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Punta Cana as a Cruise Port?

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I was just doing some cruise browsing and I noticed that the August 27, 2017 sailing of the Celebrity Equinox has port calls in San Juan, St.Maarten, St.Thomas, Punta Cana and Nassau. The Punta Cana call is on a Friday from 8AM-5PM. I never knew Punta Cana had a place to dock ships, and even took cruise ships. Does anyone know anything about this?

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I was just doing some cruise browsing and I noticed that the August 27, 2017 sailing of the Celebrity Equinox has port calls in San Juan, St.Maarten, St.Thomas, Punta Cana and Nassau. The Punta Cana call is on a Friday from 8AM-5PM. I never knew Punta Cana had a place to dock ships, and even took cruise ships. Does anyone know anything about this?

 

Last week on an Oceania cruise, we were the first cruiseship ever to go to Punta Cana! We took a tender to Scape Park and the people there were so welcoming to us. Our excursion in Scape Park, an eco-theme park with phenomenal natural attractions that include cliffs, caverns, lagoons and the blue lagoon, where many people swam. Afterwards we went the beautiful secluded Juanillo Beach. Very enjoyable port!

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Last week on an Oceania cruise, we were the first cruiseship ever to go to Punta Cana! We took a tender to Scape Park and the people there were so welcoming to us. Our excursion in Scape Park, an eco-theme park with phenomenal natural attractions that include cliffs, caverns, lagoons and the blue lagoon, where many people swam. Afterwards we went the beautiful secluded Juanillo Beach. Very enjoyable port!

 

 

 

Was this a ship excursion or was this a private tour? We leave in a month and Punta Cana is one of our ports. I've had a difficult time finding anything other than a ship excursion. I was under the impression the ship tenders to Cap Cana Marina.

 

 

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Was this a ship excursion or was this a private tour? We leave in a month and Punta Cana is one of our ports. I've had a difficult time finding anything other than a ship excursion. I was under the impression the ship tenders to Cap Cana Marina.

 

 

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Yes, it was a ship excursion.

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Cruze4Ever, thanks for your posts. I am glad a ship has been able to tender to Cap Cana. What alternative activities were there for passengers who did not take ship excursions? Is Juanillo beach easily reachable from the marina? Any info you can supply would be appreciated.

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Cruze4Ever, thanks for your posts. I am glad a ship has been able to tender to Cap Cana. What alternative activities were there for passengers who did not take ship excursions? Is Juanillo beach easily reachable from the marina? Any info you can supply would be appreciated.

 

When we booked the cruise we were given shipboard credit. We used the money to book a few excursions, so we didn't inquire about alternate activities. The couple sitting next to us at the beach said that they were not on an excursion, but didn't say how they got to the beach.

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Thanks. You're right. This looks like it might be a good port to use some on board credit for a shore excursion.

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Thanks. You're right. This looks like it might be a good port to use some on board credit for a shore excursion.

 

We booked excursions with the onboard credit. It worked out great and really liked all of the excursions and tour guides a lot. The ones that we chose were in vans or open sided buses none were the big tourist buses.

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We were due to spend the day at Punta Cana today but despite our captain's best efforts, trying two anchorages, there was too much swell for the tenders. We are currently on a two week cruise on Silver Wind. We will have to put up with another sea day

 

 

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We were due to spend the day at Punta Cana today but despite our captain's best efforts, trying two anchorages, there was too much swell for the tenders. We are currently on a two week cruise on Silver Wind. We will have to put up with another sea day

 

 

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I was on this cruise too and, whilst I am fine with another sea day, I suspect this might happen quite often in the future and pax may not be thrilled. Punta Cana is on the exposed eastern tip of the DR and with predominantly north eastern trade winds, it won't take much swell to make tendering a problem. The only possible place to tender in is to Cap Cana marina (have a good look at Google earth, the water is very shallow around there and there is no dock anywhere) so that's just the way it is.

 

IMO, the cruise lines are trying out Cap Cana this year because Samana and Romana are not very satisfactory ports and they need somewhere to break up the long haul from Florida to San Juan and beyond - that's why Carnival built Grand Turk port but that comes with a narrow (dredged) deep water channel and docking is not always possible there if the wind is too strong. Nassau is a bit played out and the reports of armed robberies have caused concern; Freeport doesn't seem to be popular either, and it's still a bit of a way from the Bahamas (including private islands like Princess Cays) down to the Eastern Caribbean. I shall be very interested to see if Punta Cana remains on itineraries after this season's experience.

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I was on this cruise too and, whilst I am fine with another sea day, I suspect this might happen quite often in the future and pax may not be thrilled. Punta Cana is on the exposed eastern tip of the DR and with predominantly north eastern trade winds, it won't take much swell to make tendering a problem. The only possible place to tender in is to Cap Cana marina (have a good look at Google earth, the water is very shallow around there and there is no dock anywhere) so that's just the way it is.

