Nita it is quite obvious that we saw two entirely different parts of Samana. Just like any port, especially a newer and, or under-developed port, like Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala, Costa Maya, Calica etc... sometimes you have to really dig to find some thing worthwhile, really doing your homework and planning well in advance, taking a ship's tour is not always a guarantee either of ensuring you see the "good" side of the city.
I have never been in the Port area of Samana, and from what I am reading here it needs to be improved upon. First impressions are everything, because cruisers have to pack it all in that one day they visit a port. We had the luxury of spending a week at a beautiful resort and had a great time. We went scuba diving on a nearby reef and it was breathtaking. We had a great lobster dinner for two that was cooked on a camp fire for us by a local family after our dive and we had two large lobsters, and beer for about $10. I encourage anyone going here to look deeper than what they see when they walk off the ship and really do some planning. Perhaps see if it's possible to get a day pass at the resort, or email the resort and ask who the Dive Master is they work with, and get recommendations on tours from them.
My least favorite port we have been to was Antigua. I absolutley hated it. I also realized that this is a port I had nothing really planned and dealt with a very unpleasant man in one of the port shops and due to my first impression of the place I'd be unlikely to choose a cruise that had it as part of it's itinerary, but in all fairness, everyone I spoke to who had planned a tour or excursion really enjoyed it, so basically I think if I had made a different choice and planned something that d/h and I were really into I would probably have had a much different impression of that port.