UP CLOSE WITH HISTORY
As man-made “island” destinations go, cruise lines have done an amazing job in the Caribbean creating interesting places to park their ships for a day. Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic looks to be no exception to that rule. When the new facility opens in October, passengers coming ashore from ships run by the Carnival Corporation family of brands should find plenty to do. Just the features of Amber Cove alone, let alone the Playa Plata area of the island, have experts predicting nearly 100% of passengers getting off the ship, if not just out of curiosity. An unexpected bonus; the Carnival Corporation investment has energized the North shores of the Dominican Republic in a rather interesting way. It’s just what the cruiser ordered.
We Want Something New
That avid cruiser is tired of the same places in the Caribbean. Cruise lines have all developed their own private sanctuaries, dotting the islands of the Bahamas and Haiti for decades. Readers who have been on 3+ cruises, preferably on more than one line, have a good idea of what to expect on any given sailing. The Embarkation Process, Handling Gratuities, Relevant Onboard Programming. Top Deck “Gee-Wiz”* features.
From Fare Alerts to In-Depth Coverage Gained From Probing Questions to All You Can Drink Liquor programs, Themed Sailings and more, cruise lines Tackle Projects one by one in a logical and decisive manner. When it comes to investing in an economy, cruise lines take the matter seriously.
No Need To Feel Bad Here
Royal Caribbean’s presence in Haiti where they operate their private destination of Labadee is a good example as is Royal Caribbean building a school for children, being the first ship to deliver supplies after the recent devastating earthquake. Carnival Corporation too has made similar commitments to the island nations where they have interesting cruise destinations. But Carnival Corporation’s involvement in the Amber Cove project goes beyond building a different place to park ships. It’s a partnership with the local government, already tourism-friendly. This is a natural fit for them. Visit most other Caribbean cruise ports and find a very poor people and what an infrastructure nightmare looks like. At Puerto Plata and its gateway Amber Cove, we see a vibrant, thriving community working together to attract investors in tourism, their mainstay industry.
First Class Cruise Destination
Already the playground of all-inclusive land resort and time-share travelers, Puerto Plata have a healthy vibe. Construction is happening at a record pace, largely due to the Amber Cove development. Compared to the south side of the Dominican Republic where a number of areas seem frozen in time with development started decades ago but never completed, Puerto Plata is alive and well. On a tour of the Amber Cove facility, we saw a first-class cruise destination nearly complete and ready to receive its first visitors.
Built To Take It
A two-berth, 40,000 square foot waterfront welcome center will feature local and regional retail offerings including a Dominican marketplace. This sort of development we expect to see just about any place possible to visit by ship in the Caribbean. In that respect, Amber Cove rivals Mahogany Bay, and other facilities built for cruise ships. Where Amber Cove differs is in the thinking behind it.
In addition to a place to park two cruise ships and have some local flavor in a clean, safe market, Amber Cove is viewed as ‘the gateway to Puerto Plata’. What passengers will see if visiting on the first day of operation via Carnival Victory on October 6, 2015. It is more than shopping with over-the-water air-conditioned bungalows taking a starring role. Additional bungalows perched on the side of a high cliff that towers over the Amber Cove development add more choices.
Recreational area featuring a pool and a variety of other activities along the bay. Amber Cove will serve as the gateway to the North Coast of the Dominican Republic and provide access to notable sites such as Puerto Plata’s historic city center, malécon and Fort San Felipe. During our whirlwind tour of the area, we will experience a number of the tours and excursions planned for Amber Cove. More on those tomorrow.
High Hopes For The Future
Carnival Corporation has Amber Cove closed to only Carnival brands at this point and expects to deliver 350,000 guests over the 8 brands that will call on the new paradise, sailing from 7 North American homeports.
Already a hit socially, over 1500 stories have already been written about Amber Cove making over 800 million initial impressions, before the place is even open.
Read More about Amber Cove and check back later as we post more information and photos of the unique Caribbean destination.
*coined by the temperament of USAToday’s CruiseLog, Gene Sloan covers all the bases