I stayed on the ship for the Samana port call as well for the Oct 5 cruise. I did not talk to anyone who did a private excursion or just went ashore that had anything good to say about Samana. The folk who did formal ship sponsored tours enjoyed them, and the folk who went to the beach excursion enjoyed their excursions, others were actually frightened and couldn't wait to get back on the ship. There aren't real tenders at Samana for the island itself, they used ship's lifeboats to tender people ashore. The beach excursion had their own open top speedboats to tender to the special island beach. Hope that helps.