Many cruise lines visit the port of Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic. The port was developed by the Carnival Corporation (operating Holland America, Princess, Carnival, and multiple other cruise lines) at an $85 million price tag for volunteerism opportunities under the Fathom brand line. I had a chance to travel to Amber Cove both with Fathom, and most recently, with Holland America. Here is what to do at the cruise port of Amber Cove, Dominican Republic, as I experienced during my travels.
Sunbathe or Swim
The cruise port at Amber Cove has an enormous pool area (Aqua Zone) with hundreds of lounge chairs that are free for cruise passengers to use. This is a perfect way to work on your tan, swim, read a book, or connect with other cruise passengers. Water slides, lazy river, and a swim-up bar are other appealing offerings at the Aqua Zone, as are the sun loungers in the pool’s shallow area. There is also a children’s pool with fountains, slides, and other fun toys.
One of the cool things to do at the cruise port of Amber Cove is to zip line. The 650 ft. twin zips run right across the Aqua Zone and down to the ocean. There is a fee for it ($20 for a day pass which gives you unlimited rides), but an easy opportunity to zip somewhere cool and get killer photos.
Carnival has done a great job of getting quality shops at the Amber Cove cruise port. You will find all the typical Caribbean shopping specialties, like diamonds, emeralds, local arts and crafts, souvenirs, and such, but also stylish beach fashions, Christmas ornaments, picture frames, and much more. My favorite store is Indigo, where I bought some cute tops and jewelry at low prices. Dominican cigars are another hot commodity at the cruise port and on the island, in general.
FYI: Rum, chocolate, amber, and coffee are the local Dominican Republic items recommended for souvenirs.
Eat or Drink
While the restaurants are numerous and delicious on the cruise ship, it is always nice to taste the local flavors while in port. At Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic, we recommend having a bite or drink from Coco Caña Restaurant. There are two at the cruise port; one by the pool area and the other across the property. We love the Chicken Fajitas and the Nachos. Also, for cruise port food prices, these are reasonably priced.
Take advantage of the tasty drink specials, too. If you aren’t in the mood for an alcoholic beverage, consider a coffee drink, such as a cortadito, which is what I had. Coco Caña’s staff is friendly and very attentive, and they offer free Wi-Fi.
Notes about Amber Cove
Amber Cove is a very clean cruise port and easily accessible, no matter what your physical level is. It is highly maintained and has some killer spots to view impressive scenery or take selfies with the waterfall, Amber Cove sign, and giant Carnival masks throughout the grounds. There are also really adorable swings/hammocks to use through the pool area toward the water. This is also where you will find the colorful oceanfront overwater cabanas, kayaks, and other water activity features that can be rented.
There is even bike transportation (works for tips!) to and from the ship in Amber Cove.
Don’t miss the musicians and performers in the transportation hub of the cruise port.
The cruise lines offer several fun opportunities for Amber Cove and the Dominican Republic. Here is a brief listing of the ones we had to choose from:
- ATV rides
- Beach horseback riding
- Taste of the Dominican Republic
- Beach day
- Off-road adventures
- Best of Puerto Plata
- Waterfall hiking adventure
- Helicopter tour
- Bamboo river raft experience
- Puerto Plata city tour
Venturing from the Port
Puerto Plata is flanked by lush mountains and hills in the background while sparkling blue waters lined the coast. The country makes up two-thirds of the island, with one third belonging to Haiti.
If you don’t have plans to do an organized cruise excursion, you can always get a taxi to take you into Puerto Plata to see the best of the Spanish colonial town. On my visit, we paid around $25 per person for about four hours, which included stops at Plaza Independencia (home to the gorgeous Cathedral San Felipe), beaches, Brugal Rum Factory, the Amber Museum, and Fort San Felipe, the historic Spanish fortress.
FYI: Your ship is docked at the Bay of Maimon, about 15 minuets northwest of Puerto Plata.
Carnival Corporation still offers volunteerism opportunities such as working at the cacao factory, pouring concrete floors, making paper, and many more. You will find them listed on your cruise line’s website. I taught English to local families, planted cacao seeds, poured, and packaged chocolates on my first visit. Both were rewarding and offered me a chance to give back to a community and country that needs help. They were appreciative and easy to work with, too. We are still in contact with the family we met during the English lessons.
Amber Cove: A Port Worth Visiting
Whether you are looking to explore a historic downtown city with a vibrant arts scene, volunteer in some fashion, snorkel, shop for duty-free souvenirs, or work on your tan, you can enjoy all of these and more at Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic. This is a port you don’t have to break the bank to get maximum enjoyment out of.
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I was hosted by both Fathom Cruises and Holland America on my Amber Cove visits. As always, opinions and reviews are 100% mine and unbiased.
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