Looking for something different in Jamaica than your ship’s shore excursions?
Try a relaxing beach day at an all-inclusive resort with Jamaica For A Day.
Falmouth, Jamaica is the “newest” port of this popular Caribbean island. Recently, a collaboration between the government of Jamaica and Royal Caribbean began a revitalization construction project to the tune of $250 million. So what to do when you get there?
Almost every western Caribbean cruise calls on Ocho Rios or occasionally Montego Bay. I’ve been to both many times. When I had the opportunity to hop on a 5-night cruise to the western Caribbean aboard Celebrity Cruises Millennium, which included Falmouth, I couldn’t refuse.
But next came the decision of what to do. While there is a plethora of cruise line shore excursions from which to choose, I wanted something laid back, carefree and beachy. And a chance to break away from the other 2,000 people on the ship. Enter Stuart Cohen.
Stuart, a long-time travel industry leader and innovator, has a company which offers an alternative to the traditional cruise line shore excursions: JamaicaForADay.com. Simply, you can spend a very relaxing day at a premium all-inclusive resort for the cost of, or less than, most ship’s shore excursion. I was very curious to see how this all fell into place.
After we docked in Jamaica, with my hotel pass and transfers to/from the ship in hand, I followed the flow of cruise guests through the Disney-esque themed Falmouth port area and found the collection of tour buses waiting for their passengers. I approached one of the uniformed Falmouth tour/information directors and informed her that I was to board a bus to go to the Hilton Rose Hall Resort with JamaicaForADay. “Oh,” she said with a grin, “You are part of Stuart Cohen’s group.” Everyone knows Stuart.
A few minutes later, I boarded the clean and air-conditioned mini-bus and we were on our way. Mr. Earl – the driver, and I chatted for the entire twenty minute ride. The newly repaved roads made for a very pleasant and sometimes scenic drive along the north coast. Once at the resort, there was a guard that checked my pass and a couple of seconds later we were at the covered front entrance.
I’m a cruise person…I don’t stay at hotels very often so I have very high expectations when I spend even so much as one day on their turf. The warm personal welcome that I received when I met with the hotel guest services manager immediately put me at ease. She was expecting me. Wow. That doesn’t happen on a ship!
My colorful wristband was attached and I was on my own to enjoy the resort. I could stay until 6PM…but I’d miss my ship so I requested that the mini-van return at 3:00. That would give me about five hours to take my tour, enjoy the beautiful beach, have lunch and still have time to relax. Maybe try the lazy river.
Here’s how I spent my day:
Plenty of activities to choose from if I want to be busy. But I don’t. The resort is very spacious and fits into the lush landscaping rather than planting new growth around a building. Maybe I’ll borrow one of the non-motorized water craft and paddle around for awhile.
Or maybe grab a tube at the Sugar Mill Water Park and try the lazy river. I wasn’t sure what to try so I just kept wandering around, snapping photos and enjoying the scenery. It was still about one hour until the restaurants opened for lunch, so I decided to try the Monday Special drink, “Tropical Dreams.” And since drinks and food are included with the excursion and I wasn’t driving anywhere, I thought it a great idea to enjoy a pre-lunch foo-foo Tropical Dream.
If you’d like to try this at home, it’s an easy recipe. One ounce of mango rum, coconut rum, creme de banana and vodka; two ounces each of orange juice and pineapple juice and a speck of grenadine syrup. Shake it all up, pour over ice and sip. Excellently tropical!
While this looked like so much fun…and very tranquil, I decided not to jump in the pool after all. Your wrist band entitles you to two towels that are loaned out from the Activities Building right at the entrance to this huge water park. Everything you could need for a memorable and easy-to-do beach day is part of your JamaicaForADay.com package. According to their website here’s a list of what’s included:
- Full access to resort amenities including Private Beach and Pools.
- BIG NEWS: enjoy Sugar Mill Falls Water Park with tube slide and lazy river.
- Unlimited lunch & snacks to quench your hunger.
- Unlimited beverages like sodas and juices.
- Unlimited house brand drinks to quench your thirst like beer, wine, tropical and frosty drinks.
- All beach lounge chairs and beach towels.
- Non-motorized water sports including Snorkeling, windsurfing, kayaking, sailing, volleyball, aerobics, and tennis.
- Participation in daily activity program.
- Live daily entertainment.
- Bathrooms available for changing.
- If your ship departs late (like Oasis of the Seas), you can stay through 6:00PM if your cruise ship departure time permits a later stay!!!
I highly recommend sitting outdoors for lunch overlooking the crystal clear sea at the Seaside Grill. Service was very “Jamaica-friendly” and I struck up a nice conversation with my waiter. I asked him to surprise me with something wonderful and he returned with a plate of jerk chicken (can’t miss that in Jamaica) rice and peas (though actually “beans,” in Jamaica they’re called “peas”) and a side of icy cold cole slaw. A typical Jamaica meal and especially good eaten outdoors.
By the time I finished lunch, walked up and down the beach, stretched out for an hour’s siesta and returned my towels, it was time to head back to the lobby and wait for my ride back to the port. As soon as I reached the reception area (and there’s free wifi in the business center adjacent to the lobby) the driver was already there.
If you are wondering what the cost is for this JamaicaForADay shore excursion, it’s $90 per adult and $75 per child. This also includes the $15 round-trip transfers. It’s a seamless way to enjoy a wonderfully relaxing day in Jamaica without all the hustle and bustle of the ship’s tours. I highly recommend it.
Disclaimer: Even though my day at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort was sponsored by JamaicaForADay.com, the opinions in this post are based solely on my own experience. I am never under any obligation to write a favorable review and there’s always a possibility that the cruise, hotel, food are not up to par. If that were the case, I would be compelled to state it as such. My visit to the Hilton Rose Hall Resort met and exceeded my expectations. Thank you, Stuart, for the opportunity to review and experience your company’s shore tour in Jamaica.
Sherry is editor and creator of CruiseMaven.com. An expert on ocean and river cruises plus trains in the US and Europe, Sherry’s goal is to share her experiences to entertain, inform and inspire readers to travel the world.