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October 9, 2007
  • Half year maritime travel statistics
  • Port of Santo Domingo development
  • Royal Caribbean cruises
  • Canada's Globe & Mail cruise to Samana
Half year maritime travel statistics
Maritime travel to the DR in 2005 was 289,805 (71,179 passengers to Santo Domingo, 216,290 to La Romana), up to 303, 489 (70,372 to Santo Domingo and 181,330 to La Romana) in 2006.
In 2007, with the advances in improvements at the Port of Santo Domingo, the numbers are up. For the first half of the year, 47,400 passengers had arrived to Santo Domingo. In addition, the Central Bank tourism statistics show 129,955 to La Romana and 56,258 to Samana, the newcomer on the block for a total of 233,613 passengers to the leading ports from January to June 2007.
Port of Santo Domingo development
Royal Caribbean International has chosen the Santo Domingo port that is undergoing major improvements by Sans Souci Ports, S.A., which is currently executing a 40-year build-operate-transfer concession to expand and operate the Sans Souci and Don Diego cruise ship terminals in the capital city. So far, US$41 million have been invested, according to Luis Molina, executive director for project development. The Don Diego port renovation was concluded in November 2006 and the new Sans Souci terminal, designed to handle mega-cruise ships of 35,000 or more passengers, will be completed next December.
As reported in Diario Libre, the Sans Souci operation handled 40 ship arrivals at the Don Diego port during the 2006-2007 cruise ship season. It also handles four weekly sailings of the Puerto Rico-DR ferry, Ferries del Caribe. For the 2007-2008 season, so far 69,700 passengers have arrived, including 56,500 homeport passengers.
The project involves infrastructure improvement and river management problems that have historically plagued the cruise industry in Santo Domingo. It consists of rehabilitating and renovating the existing infrastructure at the terminals, managing pollution issues affecting the Ozama River basin and upgrading the navigational channel. The improvements will incorporate the infrastructure needed to handle today's cruise ships and provide the level of service expected by cruise operators and passengers.
Royal Caribbean cruises
Royal Caribbean recently announced that its ship, Vision of the Seas, will homeport in Santo Domingo, in addition to sister ships Legend of the Seas that will also receive air arrivals to Santo Domingo. Other Royal Caribbean cruise ships that will be docking in 2007, 2008 and 2009 at Dominican ports are the Serenade of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas (La Romana) and Grandeur of the Seas (Samana).
Vision of the Seas has added Santo Domingo to its 2009 Caribbean itinerary with stops scheduled for 18 Jan, 1 and 15 Feb, and 1, 15 and 29 Mar. Its itinerary takes passengers to board in Santo Domingo for a trip that will take them to Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Roseau, Dominica; Margarita Island, Venezuela; and Oranjestad, Aruba.
The Legend of the Seas will have three different sailing schedules out of Santo Domingo to the southern Caribbean, South America and Europe. For 16 Dec 2007 and 13, 27 Jan, 10, 24 Feb and 9, 23 March 2008, the ship will call at Basseterre, St. Kitts; Point-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe; Fort-de-France, Martinique; Bridgetown, Barbados; and Castries, St. Lucia before returning to Santo Domingo. On 6, 20 Jan and 3, 17 Feb and 2 and 16 Mar, the ship will travel to Phillipsburg, St. Maarten; Roseau, Dominica; St. George's, Grenada; Margarita Island, Venezuela; Oranjestad, Aruba. Then on 30 Mar, the ship departs to Tortola, British Virgin Islands and St. Johns, Antigua prior to leaving for Lanzarote, Canary Islands; Agadir, Morocco; Casablanca, Morocco; Malaga, Spain; Ajaccio, Corsica; and Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy.
In the DR, Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas is set to dock at Samana on 5, 19, Oct and 2, 16 Nov 2007. 1, 15, 29 May, 26 Jun, 24 Jul, 21 Aug and 16 and 30 Oct 2008.
Its Explorer of the Seas includes La Romana's Casa de Campo port in its eastern Caribbean cruise departing 14 Dec 2007; 25 Jan and 7 Mar, 21 Nov, 12 Dec 2008; 2 Jan, 23 Jan, 13 Feb, 6 and 27 Mar and 17 Apr 2009) and Serenade of the Seas dock in Casa de Campo, La Romana port (19 Apr 2008) for a cruise taking it to Puerto Rico, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico and California.
Canada's Globe & Mail cruise to Samana
The Toronto, Canada-based Globe and Mail publishing company's Florida and Caribbean cruise will be docking in Samana next 25 January- 4 February 2008. Globe & Mail publisher, Phillip Crawley and Editor-in Chief Edward Greenspon, and other journalists will be on board and sharing with the 490 passengers on board the 220 cabin Regent luxury Seven Seas Navigator cruise ship. Travel on board the Seven Seas Navigator ranges from US$4,799 to US$12,899, all inclusive.
A Friday, 9:30am to 6:30pm 1 February stopover at Cayo Levantado out island, in Samana province is included with a full day on the beach-studded island for those who do not want to take tours to the province mainland. Tourists are being offered a whale-watching excursion, ATV adventure, excursion to explore caves and mangroves by kayak, excursion to hike through caves and mangroves and rain forests, tour to participate in a jeep safari, or visit Salto del Limon Waterfall on horseback.
The cruise itinerary takes travelers from Fort Lauderdale to Ponce, Puerto Rico, Marigot, St. Martin, Philipsburg, St. Maarten, Gustavia, St. Barts, Spanish Town, British Virgin Islands, Cayo Levantado, Samana and Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos prior to returning to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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