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  #1  
Old January 23rd, 2013, 03:10 PM
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beachdreaming beachdreaming is offline
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Default My thoughts after visiting Samana

Went there on a cruise 3 weeks ago and did a cultural tour with Terry. I was prepared for the type of area we were visiting and enjoyed the day. Saw lots of things, ate a local meal and snacks , and DH tried the local drink - mama juana (rum, red wine, honey, herbs, and tree bark). The people were friendly and welcomed us. We did not feel scared and vendors easily took "no thank you" if you didn't want their product. At the end of the day a couple of local children tried begging from us as we walked back to the pier. At the waterfall the folks that "facilitate" you to cross the water were helpful and most were appreciative of the tip you gave them. One lady on our tour had an aggressive facilitator when it came time to tip. I took that aggressive person and the begging children as par for the course - you are usually always going to have those type of things around you - no matter where you go.

Our ship's excursion person explained it like this: "Samana is not for tourists, it is for travelers." Tourists aren't going to enjoy seeing some of the real world in Samana - the negatives for you will far out weigh any positives. Travelers on the other hand will take all that Samana has to offer and come away having experienced another culture.

I hope to someday be able to visit there again.
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  #2  
Old January 24th, 2013, 09:38 PM
joyful1nh joyful1nh is offline
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I'm actually looking at the cultural tour - thanks for your review! I'm not real big on eating and drinking in other countries after a really bad experience in Mexico, but I do like the idea of seeing a bit more of Samana than the tourist areas.
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  #3  
Old January 24th, 2013, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by joyful1nh View Post
I'm actually looking at the cultural tour - thanks for your review! I'm not real big on eating and drinking in other countries after a really bad experience in Mexico, but I do like the idea of seeing a bit more of Samana than the tourist areas.
I understand your reluctance about the food and have declined similar things in the past. I'm glad that I was able to come out of my comfort zone this trip. Also, the tour brings a large cooler of bottled drinks - water, pop, & local beer since you should stick to bottled fluids. I hope you are able to take in all that Samana has to offer. Schools were closed for the holidays when we were there so the school supplies & candy that I brought were just left at Terry's office for them to deliver later instead of during our tour like website offers. I wish I had kept some of the candy so that I could have given it to young kids we saw when we visited some of the local homes & when we were on the drive to the other side of island for lunch & waterfall.
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Old January 24th, 2013, 11:17 PM
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Thanks for your review!

We booked with Terry, too, and I am wondering if the roads are really as bad as other reviews ( and indeed Terry's own website) make it sound?

Curious if that might be too much for someone with back problems?

Any thoughts would be appreciated!
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  #5  
Old January 25th, 2013, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by NEW 2 CRUISIN View Post
Thanks for your review!

We booked with Terry, too, and I am wondering if the roads are really as bad as other reviews ( and indeed Terry's own website) make it sound?

Curious if that might be too much for someone with back problems?

Any thoughts would be appreciated!
We were in a big open safari truck. There were seat belts and overhead straps to use if you wanted. No one used the seat belts and at times the straps were used for brief periods. Mainly we just held on to the bars on the back of the seats when needed - not everyone even needed to do this. The ride is a bit bumpy/rough at times. Our driver was great and tried to keep this to a minimum. One lady (almost as big around as she was tall) had bad joint arthritis and her knees barely bent. She had trouble getting in and out of the back of the truck. The driver and guide were great with helping her do this. She needed lots of moral support too from all of us. I think they offered to let her sit in the front of the truck in a regular seat. So, I would think that option would be available to someone with a bad back. You might emial Terry and see if this is an option. I think you'd have to decide how much bumpiness you could take. Hopefully the excitement and stimulation from the view would take your mind off any back discomfort that might occur. The rough road is on the way to/from the lunch on the beach and waterfall. Terry could probably arrange a customized tour that didn't take you on the rough road but then you'd miss a lot.
Hope this helps and doesn't make it harder for you to decide. Good luck and enjoy!
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  #6  
Old January 26th, 2013, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by beachdreaming View Post
We were in a big open safari truck. There were seat belts and overhead straps to use if you wanted. No one used the seat belts and at times the straps were used for brief periods. Mainly we just held on to the bars on the back of the seats when needed - not everyone even needed to do this. The ride is a bit bumpy/rough at times. Our driver was great and tried to keep this to a minimum. One lady (almost as big around as she was tall) had bad joint arthritis and her knees barely bent. She had trouble getting in and out of the back of the truck. The driver and guide were great with helping her do this. She needed lots of moral support too from all of us. I think they offered to let her sit in the front of the truck in a regular seat. So, I would think that option would be available to someone with a bad back. You might emial Terry and see if this is an option. I think you'd have to decide how much bumpiness you could take. Hopefully the excitement and stimulation from the view would take your mind off any back discomfort that might occur. The rough road is on the way to/from the lunch on the beach and waterfall. Terry could probably arrange a customized tour that didn't take you on the rough road but then you'd miss a lot.
Hope this helps and doesn't make it harder for you to decide. Good luck and enjoy!
Thanks so much for your kind reply!
It sounds like it will be tolerable if seatbelts/overhead straps were not even necessary.
My fears are relieved and we're looking forward to our first visit to Samana and this tour!

