The port for Jamaica’s Montego Bay is fairly boring, but it is an easy cab ride to the city that should cost a flat rate of $5.00. Montego Bay is lined with different beach bars, shops, and Colonial houses. It’s a nice beach town. For cruisers, if is also a stopping point for other excursions. These include trips to Dunn’s River Falls and Negril.
I spent my day in Negril on the beach at Margaritaville and then at Rick’s to watch the cliff divers.
Leaving Cuba for a brief moment, the Cuba Cruise sails to Montego Bay. This stop provides an opportunity for people who can fly directly to Cuba to embark on this cruise.
For me, it was a beach day. During that stop, I took a shuttle bus drive one hour up the coast to Negril – known for its beaches and several bars, including Margaritaville and Rick’s Café.
Margaritaville is located on a nice stretch of sandy beach. Once you are there, you can rent a beach chair or a cabana. You can order food and drinks from your chair, or you sit at one of the indoor of outdoor bars. There is also a gift shop.
Rick’s Café is about a 15-minute drive further up the coast – and up a hill – from Margaritaville. It is famous for its sunsets and cliff-diving. In addition to it lounge chairs, bars and gift shop, it also has a pool.
After a couple of hectic days in Cuba, our ship sailed to Jamaica. This is a port where some people embark and some disembark. For the rest of us, we change gears from needing a passport and Cuba dollars to just using our seapass and US dollars.
The port at Montego Bay is nice and has a large duty-free area for shopping, but it is a bit of a distance to any beaches or the main Montego Bay “drag.” There are shuttle buses that will take you into town. I opted for another adventure – a transfer to the beaches at Negril, Jamaica.
It is about an hour or so drive to Negril, but it is interesting and has great scenery. Our first stop was Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. This of one in a chain of restaurant/bar/beach destinations, so I wasn’t expecting a lot – I just wanted a nice place to sit on the beach for a bit and just do … nothing. And, for that it is good. The staff greeted us with a rum punch and we headed to beach chairs. The day was a bit overcast and the sea was rough, but when you are on vacation and it is -30o C at home in Toronto, what are a few clouds and high tides? I found a chair and one of the staff brought me a little table – and everything was perfect!
Eventually, I did order a margarita – I had to try one at least – and an order of nachos. As you can see, the nachos were HUGE.
Several people walked by trying to sell various things and services, including massages and hair braiding. Really, all I wanted to do was sit on a beach – it has been a long time since I have done that!
Just as the sun was starting to come out, we headed for Rick’s Café, supposedly one of the top ten bards in the world. Whatever… It is nice, the views were great but no one was cliff diving that day.
We eventually headed back to the ship, thus ending a lazy day at the beach.
That night, on the cruise, we had a bit of rough seas – enough that you could feel the ship rocking and it was a challenge to walk. The entertainment crew even had to forgo they normal show for a modified version because of safety concerns for the dancers. Still, they did put on a great show. The talent in the group is very deep with singers who can do just about any genre – from opera to classic rock.