We were on the Grandeur of the Seas from Oct.5th til the 14th and one of our ports was Samana....... not much to see or do there at all!
I had asked this same question before we went on our cruise, and I stayed on the ship because I had concerns about the long tender ride. It took longer than the tender to Labadee and the tenders were not the same ones at all.
If you want you can send me a PM with your email and I can email you some pics from Samana, you can see for yourself what it looks like. My son felt so sad for the dogs that were roaming around, he wanted to feed them! They had a place where you can buy things, like paintings and tshirts and assorted other things. One of the pics my hubby took show a soldier standing there with a rifle strapped on his back, maybe this is common in this part of the Caribbean.
It was a very beautiful island with lots of coconut trees, and the tender operator took them along the coast on the way to the dock in Samana and they took lots of very pretty pictures.
So if you want I can email you some of the pics my hubby took, just PM me and I'll send them off and you can decide for yourself about Samana. I don't have any info regarding the snorkling there, but I do know that a lot of ppl went to the other island called Cayo Lendtado(sp?) and enjoyed it a lot!
I stayed on the ship for the Samana port call as well for the Oct 5 cruise. I did not talk to anyone who did a private excursion or just went ashore that had anything good to say about Samana. The folk who did formal ship sponsored tours enjoyed them, and the folk who went to the beach excursion enjoyed their excursions, others were actually frightened and couldn't wait to get back on the ship. There aren't real tenders at Samana for the island itself, they used ship's lifeboats to tender people ashore. The beach excursion had their own open top speedboats to tender to the special island beach. Hope that helps.
USS Henry L. Stimson-SSBN 655 Gold (4 Patrols 1988-1991)
USS Daniel Webster-SSBN 626 Blue (Conversion Crew)
USS Nebraska-SSBN-739 Blue (5 Patrols 1995-1998)
USS Wyoming-SSBN 742 Blue (3 Patrols 2002-2004)
Grandeur of the Seas-10/28/2005 - 10/13/2006 - 10/05/2007
Mariner of the Seas-4/2/2006
Radiance of the Seas-3/17/2007
Grandeur of the Seas-4/12/2008 - 4/19/2008- 10/30/2008