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Atocha Shipwreck Gal

Safety Concerns over going to the Dominican Republic

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Hi all -

First, I should say we are very adventurous & have traveled much of the world and never had any major problems. We are set for a 10-26-08 cruise on Carnival out of Miami that stops in the DR at La Romana. I have been following the many discussions over the last year as to safety concerns. 20 years ago, we stopped in Samana and we had a really bad experience - hassled for money - kids begging - people grabbing at your pockets- just not a good feeling when we walked near the ship. Now I figure after 20 years, a lot has changed, or so I hoped. I have also been following what is happening in Haiti on the opposite side of the island as there is complete chaos and anarchy there - the US consulate has even had to suspend operations. I am hoping none of this spills over the border. In the DR - I noted this page on the US State Dept website as far as issues with Dengue Fever & Malaria in the DR & specifically at our port. See:

http://www.usemb.gov.do/Consular/ACS/Dengue-Malaria.pdf

 

I am trying to decide if it is worth it to get off the boat and fight the mosqitoes and risk getting bitten. I have never encountered such disease & I have been everywhere in the Carribean. I know that there is always a risk, but this seems a little concerning since lots of the excursions go to the beach & countryside where I expect the little bugs thrive. It is tough to fight the muggers / pickpockets, but mosquitos are even more challenging as they are so small! What are everyone's thoughts on this? I was hoping that Carnival might change & not go to the DR. I know it is beautiful in many spots and that the great majority of its residents are surely nice and just trying to make an honest living, but it also seems to have many safety issues. I am eager to hear everyone's opinions.

 

BC:confused:

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Ok, here's or experience in the Dominican Republic. We went to Samana not La Romana (not sure if I recalled that correctly from your post).

 

We did an ATV excursion through the mountains to a beach. We did apply insect repellent before we left. We went in January and I don't remember any bugs being out and bugging us. So for us there were no bug problems but we were prepared with our bug spray.

 

As far as safety, we felt fine on the excursion. Met a lot of local families and saw their dire living conditions. It was very heartbreaking. However they are wonderful people. When we did go into town after our excursion we did run into many children trying to sell the seashells. It was irritating as one kid would not give up on us and drove us crazy. I had read about this and was expecting it. However, we were happy we went into town and we bought cigars, jewelry and a beautiful canvas art.

 

Basically, just be aware of your surroundings. We loved our stop in Samana and would go back in a heartbeat.

 

I agree with you on the problems in Haiti, hopefully the issues do not flow over in the Dominican Republic.

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My dh and I usuallydonate blood to local blood drives several times a year. When we were there a month or so ago, I asked if it is a problem to visit Samana DR and then return to do a blood donation. We were told, after they checked it out, that Samana is not a problem at this time for malaria. The areas close to Haiti are on the list for do not donate. I don't know if this helps, but you could check with your local Red Cross etc and check out the area you are going to. Grammy

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We were just there in March and did not feel unsafe at all at this port. We did not take a ship sponsored excursion and just went on one of the buses that are easy to catch right as you get off the ship. I too had read very negative reviews of this port and was very apprehensive to get off the ship. We found the people to be friendly and welcoming. We did not go into town, but instead just toured Altos. Because the bus goes right out of the port area and almost directly into the luxury area of Casa de Campo we did not see any of the poverty that many describe. Of course that means that we did not really get a chance to see what it is really like in the DR, but abject poverty is not really what we wanted to see. I have heard that the town is not nice and everyone we talked to on the ships excursions did not have that great of a time at this port. Please continue to research and consider going to Altos if nothing else appeals to you!

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Stopped in La Romana in March. We choose to go the the Bayahibe beach by taxi. It was a great beach and we were not hassled for money. We did not see any beggars. Also, we did not see any mosquitos, I had brought bug spray just in case but did not need or use it. Mosquitos come out at dusk.

 

There were vendors on the beach. They were not obnoxious. A simple "no thanks" sent them away.

 

To me it would be a shame to stay on the ship but each to their own.

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My friends son is on the Baltimore Orioles Minor League club and he played winter ball in the Dominican Republic and said every player on the team from the D.R. carried a gun on the team bus! He hated it! I went to a all-inclusive resort there last summer and was told to stay in the resort or in a group tour only. Was told by locals from the resort that they will bump into your car and blame it on you and ask you for money and then they will let you go. Very pushy for tips at airport too. Mexico is still the best in my opinion.

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Well, this sounds like staying on the ship might be the bast idea for us. The descriptions here sound like a poor experience we had in Ochos Rios near the ship three years ago.

 

I am open to being convinced of the opportunity to see a different country and help that economy, but safety first i think.

 

Steve

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Well, this sounds like staying on the ship might be the bast idea for us. The descriptions here sound like a poor experience we had in Ochos Rios near the ship three years ago.

 

I am open to being convinced of the opportunity to see a different country and help that economy, but safety first i think.