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  #7  
Old February 21st, 2013, 07:54 PM
DragonOfTheSeas DragonOfTheSeas is offline
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OP--Our cruise roll call is booking a group tour-- #5 [Cultural/beach/waterfall] with Terry. If you do not mind, I would like to ask you a few question.

We leave the dock around 10 am. The website says it takes 4-5 hours. What time [approx] did you get back to the tender pier? [2-3pm or so?] Did you go back to the ship--or did you walk around any on the pier?

What was included in the lunch/type of food served?

Where did you drink this rum drink?

Did you visit the cigar factory? Was it interesting?

How long [approx] did you stay at the beach or the waterfall?

Can you remember any of the stops--ther than the beach and waterfall. Or was it mostly driving through the scenery. [I understand it is beautiful.]

Thanks in advance!
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  #8  
Old February 21st, 2013, 08:47 PM
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beachdreaming beachdreaming is offline
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Default I tried to answer your questions Dragon of the Seas

I just typed my answers at the end of each of your questions. Hope it helps. I think you'll enjoy it. Hope you come back and post here after you go. I'll be curious what you think.



Quote:
Originally Posted by DragonOfTheSeas View Post
OP--Our cruise roll call is booking a group tour-- #5 [Cultural/beach/waterfall] with Terry. If you do not mind, I would like to ask you a few question.

We leave the dock around 10 am. The website says it takes 4-5 hours. What time [approx] did you get back to the tender pier? [2-3pm or so?] Did you go back to the ship--or did you walk around any on the pier? - We got back about 3:00 and they gave you a choice of shopping briefly while they waited or they'd take you back to the pier. Some folks went right back to the pier. We had them drop us off at the shopping (outdoor craft area) which is just down the street from the pier and then we walked back ourselves. There was a small band and local dancers still playing when we got back to the pier.

What was included in the lunch/type of food served? Chicken, two types of fish, rice/bean, cole slaw, potato salad, sliced fruit, & coffee. There's also the big cooler of pop, water, and beer from Terry that is with you all the time. There's crafts to purchase but no one is aggressive with that. Other snacks during the tour include fresh baked bread and coconut candy.

Where did you drink this rum drink? There's several places during the tour. Behind the Cigar place is a gift shop that you can sample it also at the waterfall stop you can sit
down in a place that will let you sample all kinds of fruits and snacks and the rum drink. There's crafts to purchase there.

Did you visit the cigar factory? Was it interesting? The cigar factory is just a small shop, the cigar roller sits there and makes a cigar while your guide explains the process and you pass around the various ingredients that go into making cigars. Of course you can buy them there too. It's not a long stop but it was interesting.

How long [approx] did you stay at the beach or the waterfall? The beach is where you have lunch. approximately 45 minutes to an hour. Bring hand sanitizer or hand wipes and tissues/toliet paper for the restroom there. The waterfall involves the "escorted" walk to get back to it - 7-8 minutes each way. Then depending on how long or if folks get in the water, they'll adjust accordingly. Be prepared to tip the ones that help you cross the stream.

Can you remember any of the stops--ther than the beach and waterfall. Or was it mostly driving through the scenery. [I understand it is beautiful.] The stop at the baker's house to see how they bake their bread and then you can look around their house. We would have stopped at a school but it was holiday break. I would have loved to have been able to see the schools and kids. I had taken a big bag of school supplies and ended up leaving that at Terry's office for them to distribute. Hope someone in your group wants to bring things for the schools.

Thanks in advance!
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  #9  
Old February 22nd, 2013, 09:07 AM
DragonOfTheSeas DragonOfTheSeas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachdreaming View Post
I just typed my answers at the end of each of your questions. Hope it helps. I think you'll enjoy it. Hope you come back and post here after you go. I'll be curious what you think.
Thank you for your reply. I will be sure to come back and post.

We went to Saman a couple of years ago and to the ship excursion to Cayo Leventado. It rained shortly after we got there and we went back to the ship. It was a beutiful island--but, we did not see any of the DR. CL could have been anywhere.

I was glad to see the info on Terry on TripAdvisor and I have organized our Roll Call tour. We have approx 35 going.

I am sure we will have a good time and I think some pax feel safer with our large numbers.
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