Get Away With Fran

March 23, 2010

Lovely day in Samana on Norwegian Pearl cruise

Filed under: Cruise — admin @ 9:25 am

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When you carefully plan out your cruise you should always research the ports so you know what there is to do and whether you should book a shore excursion with the cruise line or not.

That said, if you’re like me and have a generally crazy schedule you may not always take the time to do that.

And so guy pal and I found ourselves scratching our heads over what to do in our first port of call on the Norwegian Pearl this week, Samana, Dominican Republic.

I had never been to this port before. So we decided to seek the advice of the ship’s shore excursion crew.

A lovely gal informed us there was “nothing” to see or do in Samana, and made the place where our tenders were pulling in (the ship anchored offshore) sound like a place so rustic it lacked electricity. (In fact, we would later discover while there was not much at the pier, there was what looked like a thriving town nearby complete with big cell phone tower.)

Guy pal and I decided to book a ship tour. We like to keep active, and since we have been eating like pigs (see yesterday’s blog), we liked the sound of the Bike, Hike and Kayak tour – a biathlon of sorts for the cruise ship crowd (marked as “moderate” in Norwegian Cruise Line lexicon). Cost – $59.99 per person.

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It turned out to be a bargain, a wonderful tour for 22 guests, that was supposed to be 4/12 hours but lasted nearly 6 thanks to a wonderfully enthusiastic guide, who among other things gave us extra time at a blissful beach.

We biked enough to at least feel like we were exercising, hiked past cliffs that included stunning sheer marble walls and to blow holes high above the ocean, and between activities bounced around (in a good way!) in an open air truck on paved and unpaved roads past rustic villages, and verdant hills, and the occasional horse, donkey, chicken, pig and cow. In other words, we got to see some of the Dominican Republic and not just the port area.

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The beach our guide, who calls himself “Achoo” took us to served up such clear blue seas, guy and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to snorkel (we had brought along our gear), and followed little fishes through grassy surfaces and white sand. We never did get in the kayak (though that was an option).

Yes, we know we got lucky, and we’ll try to plan more next time. But if you do find yourself in the same boat (OK, sorry about that one), this tour comes highly recommended.

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