 

IMO, the cruise lines are trying out Cap Cana this year because Samana and Romana are not very satisfactory ports and they need somewhere to break up the long haul from Florida to San Juan and beyond - that's why Carnival built Grand Turk port but that comes with a narrow (dredged) deep water channel and docking is not always possible there if the wind is too strong. Nassau is a bit played out and the reports of armed robberies have caused concern; Freeport doesn't seem to be popular either, and it's still a bit of a way from the Bahamas (including private islands like Princess Cays) down to the Eastern Caribbean. I shall be very interested to see if Punta Cana remains on itineraries after this season's experience.

 

 

Well it doesn't look like it lasted long. I noticed a few days ago that trips on the 24th March on the scheduled stop on Silver Wind had been greyed out and non bookable.

 

Got an email from SS a couple of hours ago to say they had changed the Itinerary and we were going to Samana instead.

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Yep, I just got an email saying Punta Cana has been cancelled with Samana as the replacement for my Silver Muse cruise next December.

 

 

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Yep, I just got an email saying Punta Cana has been cancelled with Samana as the replacement for my Silver Muse cruise next December.

 

Dominican Republic and Grand Turk are the only 2 places Ive not pre-booked something for.

 

looking at Samana, there doesnt seem much to appeal. Shame my last dive was in 2012 - or I would have taken a 2 tank dive (shown on a different SS port excursion in Samara)

 

Problem is .... they are our last 2 ports.... so would have been nice to have sorted something instead of graze the beach and shops.

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We also went on the Juanillo Beach Escape, a ship excursion, when at Punta Cana on the Riviera last week. The beach facility, which is operated by Scape Park, includes a small restaurant, rest rooms, and a large number of well-spaced sun beds, some with awnings for shade. We had five hours on the beach. Attentive waiters provided food and beverage service on the beach; food was good, but not included in the excursion price. The beach is beautiful, long and wide. The water was calm and clear on the day of our visit.

Apparently the tendering problems referred to in earlier posts might be discouraging the cruise lines from using this port. I did not see it listed in Oceania's 2017-18 brochures, and the online port calendars show only a few stops per month by other lines next winter.

I am not sure what independent options there might be in this port. We did not go to Scape Park itself, but that might be a choice for those seeking something more active.

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Where in the marina do the tenders drop off passengers? The area looks like a lot of condos. I can't imagine the residents are pleased with a few thousand cruise passengers and their buses and taxis descending on the area.

 

We're on Koningsdam next winter and the ship's tour options are pretty slim. I'd prefer Samana. At least we saw whales as we sailed into the bay a few years ago. We aren't fans of beach tours, so this may be a spa/relaxing day on board for us.

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Hi Oceans of travel

We too are booked on the Equinox tendering into Punta Cana on Sept. 1.

 

Scape Park looks of interest to me but is not offered by Celebrity as an excursion. I chatted with a couple folks on D.R. excursion websites. They suggested taking a taxi to Scape Park -- a 15-20 minute ride. Was told it would take about 4-5 hours at the park to zipline and swim in the cenote.

 

May be adventurous and try it.

Karen.

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Our December Celebrity Equinox cruise itinerary just changed - No St. Maarten, Punta Cana instead. I googled it because I was wondering about how/where they ported. We went to a resort Punta Cana in August but didn't do any off resort excursions. I have a feeling our itinerary may still change since the planned ports are St. Kitts and Puerto Rico, along with the Punta Cana stop.

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Our Oct 28 Nieuw Amsterdam cruise stop at San Juan has been moved to Punta Cana. That should be interesting. The one time I was there on a land trip, there wasn't much to do other than enjoy the beach at the resort.

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Our Oct 28 Nieuw Amsterdam cruise stop at San Juan has been moved to Punta Cana. That should be interesting. The one time I was there on a land trip, there wasn't much to do other than enjoy the beach at the resort.

 

 

Our cruise on the MS Koningsdam has also been moved to here from San Juan. They haven't offered any shore excursions as of yet. And I can't seem to find anything here either. We're also going to Amber Cove. I have been on a land trip to Puerto Plate. Was excited to see Punta Cana side. But losing that excitement fast not finding anything.:(

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So now our December cruise that changed porting in St. Maarten to porting in Punta Cana has now changed from Punta Cana to St. Croix.

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Our cruise on the MS Koningsdam has also been moved to here from San Juan. They haven't offered any shore excursions as of yet. And I can't seem to find anything here either. We're also going to Amber Cove. I have been on a land trip to Puerto Plate. Was excited to see Punta Cana side. But losing that excitement fast not finding anything.:(

 

We are on the same cruise. Scape Park looks interesting and seems to have a lot of options, but worried about navigating that on our own since I can't find a whole lot of information on how to get there from the port and taking a taxi seems intimidating. Hoping HAL offers something soon for this port.

