Ah, Jamaica. After a quick breakfast up at Windjammer, we went out onto the upper decks to check out the view of port. Alongside us, on the opposite edge of port, was the Disney Fantasy cruise ship. Once we had gotten some pictures and were done checking out the upper pool decks and enormous waterslide on board the Fantasy, we grabbed our beach bag and headed down to the gangway at 10am. The port at Falmouth was different from the others. When we left the ship, we immediately walked through a gated, downtown shopping area. Jewelry stores, clothing boutiques, and souvenir shops lined both sides of the long, triangular pier, and we made our way all the way from the tip of the pier, to a large bus depot at the opposite end. After signing waivers and getting our wrist bands, we were on our way to Chukka All-Inclusive Resort.
On our way to the resort, our tour guide and driver gave us a basic lesson in Jamaican linguistics, teaching us how to say yes (yah-mon), no (eh-eh), and everything’s good (irie). Though they were entertaining and fun to engage with, I was mesmerized by the way our driver managed to weave the bus through the narrow streets, sometimes going into the oncoming lane of traffic, to maneuver around the people and cars parked on the sides of the road. Thirty adrenaline filled minutes after leaving port, we pulled into the parking lot of the resort, said goodbye to our new Jamaican teachers, and embarked on our daylong adventure.
After stowing our belongings in a locker, our first activity on the list was the zipline. Donning our harnesses, helmets, and gloves, we hiked back up to the front of the property, and hopped on Line 1. This was the first zipline we have ever needed to do our own braking on, and it was a bit difficult to get used to. Making sure you only grab the line behind the rigging is great in theory, but when you’re spinning around on the line, it’s a bit more difficult to remember where “behind” the rigging is. Nonetheless, we both made it through the day without losing any fingers, so I think we were successful. At only five or six lines long, the zipline course was quick, but had wonderful views of the property, which was made up of beautiful buildings from the 1800s, spread out through the thick forest of trees. The final two lines were the most fun, the second to last being the longest, which was lined up directly above a river, and the last line being the shortest line, which crossed perpendicularly over the same river. Once everyone in the zipline group was through the course, a shuttle bus picked us all up, and brought us back up to where we geared up.
Now free of the slightly uncomfortable harnesses, we chose to go on a more involved adventure, the dune buggies. Able to choose between the single rider ATVs or the duel rider dune buggies, we opted for the dune buggies, so that one of us could drive, while the other got video. When the previous tour group of ATVs rode up, we saw how much mud they were all covered in, and were even more glad that we chose the marginally more enclosed dune buggy. Taking about 45 minutes, the driving tour of the property was very nice, and quite fun. With steep inclines and declines, more leisurely drives through orchards, and faster paced runs through pools of mud, the outing had something for everyone. On our way back through the orchard, our guides stopped and pulled some of the fruit from the trees for us to try. About the size of a grapefruit, but much lumpier, with a yellow-orange coloring, our guides called them “Ugli Oranges”. Pronounced ugly orange, the appearance of the fruit certainly earned it its name, but the taste was far from ugly itself. The hybrid baby of a grapefruit, an orange, and a tangerine, the ugli orange was one of the juiciest fruits I have ever eaten. Swinging back through the property, we made it back to the dune buggy lot mostly free of mud, and thanked our awesome tour guides Spiderman, Batman, and The Amazing Flash for the fun ride.
Back at the resort center, we grabbed a few complimentary drinks. Unfortunately, we did not have enough time to grab food from the included buffet before the river tubing tour left, but the ugli orange proved to be enough to keep us going. Grabbing life vests, and hopping on another shuttle, we made our way up river, through the property. This tour was led by our absolute favorite guides of the day, Banana Man, and Breasty. At the edge of the river, Banana man tied together the long row of inner tubes, and we each hopped in. There was one girl who was there with her friends for her birthday, and Banana Man, taking a liking to her, made sure she was right up front with him for the tour. Once we were on our way down the lazy river, Banana Man and Breasty paddling us along, they began telling us about the property, and the trees and bamboo we passed.
The jokes never stopped flying the whole ride, and Banana Man even proposed to Birthday Girl along the way. (She said yes and we are expecting invitations to the wedding any day now 😉 ) About 15 minutes into the ride, Banana Man pulled us to the edge of the river, and told Breasty to hold down the fort, while he ran up to the pool bar for rum punches and Red Stripe for everyone. A few minutes later, Breasty tied us to the river’s edge and ran up to help Banana Man carry everything down to the river. As we waited, we were passed by two smaller groups, who looked on at us in confusion as we smiled serenely. As a third group passed us, the Captain called to us, “Where are your captains?” to which we replied, “At the bar!” The Captain nodded in understanding and called back, “That’s a good Captain!” With all of us laughing, the group moved on just as Banana Man and Breasty came tottering down the steps with our drinks. Banana Man handed each of us a rum punch as we floated past him, and we were on our way again for the last ten minutes of the river cruise. As we sipped our drinks, it did begin raining, but the rum helped to keep us warm until we got out of the water. Climbing out of the inner tubes was not as easy as getting in, and it certainly didn’t help that the rum was kicking in by then, but Breasty was very helpful, and helped pull everyone to their feet. With everyone on land, and accounted for, we began the short hike up to the main buildings.
With the rain picking up, Ian and I decided to call it a day. Regrettably, we did not have time to do the ropes course, or tour any of the buildings, but we did have a blast doing the three activities we had time for. Catching a bus back to port was easy, as they left every half hour or so. So we grabbed our stuff out of our locker, and caught the next bus back. A quiet half hour ride later, we were driving back through the gates to port, held up our Sea Pass cards to the port security officer as a show of our belonging, and were dropped off where we were picked up earlier.
Walking back through the shops, we picked up our obligatory Jamaica magnet at a large souvenir shop, and picked our way through the other shops on our way back to the ship. These shops are where I picked up the complimentary jewelry I got vouchers for from the port shopping guides, including my favorite charm of the trip, the gecko. I did spend some time looking at tanzanite and blue diamonds, but the only marquise cut blue diamond available was almost twice the size (and price) I was looking for. By shop number three, Ian told me he had developed a throbbing headache, so we called it a day, and went back to the ship to get him some pain killers.
Since we didn’t have time to eat the included lunch at the resort, we went up to Windjammer for an early dinner around 5pm. Eating so early allowed us to go back to our room for the camera, and get some nice shots of port, the city of Falmouth, and the sunset over the hills. Taking it easy, we strolled around the ship, stopped through Central Park to listen to the night’s live music, grabbed a drink from On Air, stopped in at Port Merchants for a magnet of the cruise ship, and went back to the state room for some well-deserved relaxation time. Returning to our room, we found the usual next day’s Cruise Compass, along with the cutest little towel origami dog, which was wearing the sunglasses I forgot to bring along that morning. With a cruising day the next day, it gave us the optimal time to go to bed early, and stay in bed late the next morning, without missing out on any of the action, so we called it a night and hit the sack.