MIAMI - Carnival Corporation & plc celebrated the opening of its new Amber Cove cruise port in the Dominican Republic with a grand opening ceremony. Several key officials from various organizations attended the event including: Danilo Medina, president of the Dominican Republic; Francisco Javier Garcia, minister of tourism for the Dominican Republic; Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation; and Jeffrey Rannik, president of B&R Group.
Featuring a two-berth port and a 25-acre landside development nestled in a picturesque cove, Amber Cove will provide cruise guests from eight of Carnival Corporation's brands with a convenient gateway to the newest Caribbean destination - the Puerto Plata region on the island's north coast. Referred to as the "Amber Coast," the region is known for the friendliness of its people, its history and culture, and the beauty of its beaches, mountains, forests, waterfalls and rivers.
The port also re-opens the spectacular Puerto Plata region to regular cruise ship visits for the first time in nearly 30 years, adding a new and exotic destination to the Caribbean, the world's most popular region for cruising.
Following the first visit by the Carnival Victory on October 6, additional ships from Carnival Cruise Line and seven additional Carnival Corporation brands are scheduled to make calls on Amber Cove - AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Fathom, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and P&O Cruises. Notably, Amber Cove will be the first destination for the inaugural voyage of Carnival Corporation's new social impact travel brand Fathom, which is scheduled to depart from PortMiami on April 10, 2016. In its first full year of operation, the eight Carnival Corporation brands will make 140 calls on the port with 23 ships.
Set in a cove among a mountainous and lush tropical landscape, the port features dramatic architectural elements that reflect the area's storied Victorian and Colonial past. The waterfront welcome center hosts a variety of retail offerings, including a marketplace for Dominican crafts and souvenirs, as well as a wide range of unique food and beverage establishments featuring a variety of specialty dishes of the north coast along with an artisanal coffee shop that brews and sells locally grown coffee. At the Sky Bar perched atop a 60 foot lush hill, guests can enjoy panoramic views of the port and cove.
The port also features a zip line and complimentary pool area with a swim-up bar, children's splash pad and water slides. Guests can also rent cabanas, some built over the water and some built on a lush hill providing amazing views.
"We are always looking for new ways to create wonderful vacation memories for our guests, and we cannot wait to share the excitement of opening our new Amber Cove cruise port," said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. "We know our guests love the Caribbean, and today celebrates our beautiful new port and the beginning of us bringing our guests to one of the most unique, spectacular and historic regions in the Caribbean. We have worked closely with the local tour operators to offer more than 40 unique shore excursions, giving our guests plenty of options for exploring and enjoying the island."
Added Alan Buckelew, chief operations officer of Carnival Corporation who also attended today's ceremony: "It is an honor to bring Carnival Corporation guests to Amber Cove, which is absolutely beautiful, and to reestablish regular cruise visits to the Puerto Plata from major cruise brands for the first time in nearly 30 years. It is just as exciting to know that we will be bringing guests to the newest destination in the Caribbean, the world's most popular region for cruising. We are all looking forward to Amber Cove and Puerto Plata quickly becoming a very popular port of call."
The Amber Cove port is located in the heart of the Dominican Republic's north coast just outside the historical town of Puerto Plata, which was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492. The region's amber mines are considered some of the richest in the world, as Dominican amber is 90 percent clearer than others and has 10 times more insects than amber found in the Baltic. Puerto Plata was a filming site for the original "Jurassic Park," which was loosely based upon the unique features found in amber stones.
Extensive Excursion Opportunities Unlock the Richness of Puerto Plata
Amber Cove's transportation hub will provide guests with easy access to an extensive offering of shore excursion experiences and attractions, as well as taxis and rental car services. In fact, Amber Cove features one of the most comprehensive shore excursion programs available in the Caribbean, eventually offering more than 40 different sea and landside experiences from the port, including several beach getaways, kayak, paddle board and snorkeling tours, zip line adventures, ATV-like terracross buggy expeditions, Puerto Plata tours, helicopter rides, fishing trips, horseback riding, deep sea fishing tours and catamaran sailings.
Visitors to the city can tour the historic downtown area and main plaza, which will feature artists and entertainment on days that cruise ships are in port. Visitors can also stroll along the famed Malecon, a three-mile-long open air boardwalk overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and close to some bars, restaurants and shops. Guests can explore Fort San Felipe, one of the oldest military colonial period fortresses in the region, or enjoy museum tours to see the region's famous amber.
Nearby Ocean World, one of the region's largest marine adventure parks, offers guests popular ways to experience and enjoy a variety of marine animals. Guests can also travel via speedboat to beautiful Paradise Island, one of the Caribbean's top spots for snorkeling and scuba diving, or visit rural coffee plantations and sample traditional Dominican cuisine, rum and seasonal fruit. Or for the ultimate luxury experience, guests can reserve their own private beachside bungalow with the services of a personal chef, bartender and staff.
Amber Cove opens expanded itinerary options in the Caribbean and pairs with the company's other nearby ports of Half Moon Cay, Princess Cays and the Grand Turk Cruise Center only 100 miles to the north to anchor new central Caribbean itineraries for Carnival Corporation's 10 global brands. It is one of about 60 ports Carnival Corporation's brands visit in the Caribbean region, and in looking to the future, the port is strategically located to be incorporated into itineraries featuring potential stops in Cuba.
The opening of Amber Cove adds to the portfolio of cruise destinations Carnival Corporation has developed in the Caribbean. This includes the Grand Turk Cruise Center in the Turks & Caicos Islands, Puerta Maya on the island of Cozumel, Mexico, and Mahogany Bay on the island of Roatan, Honduras.
In addition to Donald and Buckelew, other key Carnival executives attended today's ceremony including: Josh Leibowitz, chief strategy officer of Carnival Corporation; Julia Brown, chief procurement officer of Carnival Corporation; Giora Israel, senior vice president of global port and destination development for Carnival Corporation; and Tara Russell, president of Fathom. Marie McKenzie, vice president of global destinations services and sources, and David Candib, vice president of development and operations and global port and destination development group for Carnival Corporation, were also in attendance.
Photo caption: In a ceremony, Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald and Danilo Medina, president of the Dominican Republic, and a large crowd celebrated the official opening of the company's new cruise port at Amber Cove -- a gateway to the northern coast of the Dominican. Joining Donald (center) and President Medina (second from left) are Jeffery Rannik (B&R Group), Giora Israel (Carnival Corporation), Francisco Javier Garcia (Dominican Republic) and David Candib (Carnival Corporation). (PRNewsFoto/Carnival Corporation & plc).