I have been trying to figure this out for months myself. Casa del Campo told me the same thing. There was a review in May of the Paradise that had some info but not a lot. I even called Carnival 3 times. The first guy had no clue so put me on hold for 10 minutes until I hung up. Finally I got someone who at least told me that Casa del Campo is a resort, and Carnival guests may use their beach (to just hang out or whatever) for free, and I THINK (this is the "iffy" part) use other facilities for the same fees as the resort guests (i.e. get a massage, etc.). I also got the impression that the resort is about 40 minutes or so from the nearest town but transportation (taxi?) is available.
I have heard that the Saona beach excursion is really good, I'm considering that one. Let me know what you find out after your cruise if you think about it!
I'll post a report when I get back. In the man time, hopefully others can give us some feedback.
I called Casa directly and they said you have to go through the ship to use their facilities as part of the excursions they sell. The people I spoke to were out of Miami - basically a reservation company. They probably didn't know the right anwer.
We just went there on the Paradise this past week....Here is the skinny on Casa Del Campo. The Dominican Republic is basically a depressed country and we were told Carnival is trying to bring it out of the depression by making it a cruise port. We were also told that Casa del Campo is actually a private resort that allows CCL to use the area for docking but I was unaware anyone could use the beach or their facilities there.
The choices are limited when you get off the ship. There is a 70 mile trip to Santo Domingo to tour the capitol and to shop..this did not interest us except for the fact Christopher Columbus' gravesite is there....we did not take that tour. Other things offered were cruises on the water..a harbor tour our tablemates took and said it wasn't very good..no narraration or sights pointed out...just a boat cruise along the harbor. You also could play golf for $195pp, go horseback riding for $65pp, go skeetshooting or go on a powerboat adventure. There was a beach excursion listed for $39.
We opted for the Saona Beach Excursion. Although it was a bit pricey at $85 pp, it was certainly the best option available and we enjoyed it very much! It was well-organized and surprisingly, the buses, boats, etc seemed to be in A-1 shape. I would like to go into details on the fun we had but the space here will run out...there is a great write up opn the excursion..I will locate it and place it in a reply. This tour is not for toddler age kids or senior citizens...we did alot of getting in and out of unsteady boats!
This below was written by Branden who rates the whole Paradise cruise on the Ship Review sect....
We took a ship excursion in Casa de Campo and al other reviewers may have mentioned this is the only way to go here other than staying on the ship. Casa de Campo is a resort and there is nothing to do or see there. As took the Saona Beach Catamaran excursion and it was the best one Donna and I booked all week. After a 30 minute bus ride to Bayahibe (bi-a-he-bay), they put you on boomerang boats out to an (approx) 80 foot catamaran for a 2 hour or so sail to a their own section of beach on Saona island. Each tour company has their own spot and while the beach wasn't the best (lots of rocks and some sea grass) the food was terrific and the water crystal clear and warm. The sail to Saona was great - they break out the rum and Pepsi or beer for those who prefer that and the music cranks up for those who want to dance. After lunch on the beach and some time to relax or swim we boarded 5 speedboats for the ride back to Bayahibe. The ride was great and as long as people are careful getting into and out of the boats, you'll have a fantastic time. We stopped at the 'Pricina Natural" - a sand-bar about ½ mail off shore with waist deep water to swim in - more rum was consumed here with games in the water and a good time (with or without the rum) was had by all. The 20 minute ride back to Bayahibe was great as the D.R. coastline whizzed by. I've heard this tour sometimes runs the opposite way - speedboats to Sanoa and the cat back to Bayahibe - either way we had an excellent time.
Thanks so much for the info. Not many people have been responding. It does seem Carnival must be getting a good deal stopping at this port. Last years stop - San Juan seemed to have more interesting options.
It does not seem like a lot of exciting choices at Casa Del Campo. The excursion you took sounds great. My family on small ships get sea sick a bit so that excursion may not be best for us.
Anyone out there try other excursions at Casa del Campo?
Anyone know if catalina island has good snorkeling?
Santo Domingo seems so far a way - almost 2 hours one way.
Paul, definitely let us know what you find, I am taking that cruise in November with the family, from 2 years to 19 years old. I've been looking over the tour options and am not real excited. Hopefully you'll be able to provide some good info.