Where will I go on a Jamaica cruise?
This depends on your itinerary. Cruises that visit or depart from Jamaica generally also include ports in the Caribbean, such as Cozumel, Mexico, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands and Labadee, Haiti. Some itineraries transit the Panama Canal and include ports in Central America.
When is the best time to take a Jamaica cruise?
Jamaica cruises are available all year. The climate is warm year-round with little seasonal variation in temperature.
How long do Jamaica cruises last?
These trips typically last five to 14 nights, but there are a few longer sailings.
Will I need a passport or visa?
All cruises now require proof of citizenship. On some itineraries, a certified copy of your birth certificate and a driver's license or government-issued photo I.D. are sufficient, on others a passport is required. Visas may also be required on the more exotic itineraries. Your cruise counselor will advise you on documents you will need depending on your itinerary.
Is English spoken?
English is the official language of Jamaica.
What is the time difference?
Jamaica is in the Eastern Time Zone, but does not observe Daylight Savings Time.
What is the local currency?
The local currency in Jamaica is the Jamaican dollar, but the U.S. dollar is accepted almost universally.
Is tipping a common practice?
Service is sometimes included in restaurant bills. If not, a tip of 10% to 15% is customary. Taxi drivers generally receive 10-15% and other service staff, such as maids and porters, generally receive $1 to $2.
What should I wear?
Casual resort wear, including shorts and T-shirts, is the standard daytime attire for most cruises. Bring a variety of footwear, including low-heeled or rubber-soled shoes for walking on deck, sandals for beach excursions, sturdy walking shoes for guided tours and a pair of dressier shoes for formal dining. You can check your ship's dress codes for options suitable for nighttime, but most restaurants encourage slacks and nice dresses during evening meals.
What should I pack?
Think about the kinds of activities you will want to try -- a safari adventure tour or a relaxing day at the beach, for example -- and pack accordingly. Be sure to bring sunscreen, sunglasses and swimsuits, protective hats, good walking shoes and windbreakers. Also, remember to pack all of your medications, prescription or otherwise, in a bag you can keep with you as needed.
Is the water safe to drink?
Most resorts and restaurants filter their tap water, though bottled water is available almost everywhere.
What sort of medical precautions do I need to take?
Shots aren't usually necessary for visitors from North America, but it never hurts to check with your health care provider and discuss the countries you'll be visiting.
What types of electrical outlets are used?
U.S. cruise companies use the standard 110-volt outlets. International guests will likely need converters and adapters.
How do I make a telephone call from Jamaica?
Resort hotels and public phone booths offer direct dialing for international calls. Calling cards also are available for sale in tourist-friendly markets. U.S.-based cell phones might not work everywhere.
Are hotel rooms outfitted with air conditioners?
Most hotels in Jamaica have air conditioning. If recycled air is important to you, make sure to consult your travel counselor before booking a pre- or post-cruise hotel stay.
What is the shopping like? What souvenirs should I buy?
Jamaica is a great destination for bargain hunters. The island's vendors sell items of all kinds, from local hand-made crafts to imported designer watches and perfumes, all at great prices. Local artists create unique crafts, from paintings of local scenery to wood relief carvings of local people and sights. Coffee drinkers should be sure to pick up some Blue Mountain Coffee, for which Jamaica is famous. Items available at duty-free savings are in abundance in the duty-free shops in Jamaica. U.S. visitors can save 25 to 30 percent on popular items such as brand name crystal and china, brand name watches and perfumes, and brand name leather products such as Fendi and Liz Claiborne
The key to shopping in Jamaica is to be prepared to bargain, as bargaining is a local tradition. If you are uncomfortable with this idea, stick to City Centre, Half Moon Shopping Village and Holiday Village Shopping Centre (all in Montego Bay), where prices are fixed and no haggling is allowed. Prices may be slightly higher than marketplace rates, but this policy saves the hassle of bargaining with vendors.
How do I get around?
Quite often "route taxis" – cars that drive a designated course and pick up and drop off passengers at will – are the cheapest and fastest way to get from place to place. Buses, minibuses and taxis are the primary means of transportation for the majority of people in Jamaica, but are recommended only for the more intrepid tourist. Bicycle rentals may also be available, and many tourist areas of town are pedestrian-friendly. Shore excursions purchased through your cruise line highlight top attractions and include transportation and a guide.
Can I rent a car?
Car rental can be a great way to explore Jamaica. Rental agencies are available in most towns and cities, and the minimum age to rent is 25 years old. Keep in mind that Jamaicans travel on the left side of the road!
What can I do there?
Jamaica has a flourishing tourism industry that includes a variety of outdoor activities and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Soak up some rays at the Rose Hall Beach Club, take a yachting adventure off of the coast or take in the amazing beauty of Dunn’s River Falls. Search for bargains in one of the many duty-free shops, and be sure to sample local favorites like jerk chicken and Red Stripe beer.
Do you have any photography tips for travelers to Jamaica?
There's plenty of natural beauty to capture, so be sure to bring plenty of gear. Users of "point-and-shoot" digital cameras should pack rechargeable batteries, a charger, electric adaptors and high-capacity memory cards (1 gigabyte is recommended). If you're bringing a digital video camera, don't forget the long-life batteries, charger, adaptors and converter. Make sure photography is permitted before shooting in museums, churches and cathedrals; in some cases, you'll just be asked to turn off your flash.