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JeaniePeanie

need some Dominican Republic advice

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We are going on the Valor in March, southern Caribbean. Scheduled to go to La Romana in Dominican Republic, but have read it isn't very safe or nice. Carnival web site says there is an optional shore excursion to Santo Domingo available. Any one ever been here? Or know anything about this excursion? Not much info on the DR boards. Thanks

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We have not been on the Santo Domingo excursion, but we have been to La Romana twice. The first time we did a beach excursion thru Carnival which was great. Nice beach, open bar, very sunny and hot. The second time we stayed on the ship. Definitely book something thru Carnival and do not venture off alone.

Have a great cruise!

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I haven't been here as a cruise stop but went last year for a week to Punta Cana. I heard that it isn't worth it to drive to Santo Domingo. The country in general is very poor. While we enjoyed driving around Jamaica because of the picturesque views and the interesting culture, there was nothing interesting about DR. We drove around swamp covered flatlands filled with billboards, it was more commercialized/industrialized and therefore just seemed ghetto.

 

I would DEFINITELY do a ship-based excursion and I usually am not overcautious about such things. Have fun - we really want to do a S. Caribbean route next!

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It has been several years since I've been there, but I always said I would never go back there (or at least stay on the ship). There were military people guarding the beach with machine guns !!:eek: It was just a creepy feeling. Athough some of the scenery was beuatiful, allThe main roads were dug up..looked like a pile of rubble...and like a war zone. This is a very very poor country.

 

On the open air vehicle we were on at that time, we came to a stop on the road in a small town, and all of the children (some of them teens), came up to the vehicle and tried to grab our purses/bags/whatever we had. The driver said to hang on tightly to our belongings. It was scary. At the time, I couldn't understand why a cruise ship company would want to subject passengers to that, but I know now that the country depends on tourism, etc. Anyhow, that was an very long time ago, and I don't know if things have changed since then, but it's not someplace I would want to go back to, despite any changes.

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We will do this itinerary next Jan and from what we are reading wonder why Carnival is even going here.

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We took the Altos de Chavon Artist Village excursion through Canival last month and enjoyed it a lot. We saw part of the island, including Campo de Casa, a very expensive resort complex that is gorgeous and then went to a lovely artist village built to resemble a Mediterranean village....cobblestone walks, stone buildings, etc. We visited a museum there, a weaving shop, a large ampitheater, walked around the grounds and enjoyed the trees and flowers, etc. It is on the cliffs overlooking a pretty river and rural countryside. We had time for shopping, ate lunch at a typical restaurant, and had a great time. We were in a gated community, it was perfectly safe, and we didn't see any soldiers with machine guns. Our tablemates took the tour into Santo Domingo, and they did not enjoy it. They said there was so much poverty that it depressed them to be there. You do need to take an excursion if you are getting off the ship, and there is nothing to do when you get off except go into one or two small shops set up at the dock. We didn't go to the beach, but you could see a very pretty beach in the distance from the ship.

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We have been to the DR a few times staying in all-inclusive resorts and we have also ventured out. Yes, the country is very poor, but if you talk to a native of DR, they will tell you there is very little crime:" Have you seen one of our jails? Nobody wants to go to jail here. They are very bad." The people are warm and friendly and don't seem to mind living in poverty. Yes, the children will chase after a car if they can asking for candy or one dollar bills. They also drive like crazy ... there are no road rules and I would never in a million years attempt to rent a car there.

 

If you go to any of the large cities, like Santa Domingo or Puerta Plata, there will be military standing around with machine guns and there are machine guns in the airports, just like in Europe.

 

So, IMHO, go to the beach or take a tour as mentioned above. In the winter you can go on a whale watch on the Samana Peninsula where the whales overwinter. It is a beautiful country with beautiful people.

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Visited LaRomana last month while on a cruise on the Miracle. This was our second visit to this port. On the prior cruise we did the Atos De Chavon tour and I would recommend it. One of the previous posters gave a good description of what you will see. It is well worth it and not far from the ship.

 

On the last cruise we did the tour that consisted of the following: Basilica de Nuestra, Juan Ponce de Leon's home and the town of Bayahibe (fishing village). It is also a good tour but I would go to Atos de Chavon first. The fishing village is really just a view of a beach and not much more. The church is quite large and unique. Ponce de Leon's home has old furniture to view and some pieces look 200 to 300 years old or more.

 

While riding on the bus tour you will see miles of sugar cane. It is every where. In fact, when we first arrived at LaRomana, we saw a factory a few blocks from the pier and it was belching thick black smoke that the wind was taking for miles. I thought it was a steel mill. While on the tour, I learned that it is the main sugar processing plant on the island and employs thousands of workers.

 

To be honest, I did not find the island to be as bad as others have said. It certainly is poor and parts of the island are slums but you will find this in many of the Caribbean islands. It does help one to consider how lucky we actually are in the US but I could show you parts of some of our large cities that are just as bad.

