Cruise Day 4: Falmouth, Jamaica

A view from the Good Hope Estate in Jamaica
Jamaica, mon!

Since our excursion wasn’t scheduled to leave until 10:15, we were once again able to sleep in (which, apart from the food, may have been my favorite part of vacation).

Kathleen and I love Jamaica. It was our favorite port on our previous cruise, and we were very much looking forward to returning on this trip.

We got off the ship at about 9:30 and we walked around the shopping area, scoping out what we might purchase on our way back to the ship later in the day. Because we were some of the first people browsing in the little market, we experienced a little stronger sales pitch from some of the venders. This didn’t bother me—Kathleen and I both have pretty decent sales resistance—but if you don’t like the hard sell, I suggest going later in the day when more people are around and venders have less time to focus in on one person.

After composing a mental list of things to buy later, we boarded the shuttle for our tour of the Good Hope Estate. The ride to the estate took about half an hour, twisting and turning up some hilly and quite bumpy roads. Along the way, the tour guide told us a bit about the town and surrounding area and gave us a lesson in Jamaican Patois. We eventually made it to the estate and boarded another shuttle that took us up to the Great House.

The views from the Great House, situated 600 feet above sea level, were spectacular—so says Kathleen, anyway. It’s definitely quiet, away from all the people zip-lining and river tubing nearby.

The house itself was quite interesting, especially the original flooring, still intact from when the house was built in the 1790s. My favorite part though was the “Counting House,” a structure behind the main house where the owner, following the custom of the time, would go to count his money. I now want a counting house, or at least a counting room. Interestingly, the Counting House was used during the filming of the movie “How Stella Got Her Groove Back.”

The Counting House at the Good Hope Estate in Jamaica
The Counting House. I still don’t have one of my own, damn it!

After about an hour, we took the shuttle back down to the entry area. We were told the next shuttle back to the ship would be leaving in about 45 minutes, so we decided to grab a quick bite at their restaurant. We split a helping of jerk chicken and jerk pork and it was delicious. Overall, we had a very enjoyable time touring the Great House and dining on their jerk offerings.

We hopped back on the shuttle bus and endured some awful jokes by the bus driver as we made our way back to the ship. Being schooled on “ya mon” and “irie” gets old the third or fourth time around.

Shopping was in full swing by the time we got back. We were in port with the Oasis of the Seas (at the time, the world’s largest ship), so the market area and small stores were swamped. We made our way around the shops, picking up some rum cakes, jerk seasonings, blue mountain coffee, and a small tote bag to help carry all our goodies back home.

Before getting back on the ship, we stopped and ate a couple Jamaican meat patties. These are very tasty meaty treats, wrapped in savory dough. There’s a stand that sells them right in the port shopping area and I would highly recommend eating at least one the next time you visit Falmouth.

The day we spent in Jamaica was the hottest day of the trip, so we decided to shower and change before heading off for an afternoon drink.

We were back on the ship by about 1:30, a good couple hours before most people were due to return. We headed over to the Schooner Bar and grabbed a couple of drinks. Having had our fill of the Jamaican heat, we decided to enjoy them from the air-conditioned comfort of the Safari Club. We sat in a couple comfortable seats near the windows and watched as crewmembers, who were clearly not afraid of heights, cleaned the windows on the Oasis of the Seas—about fifteen floors up.

We were both so full from our double lunch of jerk chicken and meat patties that we decided to forego dinner in the buffet. We met up with MIL and FIL and joined them while they ate, listening as they told us about their excursion for the day, a zip-line adventure at Good Hope.

The entire idea of zip-lining scares me—not being a fan of heights. However, the zip-line tour they took at the Good Hope Estate sounded downright terrifying. Apparently, toward the end of the zip-line course, there is a 90 foot free-fall portion. This was not mentioned in the shore excursion info and MIL and FIL were none too pleased about doing it. They both survived though, and it did make for a good story (just glad it wasn’t my story).

Once MIL and FIL finished eating, the four of us headed down to the Crown and Castle for a game of trivia. Just as with most trivia, there was one table taking it way too seriously, which gave us a chuckle. We didn’t win, but we did have a lot of fun.

Our hunger started kicking in by the end of trivia, so we decided to give the food at Rita’s a try. The food is not free, but it is reasonably priced. It isn’t exactly made-to-order, but it did taste pretty decent for a $3 quesadilla. And of course, we ordered more two-for-one margaritas. After finishing our food, we took our margaritas to the outdoor seating behind the buffet and enjoyed the sound of the waves and the night sky.

At about 9:15 we decided to head down to the centrum to try to get good seats for the aerial show, which was scheduled to start at 9:45. MIL and FIL headed off to bed, as they’d seen the earlier show at 7:45. Even though we were a half hour early, seating was scarce. We did find a good place to stand, near the casino on deck six, but I would suggest getting their early if you actually want to sit. The show itself was very cool, but it only lasted about 15 minutes.

After the show, we ran in to a couple of our new friends we’d made throughout the cruise. We ended up chatting with them for about 45 minutes and then, a bit tired out, we decided to call it a night.

Up next in cruise day 5: a blustery day in Grand Cayman.


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