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Our November 4th cruise on HAL Rotterdam was changed from Saint Maarten to Cap Cana, and yes, there are no excursions listed yet. I am sure it takes time, and there will be offerings on board, if not sooner.

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Would be interested in hearing from cruisers who stop at this port. We are going mid-Nov. and from what I've read, I'm nervous about how safe a port this is. I read that there are police with rifles is a common site (correct if this is wrong please), and it's not the safest place to wander around. I've never been to Dominican R (except Amber Cove), and friends that have vacationed there say they don't go off the property for safety reasons. As there isn't a beach nearby, I'm not sure I'd want to take a taxi to a beach.

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We are on Oct 28 sailing HAL Neiuw Amsterdam. Found what looks like a good private tour with Puntacana Mike that takes in cigar factory, chocolate factory, rum factory and a visit to a school with lunch on the beach. Got good reviews on trip advisor

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Our November 4th cruise on HAL Rotterdam was changed from Saint Maarten to Cap Cana, and yes, there are no excursions listed yet. I am sure it takes time, and there will be offerings on board, if not sooner.

 

Hello,

My DH and I are also on the 11/4/17 sailing of the Rotterdam. We went to the HAL excursions (generic version) for Cap Cana, since we don't have specific excursions listed yet. The HAL 5-hour Sail & Snorkel Adventure looks good to us.

 

I tried to determine which vendor HAL is using for this excursion, but wasn't able to determine that. It would be nice to know the vendor and their reputation. I considered booking privately on one of the top-rated vendors on TA, but I've read that tendering at Punta Cuna can be "iffy," depending on the wind and swells.

 

Apparently, all or almost all cruise line excursions that end at a beach day (not the catamaran or snorkel excursions) go to Juanillo Beach. My back-up plan would be to try to get a taxi to Juanillo beach, since it is "open to the public." Apparently, ID may be requested. That may be just for vehicles entering the beach area (that ID is kept by the guard station until the vehicle leaves) or it may be requested for everyone. In reading comments on TA, it appears that they are trying to keep "riffraff" out.

 

Can anyone visiting Cap Cana before Nov 5th give us answers to the following?

  • How far is it to Juanillo beach from the tender dock at the Cap Cana marina?
  • Is it easy to get a taxi both ways? What was the fare? Other options?
  • Who is the vendor for the 5-hr Sail & Snorkel Adventure?
  • Was anyone successful in booking and participating in private snorkel excursions? (Details, please)

Thank you!!

Diana

Edited by Cruizer Diana
typo

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Our upcoming cruise has been diverted from our originally planned port stop in San Juan due to the damage from Maria. We will now be stopping in Cap Cana, Dominican Republic. .... I'm wondering if I should consider booking a dive in Cap Cana. I do not know much about the port area there, what the diving is like, or about any dive shops located near the port. ... What do you think?

 

I patrolled this area on and off for over 10 years .... this is the Mona Passage with Punta Cana on the eastern tip of Dominican Republic ...... more at:

 

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=40

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The (or some) HAL excursions for Cap Cana have been posted on the HAL site for my 11/4/17 Rotterdam sailing. There are no snorkeling or catamaran excursions listed--yet.

 

These are the excursions offered:

  • Blue Lagoon Eco-Tour & Juanillo Beach
  • Cenote Las Ondas & Juanillo Beach
  • Countryside Experience
  • Countryside Horseback Adventure
  • Deluxe All-Inclusive Beach Resort Getaway (Iberostar Bavaro Suites Hotel)
  • Flavors of Cap Cana
  • Juanillo Beach Escape
  • Monkeyland & Plantation Safari
  • Zip-Line Eco-Tour

You can find descriptions of these in the generic listings on the HAL site as mentioned yesterday.

 

I tried to see if there were additional excursions offered on the 10/28/17 sailing of the Nieuw Amsterdam, via plan a cruise by itinerary, but the site just hung when approached from there.

 

Hope this helps.

 

I sure would like to know if there is a DIY option for just going to Juanillo Beach. I suspect I could get a taxi to the beach, but not sure about the return.:D

 

Has anyone else had their cruise line excursions updated yet?

 

Diana

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In this link you can also find pictures and videos of Oceania's Riviera, Holland America's Veendam and Celebrity Equinox. In the pictures you can see the location of the ships and the landing area which is at the Fishing Lodge in the Cap Cana Marina.

In this area there are shops and ocean front several restaurants and bars. Upon disembarking you will find an Information center to help you get around !!:)

 

https://www.facebook.com/cruisecapcana/

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The (or some) HAL excursions for Cap Cana have been posted on the HAL site for my 11/4/17 Rotterdam sailing. There are no snorkeling or catamaran excursions listed--yet.

