Read what other Viator.com travelers think about the Catamaran Cruise to Saona Island from Punta Cana. What they loved, what they liked and what they think could be improved, it's all here to help you make the most of your next trip.
Cruise was a great way to spend the day and get away from the resort. The staff did a great job in getting everyone involved on the island. The vendors were pretty passive and tended to leave people pretty much alone. Lunch was decent, although the lack of any organized line for the buffet meant you had to be prepared to butt in to get at the food. Overall, good value for the money and great way to see the coast from a different perspective.
Cruise was fun, fine and dandy. Was not prepared for the long bus ride to the boat, but overall a great time.
The trip is very well organized and the beach is beautiful. But my wife and I did not find this trip to be worth it. I tried to describe the whole day but I ran out of characters so here is the short version:
The van driver picked us at 7:35am. We drove to 2 more hotels to pick people up. We arrived at a parking lot around 9:00am where we left the van and boarded a coach bus. We took the bus for an 1 hours and 15 minutes during this time we told to look left for some mango trees and right for some sugar canes farms and got a brief history of DR. We arrived at our destination and walked for about 5 minutes before getting to the beach. Took it for about 5 minutes to a catamaran. We boarded the catamaran around 10:20am. 5 minutes into our catamaran ride, they started to blast music and serving alcohol/non-alcoholic beverages. Neither my wife nor I drink alcohol, but drinking at 10:30am it is a bit much in my opinion. This torture lasted for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. We got off the catamaran and boarded the speedboat again and it took us to the island. We arrived at the island around 11:50am. There was about 70-100 people between the 3 catamarans and 6 speedboats. Side note: the trip to the island itself took 4 hours and 25 minutes...our flight from NYC JFK airport took 3 hours and 30 minutes. We were served lunch around 1pm which was okay. The whole time we were there, we felt like it was a tourist trap and people are trying to selling you nonsense the whole time. Our tour guide hung out with the locals for the most part, had lunch, and then took a nap until 2:45pm when we left the Island. The way back things picked up, we took the speedboat back which was much more pleasant then the catamaran. They took us to see some fish and hold some starfish. As we approached the beach again, the captain slowed down the boat to collect tips and only after everyone gave he pulled to shore. I don't mind tipping for good service, but don't hold me hostage.
It was okay The trip on the bus was long. The trip to the island was longer than advertised. They served cheap beer and cheap rum with coke and 7 UP. No food or snacks as advertised. The lunch was just okay. The guide was okay but hard to understand at times. The private island was nice but the locals selling things and offering massages were very pushy!
I would have to say it was a beautiful day but felt like we were in a tourist trap for the whole day! The island is amazing by the 12 hour day was very long! Have to ride the bus for an hour picking up at different hotels was not good and then being sold everything from hats to run was a bit much!
A lovely day albeit a long day. The only negative I would say was that we had to keep changing from speed boat to catamaran and vice versus and the sea was quite rough and the transfer was quite difficult. Anyone with mobility issues would really struggle with this trip. But the staff and Island were both amazing and a good day was had by all. Also the final trinket shop stop was probably not needed after a long tiring day all you wish to do is get back to your hotel.
It was a very nice tour however a very long day too much time wasted with the bus ride there and the bus ride back and very crowded nice tour if you're staying in Punta Cana for a week where you can dedicate a full day today left at 7 AM didn't get back to 7.30 pm
The Island is stunning. Very disappointed in the 'Natural Pool' lagoon. It is advertised as being famous for its abundance of starfish; however the only starfish we saw were the two that the guide "found" and passed around to us. Boarding the speedboat was very unorganized. We waited on the beach for more than 40 minutes to get on our speed boat while others who had just arrived boarded their boats with very little wait time. Lunch on the island was very good with a wide variety of meat and pasta. Beverages were supplied on the catamaran; however there was no fruit provided (as advertised). It was a very quiet catamaran ride back as the crew only began getting things going about 30 minutes before the ride was over.
Our tour was awesome! Thomas was wonderful, looking out for everyone, making sure we got our connections. His talk was fantastic. The food was suprisingly good. Loved stopping for the starfish. My only complaint was the number of people on our beach and the drop off was like a crowded expressway at rush hour.
Only had run and coke to drink and they ran out of ice on the boat. It was a little crowded. The food on the island was so so.
Great Trip--Catamaran ride was smooth, plenty of refreshments to drink DJ played island music and volume was acceptable, not painful!! Island is nice, lunch was ok. If you wanted a photo album, the photographers had you posing constantly..no time to yourself. Main complaint: wish someone would have told us about the broken coral just off the shore..quite painful to walk on and unexpected!! speedboat ride back was fun. Would recommend this trip
the tour waS beautiful..chocolate was our "paparazzi" and he was amazing but Fausto 1 was our guide..they forgot us at the hotel and we had to call them to come get us..Fausto gave all the info from the front of the bus..we were in the back and couldnt hear anything..then he was rude TO EVERYONE
Rating would be higher if it didn't rain ALL DAY during our trip. Because of that, it was a lot less enjoyable. A blinding thunderstorm as you rip out toward the island on an uncovered speedboat was a bit unnerving (not to mention painful due to the rain hitting you at full speed), and much of our time on the island was spent under one of the shelters as we were trying to keep our camera dry. But, everything was delivered/provided exactly as promised. No problems with scheduling, transportation, quality of service, etc... But, be careful - perhaps it was all of the rum, but I didn't understand that the video of the trip offered on the way back (after drinking all the rum) was $40USD. The $10USD paid on the boat was only a deposit with a $30USD balance required to obtain the video. Oh, and a little kid took some clothes from some of our tour mates and was trying to sell them on the beach. Luckily, they got them back without too much trouble and were laughing about the whole thing. Maybe keep a close eye on your belongings once on the island. Would I do it again? Absolutely. It would have been perfect without the rain. And since I still seem to have some room here, be sure to take some insect repellent with you to the DR and use it whenever going to the beach. The sand fleas really got me good and made the last few days of the trip less enjoyable. The little buggers couldn't jump higher than my knees, but they made the bottom half of my legs look like a war zone. Take lots of sunscreen with you, too. It's $28USD in the DR.
