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Odyssey of the Seas Live Blog - Day 4 - La Romana, Dominican Republic

In:
23 Nov 2022
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Today we visited the Dominican Republic for the first time, which makes it a nice change of pace.

I've had many cruises with scheduled stops to a port in the Dominican Republic, but they always ended up being cancelled.

Today, we are visiting La Romana, which is on the southeast coast of the Dominican Republic.

Odyssey of the Seas wasn't due in until about 10am, so we took our time in the morning and grabbed breakfast at Cafe @ Two70.

As the ship pulled into La Romana, the mountainous countryside stood out immediately.

Prior to the cruise, I booked a private boat charter through a website called GetMyBoat. It's a third-party listing of boats you can charter, and this one sounded like a perfect fit.  It was 3 hours of having the boat to ourselves, and it comes with a crew, lunch, and a few stops along the way.

The boat left from Punta Cana, which is about a 45 minute car ride away.  The company that chartered the boat arranged for an additional cost transportation to and from the port. Carlos was waiting when we disembarked and met us in the taxi lot.

I believe we docked a little early, so we were able to walk off the ship earlier than I anticipated. There is a small port area with lots of shops you can browse as you walk out (or back in as you return).

We met Carlos who had a large passenger van and he got us on our way.  The kids loved when he hooked up his phone to the Bluetooth and played their favorite songs.

I didn't realize Punta Cana was as close as it is to La Romana, primarily via highway. 

Once we got to the beach, Carlos dropped us off at the main building for the company that owns the boats they charter.  We signed the necessary paperwork and were taken right away to the beach to board our boat.

We had booked a 60 foot long boat that has 2 levels, 2 bathrooms, and even a water slide off the back of the boat.

Our visit would take us to a snorkeling spot and a swimming spot to enjoy. Along the way we would also visit a dolphin park. All the stops are at various areas just off the coast, so there's no long commute times on the water.

Since it was reserved just for us, the boat felt very large with tons of space.  And since it was our own charter, as soon as we were ready to go, the captain pulled up anchor and we were on our way.

Our first stop was a snorkeling area, where the boat provided all the equipment.  You could optionally just hop in the water for a swim without snorkel gear if you preferred to just be in the water.

One of the crew members escorted us around the water and helped the kids.  There was a strong current, so there was a lot of swimming required.

After we got back onboard, it was time for lunch.  I paid extra to get an upgraded lunch option for the kids, so we had burgers, chicken kabobs, and fruit.  Later we were served chips and salsa.

Also included were soft drinks and rum punch and rum and cokes. We had the option to BYOB as well, with a stop at a liquor stand before boarding the boat.

We passed by a dolphin park, which meant we could see dolphins swimming around in their enclosure from our boat.  We didn't go in or anything, so it's merely a quick minute long stop to glance.

Next up was our swimming stop, where we could get in the water that was about 4 or 5 feet deep. 

This proved to be best time of the day, because the kids loved going down the water slide over and over again and we all got time to relax in the water.

After the swim, we started heading back to shore.

I loved our time because it delivered exactly what was promised. We got back to La Romana with 2 and a half hours to spare, which is always my primary concern when doing a tour on my own far from the port.

The crew were great, and having the boat to ourselves was fantastic. It felt special and I only wish we had more time during the tour. In case you're wondering, the boat cost $688, and then it was an additional $300 for the roundtrip transportation and upgraded lunch.

Carlos drove us back and we browsed a few shops at the port before getting back on the ship.

After showering, it was time for dinner at Wonderland.

My kids wanted to eat at Wonderland because they've never dined there and thought the whimsical nature of the restaurant sounded fun. I have to admit I would have preferred dining elsewhere.

As it turned out, the kids loved the experience.  The kids menu was a homerun, and the main menu items ended up being really good.  Plus, the kids loved the schtick more than I thought they would.

I even found the food better than I remembered, and I don't think anyone regretted going to Wonderland.

After dinner, my wife and I did a little window shopping around the Royal Esplanade before hitting up the casino for a bit.

Tomorrow we will be in Aruba.