We haven't been to Sandals but I thought I would tell you how we spent our day in Ocho Rios. We had our teen daughters with us and all they really wanted to do was spend the day lounging in the sun and swimming, so when we got off the ship we walked to Island Village (a very short walk). Stay to your right when you are off the ship, go past the cabs, you will go past several little shops that have great deals on some souvenirs and t-shirts and then you will arrive at Island Village. Margaritaville is there also. Once there you pay a small fee (I think it was $5 per person and maybe another $3 for a beach lounge chair) and that gives you an all day pass for the little beach there. A young man named Junior was going around seeing if anyone needed drinks, etc. My husband tipped him $10 when he returned with our drinks (Margaritas, of course) and Junior stayed by our side all day. He went and got menus for us, ordered our lunch, brought our lunch, flirted (politely) with our youngest daughter and was just great company. There was a water trampoline in the water that was a lot of fun and we also rented one of those pedal boats for a couple of hours for about $20. They patrol the beach area and do not let vendors approach the guests but you are more than welcome to go up to the vendors. We bought a few things from the vendors after some gentle haggling over prices. At the end of the day we walked back to the port and stopped at the little shops along the way.
We had a wonderful time even though my husband and I had really wanted to do Dunn's River. The girls would not have enjoyed that so we are saving that for another time. Just one more reason to go back.
Hope this gives you another idea in case you don't get to Sandals. Have a great time.
When we sail to Ocho Rios in January on the Freedom, we are going to spend the day at The Sunset Jamaica Grande. They sell day passes to cruise passengers for $45 for adults or $25 for children. That includes use of the pool and beach facilities, non motorized watersport activities, full buffet lunch. snacks from the beach grill and unlimited beverages ( alcoholic and nonalcoholic ) It's a beautiful resort that is close to the pier. Its the one you will see on the left as your ship approaches the pier