from St. Louis to Jamaica and Jamaica to St. Louis.) We tipped the person who filled our mini bar $2. We tipped the maid $2 a day. Each time I handed one of the employees’ money…. I said…can you take this and are you sure you will not get into trouble….and each one said yes and took the money. I left the maid $2 under the pillow everyday…and everyday it was gone. I never tipped outside of the room…so no one else saw the exchange. Like I said …this is the way we have done this for 20 visits…and to my knowledge….no one has ever lost their job for taking a tip. There are those who will argue that tipping is not allowed and they leave gift bags instead. This is a personal choice.
We had a wonderful time and have already booked with Dave Parker at all the way travel to return December 9-15 2018.