We are on day four.. Port of call: Ocho Rios!
As I mentioned yesterday, the cruise had to change its course from Princess Cays to Jamaica, to avoid terrible storms that were too risky to travel into. The cruise ship arrived at port at 7AM, and by 8AM passengers were allowed to disembark. My husband and I had been to Jamaica before, not Ocho Rios, but the other side of the island for our honeymoon in 2001.
Wow, I forgot how absolutely beautiful Jamaica is.
March 22– It was another balmy 81F day, and I was really in heaven by this day. I love Summer weather.
Before getting off ship, we all decided to grab some food up in the buffet and a few bottles of water. Then we decided to take the leap of faith at port to find a local taxi to take us to a local beach. Man, we were surprised at how easy and awesome this leg of our unplanned trip was to be!!
We disembarked at around 9/9:30AM, I was nervous because this was the first port stop in my life. I wasn’t sure how hectic it would be or how easily things would go, like would it be a huge ordeal. Well, Regal Princess is seriously amazing at this process. It was seamless and we were off the boat in no time.
Right outside the port there were tons of taxis lined up along the shopping zone, and they are there at every port, so we chose a van/bus taxi that looked reputable. The two people running the service were two of the nicest people ever. Everything was marked with numbers and their company information. We ended up agreeing on a trip that was $90USD for the nine of us to ride two ways; the bus would take us over to a private beach resort, Bamboo Blu, then pick us up to get back to the ship. The resort was free to use, except food (which we packed our own from the buffet), drinks and lounge chairs ($10ea). Because the bus was also driving other tourists to their destinations along the way, we got to see a little bit of the area, too. Their first stop was to Dunn’s River Falls, then to our beach. The total trip to the beach took about 15 minutes. The bus also had free wifi..bonus!
We arrived to find a beautiful resort beach. As we walked into the place, the bus company tagged us with their bus number on a wrist band and made sure we would be waiting ready to go back to the ship at our time choice, 2PM. The resort had everything you needed…sand, sun, ocean, bathrooms, loungers, a gift shop, bar and grill. We took our towels off the boat, so we were clutch no matter what. We got there to find a beautiful Jamaican woman dressed in traditional garb dancing at the entrance, teaching a group of kids how to dance. We scouted the place, and it was too nice to be true.
We walked to the end of the beach where there were palm trees and a little more quiet. My husband and I got two loungers, then immediately laid out. Our friends went for a swim. The kids had a blast in the clear blue waters chasing fish and digging in the sand. It was perfection. We grabbed a few beers and cocktails, and really enjoyed the time together talking and exploring the beach. The area we chose to camp out was on the end of the beach where they had a cut off line with a guard; who was the coolest guy. He was guarding the other side; the private beach beyond him belonged to the houses on the beach. Very swank.
We got back to the bus drop off area for 2PM.. the bus was right on time! Phew! We trekked back to the port, and our friends went shopping for some souvenirs. My family jumped back on the boat to secure some beach chairs and relax a little while longer by the pool. Our friends soon followed.
Then after a great long hang out, where the music of that time was the resident Barbadian singer giving a tribute to Bob Marley, since we were in Jamaica. He was so fun, and the band was ‘jammin’. As the sun started to go down and our skin was now a delicious color red apple haha, we decided it was the perfect time to get to our rooms for a little unwinding and get ready for our next dinner.
This night we decided to meet up at Alfredo’s. This was a restaurant on the cruise’s dining plan. Alfredo’s is an Italian pizzeria with pastas and salads. It was amazing pizza, seriously. The capricciosa pizza without ham was tdf, If you love mushrooms, that pizza is for you … and I ate two! (yes, though personal sizes, I pigged out on two. we all did!) To say that we loved this place is an understatement. The waiter of the night was this hilarious Serbian guy, Vlad, who really made the night memorable. He was a great waiter, but with this hilarious ‘don’t give a f*ck’ type attitude, that I am not so sure he knew he was giving off. hah OMG, we had a great time with him and his stories and all the drinks he kept running to get us. Great service, and a great time. We hung out here all night long eating and drinking. It was a very special night with our Australian friends.
After dinner, we decided to take the kids down to the gelato place for some ice cream. Surprisingly, the gentleman working the place was also Serbian..and you guessed it, one of Vlad’s friends. We learned that Vlad has Serbian friends all over the boat that we should ask for .. After hanging out on the piazza with gelato, we took a quick glance around the boat. My pal grabbed me a coffee, and we talked till I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore.
It was a wonderful day! Surprises around every corner, and it was just perfect.
Moving onto Grand Cayman/day 5 next!