 

Steve

 

I gotta say if I did not get off the ship and missed the fun time we had during our ATV excursion I would be so bummed out. With the exception of the sea shell kids we had a blast and loved seeing Samana and getting to know the wonderful locals, especially the children. We met a guy in the little market and talked to him for at least a half an hour while we shopped through the market. He was wonderful and learning about his family and his country was wonderful. I would go back and get off the ship and explore some more if we ever do go back there. Give Samana a chance, just keep in mind it is a port best enjoyed through an excursion.

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We booked with Casa Dorado in Samana and had a WONDEFUL time. Yes there is poverty and it is a huge shock for us American's to see things like that but everyone we met was nice and friendly.

 

Be smart and you will be safe - just like anywhere else in the world.

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My dh and I usuallydonate blood to local blood drives several times a year. When we were there a month or so ago, I asked if it is a problem to visit Samana DR and then return to do a blood donation. We were told, after they checked it out, that Samana is not a problem at this time for malaria. The areas close to Haiti are on the list for do not donate. I don't know if this helps, but you could check with your local Red Cross etc and check out the area you are going to. Grammy

 

When I gave blood last week my local center said all of DR defers you for a year from giving. Course that could just be my center too.

 

Atocha - I'm on the same cruise as you and am still debating whether to get off the ship or consider that a sea day. We only have one day at sea, so we might just stay onboard and have the ship all to ourselves. Sure wish they'd post our excursions sometime soon so I'd know what our options are. If we do get off, we are DEFINITELY doing one of Carnival's excursions. Not taking the chance on our own.

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We went to Samana and did the Cayo Levantado excursion and it was very safe and clean and had a wonderful time.

 

We just got back from Las Terranas a 10 day vacation in the DR and had a wonderful time. It is a little sleepy fishing village maybe a 1/2 hour away from Samana. Yes there were mesquitos but only at night, and I got many bites but no sickness. We went to La Bonita beach and it was beautiful. We rented a car and no one bumped into us looking for money. The people are very friendly and helpful. We bought fish from the local fisherman twice and it was fantastic.

 

I would recommend getting off the boat and at least checking it out. It would be a shame to cruise all that way and not see it. And as I see it I don't think the ships would stop there if it were that unsafe.

 

Happy sailing:D

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We had an overnight stay at La Romana on Carnival Destiny in February. It was a fabulous stop. Staying overnight allowed us to go to the Kandela show in the ampitheater in Altos de Chavon the first night. We took an excursion into Santo Domingo the next day for a historical walking tour through the old city. What a great experience, and something I am sure we would never have done any other way.

 

We got to see a lot of the countryside and several towns on the ride over to Santo Domingo. Of course we saw poverty, but you also see people getting on with their daily lives and seemingly happy.

 

Never felt thretened, and would go back in a heartbeat.

 

We did not go into the town of La Romana itself, although we talked to quite a few people who did and no one expressed any discomfort.

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Hi Luv2cruise,

We are also going on the Spirit to Samana in 1 week. Trying to choose between the Cayo Lavantada & the Grand Paradise resort excursions. How were the bathroom facilities on CL?

 

Any info would be appreciated. Thanks!

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Hi Luv2cruise,

We are also going on the Spirit to Samana in 1 week. Trying to choose between the Cayo Lavantada & the Grand Paradise resort excursions. How were the bathroom facilities on CL?

 

Any info would be appreciated. Thanks!

 

The bathrooms were clean. We had lunch there also and it was all clean facilities. Had a couple of coconut drinks also and didn't get sick. My daughter got a few braids in her hair, she loved it. All in all it was a great experience.

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The bathrooms were clean. We had lunch there also and it was all clean facilities. Had a couple of coconut drinks also and didn't get sick. My daughter got a few braids in her hair, she loved it. All in all it was a great experience.

 

Can you please give us a little bit more information about this excursion? From what I read on NCL's website it is a boat trip to Cayo Levantado and you are left on the beach for a few hours. Are lounge chairs included or can you at least rent them? Is there any shade or trees to sit under? I think I also read that there are a few boat trips that return you to the ship.....or do you have to leave at a set time?

The description says 5 hours, being a beach lover, I would definitely want to stay until the last moment :) :) :)

 

Thanks for any insight anyone can give me about this excursion.

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Can you please give us a little bit more information about this excursion? From what I read on NCL's website it is a boat trip to Cayo Levantado and you are left on the beach for a few hours. Are lounge chairs included or can you at least rent them? Is there any shade or trees to sit under? I think I also read that there are a few boat trips that return you to the ship.....or do you have to leave at a set time?

The description says 5 hours, being a beach lover, I would definitely want to stay until the last moment :) :) :)

 

Thanks for any insight anyone can give me about this excursion.

 

The tenders start going over around 9:00am (I think) We got over there around 10:00 and stayed until the last tender which I think was around 2:00 or 3:00??? I am sorry I can't remember the exact times:-) Tenders do start heading back around noon and every 1/2 hour until the last one. Yes there are lounge chairs and plenty of them. There are lots of tress for shade or you can move it in the sun. You are directed to one side of the beach you get the white chairs. There are different color chairs on the other side that are for the hotel guests. If you love the beach you will enjoy this excursion. I know it is a little pricey and I was hesitant, but I thought it was worth it in the end. My family had a fantastic day on the island. If you have any more questions don't hesitate to ask.

