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Samana


Riotgrl13

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I will be on the same cruise as you. I am planning on going whale watching and then to the beach. I don't understand why people would stay on the ship anywhere...but I guess that's just me:) I would go to the port of call thread (Dominican Republic) and find out some information there. There are some good reviews of different excursions. Hope you pick something fun!

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We like Samana, but have done excursions there. We have been on the Whale Watch, Horseback to the Waterfall, and Caves, Mangroves, and Beach. There is info on the later two in my Review from the Jewel last week, and there are pictures from these tours in my webshots albums from the Jewel and the Dawn.

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Saman itself is a very poor place, as is the dominican Republic as a whole. Some of the comments you heard might of been directed from sources that are uncomfortable in poverty stricken areas. I think NCL's using it as a port of call is great to help the economy of the area. I've got friends who live in the Dominican outright and have been there for mission trips. The people there are some of the friendliest I've ever met on any island. But I would advise going with a tour or a ship based excursion because there isn't a grand shopping district or line of theme restaraunts in Samana. You could go to the town to gain the insight of the culture and the poverty in which these people live; but aside from that, there isn't any "touristy" things to do on your own. But please do get off the boat there and spend a few dollars.

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Having just got off the Jewel on 2/24/08, there are two distinct impressions of Samana from those who went on any sort of excursion, and those who didn't.

 

Those people who just tendered to shore, walked off the dock and expected paradise to greet them were disappointed.

 

Those people who took an excursion (like we did) saw the beauty that Samana has to offer.

 

If you expect to walk off the tender dock and be greeted by a tropical and shopping paradise, you will not meet your expectations. However if you do a little research and take an excursion, you will find Samana to be very beautiful. My daughter and I went to Caya Levantado and found it to be very beautiful and and quite nice. Other who went on other ship's and non-ship excursions also found Samana to be quite beautiful.

 

People who put zero effort into Samana (i.e. stumble off a tender and look around the dock area) get exactly the same back ...

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We purchased the whale watching and the beach escape excursion while we on the Pearl. The whale watching boat came right up to the ship, and we were off on a really exciting adventure. The seas were a little rough, but we were expecting it, and had taken medication to ensure a good trip. We saw many whales and thoroughly enjoyed this portion of the trip. The same boat delivered us to Cayo Levantado, which is quite charming. We sat on the beach, enjoyed the water, and watched a folkloric show. There is also a small area for shopping, and some refreshment areas. We only drank a soda, which was quite reasonable in price.

 

Don't dismiss the excursions offered by the ship. Reading other posts, there are also land based ones that look to be quite interesting. Our experience was exceptionally good, and we would recommend it to anyone!

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We have booked an excursion through BavaroRunners in a couple of weeks. When we return I'll post a review. Their itinerary is:

OPTION 1 : On board our Safari Trucks, take to the road towards Boca del

Diablo,

 

Stop at Bahia de Las Flechas

 

Visit a local fishing village Los Cacaos

 

Have lunch at a local beach club Cayenas del Mar.

 

visit a typical home.

 

visit a small waterfall.

 

cigar demonstration.

 

There is also another option that includes more beach time.

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I don't understand why people would stay on the ship anywhere...but I guess that's just me:)

 

Well....every experience we've had in St. Lucia, Grenada and Ocho Rios (Jamaica) was SO negative that we don't get off in any of those places. We DID get off in St. Lucia over the holidays and....our mis-givings were re-inforced. Too bad as it's a beautiful island.

 

That said, we get off and have a great time everywhere else, from Cozumel to Barbados.

 

Samana was a little problematic--on the Pearl, we were warned to only buy and eat pre-packaged foods, nothing fresh. So we brought water and didn't eat at all. However the beach and the water were FABULOUS, and my older son and I had a blast kayaking, even getting dumped overboard a couple of times!

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Bring a bag of candy for the kids. You'll get lots of big smiles.....

 

While I totally understand the desire to give something, especially to children, I have to strongly disagree with this sentiment. If you're really compelled to give something then it would be fantastic for you to research Samana before you leave and try to find a local school where you could donate pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. Giving candy to children who most likely have no access to dental care is not a good thing and while it might make you feel like you're promoting goodwill you're mostly just promoting tooth decay among those who can least afford it. Giving to kids that beg does little more than reinforce the begging and these kids end up seeing tourists as nothing more than rich people with gifts.

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While I totally understand the desire to give something, especially to children, I have to strongly disagree with this sentiment. If you're really compelled to give something then it would be fantastic for you to research Samana before you leave and try to find a local school where you could donate pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. Giving candy to children who most likely have no access to dental care is not a good thing and while it might make you feel like you're promoting goodwill you're mostly just promoting tooth decay among those who can least afford it. Giving to kids that beg does little more than reinforce the begging and these kids end up seeing tourists as nothing more than rich people with gifts.

 

Very well put Trisha.

 

PE

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While I totally understand the desire to give something, especially to children, I have to strongly disagree with this sentiment. If you're really compelled to give something then it would be fantastic for you to research Samana before you leave and try to find a local school where you could donate pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. Giving candy to children who most likely have no access to dental care is not a good thing and while it might make you feel like you're promoting goodwill you're mostly just promoting tooth decay among those who can least afford it. Giving to kids that beg does little more than reinforce the begging and these kids end up seeing tourists as nothing more than rich people with gifts.

 

I'll be sure to bring sugar free candy.

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We did the Jeep tour, 4 of us together and we trade drivers every so often, saw the folks on the ATV tour go by, everyone had a blast. We ordered up a Pina Colada at the beach they took us to. It was great, our friends even ate the pineapple it was made in. Warning, Just drink one of the rum shots they give you over by the waterfall, what a kick it had.

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