luvs to cruz, Dominica is the most wonderful place, friendly people who are very proud of their island, beautiful views, polite children, polite vendors, etc. One has only to imagine that this is what the popular islands (St. Thomas, St. John, St. Maartan, etc.) were like before they became so touristry. Also there are not many "outsiders" on the island trying to make a buck and the locals are glad to see you and want you to enjoy their island as much as they do. They do sell their crafts, spices, of course t-shirts, and a variety of homemade items. Last November when I visited I could tell a difference that the tourist trade has made. The roads are better, new construction was evident (schools, housing, public buildings) but the people were the same friendly, proud Dominicans that I had seen on my previous visits there. Not to put down the excursions the ship offers, but I have had extremely good luck choosing a driver at the ship docks. Each time the drivers were up front about the price, clean cars,vans, and my first tour guide spoke very distinctly and was a delight to hear. She also was very proud of her country's independence and very familiar with her country's history. The guide we had in November was an offduty police officer, well liked in the community and we know this because each place we visited, he was enthusiastically received. The two friends that were visiting with me had never been to this island, so I asked that he take us to two of the places I had really enjoyed, the Rain Forest with the waterfalls,the mountain tops with those wonderful views, and then gave him free rein to show us what he enjoyed most. He stopped at roadside leantos and let us taste complimentary fresh coconut, bananas, tropical fruits . . . wonderful. The trip lasted about 4 or 5 hours and was absolutely wonderful. I'll stop here, sorry I was so longwinded!