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The Dominican Republic is very poor, but it is an incredibly beautiful country.

 

Find a local tour company to take you to some natural wonder far away from the usual cruise and all-inclusive tourist areas and find a way to interact with locals. Otherwise you will come away confirming your suspicion that it's not a very nice place. Also, if you're not comfortable in crowded third-world environs, then definitely don't go to Santo Domingo.

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PARTS of DR are very poor. And it doesn't take long to get from a good part to a bad part. Santo Domingo is a large city with universities, private schools, malls, and several chain restaraunts. But then you can just go a few miles one direction and be in the poor neighborhoods.

 

I took a mission trip to the DR and we stayed in some nice hotel and then took the bus to the communities we were to visit. Would definately have to second the CRAZY driving there.

 

When we go on our cruise there on the Freedom next April we will be visiting our Compassion International sponsored child. I met her when we were there last time and this will be hubby's first time meeting her. I'm greatly looking forward to seeing her again.

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I was in Santa Domingo in April with about 20 kids on a mission trip.

There is a long street that has been closed to traffic that has a lot of shopping. At one end is what is suppose to be the oldest church in the Americas. There are other significant historical sights there.

There is a Hard Rock Cafe which was a safe place to eat.

There is a Cohiba cigar store next door that has excellent cigars at a great price!;)

There is a grocery store on the shopping street where you can buy snacks/cokes as well as the excellent Dominican coffee for about $3.50 per pound.

I felt very safe there even with a bunch of high school kids.

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PARTS of DR are very poor. And it doesn't take long to get from a good part to a bad part. Santo Domingo is a large city with universities, private schools, malls, and several chain restaraunts. But then you can just go a few miles one direction and be in the poor neighborhoods.

 

I took a mission trip to the DR and we stayed in some nice hotel and then took the bus to the communities we were to visit. Would definately have to second the CRAZY driving there.

 

When we go on our cruise there on the Freedom next April we will be visiting our Compassion International sponsored child. I met her when we were there last time and this will be hubby's first time meeting her. I'm greatly looking forward to seeing her again.

 

I 3rd the crazy drivers. I would not recommend you attempt it.

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We did this cruise in February, but our stop was Catalina Island instead of LaRomana.

 

If Carnival offers an excursion to this island, I would take it. It's a beautiful beach. Great way to spend the day.

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Not on a cruise ship stop, but spent several days at an all inclusive in Puerto Plata many years ago. I was accosted and robbed in the parking lot of a casino right in front of two security guards who did absolutely nothing. I said then I would never go back and I never will.

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Not on a cruise ship stop, but spent several days at an all inclusive in Puerto Plata many years ago. I was accosted and robbed in the parking lot of a casino right in front of two security guards who did absolutely nothing. I said then I would never go back and I never will.

 

Good thing people never get robbed in the US, right? Or else you'd never be able to go home. ;) :D

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Good thing people never get robbed in the US, right? Or else you'd never be able to go home. ;) :D

 

Simply based on this snarky remark i will know not to put value in your postings.

 

I do however appreciate being told of situations where crime can happen and the results; even in the presence of security.

 

So lets not discourage reporting of good information, ok?

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Good thing people never get robbed in the US, right? Or else you'd never be able to go home. ;) :D

 

 

I've never been accosted and robbed in the US, much less in front of two security guards from a US casino :rolleyes:

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Good thing people never get robbed in the US, right? Or else you'd never be able to go home. ;) :D

 

When two security guards stand by and watch me get robbed see no reason to ever go back. Lots of other places to go.

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When two security guards stand by and watch me get robbed see no reason to ever go back. Lots of other places to go.

 

I understand the emotional response. Let's just not pretend it's logical.

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Responding to the original OP, unless you speak Spanish and understand Latino culture, I would not venture to Santo Domingo. However, there are CCL beach tours that you can take to the La Romana shore, next to Bayahibe, which offer a great day in the sun and water. Be prepared for some toplessness, especially if you are bringing children. The tours here generally take you to one of the nearby AI's, so there is beach plus pools, and lunch may or may not be included. La Romana is not as pretty as Punta Cana (IMO, one of the top 10 beaches I've seen in this world), but it tons better than Puerta Plata and the Santo Domingo beaches. Also being a day tour to an AI, your safety is pretty much guaranteed. Go enjoy!

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Good thing people never get robbed in the US, right? Or else you'd never be able to go home. ;) :D

 

 

Your a real piece of work, and that's the kindest thing I can say. :mad:

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I understand the emotional response. Let's just not pretend it's logical.

 

 

You can take your "logic" and shove it up your pretentious a**. Oh, I get it. You're just trying to increase your number of posts so you can be a "winner". Well, you win the prize! :p

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I understand the emotional response. Let's just not pretend it's logical.

 

 

Oh wait, I see your from Florida...that expains it all. Retired...75+...not a damn thing to do but troll web sites...useless. Hey, that explains the number of posts on this site. :D

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