Last August, Carnival Cruise Lines and the Dominican Republic announced plans to construct a new cruise port. To be built on Maimon Bay, about five and one half miles from Puerto Plata, the new facility will cost $65 million and paid for by Carnival Corporation, in partnership with the Rannik family shipping company. Yesterday a dream became a reality with the traditional ground breaking ceremony.This is an historic moment for the Dominican Republic; Puerto Plata hasn’t had a ship call there in thirty years. Now things are about to change. Any new cruise complex facility which offers cruise passengers what I call the Big Three Rs, recreation, retail and restaurants, is sure to be a hit.
The new cruise port – which represents one of the largest cruise industry investments ever made in the Dominican Republic – is scheduled to open in 2014. The project is designed to re-establish the Dominican Republic’s North Coast as a popular cruise destination. The economic impact on the North Coast and surrounding areas will be significant as thousands of cruise ship passengers discover this new and what will be, a very exciting cruise destination.
The ceremony attracted a number of high-ranking officials from the Dominican Republic, including President Dr. Leonel Fernandez Reyna, Minister of Tourism Francisco Javier Garcia, Minister of Public Works & Communications Victor Diaz Rua, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Ernesto Reyna, Director of the Dominican Republic’s Center for Export and Investment (DR-CEI) Eddie Martinez, Customs Director Rafael Camilo and Dominican Port Authority (APORDOM) Director Ing. Ramon Rivas.
The new two-berth Amber Cove Cruise Center will be able to accommodate up to 8,000 cruise passengers and 2,000 crew members daily. The facility is expected to host more than 250,000 cruise passengers in its first year of operation.
Amber Cove will encompass 30 acres of waterfront property and will feature a welcome center with a variety of retail offerings, including a marketplace for locally sourced Dominican crafts and souvenirs, as well as a wide range of themed restaurants and bars and an exciting water attraction. A transportation hub allowing visitors easy access by land and sea to the surrounding destinations and attractions will be included, as well.
“This is a glorious day for the Dominican Republic. It is already being inscribed in the annals of our recent economic history as one of the most significant steps we have taken to assure the transformation and development of Puerto Plata, the northern region, and the entire country,” said President Leonel Fernández Reyna.
This new cruise center will serve as a gateway for cruise guests to explore the natural beauty and wonder that makes the Dominican Republic such a popular tourist destination. Up until now, the sugar-sand beaches of Maimon Bay and Puerto Plata have catered mainly to the all-inclusive resort guests. With the opening of this sprawling, two-berth facility will be a new influx of tourists anxious to experience the lush, tropical beaches, sample the unique flavors of the local cuisine and even purchase a piece of 25 million year old amber, from the Dominican Republic, thought to be the best preserved amber in the world.