I would like to know if there will be any shopping neat the cruise terminal, or if there is a tourist shuttle to the nearby shopping area. I read that there is one that is a nominal fee to go there and back, but what do they look like and how much do they cost....
Jamiaca is a beautiful country, but the poverty is prevalent and last thing I want is to not feel safe or sure. I'm not taking chances, I'll only be wearing my cheap $30 Timex watch and NOT wearing the diamond earrings or rings (worth a small fortune!).
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There is shopping in the terminal if you don't want to go anywhere. There is also a shuttle bus service that runs continuosly around MoBay. It costs around $12.00 per person and runs from the terminal to a bunch of places around town.
Save your money for another island stop....I was on an island tour, where many of us stayed on the bus at a craft area, and again at a tired old strip mall with one sad jewelry store. Coz or Grand Cayman will offer you many choices.
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In the terminal shops they sell t-shirts, blue mountain coffee, Jamaican hats, rum cakes and the same souvenirs you would buy any place there. You surely want to get something that says, "Jamaica - No Problem." Everything there says that! The terminal shops are fine and safe.
On our first cruise to Jamaica, we took the bus to the shopping area in town. The salespeople were extremely pushy and rude. I realize the country is poor and needs the money, but they would sell more merchandise if they would leave you alone long enough to decide what you want to purchase. As soon as they start pestering me, I lose interest in buying anything from them.
On our second cruise to Jamaica, we went straight to Margaritaville, and then walked on to Doctor Caves Beach. We spent several hours there. It is a beautiful beach.
While I did not cruise to Jamaica I did a land base all inclusive vacation there, I found that some of the locals are very rude and while there we being two SISTAS did not feel very safe we did walk to Margaritaville one night but that was it we stayed close to the resort. I don't know why but Jamaica was just ok never really crave to go back there like I have the Bahamas or Cancun. But to also be fair it is a very beautiful country. JUST BE CAREFUL!!!
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I'm so sorry you had bad experiences in Jamaica. We love Jamaica and can't wait to go back next month. Yes, some of the sales people are pushy, just like in the "I have a special deal, just for you, just today, senora" shops in Mexico. It's how they make their living. But you also have to take into account the cultural differences between us in the USA and them. We are very careful about our "personal" space, we don't touch, we don't want anyone close. They don't have those same inhibitions/rules. Watch them, they're a very friendly, very physical peopel. They gesture, they touch. No shopkeeper in Jamaica would intentionally do something to put you off or offend you, that would cost them a sale to you, and possibly give them a bad reputation with future tourists. I have found that if I tell them I'm not interested and if necessary "leave me alone" they back off.
As far as your safety is concerned. Jamaica has a bad rep. It's sad. Particularly since we sail into Ocho or MoBay. If you go to the US Gov Customs pages and look at crime in Jamaica you will see that Kingston is the place to worry about. I wouldn't walk around alone at night anywhere. I particularly wouldn't walk around alone in a foreign country. And, I wouldn't flash money or jewels anywhere, it's just common sense.
Yes, Americans have been involved in "stick ups" and have been robbed. In Jamaica, and here in Las Vegas, USA. Figure 2000 tourists per ship, 6 ships a week, 52 weeks/year. That's a minimum of 624,000 people a year. That's a lot of people. Crime is everywhere. If you lived here in LV, NV you'd read about how tourists are robbed every week.
Jamaica is beautiful, if you've never seen Shaw Park Botanical Gardens, or driven through the 3 layer canopy of Fern Gully, or climbed Ocho Rios Falls, you've really missed something. Maybe you wouldn't want to do these things by yourself, but there are many tour companies that advertise on the web, and there are many who will be waiting for you when you disembark the ship. Anyone who is on the pier is licenced.
If you want to spend your day on the beach and shop at the market by the terminal, that's wonderful. I'm sure you'll have a great day. But, if you have any inclination to see any more of this island paradise I hope that checking the customs site, or looking at the Jamaica government sites will reassure you.