Amazing place. Wonderful beaches but the tour wasn't so good. People got drunk by the leaders and they spent a lot of money. i think that was the point from the agency. They gave us cheap alcohol and everyone was drunk (we were smart enough to avoid it) and then , it was dangerous being in the sea and furthermore, i bet that people spent at least 100dollars in unnecessary things persuaded by the leaders! BE CAREFUL if you are about to join the tour.
The catamaran ride was perfect. The staff on the boat tried to make sure everyone was having fun including my kids. The island was beautiful. The starfish area had 2 starfish. One was dead I think? and the other someone was holding. There were really no starfish to see like we expected. The biggest issue was the 4 hour bus ride to get there. 1 hour to Bavaro and THREE more to the catamaran dock. We spent more time on a bus than the excursion. You can't change the distances...but I think your tour company tried to hide how long the travel part was and that was very aggravating. Another couple on the trip told us that they asked and were told 1 hr to 1.5 hrs....and they were also on buses for 3 hours. VERY MISLEADING. Also, the photo video guy was a good idea but we didnt want the video. If the pics were avail online we might have ordered pictures.....but didnt want to pay for the whole set of everyone on the trip. Just an idea.
First of all the drive to and from the resort was extremely long, very tiring especially if you are travelling with young kids. The catamaran was okay not very impressed. The food on the island was terrible. The only part that was enjoyable was the speedboat ride and the starrfish, other than that it was quite boring. It was not worth it. Was up at 6am and got back to our resort at 8:30pm.
We tried to cancel due to a change of plans, we were told we couldn't, therefore we gave the trip away! On the day of the cruise, our guests were not picked up on on time, a car was sent to pick them up to met the rest of the group. 10 hour adventure was really 12 hours long!
Having been on island vacations and excursions like this before, it made the long bus ride from/to Punta Cana to the boat area a bit tiresome. Once in the water the trip was wonderful.
Was a bit bummed out there was only one kind of "adult beverage" offered as well.
The Catamaran was great, the speedboat ride was awesome. The water was beautiful and we did swim and see a bunch of star fish. Our guide was knowledgeable. The two downfalls or surprises was that it was almost a 2 hour bus ride each way with no toilet paper in the bathroom, and the only offerings were beer and rum and coke/sprite. Lunch was OK.
Worth doing, yes. We went on the excursion with the expectations that snorkel gear would be provided and that the island would be a soothing, relaxing, environment. We didn't bring towels, but that was our mistake. When you arrive at the island, expect to find around 200-250 people already there, as many other tour companies come to this island. the music will be blasting. we were bummed that we couldn't snorkel, but overall we had a nice time and i'm glad that we went because it was nice to see another part of the country. food was pretty decent, rice, vegatables, chicken, and mahi mahi were served. beverages include soda, water, beer, and rum and cokes. the "natural pools" portion was better than the island. it's actually a large sandbar out in the middle of the bay between saona and the mainland. again, many other tour companies stop here with their load of drunk tourists, but we made the best of it and really soaked in the beauty of standing in 4 feet of water so crystal clear and far from shore. because of my lack of a mask, i didn't find any starfish, but i noticed other people around me who found 1 or 2. if you're doing this tour come fully prepared with your own gear and if you're coming from punta cana, be ready for a solid 2 hour bus ride one way. i really appreciated seeing all of the country side and small towns though. HAVE FUN, MAKE THE BEST OF YOUR VACATION!
The bus ride to the speed boat from the Excellance Resort hotel was 2 hours. 1 hour in small van where we met up with a larger bus for another hour. 1 hour on the speed boat to island where we stayed for 3 hours, then 1 hour ride back on Catamarn for 2 hour bus ride home. Left hotel at 7 am and was back at 7 pm, long day for only 1 hour Catamaran Cruise.
The sailing part of this excursion only lasts approximately 2 hours. The remainder of the trip is spent on a ragged-out motor boat that they call a "speed boat" with 20 other people or packed onto a "private island" with about 400 other people. The "included drinks" were limited to Sprite, Coke, water, or one of these fine choices with rum...pretty limited. All-in-all, the tour guide on the bus was very informative and did a great job, the island is beautiful, and the sailboat ride was fun......but you're going to feel like you were cheated out of a lot of money if you don't read the fine print and understand that a large part of the actual trip has nothing to do with sailing or private beaches.
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