Friday, March 3 (Day 3): Boarding Celestyal Crystal

We checked out of our Montego Bay hotel, enjoyed one last ocean-view buffet lunch before we took off for the cruise ship terminal, only a 5-minute drive away.  We were going to take a cab, but as we were gathering our luggage I noticed a large tour bus with tourists inside.  I asked the driver ‘Where are you going?’  He replied ‘The cruise ship terminal.’  I said ‘how much would you charge to take the four of us and our luggage,’ to which he replied ‘$20’, to which I said ‘Sold.’  As we boarded the tour bus the tour guide asked that we sit in the back of the bus so the tour passengers would be given priority when we got to the port.  The bus was filled with the tour group Travelers of Distinction from New York.

When we got to the small port we were told we had to pay $35 each as a customs/immigration tax which is due for anyone staying in Jamaica more than 24 hours.  We weren’t told this by the ship; fortunately we had the cash.  It should be noted that for Americans to visit Cuba you’ll need several hundred dollars in cash with a fair amount of small bills.  You’ll need to exchange money in Cuba, you’ll want the Cuban Convertible Currency (CUC’s) as they are close to 1:1 with the American dollar and can easily be exchanged back to U.S. dollars at the end of your trip if you need to.  We then boarded our modest cruise ship and settled in.  Matt and I went to the gym, while MaryKay and Bill heard the lecture about the upcoming tours we’d be taking.  After the mandatory emergency drill we enjoyed a nice dinner in the Amalthia Restaurant.

Jared and Matt Emergency Drill

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