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loveandcruises

Someone please tell me about Samana

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I've been to the Samana Caya Leventado resort through the ship's excursions a couple of times, but wanted to try something on my own. BAD idea!!! I contacted Gran Bahia Principe Cayacoa in November to find if they would do a day pass for cruise passengers. The reply was that they did, and it would be $47.50 per person. In February I confirmed and asked if I needed to make a reservation. The reply was that I did not need a reservation, and yes, there would be no problem. The day we went, we were told by a gentleman at the front desk that they no longer had that program. I asked to speak to a manager. I showed him my written correspondence. He told me that they couldn't honor it for that day, but the following week would be no problem. What???

 

I've never had that type of experience before when arranging my own excursion, and I hope no one else has that experience at the Gran Bahia Principe Cayacoa. Just don't go!!!

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One thing I forgot to ask Terry, and you guys who have done excursions with him might know; when you get there at the pier and you meet for the ATV tour; do you pay whoever is there if Terry isn't, and do they prefer cash or traveler's checks? We will, of course, have small bills for some tips here and there. And approximately how much did you tip Terry or your tour guide?

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Thank you for this information. We have been to Caya Leventado through the ship and loved it, but my husband and I are always interested in good private excursions because they usually are a much better value than the ship-sponsored excursions. We do both - ship-sponsored or private, depending on the port. Obviously we all take our chances when we venture out on our own, but in Samana a day-pass at a resort would definitely be something that we would want to do. Your experience sounds like a total nightmare. You said “we”, was it just two of you? It is really frightening that even though you showed them correspondence confirming that they offered day passes for that day, they would simply say “oh not today, but next week we can honor that”. Obviously at that point it would have been too late to do anything through the ship. How far away from the ship is the resort? Did you have to take a taxi to get there? Did they offer you any compensation? Were you able to salvage any of your day in Samana? I hope this did not ruin your cruise! Again, thanks for the taking the time to post. I guess it will be Caya Leventado (through the ship) again for us! We will certainly NOT be planning to go to the Gran Bahia Principe Cayacoa EVER!!!

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Oh, geez, guess I left out a lot of info! There were 5 of us. We'd taken a cab and made arrangements for him to pick us up several hours later. The cab fare was $25 each way for the 5 of us. The manager was faced with having 5 very unhappy people in his lobby for the day (wouldn't it have been easier to just let us pay for and enjoy the facility as arranged??) or sending us back to the ship. I did convince him to get us back to the ship at no cost to us.

 

The worst part of it is that it was too late to arrange anything else. We did wander through town for a little while ($2 Pacifico beer did help calm me down, LOL!!). The vendors there were some of the worst I've ever seen, though.

 

If I ever am on another cruise that stops in Samana, we'll either do a ship excursion or make it a ship day.

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One thing I forgot to ask Terry, and you guys who have done excursions with him might know; when you get there at the pier and you meet for the ATV tour; do you pay whoever is there if Terry isn't, and do they prefer cash or traveler's checks? We will, of course, have small bills for some tips here and there. And approximately how much did you tip Terry or your tour guide?

 

We didn't pay until the end of the ATV tour. We were lucky enough to have Terry himself as our guide...he's awesome! There were 2 other of his employees that went along too...one was a sign language interpreter and the other was a mechanic, both of which were very nice too and spoke great English.

Have fun!

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Oh yeah...we paid with cash. I'm not sure about the travelers checks. I know that they didn't accept credit cards.

Bring extra dollar bills for the locals...it's such a blessing to see them smile. My husband gave 2 dollars to a young boy who showed him to the bathroom and you would've thought it was gold, he smiled so big.

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Oh, geez, guess I left out a lot of info! There were 5 of us. We'd taken a cab and made arrangements for him to pick us up several hours later. The cab fare was $25 each way for the 5 of us. The manager was faced with having 5 very unhappy people in his lobby for the day (wouldn't it have been easier to just let us pay for and enjoy the facility as arranged??) or sending us back to the ship. I did convince him to get us back to the ship at no cost to us.

 

The worst part of it is that it was too late to arrange anything else. We did wander through town for a little while ($2 Pacifico beer did help calm me down, LOL!!). The vendors there were some of the worst I've ever seen, though.

 

If I ever am on another cruise that stops in Samana, we'll either do a ship excursion or make it a ship day.

 

I agree that the vendors and tour companies were the worst I'd ever seen anywhere.

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* with the acception of Terry.

We had to walk to our tour and we were hassled by at least 20 other tour operations trying to get us to go with their tour instead.

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