There are two international airports on Jamaica: Donald Sangster (MBJ) in Montego Bay (tel. 876/952-3124; www.mbjairport.com) and Norman Manley (KIN) in Kingston (tel. 876/924-8452; www.nmia.aero). The most popular flights are from New York and Miami. Remember to reconfirm all flights no later than 72 hours before departure. Flying time from Miami is 1 1/4 hours; from Los Angeles, 5 1/2 hours; from Atlanta, 2 1/2 hours; from Dallas, 3 hours; from Chicago and New York, 3 1/2 hours; and from Toronto, 4 hours.
Some of the most convenient service to Jamaica is provided by American Airlines (tel. 800/433-7300 in the U.S. and Canada; www.aa.com) through hubs in New York and Miami. Throughout the year, one daily nonstop flight departs from New York's Kennedy Airport for Montego Bay. From Miami, at least two daily flights depart for Kingston and two daily flights depart for Montego Bay.
AmericaWest/US Airways (tel. 800/622-1015 in the U.S. and Canada; www.usairways.com) offers one flight daily from Charlotte, Ft. Lauderdale, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. Delta (tel. 800/225-2525 in the U.S. and Canada; www.delta.com) flies directly to Montego Bay daily from Minneapolis.
Air Jamaica (tel. 800/523-5585 in the U.S. and Canada; www.airjamaica.com) operates one or more flights daily to Montego Bay and Kingston from such cities as Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Atlanta, Baltimore/Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, Newark, Boston, Houston, Los Angeles, New York's JFK, and Toronto. The airline has connecting service within Jamaica through its reservations network to Air Jamaica Express, whose planes usually hold between 10 and 17 passengers. Air Jamaica Express flies from the island's international airports at Montego Bay and Kingston, and also to smaller airports around the island, including Boscobel (near Ocho Rios) and Tinson Pen (near Kingston).
Air Canada (tel. 888/247-2262 in the U.S. and Canada; www.aircanada.ca) flies from Toronto to Jamaica daily. The connection to Kingston is nonstop, but the flight to Montego Bay involves a change of planes in Miami. British Airways (tel. 0870/850-9850 in Britain; www.britishairways.com) has four nonstop flights weekly to Montego Bay and Kingston from London's Gatwick Airport.
By Cruise Ship
Most cruise ships heading for Jamaica travel at night, arriving the next morning at the day's port of call, perhaps Montego Bay or Ocho Rios. In port, passengers can go ashore for sightseeing, shopping, and a local meal. Prices vary widely; consult a travel agent for the latest.
Agencies and tour companies offering cruise packages to Jamaica include: Ambassador Tours, 120 Montgomery St., Suite 400, San Francisco, CA 94104 (tel. 800/989-9000 in the U.S. and Canada, or 415/357-9876; www.ambassadortours.com); Cruises, Inc., 1415 NW 62nd St., Suite 205, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309 (tel. 888/282-1249 or 800/854-0500 in the U.S. and Canada; www.cruisesinc.com); Cruises of Distinction, 2750 S. Woodward Ave., Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304 (tel. 800/634-3445 in the U.S. and Canada); Cruise Masters, Century Plaza Towers, 2029 Century Park E., Suite 950, Los Angeles, CA 90067 (tel. 800/242-9000 in the U.S. and Canada); Kelly Cruises, 1315 W. 22nd St., Suite 105, Oak Brook, IL 60521 (tel. 800/837-7447 in the U.S. and Canada, or 630/990-1111; www.kellycruises.com); and Hartford Holidays Travel, 129 Hillside Ave., Williston Park, NY 11596 (tel. 800/828-4813 in the U.S. and Canada, or 516/746-6670; www.hartfordholidays.com).
Also stay tuned to last-minute price wars brewing among such megacarriers as Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Holland America .
The Cruise Lines -- Here's a brief rundown of some of the cruise lines serving Jamaica and the Caribbean. For detailed information, pick up a copy of one of our companion guides in this series, Frommer's Cruises & Ports of Call, Frommer's Caribbean Ports of Call, or The Unofficial Guide to Cruises.
- Carnival Cruise Lines (tel. 888/CARNIVAL in the U.S. and Canada; www.carnival.com): Offering affordable vacations on some of the biggest and most brightly decorated ships afloat, Carnival is the boldest, brashest, most successful mass-market cruise line in the world. Its vessels stop at Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. The cruises offer good value and feature nonstop activities. Food and party-colored drinks are plentiful, and the overall atmosphere is comparable to a floating theme park. Lots of single passengers opt for this line, as do families attracted by the line's well-run children's program.
- Celebrity Cruises (tel. 877/202-4345 in the U.S. and Canada, or 305/539-6000; www.celebrity.com): Celebrity maintains stylish, medium to large ships that stop at Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. It's classy but not stuffy, several notches above mass-market lines. Accommodations are roomy and well equipped, cuisine is refined, and service is impeccable.
- Costa Cruise Lines (tel. 800/462-6782 in the U.S. and Canada, or 954/266-5600; www.costacruises.com): Costa, the U.S.-based branch of a cruise line that has thrived in Italy for about a century, maintains hefty to megasize vessels. Two of Costa's vessels offer similar jaunts through the western Caribbean on alternate weeks, departing from Fort Lauderdale and calling at Ocho Rios. There's an Italian flavor and lots of Italian design on board here, and an atmosphere of relaxed indulgence.
- Holland America Line (tel. 877/932-4259 in the U.S. and Canada; www.hollandamerica.com): Holland America is the most high-toned of the mass-market cruise lines. The ships offer solid value, with very few jolts or surprises, and attract a solid, well-grounded clientele of primarily older travelers (late-night revelers and serious partygoers might want to book cruises on other lines, such as Carnival). Cruises stop at deep-water mainstream ports such as Ocho Rios or Montego Bay, and last an average of 7 days, but in some cases 10 days, visiting such ports as Key West, Grand Cayman, St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Curaçao, Barbados, and St. Thomas.
- Royal Caribbean International (RCI; tel. 866/562-7625 in the U.S. and Canada; www.royalcaribbean.com): RCI leads the industry in the development of megaships. Though accommodations are more than adequate, they are not upscale and tend to be a bit more cramped than the industry norm. Using Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or Galveston as their home port, Royal Caribbean ships call regularly at Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. Most of the company's cruises last 7 days.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.