Cruising to the Dominican Republic

Cruises are relaxing way to visit The Dominican Republic

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Dominican Republic Cruises

The waters surrounding the Dominican Republic are filled with awesome wildlife, including serene manatees and gigantic humpback whales. With its spectacular oceanography and scenic mountain landscape, the Dominican Republic creates a perfect atmosphere for visiting the island by cruise ship.

The Republic is most known for its energetic night life and rich historical background, but the island is also popular among travelers cruising the Caribbean. Cruise lines dock in several main ports when visiting the Dominican Republic: Barahona, La Romana, Manzanillo, Puerto Plata, San Pedro de Macoris, and Santo Domingo.

The most popular time to take a cruise to the Dominican Republic is during the winter months. This is the high season, which is considered the most fashionable and the most expensive time to cruise the Caribbean. When planning your cruise vacation, consider making your reservation with the cruise line at least one month in advance, since this time of year tends to book up quickly.

Several cruise lines visit the Dominican Republic during their tour of the Caribbean. Here are a few major cruise lines and their contact information:

Cruise Lines Contact Info
Carnival 888-CARNIVAL (888-227-6485)
Crystal Cruises 800-246-0466
Cunard Cruises 800-7 CUNARD (800-728-6273)
Radisson Seven Seas Cruises 877-505-5370
Seabourn Cruises 800-929-9391
Silversea Cruises 877-760-9052
Windstar Cruises 800- 258-SAIL (800-258-7245)

Travelers should keep in mind several important things when making their cruise arrangements.

Cruise Classes

Cruises lines offer four classes of cruises. This variety ensures that everyone can plan a cruise vacation suited to their needs. The higher class cruise vacations are called luxury and premium. The most entertaining class of cruises are the contemporary/value cruises, while specialty cruises cater to travelers who want a unique experience.

Luxury and premium cruises are the most expensive cruise vacations available. With their large waitstaffs and exquisite accommodations, these two classifications of cruises offer guests more pampering for their money. The premium is less expensive than the luxury cruise, but also has the extras that many travelers consider well worth the price.

Contemporary or value class cruises are the most popular class of cruises. These cruises are offered by popular cruise lines like Carnival and Royal Caribbean, which cater to 90 percent of the cruise industry. Contemporary cruises provide fun and entertainment for guests as they travel to their tropical destinations.

Specialty cruises allow travelers to indulge in a unique vacation. These cruises are ideal for vacationers who want a little something different than what other cruise lines offer. Travelers who want to vacation with other singles, senior citizens, or homosexual passengers may want to consider a specialty cruise for their vacation.


The cost of your cruise vacation will depend on several different factors. The cruise line and the ship that you pick, along with the length of the cruise, are important things to consider when figuring out the budget for your vacation. The time of year that you want to travel will also affect the cost of your trip. Most cruise lines offer all-inclusive vacations that cover the costs of meals and some activities and entertainment, but usually do not include the cost of gambling, drinks, and any side excursions you wish to take.

Ships and Cabins

When choosing a cruise vacation, it is important to have accommodations that are best suited to your traveling needs. Deciding on the right cruise means picking not only the right cruise line, but also the right ship and cabin.

If travelers choose a luxury cruise, they should expect the ship to be smaller than those in the contemporary cruise class. These smaller ships can carry about 300 passengers and are able to travel to destinations with smaller ports of entry.

The larger cruise ships can hold about 3000 people. Passengers on the larger ships experience less roll at sea, which sometimes means more comfortable travel. Although more comfortable for some travelers, larger ships are sometimes limited in which ports they can dock at because of their size.

Cruise ships are classified by these criteria:

Criteria Explanation Meaning
Gross registered tonnage Measure of the ship's volume/vessel's size 1 gross registered ton = 100 cubic feet
Passenger-to-crew ratio Number of passengers served by each crew member Smaller ratio = better service
Passenger capacity Based on double occupancy (two passengers in each cabin) More rooms = more passengers
Space ratio Comparison of ship space/tonnage to passenger capacity Higher ratio = extra spacious

Cabin size and location are also important comfort considerations when choosing the right cabin for you. There are several other guidelines that can be important when making your decision about a cabin.

  • If traveling with young children, avoid outside rooms with balcony access.

  • If you want an outside room with an ocean-view, specifically request this when making your reservation.

  • Cabins on the lower decks near the middle of the ship experience less motion and are ideal for travelers who may experience motion sickness.

  • If you want a quieter stay while on the ship, avoid getting a cabin near the engine room, gyms, night clubs, casinos, pools, hot tubs, stairways, public rooms, bars, theaters, or thrusters, because these areas can get pretty noisy.

Choosing a room to fit your budget is also important when planning a cruise vacation. Travelers can choose from two types of rooms: "run of the ship" cabins and "perfect" cabins.

With a "run of the ship" cabin you can choose whether your room will be outside or inside. Your cabin will then be booked the week of departure, which is when you will find out the specific location of your room.

If you want to be sure of your accommodations more than a week before your trip, you can arrange to get a "perfect" cabin. These rooms are more expensive, but vacationers can request specific rooms and know ahead of time exactly what kind of cabin they will be getting.


Temperatures on the Dominican Republic are warm year round. When packing for vacation, take into consideration the weather of all the islands you will be visiting, as well as the atmosphere of the ship.

Bring proper attire such as sunglasses and hats to help protect you from the sun's harmful rays. On most islands, it is not appropriate to wear beach attire while in town, so remember to bring cover-ups for swimsuits. Also, some cruise ships have etiquette rules for their dining halls and other parts of the ship. Check ahead with your cruise line to find out whether dining is casual, informal, or formal.

Where to Go

The Dominican Republic is usually a stop for cruise lines during their visit to the Caribbean Islands. Most passengers will only spend about a day on the island. You will more than likely need to make reservations for at least a seven day cruise, and make sure that your ship's destinations include the Dominican Republic.

While on the island, tourists can participate in a multitude of activities and sight seeing opportunities. Since the docking time is limited, there are a few must-see attractions that vacationers are encouraged to visit.

Boca Chico, the main beach on the island, is also the beach closest to the capital of Santo Domingo. It is lined with shops and businesses and is full of things for tourists to do. Lovers of history and architecture will enjoy spending time at the Alcazar de Colon or Castle Don Diego. The castle has thick coral-limestone walls and is over 400 years old. There are also plentiful shopping areas and art galleries like the Arawak Gallery. All in all, the Dominican Republic has some gorgeous beaches and many sites to visit.


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