Caribbean Cruise Ship Destinations

The islands of the Caribbean are located in a region southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and Northern America, east of Central America, and to the north of South America.

Tropical Weather

Atlantic

ALL CLEAR for cruisers

 

Eastern Pacific

ALL CLEAR for cruisers

Hurricanes

The Dominican Republic is situated in an area prone to hurricanes.  Rainy season is from May to November, and periodic hurricanes between June and November.

In the event of a tropical storm or hurricane alert, Shipdetective will post NWS updates and information for travelers on our Tropical Storm Update page.

Getting Around

Visitors to the Dominican Republic, including to local resort areas, should carefully assess the potential risk of recreational activities.   

Some of the swimming areas at popular beaches around the Dominican Republic are subject to dangerous undertows. 

Many beaches lack life guards and/or warnings of unsafe conditions. Resort managers usually offer current information on local swimming & surf conditions.  

Visitors are cautioned not to swim alone, particularly at isolated beaches.  

Tap water is unsafe to drink and should be avoided.  Bottled water and beverages are safe.

Medical Services

Medical care is limited, especially outside Santo Domingo, and the quality of care varies widely among facilities. 

Outside the capital, emergency services range from extremely limited to nonexistent.  Blood supplies at both public and private hospitals are often limited, and not all facilities have blood on hand even for emergencies. 

Many medical facilities throughout the country do not have staff members who speak or understand English.

Getting around  

Visitors to the Dominican Republic might want to consider hiring a professional driver during their stay in lieu of driving themselves.  Licensed drivers who are familiar with local roads can be hired through local car rental agencies.  In case of accidents, only the driver will be taken into custody. 

Pedestrians tend to step out into traffic without regard to corners, crosswalks, or traffic signals. Pedestrians do not have the right-of-way, and walking along or crossing busy streets – even at intersections with traffic lights or traffic police present – can be very dangerous.

Seat belts are required by law, and those caught not wearing them will be fined.  There are no child car seat laws. 

The law also requires the use of hands-free cellular devices while driving.  Police stop drivers using cell phones without the benefit of these devices. 

Penalties for those driving under the influence and those involved in accidents resulting in injury or death can be severe.  

Motorcycles and motor scooters are common in the Dominican Republic, and they are often driven erratically.  Dominican law requires that motorcyclists wear helmets, but local authorities rarely enforce this law. 

Public transportation vehicles such as the route taxis (“carros publicos”) and urban buses (“guaguas”) are unsafe. 

Many drivers will not use turn indicators.  Rather, it is common for a vehicle operator to stick his hand out the window to signal a turn. 

Drivers can also be aggressive and erratic, often failing to yield the right-of-way even when road signs or signals indicate that they should.

ports > destinations > Dominican Republic
 

Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is situated on the eastern part of the second-largest island in the Greater Antilles, Hispaniola. It shares the island roughly at a 2:1 ratio with Haiti. The whole country measures an area of 48,730 km,  making it the second largest country in the Antilles, after Cuba. Its area is roughly equivalent to that of the US states of Vermont and New Hampshire combined.

domincan republic map

Mountain Ranges. The country's mainland has four important mountain ranges. The most northerly of these ranges is the Cordillera Septentrional ("Northern Mountain Range"), which extends from the northwestern coastal town of Monte Cristi, near the Haitian border, to the Samaná Peninsula in the east, running parallel to the Atlantic coast. The highest range in the Dominican Republic — indeed, in the whole of the West Indies — is the Cordillera Central ("Central Mountain Range") (in Haiti known as the Massif du Nord).

In the southwest corner of the country, south of the Cordillera Central, there are two other ranges. The more northerly of the two is the Sierra de Neiba, while in the south the Sierra de Bahoruco is a continuation of the Massif de la Selle in Haiti.

With mountain ranges running parallel to each other, the Dominican Republic boasts a number of valleys and plains. Also, many small offshore islands and cays that are part of the Dominican territory.

Good to Know

Passenger Safety

Street crime and petty theft involving U.S. tourists does occur, and precautions should be taken to avoid becoming a target. While pick pocketing and mugging are the most common crimes against tourists, reports of violence against both foreigners and locals are growing.   

The overall level of crime tends to rise during the Christmas season, and visitors to the Dominican Republic should take extra precautions when visiting the country between November and January.  

 Average Temperatures

Water: 82º Summer - 78º Winter

Air: 85º Summer - 79º Winter

Dominican Republic Ports

La Romana

The port city of La Romana is located in the SE of the Dominican Republic and is one of the more industrialized cities in the nation. Historically known for sugar production. La Romana is an island known as Bacardi Bay by locals and located in Samana Bay - a winter breeding ground for humpback whales. La Romana includes Casa de Campo coastal resort community and Casa de Campo includes Altos De Chavon Cultural Center.

Catalina Island and Casa de Campo

Catalina Island is just across La Romana and Casa de Campo is a resort community in La Romana. Excursions are offered for cruise passengers from Catalina Island to the tourist resort of Casa de Campo.

Samana Province

Samaná is located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean in the northeastern part of the Dominican Republic. It is known for its mountains of which it is almost entirely formed. Samana City. Settled by two shiploads of freed American slaves around 1824. Samana City (Santa Bárbara de Samaná) is the Province Capital.

South Central Coast Beaches

Boca Chic

Straw market and food stands. The coastal waters here are shallow and family friendly.

Playa Juan Dolio

Resort area.

Playa Guayacanes

Good for boogie-boarding. 

North East Coast Beaches

Cayo Levantado

A small island located offshore from the town of Samana. Measures about one square kilometer, made of a protruding coral reef which protects the Bay of Samana from the Atlantic waves. Due to the island’s protected positioning in the bay, the waters are calm, shallow with a plush sandy bottom, and warm. This is an enjoyable place to take the family.

Playa Bonita

Located on the north side of Samana peninsula.

Las Terrenas

Located on the north coast of Samana. Restaurants are plentiful.

Playa Las Flechas

Located on the southeast tip of Samana Peninsula.

Playa Rincon

Boat rides to this beach offered from Las Galeras.

Area Events

Santo Domingo Carnival

February annual event. Carnival comes to an end with a giant parade down the Malecón with the Carnival King and professional dance groups on Friday 27th February this year, Independence Day in the Dominican Republic.

Masters of the Ocean Competition

February annual event. Qualifiers take place at Cabarete Bay before the finals at Playa Encuentro.  The Master of the Ocean competition aims to find the world's best overall water-sport athlete, with competitions in surfing, windsurfing and kiteboarding. Website

Merengue Festival

July-Aug annual event. Santo Domingo. Music is the main component of the Merengue Festival and it is never in short supply. There are amateur DJs on every block, while beer companies set up their own sound systems, with live bands attracting huge crowds.

Dominican Republic Jazz Festival

November annual event at Playa Cabaret. Friday and Saturday nights at the beach in Cabaret. Website.

 

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