I have been on one cruise in my life. When my sons were much younger, their mother and I signed up with a group of families we knew and booked a vacation on the Disney Cruise Lines for four nights in the Caribbean, dropping in on the Bahamas along the way. It was a great trip, and Disney knows how to entertain adults and children almost equally. I especially liked the all-inclusive nature of the experience, where food, most drinks, and all entertainment were part of the package — no need to carry around cash or credit cards. Unfortunately, it was shortly after we came in from the sea and returned home that I realized something wasn’t quite right in my head (yes, the jokes could go on forever). I stayed on that damned boat for an additional two weeks, or in other words, it took that long for me to regain my land legs, as my doctor diagnosed it. The feeling was similar to the sense of motion when riding on a fast elevator . . . without the elevator. After about two weeks it began to diminish until it completely vanished, but I was miserable in the interim. Most doctors refer to this problem as Mal de debarquement (disembarkment) syndrome. It was bad enough that I will never get on a ship again. It happens after I fly also, but inconsistently and not with symptoms as severe as those following the Disney cruise.
My wife loves cruises and went on several before we met. In recent years, we have been searching for resorts that would offer the similar all-inclusive package without having to set sail to get it. We heard from a colleague at work about the all-inclusive resorts at Jamaica, specifically at Montego Bay. After a bit of research, we decided on the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The Zilara is an adult-only resort and is actually a recent addition to the older but expanded and renovated Rose Hall Ziva, formerly owned and operated by Ritz Carlton. The two complexes are directly adjacent to one another with shared restaurants and retailers. All meals, room service, alcohol, gym privileges, and many amenities are included in the price of the room. The rooms are very upscale, with bath tubs, fancy showers, large balconies and way-above-average balcony furniture. The view from our room was fantastic.
Obviously, the options are limited at a land resort. There are no ports-of-call, the entertainment is not very extensive, and the food is not as plentiful. But, the rooms are vastly more spacious than a ship cabin, there are no rough seas, and my head did not spin, even though I drank enough alcohol to practically send it into orbit. We were introduced to a drink called a Dirty Banana (I like to call it a Nasty Nanna) that became a good friend. We did decide to pay a little extra for a couples’ massage in a cabana located only a few yards from the lapping waves of the shores. It was heaven. In short, the Zalara met up to, if not exceeded, our expectations for what an all-inclusive resort should be, and we would definitely consider returning at some point in the future.