It’s a destination in itself!
The Amber Cove cruise port in Dominican Republic is truly a destination in itself. Although it’s always a good idea to get out and experience the country you’re visiting, you could easily spend a day right in port for a relaxing holiday. Amber Cove is great for couples, families, and friends and there’s always something to do.
Amber Cove is a brand new port established by the Carnival Corporation for their cruise ships to dock in the Dominican Republic, near Puerto Plata. Two ships are able to dock in Amber Cove at the same time. Our cruise ship, the Fathom Adonia, stayed for three days as we participated in impact activities to benefit communities in the country.
It’s about a five minute walk from the ship to the Amber Cove entrance. For those who have mobility issues, there are guys riding around on carts that can take you from point A to point B. It’s free to ride, although be sure to give a tip. The walk from the ship to Amber Cove is quite scenic. On our first visit, it seemed everyone was stopping for photo opportunities of the ocean, the little beach huts in Amber Cove, and their own cruise ship. Yes, you can rent these huts for the day!
So, what is there to do at the Amber Cove cruise port? Let me tell you!
FATHOM IMPACT CENTER
We sailed with Fathom Cruises to the Dominican Republic, primarily because we wanted to participate in the impact activities. I have a more detailed article describing the volunteer activities. At the Fathom Impact Center in the Amber Cove cruise port, there are miniature versions of many impact activities. There are Fathom impact guides there to answer any of your questions. Every impact tour is illustrated in detail, and there’s a chalkboard with the center’s daily activities. Some of these events explain more about the culture of the Dominican Republic.
There’s also the wall of gratitude. Members of the communities, including children, have written letters or drawn pictures to say thank you to the many volunteers who have positively impacted their lives.
As Fathom Cruises cease to operate in June of 2017, the impact activities will continue to be offered to anyone who travels aboard a cruise ship to Amber Cove. I imagine that you’ll meet at the impact center should you wish to volunteer your time on an impact shore excursion.
Some impact activities, such as tree planting and recycled paper, were described in detail. There was a miniature version of one activity from the Chocal (chocolate company) excursion where you could sort cocoa beans and cocoa nibs. My sister and I practiced at the impact center before we participated in the excursion itself. When we went to Chocal, we were able to work quickly and efficiently as we already knew what to do.
One day, we walked down to the Impact Nursery with a guide. It was on the other side of Amber Cove, near the swimming pool. The nursery was a small greenhouse filled with seedlings and plants. These would eventually be planted around the Dominican Republic. We planted Royal Palm seeds inside little pouches of soil with our own inspirational messages written on them.
STROLL AROUND THE PORT
Amber Cove cruise port is a great place to walk around and explore. There are palm trees, fountains, man-made waterfalls, and flowers all around. Carnival masks with descriptions surround the fountain. You can get your passport stamped with an unofficial “Puerto Plata” stamp at a replica gazebo of the one in downtown Puerto Plata.
There’s the iconic Amber Cove sign by the waterfront. You can’t leave Amber Cove without posing for a picture in front of it!
And if in doubt, you can relax and sway in a hammock with a view.
SPORTS AND ACTIVITIES
There’s fun for the whole family at Amber Cove. There’s a huge swimming pool with two water slides. The pool has tons of loungers all around it (over 1000!), and there’s a swim-up pool bar for drinks. The pool is available to every cruiser who visits Amber Cove at no additional charge.
You can also rent kayaks, paddle boards, aqua bikes, and other sporting equipment for some exercise in the water for an additional charge.
There’s a 650 foot zipline that runs across the Aqua Zone of Amber Cove. We paid $20 per person to ride the zipline and we were able to ride it an unlimited amount of times all day.
You can rent lockers on site for a small fee that is refundable when you return the lock. Here’s a full price list:
The shops at Amber Cove are open when the ships are in port. Some of the stores weren’t open when just our Fathom ship was there. You won’t have this problem if you happen to sail aboard any other cruise ship for the day.
If you’re looking to bring home some souvenirs, you’ve got to stop by the market. There are many small stalls with interesting and unique gifts made by local artisans. There are also booths showcasing the goods produced by companies affiliated with Fathom impact activities, like Repapel (recycled paper products) and Chocal (locally made chocolate). By purchasing gifts from these stalls, you’ll be helping the local economy and helping small businesses succeed.
There’s also a duty-free shop with liquor, chocolate, and souvenirs. Other shops around the port feature local specialties, jewelry, clothing, and more.
CAFE AND COFFEE TASTING
There’s a small coffee shop with delicious brews and bags of locally grown and roasted coffee beans. One day, there was a free coffee tasting where we learned about coffee production in the Dominican Republic. Of course, the best part was drinking the coffee! The owner and employees of the cafe were very helpful, pleasant and informative.
WHERE TO FIND WIFI
As you’ll be out to sea for many days, you might be without Internet for some time. There’s free Wi-Fi at the Fathom Impact Center. We found that it was fairly speedy, though my connection was slower during the day when many people were using it. You can ask for the password at the Impact Center. Additionally, the coffee shop has Wi-Fi for paying customers.
LEAVING AMBER COVE
When you depart the ship and enter Amber Cove, keep to the left. When you walk to the end of the shopping area, you’ll see a corridor to the right with taxis and buses. This is where you’ll depart on your shore excursions and activities away from the port.
Check out many more photos from Amber Cove and my Fathom Cruise at my Dominican Republic travel photo album!
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