Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Casa de Campo Welcomes Cruisers

As part of his stand-up routine during a cruise that included a port call in La Romana, Dominican Republic, a comedian once quipped that Casa de Campo is Spanish for “stay on the ship.” It might have seemed funny, or even ironic, to passengers unfamiliar with the destination, but his joke could be the worst “advice” ever offered.

While La Romana isn’t a typical cruise ship port in the sense that San Juan or Nassau are, it’s well worth including on your bucket list of places to see.

For as long as cruise ships have called at La Romana, shore excursions have included outings that allow passengers to get an inside glimpse of the exclusive Casa de Campo resort—horseback riding in the Casa de Campo equestrian center and Chavon River kayaking with a brief tour of the grounds are typical excursions, although your ship might also offer the opportunity to play golf at the famous “Teeth of the Dog” course in the resort.

Security at Casa de Campo is the tightest I’ve ever seen and, in fact, I was turned away at the gate a few years ago. However, I was invited to tour the resort a couple weeks ago while on a cruise aboard Costa Fortuna, including visits to the marina and yacht club, the Altos de Chavon 16th century replica of a Mediterranean village, and lunch at Minitas Beach. My host mentioned an option for cruise ship passengers that isn’t well know and that I’d like to share.

For $75 per person, you can purchase a 9am to 6pm day pass to the beach that includes lunch, beach towels, and a bottled water or coke. You must make a reservation ahead of time, take a taxi from the pier, and purchase your ticket from the hotel concierge when you arrive. You will also have access to Altos de Chavon during the day.

For more information and to contact the resort, enter paradise at the Casa de Campo website.

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