Amber Cove Dominican Republic is a fun cruise ship port you won’t want to miss.
Updated: January 9, 2019
Amber Cove Dominican Republic is a cruise port that’s 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.
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Amber Cove was an $85 million dollar investment by the Carnival Corporation that opened in 2015. It allows their cruise ships to dock near Puerto Plata. Two ships are able to dock in Amber Cove at the same time.
Amber Cove Dominican Republic
When I sailed to Amber Cove Dominican Republic, my cruise ship was the now defunct Fathom Adonia. We stayed for three days as we participated in impact activities to benefit communities in the country. Unfortunately, this volunteer cruise ship doesn’t exist anymore, but you can still volunteer in some of the programs through both Carnival and Princess cruise ships that sail to Amber Cove.
It’s about a five minute walk from the ship to the Amber Cove entrance. For those who have mobility issues, there are employees 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 Dominican Republic 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!
Things to Do in Amber Cove
There are a variety of things to do in Amber Cove, as well as activities for the whole family. There’s really something for everyone! Whether you love spending time by the pool, shopping, or stopping for a drink, you’ll have a great time in Amber Cove Dominican Republic.
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. It’s almost like an Amber Cove excursion that you don’t need to book in advance and it’s available for no charge to everyone on the cruise ship. Perfect!
Amber Cove Aqua Zone
You can rent kayaks, paddle boards, aqua bikes, and other sporting equipment for some exercise in the water for an additional charge at the Amber Cove Aqua Zone. Please see the image below for pricing when I visited in 2016. Prices are subject to change, of course.
There’s a 650 foot zip line that runs across the Aqua Zone of Amber Cove. We paid $20 per person to ride the zip line 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. You’ll want to rent a locker if you plan on doing the zip line.
The shops at the Amber Cove cruise port are open when the ships are in port. 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 the Carnival and Princess volunteer 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. Stop here for your souvenirs and gifts for loved ones back home.
El Cibao Cafe and Coffee Tasting
There’s a small coffee shop called El Cibao Cafe 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.
Back in 2016, we sailed with Fathom Cruises on our Dominican Republic cruise, primarily because we wanted to participate in the impact activities. I have a more detailed article describing the volunteer activities.
Sadly, Fathom Cruises is no longer. But, Carnival has kept the spirit of the impact activities alive. On many Princess and Carnival sailings, you can opt to participate in the social impact activities, like volunteering at RePapel, a Recycled Paper & Crafts initiative. Alternatively, you can have a hands on chocolate making experience at a women’s cooperative. I participated in both of these activities during my Fathom sailing, and they’re both worth checking out.
Fathom Impact Center
When we sailed on the Fathom Adonia, there was a main meeting place for all volunteer activities. While I’m unsure if the Fathom Impact Center still exists, here’s a brief description of what we did there. Please let me know if you’ve traveled there recently if it’s still in operation, as I can’t seem to find any details online about it.
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.
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 cruise port 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.
Where to find Wi-Fi
As you’ll be out to sea for many days, you might be without Internet for some time. There used to be free Wi-Fi at the Fathom Impact Center. I’m not sure if that exists anymore, so please don’t use that as a likely place to find Wi-Fi in Amber Cove. 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.
I recommend that you try to use the Wi-Fi from the coffee shop in Amber Cove, El Cibao. You’ll have to buy a coffee or a treat in order to receive the password. Their coffee is so delicious and they have a wide variety of selections for every taste.
Getting Out of 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.
Renting a Car
If you’re looking to drive around the Dominican Republic, you can rent a car from Alamo rental cars right at the exit of Amber Cove. I always recommend reserving a rental car in advance to avoid disappointment. From there, check out many activities in the Puerto Plata area of the Dominican Republic for some suggestions.
Amber Cove Excursions
When we were on our Dominican Republic cruise, we booked a tour to visit the 27 Waterfalls of Damajagua. Unfortunately, there was massive flooding in the area before we visited and our tour was canceled. I’m sure you’ll have much more luck than we did! Get out there and see the 27 waterfalls if you get the chance.
Alternatively, I recommend that you book this day trip of Puerto Plata and the surrounding area. You get to do a beach stop, discover wildlife at mangrove lagoons, sample local treats with a Dominican family (coffee and chocolate), and sample local rum.
If you decide to take a taxi into town, be warned – they are quite expensive. It’s best if you gather a small group together to split the costs or even consider renting a car instead.
Have a fun day at Amber Cove in Dominican Republic! We had a wonderful time at Amber Cove, and we hope you do, too.
Check out many more photos from Amber Cove at my Dominican Republic travel photo album!
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