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Thanks Denette, you have answered all my questions :-)

This sounds perfect for us as I was leery of trying to get to a beach on our own which is what we usually try to do.....but with concerns of safety, a NCL excursion sounds like a good idea in Samana.

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Hi all -

First, I should say we are very adventurous & have traveled much of the world and never had any major problems. We are set for a 10-26-08 cruise on Carnival out of Miami that stops in the DR at La Romana. I have been following the many discussions over the last year as to safety concerns. 20 years ago, we stopped in Samana and we had a really bad experience - hassled for money - kids begging - people grabbing at your pockets- just not a good feeling when we walked near the ship. Now I figure after 20 years, a lot has changed, or so I hoped. I have also been following what is happening in Haiti on the opposite side of the island as there is complete chaos and anarchy there - the US consulate has even had to suspend operations. I am hoping none of this spills over the border. In the DR - I noted this page on the US State Dept website as far as issues with Dengue Fever & Malaria in the DR & specifically at our port. See:

http://www.usemb.gov.do/Consular/ACS/Dengue-Malaria.pdf

 

I am trying to decide if it is worth it to get off the boat and fight the mosqitoes and risk getting bitten. I have never encountered such disease & I have been everywhere in the Carribean. I know that there is always a risk, but this seems a little concerning since lots of the excursions go to the beach & countryside where I expect the little bugs thrive. It is tough to fight the muggers / pickpockets, but mosquitos are even more challenging as they are so small! What are everyone's thoughts on this? I was hoping that Carnival might change & not go to the DR. I know it is beautiful in many spots and that the great majority of its residents are surely nice and just trying to make an honest living, but it also seems to have many safety issues. I am eager to hear everyone's opinions.

 

BC:confused:

 

Hello Atocha Shipwreck Gal,

 

I see you're sailing to DR soon. Did you ever decide what you're going to do at this port?

 

My family is sailing there in late December and would like to hear what your plans are. Thanks.

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Please be sure to write your review of the port when you get back from your cruise. We are on the 6 Dec Splendor and are interesting in your feedback. We usually don't take boat excursions and usually just get off the boat and adventure on our own.

 

However, as an example, when we stopped in Tunisia on the Magica Med Cruise, they highly recommended taking an excursion and we saw why. There wasn't anything close to the ship and it didn't exactly look very safe.

 

Thanks in advance for your upcoming review

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My husband and I are also very well traveled as he has lived in England, CA, FL, OH, IA and we have been around several countries and 10 Caribbean islands. One thing I can say - I will never go into La Romana again. It is the scariest experience I have ever had in my entire life. The first night we jumped off the Carnival Destiny ship and took the bus to town. I was in a constant state of panic attack. That night for the first time ever - we booked a shore excursion to Oasis Canoa - the best $80 each we have ever spent - we were able to go to the beach without being shot. Normally, I would never recommend a shore excursion - in this case I will eat my words - worth every penny.!

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Ok, here's or experience in the Dominican Republic. We went to Samana not La Romana (not sure if I recalled that correctly from your post).

 

We did an ATV excursion through the mountains to a beach. We did apply insect repellent before we left. We went in January and I don't remember any bugs being out and bugging us. So for us there were no bug problems but we were prepared with our bug spray.

 

As far as safety, we felt fine on the excursion. Met a lot of local families and saw their dire living conditions. It was very heartbreaking. However they are wonderful people. When we did go into town after our excursion we did run into many children trying to sell the seashells. It was irritating as one kid would not give up on us and drove us crazy. I had read about this and was expecting it. However, we were happy we went into town and we bought cigars, jewelry and a beautiful canvas art.

 

Basically, just be aware of your surroundings. We loved our stop in Samana and would go back in a heartbeat.

 

I agree with you on the problems in Haiti, hopefully the issues do not flow over in the Dominican Republic.

 

What did you end up doin' when you went to DR? Did take any meds before the trip, stay on the ship, or bit the bullet and adventured out with or without bug spray? We are scheduled to visit this port mid-January so I want to be prepared and safe from infectious diseases. Please advised. thanks:)

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What did you end up doin' when you went to DR? Did take any meds before the trip, stay on the ship, or bit the bullet and adventured out with or without bug spray? We are scheduled to visit this port mid-January so I want to be prepared and safe from infectious diseases. Please advised. thanks:)

 

We took the ATV excursion thorgh NCL. It was four hours long. We took our ATV's along the beautiful mountainside to a beach. We stayed at the beach for about 30-40 minutes and headed back into town. The excursion was so much fun! After we got back into town we went to a open air market and also went a little further into town to some new stores. Nothing special just a couple of shops.

 

We did not take any meds before our trip. We did put on bug spray before we took off on our ATV's. But we also always apply bug spray before we take our personal ATV's out when we are at home. Not one bite and I don't remember any bugs at all.

 

Just keep in mind that Samana is best enjoyed through an excursion. Do plenty off research and find one that is right for you.

 

Samana and Tortola were our favorite stops on our cruise :D

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