From what I've heard, the historic core of Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, is one of the gems of the Cairibbean basin, like Cartagena Colombia and Old San Juan Puerto Rico (I've had the pleasure of visiting the latter two on previous cruises.)
While some cruise lines have begun to stop in the Dominican Republic, their ports of call are strictly for "sun & fun" beach days, like the calls at the lines' private islands in the Bahamas, and are hours and hours by road from the capital.
Can anyone tell me if Santo Domingo is being snubbed as a port of call for a particular reason? Is there some safety issue, such as unnaceptable levels of street crime?
jeph, We visited Santo Domingo a number of years ago when CCL was stopping there. It is a beautiful and historic city with lots to offer tourists. It was also the single most dangerous port I have ever been to. In talking to a few security officers I became friendly with they recounted how every time they were there they had reports of robberies, muggings, purse-snatching and even rape. This is why the cruieline stopped going there. We spent the day walking around the city and we were basically "protected" because we were the rightful victims of a couple of criminals. <G> The only reason we were not robbed is that I did not let on that I spoke spanish and I overheard the plans to rob us and where they were setting up the crime scene. :o My wife was not aware of this but I felt safe with my knowledge and was able to frustrate them every time they set up the place by suddenly 'changing' my mind about which way to go. We did that four time before they started to really get frustrated and then while in a very public place not too far from a Army Officer I gave him what for in Spanish letting him know I was on to him and his friends and that if he didn't run away I was going to physically haul him over to the Capt. 8) It was then time to go back to the ship. It is a shame because there are many places that are really great for people that love history there.
Jim, thanks for the info. I suspected as much. How sad! As I mentioned, I visited Cartagena last April, as part of a cruise on MSC's Lirica. Colombia is a country where the private armies of drug lords once launched a full-scale military attack on the legislature and the judiciary for refusal to knuckle under, and where tourists are still subject to be kidnapped if they venture into the deep countryside-- but in Cartagena, there's no danger. It seems as though the Dominican government would get a big payoff from cleaning up their capital. I hope to see the city one day. When the cruise ships return to Santo Domingo, as the swallows return to San Juan Capistrano, I'll figure it's safe enough for me to pack my bags.