We were in Jamaica 9/24 and had an awful time. We did not encounter any shooting or fighting, however, a few times we did think that the taxi drivers and store clerks were going to fight over us. We did the Pirate Ship excursion which was a waste of a couple of hours then went shopping at the Carnival 'recommended' shops and ended up at Margaritaville. That was the only place off of the ship where we could relax and enjoy ourselves. I have still heard good things about Jamaica and maybe we were just there on a 'bad day'. If I do return to this island I will only get off of the ship to go to Margaritaville (if that).
The only thing i can tell is that I read in the Quad Cities Times today or sunday that they had riots over the police shooting a man or two. claimed 4000 people hit the streets in protest. That is all the paper said.
We had an okay time when we went-- did the River Tubing and Wet and Wild party boat... but we did hear from other passengers that there was a gunshot in the shopping area and a guy went down... This was in August... We were okay with the group but I don't think I would go off on my own!
I should say the people we talked to who did the Dunns River Falls tour all said they had a great time. We did the city highlights tour and shopping, and that was a mistake. I couldn't wait to get back on the bus!
My wife and I were married in Negril, Jamaica last December and returned there in summer of 03. We fell in love with the food, drink, and the people. We are booked on the Carnival Conquest next summer and can't wait to get back to Jamaica. I think most of the problems people report occur near the cruise terminal. Once you get out of the city proper, I think you will find a different picture than the one painted by the casual visitor. I realize the amount of time the cruise ship is there is not enough to truly experience the real Jamaica and that is a real shame. We consider it a beautiful place.
If there is a real danger the ship will not dock or allow you ashore. We have been to Jamacia almost a dozen times and have always loved it. Yes some of the vendors can get pushy but no problem mon. The local people are mostly very kind and have a real love of life and having fun. Major problems are usually in areas that the tourists do not get to such as near the airport in Kingston.
The police and locals in Montego Bay had a huge uprising a week ago....they now claim that things are back to normal and the police are back in control. 4000 locals took on the police after a young man was shot by police. then 5 other people were shot according to the papers....but not sure if that was police or locals. Hopefully all is calm now.
Everything seems a lot more relaxed and laid back in Ochos Rios. I don't think they have the same kind of social unrest that Montego Bay is experiencing, however, I would book any excursions through the ship, as they are generally on top of any thing that would be of concern to cruisers. It's probably not any different than cities here in the U.S.A. There are places in practically any major city that you would not want to wander into without protection.
I just got back today from the Conquest-Western Carribean. My least favorite place was Montego Bay. We did the ship sponsered "Highlights of Montegoe Bay" and it was really interesting to say the least. Our tour guide was very sweet and knowledgeable however I would not recommend this tour if you want to relax. It was actually quite scary at times, and we couldn't wait to get back on the boat....but like many people have said...most major cities have areas that you shouldnt wander around alone...but it was dissapointing because we had such high expectations of what Jamaica would be like. I heard the Wet and Wild trip was fun and relaxing....
Some family of mine are going on a cruise with Royal Carribean in a few weeks and RC took Jamaica off their itinerary because there has been so many complaints..I wonder if Carnival will consider doing the same thing....
Just back from Conquest yesterday. Jamaica SUCKS! We went on a tour with Good TIme Charlie and the six of us paid $160.00 for the day which wasn't a bad deal. We stayed with him from the time we got off the ship until 3:00 P.M. when he took us back to the ship, except for once. Our BIG mistake was leaving Margaritaville without him and walking down to the public beach. He offered to walk with us and we all said nah and agreed to be back at M'ville at 3:00 for the trip back to the ship. As soon as we got on the street people started coming from everywhere trying to sell us drugs. It was awful!! After getting to the beach and staying for a while, we sent the men back to M'ville to meet Charlie and he picked up the women at the beach. I am a 54 year old female and was shocked that these scumb balls tried to sell me marijuana and cocaine. They have no respect for anyone. I was literally holding my husband back from fighting with them. We all put in our comments sheet that Carnival should not stop in Jamaica and spend two days in Grand Cayman instead. We were all scared to death for those two blocks.
Charlie was great and took us everywhere we wanted to go but the people are so pushy and poor. It became very annoying but was way better at Rose Hall Mall than downtown. Still, it SUCKS and we will not get off the ship next time for sure. A word of advise, in Jamaica, Don't leave your guide even if it is only two blocks away to where you are going.
MY SHIP HAS SAILED
Carnival Conquest 10/26/03
We too just returned from the Conquest and MO Bay. We took a private tour with A-Z Jamaica Planners. Reyn was our driver and he brought along his lovely wife Ann, as it was her birthday. We were the only people on the tour which included a drive through the area with complete history and present information, a tour at Rose Hall Mansion, a beach stop for as long as we wanted at Rose Hall Beach Club, a shopping stop (and if we wanted a stop at Margaritaville, which we declined). All this including entry fees for $42 per person for all day. We had a great day and really enjoyed our private tour. There was no mention of unrest nor any sign of increased law enforcement. Traffic was terrible due to road construction and aggressive drivers.
We talked to people on the plane last night who went to the Apple Rum Tour and they said the 2 hour driving distance was a terrible experience. Others did the rafting ship tour and liked it. Jamaica is a port where you want to be with a native guide, so plan a tour that interests you.
Why would Carnival continue to go there when it is such a diliked place? It being on the ports that they visit must make some people choose other ships and other companies. Who wants to pay for a port that you don't want to visit????
Joie, All I know to do is let them know how you feel about Jamaica like we all did. Sooner or later maybe they will quit stopping there. I for one didn't see any other cruise ships there except Carnival. They were everywhere at the other two ports. There certainly wasn't anything there for me and I won't be seeing them again in Jamaica except from aboard the ship next time.
MY SHIP HAS SAILED
Carnival Conquest 10/26/03
Carnival, along with other cruiselines, goes there because it is an interesting island with many great features such as mountains, waterfalls, beaches and the like. Two things to keep in mind are that there are problems of some sort almost everywhere you go and If you stay with an excursion group, the problems don't become a factor. The other point is that everyone doesn't want to eliminate Jamaica as a port of call. The people speaking out against it on this site represent about 1/1000000000 of 1% of all the people cruising. A lot us would not like to have missed experiencing Margaritaville or Dunn's River Falls. What is taking place in Montego Bay (only) right now is due to the police shooting a resident. Remember when that happened in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and other places here at home. Same results! It will pass. As far as the drugs, they are available on the streets and beaches everywhere the ships go.
The reason CCL goes there is the same reason other lines go there. People WANT to visit Jamaica. I know we love it there and are excited every time we get a chance to visit. So much so that a land vacation there would not be out of the question. Much of what you see and feel at any port is what you expect to see. If you are expecting problems then that is what you will see. On the other hand if you are expecting a differant culture and interesting people that are friendly and warm then this is what you will find. We choose the latter and have not been dissapointed.