Well let me preface this by saying, some people will like it, some people will not. I simply gave it 4 stars because the port is not at all bad, there is just not much to do. Please read on.....
This port is totally sealed off and secure from the rest of the country. Keep this in mind.
The ship is able to dack right next to the port so unlike Cozumel or Cayman you don't have far to walk or you don't have to tinder into the port. The entire port is owned and operated by Royal Caribbean so everything and everyone is clean, shiny, and new. The entire place is a location to sell toruists things. We did buy some jamaican spices and sauces in a shop that was really jamaican and they were priced very well. Many of the items were priced reasonably well. The port is divided into a couple of parts as far as shopping goes. One part is set up like an outdoor mall where you have individual shops witha theme. All of those are very nice and clean. No one is pressing you to buy anything. At the time I was there not all of the shops were occupied, they are probably by now. The second part (the part I enjoyed) was setup like an open air markett. Here is where you can make deals and find some hand made stuff and things that are not simply retail souveniers. I spent some time in this area, the people were very friendly and if you wanted things for adults to grand kids... you could find it. The place is not really large but not small by any means.
Now for the critical...
There is or at the time was not a place to eact except for a hot dog stand. Really? The place has some places to sit but there is no beach area and you can not even see the ocean from the port. There is not really anything beautiful about the area. The beauty is located in the resorts or montego bay. Keep in mind you are in a third world country so this port is sealed off from the rest of the country. If you were on the ship you could see just beyond the gates of the port, the town was really run down and there were many locals just waiting to pounce on the first unsuspecting tourist to sell them something or who knows what.
If you are taking an excursion that the cruise line books for you, you are very safe. Your transportation comes into the secure area of the port and picks you up. you do not have to leave the area on your own. If you take a cab you will have to get a cab driver from the port and endure the locals... Some friends of ours cabbed to Montego Bay and did not take an excursion. She said it was quite an experience just getting to this mans cab but he kept the locals away and they were able to get to their destination. They did have a great time after getting away from the port. Not everything is bad about jamaica. There are just lots of locals next to the port that want to get money out of you by doing or selling you anything... and I mean anything. The further away from the port you get the better it gets but you can not ever let your guard down. You are still a tourist and you probably have something they want and that is dollars.
So to sum up my stop in Jamaica. Either plan to shop in the port or book an excursion. If this is your first time... you might enjoy the port for an hour or so.
The next time I go there I am going to an all inclusive resort that is affiliated with the cruise line. I understand Beaches is owned or operated by RCCL. People I know have gone that route and say it is absolutely wonderful. They are allowed to come into the secure area and pick you up. They take you there and for one price it is all the play and eat you can handle for the entire day and they guarantee you they will have you back at the ship before they set sail.
Jamaica is definately a place that I would not go out on my own and definately do not ever go by yourself. A 20 yr old female went missing on the cruise I was on because she left the port and went into town on foot by herself. I never found out what became of this person but security was helping the parents look at the time we pulled out of port.
The port is a great place to shop. Very safe and secure. You can go by yourself anywhere in the port. You can leave the port and as long as you stay in groups and do something that you have planned or booked, you will have a great time.
Falmouth, small taste of Jamaica
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