Take a cruise with a Western Carribean itinerary, and it's likely you'll stop in Jamaica. While some will tell you not to bother getting off the ship, we suggest you ignore the negative nancy's and experience Jamaica, after all, isn't part of the fun in cruising seeing the different places. Jamaica is one of those destinations that has so much to offer; the natural beauty of the rainforests and white-sand beaches, coupled with history and adventure, it has something for everyone.
Our favorite family-friendly way to spend a day in Jamaica is with a day pass to the Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa. Located about 20-25 minutes from both the ports at Falmouth and Montego Bay, Hilton Rose Hall is an all-inclusive resort loaded with amenities. You can purchase day passes through Resort for a Day, currently passes run $117 for adults and $74 for kids 4-17, the price includes transportation between the port and resort. Also included is unlimited food and drinks, as well as loungers, towels, beach access, resort programs, and non-motorized water sports. Not included are accommodations, spa treatments, motorized water sports, and wi-fi. A deposit is required when booking online; then upon arrival at the resort, you'll pay the balance. While this process went quickly on our first visit, on our second visit we experienced a frustratingly long wait as the whole bus was checking in at once, with only one person handling the process. Next time we'll be sure to sit near the front of the bus so that we can be first in line. Wristbands and resort map in hand you're free to explore and enjoy the resort.
The resort is located directly on the beach and offers fantastic views and access to the ocean. The sandy shore has lots of room with beach chairs right on the water. Prefer lounging by the pool? There are two to choose from; take in fantastic views as you relax by the beachfront swimming pool, or for something a little more adventurous take a splash at Sugar Mill Falls Water Park, this area offers a pool, swim up bar, lazy river, and a few water slides. To call it a water park is a bit of a stretch, but it's a lot of fun.
Beyond the check-in hiccup the service was fabulous. When our party of six arrived to the pool area we were quickly greeted and attendants set-up six loungers together for us, even making sure we had some shade for our day of relaxation. Our server for the day promptly introduced herself and was quick to return with our drink order. The attentive service continued throughout the day. If you really want to relax you could just sit in your chair all day and your server would bring you all the food and drinks you're heart desires.
The food and drink are plentiful, with several restaurant and bar options. You can enjoy casual poolside dining at Mangoes, with a menu of salads, burgers, and sandwiches, your typical American fare. There is also a buffet available that offers a variety of foods. Hoping to try some Jamaican cuisine? Then be sure to wander down the beach to Sunrise Beach Jerk Hut, the jerk chicken was good, but the jerk pork shoulder was delicious. So good in fact, that we went back for seconds.
When you arrive at the resort, your bus driver will give you a time to meet back at the hotel entrance for your transport back to the ship. On both of our visits, this time was about 2 - 2.5 hours before our all aboard time, plenty of time to get back to the port and do a little shopping before sail away.
We are big fans of all-inclusive resort passes for Caribbean cruises, and this one is great, the Hilton Rose Hall is a great place to spend your day in Jamaica.