Just got back & thought I'd share this bit of info--Of course it's to Carnival's advantage to always get you to book an excursion with them, but they went out of their way to make a big deal about La Romana--they made us feel like we would be kidnapped by terrorists if we attempted to navigate this area on our own. We did the Blue Lagoon excursion in Nassau last Monday at about $27 a person (me, my husband & 3 kids) & so it was over $100 for a 3 hour visit to this area. We could have paid $6 per person round trip on the ferry right as we got off the ship to Paradise Island. So--we really wanted to try to do something on our own when we got to the Dominican Rep., because the cheapest excursion was close to $40 per person for a 3 hour trip to a beach! Anyway--we asked at the Paradise info desk about taxis and such, and the guy again said "if you don't book any other excursions with Carnival--please do so at La Romana because it's pretty dangerous! He really made it sound like we would be the only ones navigating on our own! Anyway--The port at La Romana was brand new & beautiful! The taxis and buses were right there and they were new & so well run!! We opted for a bus service that was $6 per person--it took us to a flea market type building (not so great) and then to the middle of town to walk around. It was interesting to me & to my kids--we felt safe even though it was kind of run down. There were bus guides from our bus co. everywhere, and when they saw people with the green identifying stickers on their clothes, they went out of there way to come over and let us know they were there. We met another family of 6 who said that for $100, they grabbed a cab (actually a new white mini-van) and they had the driver with them for the whole day. He showed them sights and then took them to a beach & they had a great time! Also, forget booking through Carnival when you get to St. Thomas. When you get off the ship, there is a huge bus/taxi area that is also professionally run & they will take you to all the places Carnival offers. We went to Coki Beach--the highlight of our trip--it cost $14 per person round trip--the bus driver took us there and then asked what time we wanted to return & he was right on time to take us back. The beach area is so well run--they want to make sure you are happy & go out of their way for you!!! The snorkeling is great and you can rent everything imaginable there, and it was all pretty cheap too!!
Thank you for this information! I have been scouring boards everywhere for info on this port. Get this - I even tried to pre-book an excursion with a La Romana tour company and they told me Carnival did not ALLOW their guests to book non-Carnival excursions at this port, so not to bother to book. That seemed a little odd to me since I know people do things on their own, I wonder if (since it seemed the person writing the e-mail did not speak English as their first language) there was some communication mix-up there?
It just seemed so odd to me, yes, I'm sure there have been problems with people getting ripped off at this port--not too many people there speak English and so communicating can be rough, but if your taxi driver can speak some English and the bus people do speak English, it should be OK. Also--if you choose to go to the town of La Romana, and more specifically, to the Supermarket (called Jumbo) there is a bank (Banco Popular) that will change your American cash into Pesos--everything is marked in Pesos and all the signs over the merchandise indicate the prices in Pesos--you will have a much easier time shopping. Or bring a calculator with you. On the Paradise they told us that one dollar =22 Pesos, but when we went into town, it was anywhere from 30 to 33 pesos per dollar. If you go to pay for something with US money, be sure to ask how much it is in American $$ and they all have their calculators out. BUT they do prefer pesos, and if your item comes out to $10.10 in US dollars, they will round it off NOT to the nearest dollar, but to the higher dollar amount, so $10.10 will be $11. Also, be careful crossing the streets--there are virtually no traffic or stop lights anywhere!! Everyone slows down a bit at intersections, but it looked so crazy to me. My kids found this port very interesting--we had more fun there than in Nassau, but we all loved our trip to Coki beach in St. Thomas the best!
Thanks for the great information. We are going on the same cruise in 3 weeks and was wondering about the ports, specifically Casa De Campo (La Romana). How was the Blue Lagoon Tour? Can you really go there on your own?
jeannieny, we have a similar cruise itinerary planned in 2004 but on another cruise line. I am very interested in the details of both Nassau/Dolphin tour and LaRomana - casa DeCampo port. Could you email me so I may ask detailed questions especially for my grandchildren. @ email@example.com