Due to the pandemic, the tourism industry has been devastated this year. All of the hotel workers, staff members and travel agents have been out of work for months. Travel agents have been working countless hours to get refunds processed, and without making a dime to support themselves.
Because Starship Travel is eager to return to work, we have been traveling to several popular destinations in order to test the waters for our clients. We wanted to be sure we were promoting a safe, well-worth it product, and we have found all of our trips to be safe and tons of fun!
For those of you who are wondering what it is like to travel during this time, here are the ins and outs from our personal experience. To all my travel agent friends and clients- we are happy to answer any questions you may have about traveling to Jamaica! When you are ready to travel, our travel agents will be here to take great care of you.
Prior to leaving, it is required to test negative for COVID. We got our COVID test done at CVS, however, we did not do the rapid test, as we wanted to ensure Jamaica accepted the test. Their website wasn’t super clear, so we didn’t want to risk it. A few days before leaving, we submitted all of our paperwork to the Visit Jamaica website and they sent us approval for our visit.
In the airports, there are plenty of places to lather up with hand sanitizer. Masks are mandatory everywhere. Not all places within the airport are open. On the airplanes, masks are also mandatory, and there was minimal beverage and food service to minimize contact. We were given a package with water, sanitizer and pretzels. A majority of airlines require passengers to be spaced out, but some do not.
Upon arrival, they checked our paperwork and temperatures. We were given sanitizer, and were still required to wear masks. On the transfer to the hotel, both the driver and passenger were required to wear masks. We felt extremely safe throughout all of this process, as we saw the extensive efforts everyone went through in order to stay safe.
These safety procedures continued upon arrival to the hotel- masks, temperatures and sanitizer. The hotel was at 30-60% capacity, depending on the day, which allows for social distancing. It was actually nice to be spread out from other guests.
We stayed at the Riu Ocho Rios for 2 nights, and then 2 nights at the Ocean Coral Springs. In total, we did site inspections on 12 properties. It was a super busy trip, but we barely had time to relax. Below are some pictures from the Riu Ocho Rios!
Here are pictures from our stay at Ocean Coral Springs.
Here is the list of resorts we visited:
- Jamaica Inn
- Couple Tower Isle
- Sandals Royal Plantation
- Royalton Blue Water
- Riu Reggae, Riu Montego Bay and Palace
- Deja on the Hip Strip
- Hyatt Ziva and Hyatt Zilara
Below are images from these site inspections, starting with Jamaica Inn.
Next, we did a site inspection at Couples Tower Isle.
Then we saw Sandals Royal Plantation.
Zoetry was next on our agenda.
We absolutely loved the Royalton Blue Water hotel.
We visited the Riu Reggae, Montego Bay and Palace.
Next up, we were able to spend some time at the Deja on the Hip Strip.
Finally, we saw the Hyatt Zilara and Ziva.
And here are pictures from Ziva!
As a general rule, masks were worn when inside at any point (including checking in for dinner, the lobby, getting coffee, at the buffet, etc). Not all restaurants will be open, and temperature checks will be done. As always, sanitizer is available.
We also enjoyed a visit to the Green Grotto Caves- this historical site is where the slaves escaped from their masters. They used these to get to the other side of the island. We even climbed the 65 steps to get to the underwater river, which was a challenge in itself! There is surprisingly a lot of history here.
Because it was the month of December, all the hotels were decked out for the holidays! Here are some cute pictures.
This FAM trip to Jamaica was totally worth the time! Experiencing this beautiful island is always a treat, but seeing all the safety procedures put in place was especially beneficial. We always felt safe, and it was reassuring to see it first-hand. Our Jamaica Tourist Board representative, Christopher Dobson, was very well organized. With the help of Heather, all of our paperwork was prepared well in advance of our arrival. The transfers and the hotels we stayed at were always ready for us always in a timely fashion. I truly want to thank everyone involved with the Jamaican Tourist Board who made this a great trip!