Port days can be packed with shore excursions and activities, but some cruise passengers prefer to spend their days chilling out at a beautiful beach. Resort day passes can be the perfect answer, offering a nice mix of activities and relaxation. These passes provide daytime access to some of the Caribbean's best resorts while ships are in port.
Resort day passes can be the smart alternative to “beach break” types of excursions offered by cruise lines and local tour operators. These tours often take cruise guests to crowded beaches where shade and entertainment options are limited. Drinks, meals, snacks and beach umbrellas are available for an additional fee, so charges can mount up fast. In addition, the day’s enjoyment ends quickly if rain should arrive.
In contrast, cruise guests purchasing resort passes can spend the day at a lovely beach property with no worries about the weather. Indoor restaurants, entertainment and activities are all readily available. Some properties even offer room-inclusive pass options, providing full use of a guest room during daytime hours.
Resort passes to all-inclusive properties tend to be the most popular. Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts are located on a number of Caribbean islands, for example, and most generally offer day passes options for visiting cruisers. Resort passes typically provide purchasers with meals and snacks, unlimited drinks, and access to the property's facilities and entertainment. Resort pass purchasers are treated like regular resort guests with full access to the property’s beaches and lounge chairs, pools, activities and non-motorized water sports. Many resorts also offer spa facilities and some feature golf courses as well. Spa treatments and tee times can often be arranged on a space-permitting basis for an additional fee.
Resort day passes can be arranged in almost every Caribbean port of call. Some destinations offer several options. In Ocho Rios, for example, Sandals Grande Riviera is an excellent choice for adults ages 18 and older. Located just a short drive from the cruise pier, this adults-only all-inclusive property is set on over 100 acres. There are no crowds here. Day pass purchasers can enjoy lunch, snacks, unlimited drinks, pools, and a wide variety of water sports. The property features a half-mile of white sand beach on the Caribbean Sea and the lagoon area is stunning. Pick out a lounge chair, set up your umbrella and stay awhile. When you’re hungry, wander over to the huge lunch buffet at the Bayside Restaurant or opt for pizza at one of the resort’s pizzerias. The choice is up to you. Jerk chicken and other Jamaican delights are available poolside.
Families may want to head to Beaches Ocho Rios Resort & Golf Club for their Jamaican resort day pass experience. Located about 20 minutes from the Ocho Rios cruise pier, Beaches is the ultimate family playground. This 22-acre property features a massive water park, three swimming pools, restaurants, tons of water sports, championship golf and the Red Lane Spa. Day pass visitors have plenty of lunch options here including the sumptuous buffet at the Bayside Restaurant and Jamaican jerk chicken or pork at the BBQ Park. Josephine’s Creperie is another “don’t miss” stop for guests. It will be tough to tear kids away from Beaches’ 27,000 square-foot Pirates Island Water Park for lunch, though. The water park features a large kid-friendly pool with huge curving waterslides, a smaller waterslide for little tykes, swim-up soda bars, the Treasure Island Aqua Play area, and much more. Beaches has partnered with Sesame Workshop to offer loads of great activities, so your kids may even be able to see Elmo and other favorite friends while you’re there.
Day pass visitors to Sandals and Beaches Resorts can have fun at their property and give back as well. Through its Adopted Schools Program, the Sandals Foundation sponsors 26 schools throughout the Caribbean. These schools are in economically deprived areas where significant assistance is needed. The Sandals Foundation has partnered with Pack for a Purpose to make their sponsored schools’ wish lists readily available. Resort guests and day pass visitors can help support the work of the Sandals Foundation by bringing schools supplies along with them and dropping the items off at the front desk. Check the Pack for a Purpose website for more information.
If resort day passes sound appealing, make sure to investigate your options before heading out on your cruise. Day passes often need to be arranged in advance and availability can be limited. Contact the resort directly or ask your travel agent to check to see if day passes are obtainable for the day you’ll be in port. Inquire about day pass options and what each includes. Prices vary by property and sometimes by season of the year. Resorts sometimes offer special children’s rates as well.
Resort day passes open the door to spending the day your way. Resorts offer single “no worries” destination with lots of options - whether it’s engaging in active water sports, playing with the kids at the waterpark, or relaxing on a comfy lounger with your favorite drink. With a little advance research, you’re sure to find a resort that will provide the perfect home base for making great vacation memories with friends and loved ones. Based on your single day test drive, you may even want to return to your resort in the future for a longer stay.