My wife and I have been on 11 cruises, but it is our first time going to Montego Bay. We have some stories about the drug problem in cruise ship areas. Anyone been lately? Appreciate any input. Thansk, Robert
We were there in December and found that a polite, "no thanks," was all that was needed to deter the dealers. The only approach we experienced was passing someone on the street who would quietly offer "smoke" or "ganja." Even our cab driver asked if we smoked!
We never felt threatened or harassed, so I would just be firmly polite. Montego Bay was beautiful, and we enjoyed a peaceful afternoon at Doctor's Cave Beach. Have a good trip!
I can't report on Montego Bay specifically , as our experiences with Jamacia have been limited to a land vacation 20 years ago in Ocho Rios and two cruise stops there in more recent years. Nothing changed. Beggars and drug dealers. What part of "no" don't they understand? (Hey, now I'm writing country music!)
The most dangerous part of this is the fact that the local police will sometimes pose as drug dealers there. In the US, if a cop comes up to me and asks me if I want to buy some illegal drugs and I say "yes" and he arrests me, I can't be convicted as that is "entrapment". Basically, in the US, the cops can't suggest that I commit a crime, and then arrest me for it. But not so in Jamacia. And some drug dealers try to tell you that what they are selling is legal there. In fact, drug laws in Jamacia are actually more stringent than those in the US! I never used illegal drugs (as defined by US laws, which don't include beer, thank heavens!). But it worried me in Jamacia to even have these drug dealers (or cops, as the case may be) following me around.
As a result of this, most cruisers I know either take an excursion offered by the ship in Jamacia, or treat it as a sea day, and never leave the ship. I would suggest one of these two options.
"Bob Marley" is widely available and you will be asked if you'd like to meet him if you go into town. It's no worse than going to a concert here in the US, in my opinion. You will be searched at the terminal before being allowed back on the ship - but it's not a body search, just bags and packages. A teen was caught at the pier when I was there. I don't know what happened to him when he was taken away. Ship's security will be on patrol after a Jamaica stop and will disembark those found in possession at the next port. Fitting punishment for those stupid enough to smoke ganja in an inside cabin!
Why would anone want to go to a place like this? Total lawlessness. I would stay on the ship rather that be constantly offered drugs by the local rifraf. This place seems most like the south bronx but with the palm trees. I would spend my money else where like the Caymans and skip Jamica.