Located on the north coast of the Dominican Republic, Amber Cove is Carnival Cruise Line’s private port destination.
It offers visitors plenty of harbor activities as well as a gateway to a variety of excursions in the scenic Puerto Plata area.
Cruise passengers from Carnival and its affiliates Princess Cruises and Holland America, as well as occasional ships from Norwegian Cruise Line, take advantage of the port’s facilities as well as nearby attractions.
Here’s what you need to know before visiting Amber Cove.
The Puerto Plata region is characterized by a tropical climate with lots of lush vegetation, beautiful beaches and mountain views. Its historic center dates back to the beginning of the 16th century and the city has a lot of charm with its colonial architecture and its forts.
More recently, the area known for amber (fossilized tree resin) has been the location for some scenes from the hit Jurassic Park movies, borrowing spectacular pieces of amber from the local museum.
The 30-acre harbor area has no dinosaurs today but provides guests with plenty of entertainment, food and shopping as well as a jumping off point for a wide range of local activities.
Part of Carnival’s $85 million investment in Amber Cove included the construction of a pier, so there’s no need for a tender at that port. It’s an easy walk to shore and transportation is provided from the dock for those who need it.
The Dominican Republic is known for its sunny skies and good weather all year round. Visitors can expect highs in the 80s and 90s in the summer and early fall. The highest rainfall is between November and January, something to consider when venturing out on a day trip.
Bring plenty of sunscreen, a hat, towel, credit cards and any other essentials, although you can always come back to the ship.
Once ashore there is plenty to do in the port area and guests can enjoy a number of activities without booking excursions.
Many cruise passengers love to treat themselves to a sparkly piece of jewelry, and there are on-site shops and jewelry stores in addition to a local craft market. Larimar is a blue mineral native to the Dominican Republic that features in locally made jewelry.
The free aquatic area has plenty of lounge chairs around the 300,000 gallon pool with a swim-up bar and nearby play area for kids. Other activities include a zipline, kayaks, and paddleboards for an additional fee.
Amber Cove Cabins
Guests can reserve cabins at Amber Cove, and booking prior to arrival through the cruise planner is recommended.
Huts are located in various areas of the port. All cabana guests receive complimentary water, soda, and snacks and are served by an attendant. Customers must bring their own towels and credit card for payment. cash is not accepted. Options include:
The highly rated cabana starts at $325 and sleeps up to 8 people (14+). Located at the edge of the large port swimming pool, passengers benefit from VIP service and a privileged location. The cabanas have air conditioning, Wi-Fi, TV, mist cooling systems, fridge and living room.
Starting at $345, this option can accommodate up to 8 people, with no age limit. Described as Tahitian-style cabins on stilts, they have a mini-fridge, Wi-Fi, a table and chairs, a terrace and an outdoor shower.
These cabins take advantage of the hilly terrain and their breathtaking views. Guests can reserve this cabin starting at $310, sleeping up to 8 people and with no age limit.
The cabana has air conditioning, Wi-Fi, TV, showers, misting system, fridge, lounge chairs, living room and hot tub.
The Grand Cabana is the ultimate splurge at $1,170. The 1,000 square foot cabin can accommodate up to 20 people ages 14 and up. Located on the water, it is equipped with kayaks, stand up paddles or one-hour aquacycles.
The cabana includes air conditioning, Wi-Fi, TV, showers, misting system, fridge, large deck with chairs and a hot tub.
Food and drinks
If you are staying in the port area, there are two main places to grab a bite to eat. Food is extra at the port and unfortunately cruise line drink packages will not work at Amber Cove.
The Coco Cana Restaurant and Bar serves classic beach cocktails as well as a variety of barbecue dishes and Dominican specialties such as yucca and local fish.
Cruise passengers love Cafè El Cibao and their fantastic coffee. Other offerings include a number of sweet treats such as coconut balls, tres leches and cheesecake. Before returning to the ship, you can purchase local Dominican coffee beans to take home.
For those wishing to venture outside the port area, Carnival and other cruise lines offer a number of excursions that highlight the area’s stunning beaches, water and natural features, including:
- beach day
- Local city tour
- Catamaran Sailing
- Damajagua Waterfalls
- Swim with dolphins
- Hands-on chocolate experience
- dune buggy
- World Ocean Day Pass
- Ride a horse
- land of the monkeys
- Sights of the city of Puerto Plata
Explore on your own
Besides that, guests can explore on their own as there are plenty of available taxis and rental cars at the port.
It takes about 20 minutes to drive to nearby Puerto Plata, home to Fort San Felipe, one of the oldest European forts still standing in the Americas. You can visit the local amber museum or stroll through the historic colonial streets of the city which are full of restaurants.
The area is well known for its beaches such as Sosua which is a 30 minute drive away. Other local attractions include the waterfalls and the Ocean World Adventure Park with many sea animals including sharks and dolphins.
How to visit Amber Cove?
Amber Cove is a busy port of call in the Caribbean, with many ships visiting each year on numerous east and south routes:
Carnival Cruise Line:
- Carnival Exhilaration
- Freedom Carnival
- Horizon Carnival
- Carnival Legend
- Carnival Magic
- Carnival Vista
- Mardi Gras
Norwegian cruise line
- Norwegian Getaway
- Still Norwegian
- Norwegian breakaway
- New Amsterdam
- New Statendam