Just got back off the Conquest, Sunday and wanted to inform other people about this new excursion "Negril Beach & Shopping" in Jamaica. I'm going to explain our experince and let you form your own opionion.
First we got on a cramped tour bus, I'm a small person @ 5ft'2 & 110lbs and didn't have an inch to spare the whole way. We took a 1 hour & 45 minute ride to Negril from MoBay that was to be expected but really not worth it in the end. The grand total of 3 & 1/2 hours of travel with one pit stop along the way. Our tour guide was a nice girl and very smart. We learned some lingo and alot about the Jamaicain culture from her even though she didn't have to even talk to us.
We got to Margaritaville in Negril and we were served one free drink & a beach chair. The sky chairs were not out. Once we got to the beach we were constantly harrashed by about a dozen or so different locals wanting us to buy drugs(not just pot),they lead in with food, cigars, snokel tours, hair braiding or renting jet skis but all end up trying to sell you pot or harder drugs. It was non stop while we were on the beach they would keep coming back, it wasn't a one time thing. One local even asked my husband if he could take me off alone to a secluded area to smoke a joint with him. That I think was the last straw for us. Another lied to my husband, saying I sent him over to buy me some pineapple. He didn't fall for it. Sercurty was there and even by the end the police. But it never let up. The only relief we got was inside or in the water. We also noticed the fact that we were a younger couple (in our 30s) did make some of a difference. They left the families alone more.
Then the margaritas (8ozs) were $8 each. It might be like that every where but I personally find that to be over priced for that size. You could buy an all you can drink rum or vodka (not top self) braclette w/ a soveiner cup for $14.
A Side note about the Ship's Shopper & Margaritaville. The free margarita braclette you get on the ship from the shopper the tuesday night before. It doesn't work in Negril or Ocho Rios only in MoBay. He won't tell you that fact unless you ask him & he also won't tell you it's only for one drink at MoBay & you have to redeem that one you get your free 1 from Grand Caymen(That's how he can say free margaritas)He let's you in on this after you stand in line for a hour+ at the shoppers desk to be one of the first 50 people in line so you can get that braclette. So we wasted an hour+ in for a free margarita we couldn't even use. That was really misleading.
Well after we left the beach we were taken to a small shopping area in negril to shop for 30 mins. There really wasn't alot there maybe 10 stores or less. We got the 5 for $20 t-shirts they pulled a bait & switch on us. She showed us how high quailty the shirts were then sold us low quailty shirts that she grabbed from the selves. We didn't really care because our kids will out grow them fast & cheap price, we just didn't like to be mislead. About the coffee, the vaccuum pack seal was broken on every single pack I felt no matter where I was. They didn't like the fact I was checking either. I'm not spending $25 a lb on stale coffee no matter how good it is. I finally found one that was semi hard still so I only bought that small pack instead of the full 1lb.
As a mother myself, I have to also warn any parents planning to traveling with young kids on this excursion it's a semi nude beach & some of the stores had x rated items out right at small kids eye levels. So unless your ready to explain things like sex to your kids or why they have rubber full set of male genitals as a key rings I would pass.
By the time we got back to the ship we had no time to explore MoBay and really didn't want too. Being that this was our first time in Jamaica my husband had decided that he never wanted to come back. But after talking to many people on the ship once we left Jamaica we found out that we just had a bad excursion & that other people had a wonderful time Jamaica in other areas of the island. So we are going to go back but not to Negril.
[link=http://www.caribbeanmag.com/cd/vc/][image noborder]http://www.caribbeanmag.com/cd/MoBay,Cayman&Cozumel/Conquest/200611260130_14.gif[/image][/link][link=http://www.caribbeanmag.com/member/]Caribbean Member Community[/link]
So sorry to hear it was not a good excursion. But thanks for sharing so that others do not make that mistake.
We have been to Jamaica many times and personally, it is not my favorite port.
If we get off the ship, it is only with a ship excursion. This is the only port that we use a ship excursion only.
We are pretty adventureous people. ~~We landed in Israel, grabbed a taxi to Tel Aviv (the driver spoke very little English) to our hotel and walked from Tel Aviv to Jaffa and back by ourselves in 2000 (about 5 miles one way) along the beach.~~
But I have never gotten that warm and fuzzy feeling about Jamaica. Fortunately, the ship tours we have taken have worked out well. We floated down the "Great River" (which is Jamaican for shallow stream) on a bamboo raft for 2. That was fun. Of course, Dunns River Falls. One time it was just shopping and Margaritaville.
It is a shame that the aggressive nature overshadows how warm some of the people we have met can be.
From what we have been told, the lack of "hope" is breeding desperation in that country.