 

These are the excursions offered:

  • Blue Lagoon Eco-Tour & Juanillo Beach
  • Cenote Las Ondas & Juanillo Beach
  • Countryside Experience
  • Countryside Horseback Adventure
  • Deluxe All-Inclusive Beach Resort Getaway (Iberostar Bavaro Suites Hotel)
  • Flavors of Cap Cana
  • Juanillo Beach Escape
  • Monkeyland & Plantation Safari
  • Zip-Line Eco-Tour

You can find descriptions of these in the generic listings on the HAL site as mentioned yesterday.

 

I tried to see if there were additional excursions offered on the 10/28/17 sailing of the Nieuw Amsterdam, via plan a cruise by itinerary, but the site just hung when approached from there.

 

Hope this helps.

 

I sure would like to know if there is a DIY option for just going to Juanillo Beach. I suspect I could get a taxi to the beach, but not sure about the return.:D

 

Has anyone else had their cruise line excursions updated yet?

 

Diana

 

UPDATE ON HAL EXCURSIONS FOR CAP CANA

 

Good news for the Nov 4th sailing of the Rotterdam. I called the HAL excursions office this morning about ship excursions in Cap Cana and St Kitts. HAL will be adding more excursions to those ports soon. She said that all of the excursions should be sorted out by the end of next week for our sailing.

 

Cap Cana has the following excursions “active,” but not yet showing on the website for our specific sailing:

  • Sail & Snorkel Adventure
  • Deluxe Catamaran & Snorkeling Experience

Cap Cana has the following excursion listed as being available for the port call but not yet “active” or showing on the website for our specific sailing:

  • Altos de Chavon & River Boat Cruise

Thank you, DR Cruiser, for the information above! That is very helpful. I like to know my options. Even if I'm on a ship's excursion, I like to know the "lay of the land".

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Our 11/8 sailing on HAL Koningsdam had the St Thomas stop changed to Cap Cana on 11/16. I try to not book ship excursions but couldn't find anything available otherwise, so I've booked the Flavors of Cap Cana.

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Hello,

My DH and I are also on the 11/4/17 sailing of the Rotterdam. We went to the HAL excursions (generic version) for Cap Cana, since we don't have specific excursions listed yet. The HAL 5-hour Sail & Snorkel Adventure looks good to us.

 

I tried to determine which vendor HAL is using for this excursion, but wasn't able to determine that. It would be nice to know the vendor and their reputation. I considered booking privately on one of the top-rated vendors on TA, but I've read that tendering at Punta Cuna can be "iffy," depending on the wind and swells.

 

Apparently, all or almost all cruise line excursions that end at a beach day (not the catamaran or snorkel excursions) go to Juanillo Beach. My back-up plan would be to try to get a taxi to Juanillo beach, since it is "open to the public." Apparently, ID may be requested. That may be just for vehicles entering the beach area (that ID is kept by the guard station until the vehicle leaves) or it may be requested for everyone. In reading comments on TA, it appears that they are trying to keep "riffraff" out.

 

Can anyone visiting Cap Cana before Nov 5th give us answers to the following?

  • How far is it to Juanillo beach from the tender dock at the Cap Cana marina?
  • Is it easy to get a taxi both ways? What was the fare? Other options?
  • Who is the vendor for the 5-hr Sail & Snorkel Adventure?
  • Was anyone successful in booking and participating in private snorkel excursions? (Details, please)

Thank you!!

Diana

I am also interested in response you receive as we port there on eurodam after your sail

 

Sent from my SM-G930R4 using Forums mobile app

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Cap Cana Shuttle

MVPinBoynton just posted this on the roll call for the 10/28/17 sailing of the Nieuw Amsterdam:

 

The shuttles that leave every 15 minutes are $20 pp to Juanillo Beach and $15 to API Beach round trip.

 

I'm guessing that we will have the same option.

Diana

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One of the HAL excursions people told me a few weeks ago that there would be two snorkeling options:

  • Sail & Snorkel Adventure
  • Deluxe Catamaran & Snorkeling Experience

However, only the Deluxe excursion is available. My DH and I had decided that we preferred the Sail & Snorkel Adventure, which they are apparently not offering on our sailing.

So, we decide to go for the Retreat package. We normally prefer to snorkel and are not into beach Retreat packages, but that is what we decided to do this time. We shall see....Diana

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Our Jan 6 cruise on Seabourn-Odyssey lists Punta Cana as a port of call. I hope we can tender, and I also hope the ship lists an excursion to nearby Altos de Chavón, and artist villa.

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Any ideas from cruisers who have recently been here? TA is full of wonderful reviews of tours from Punta Cana, but most of them are full day tours that pick up at resorts early morning for full day trips. Would love to hear from people that have recent experience!

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