Amber Cove, the Dominican Republic’s new cruise port is on track to receive Carnival’s Carnival Victory on October 6. Located on the north coast of the Dominican Republic, just outside of the city of Puerto Plata, the new port is being developed by Carnival Cruise Corporation and Grupo B&R, a Dominican port development firm. The port is in the secluded Bay of Maimon ringed by mountains but only six miles from the city.
The development of Amber Cove is unlike other traditional cruise ports, blending in features of cruise line’s private island ports. While the cove does not have a beach as the privates do, it will have a waterpark and swimming pool. Advance information shows that some features of the islands, such as places to eat, will be available to passengers as part of their cruise fare. The waterpark and pools will not have an entry fee for cruise passengers. There will be cabanas available for rent and other activities available for a fee. Amber Cove will also have some locally owned businesses and concessionaires. Guests looking for a true taste of Dominican cuisine can treat themselves at the locally owned establishments that will expand to the port.
The north coast of the Dominican Republic is noted for its amber mine and is often called the Amber Coast, which is the source of the ports name. Puerto Plata is a popular tourist destination and was a popular cruise port. (Christopher Columbus even sailed here in 1490.) An increase in ship sizes in the 1980’s caused the cruise lines to stop calling due to the ports size. The new port is designed to handle two cruise ships at the same time. Carnival’s representatives said that the redesigned port can even handle the worlds two largest ships owned by Royal Caribbean at the same time. The $85 million facility covers 25 acres with about half of it dedicated to a transportation hub.
Being a popular destination, even without the cruise ships, the local tour infrastructure is well developed. Puerto Plata has activities for a broad range of interests. The old historical center of town is very popular as are outdoor activities such as ATV rides in the nearby jungles. Carnival reports they will offer guests more than 40 different land-based experiences including beaches, water sports and special culinary, cultural, and adventure options. They predict that due to the wide range of offerings, more than twice the average percentage of guests will take land-based tours.
The local government and other private developers are also making improvements and new developments with the expected influx of visitors. The government has made road improvements leading to the port and are developing an amphitheater near the new port.
Carnival has scheduled 57 port calls with 13 different ships in the first six months bringing in more than 155,000 guests. The ships will be from six different Carnival’s brands. The first year goal is 255,000 guests.