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Inside the Dominican Republic’s Amber Cove Cruise Port

Cabanas at the Amber Cove cruise port in Puerta Plata, Dominican Republic

Although the swirling blue slides aren’t visible the exact moment you step off the ship, they could be. Instead, what you see are the brightly-colored cabanas tantalizingly balanced on the wooden walkway over the ocean. If you’re not sure what to expect from your day (or longer) in the new port of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, Amber Cove will warm you up.

Water slides at Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic

Dueling water slides

Amber Cove–a port for cruise lines such as Holland America, Princess, Carnival, and Fathom–has a lot of the things that are typical of a cruise port in the Caribbean. There is, of course, a Diamonds International and a full complement of souvenir shops. There is every kind of duty free rum you could hope for, with free tastings available. You can even get your passport stamped at a kiosk in the center of the Amber Cove port. But there are also a number of features that set Amber Cover apart from other cruise ports in the Caribbean.

There is plenty of room to relax poolside

There is plenty of room to relax poolside

Information center at Amber Cove in Puerta Plata, Dominican Republic

The information center, modeled after a building in downtown Puerta Plata

It’s not usually my style to hang out at the port when I take cruises. Usually I’m off exploring local beaches, scuba diving, or snorkeling. But sometimes you need a balance between adventure and relaxation.

I had the luxury of spending part of my last day in Puerto Plata at the winding pool (numerous lifeguards included) that occupies a large section of the Amber Cove cruise port. It twists and turns at different depths that are perfect whether you want the wading area for children or the deeper area that becomes a swim up bar at the Coco Cana. And what’s not to love about a swim up bar? Plus, there’s a sea of pristine, blue lounge chairs just waiting for guests.

The swim-up bar at Coco Cana

The swim-up bar at Coco Cana

Children's play area by the pool at Amber Cove

Children’s play area by the pool

Just next to the pool area are those alluring, swirling slides. The side-by-side tubes allow you to race your friends to the bottom and provide just as much (if not more) fun for adults as for kids. If you’re looking for something even more active, clip onto the twin zip lines that soar above it all.

Zip lining above the Amber Cove cruise port

Zip lining above the Amber Cove cruise port

Nearby, you can rent pretty much any kind of equipment you need to make your day more enjoyable. Kayaks ($19-46) and stand up paddleboards ($20-32) can help you explore the bay adjacent to the port and your ship. Or, you can stick a bit closer to land renting one of many cabanas or even a pool float to lounge on. If none of that sounds like your thing, head to the coffee shop or the aptly-name Sky Bar at the top of the hill.

Waterfall at Amber Cove

The waterfall greets you as you enter the port from the ship

Those that are looking for adventure beyond the Amber Cove port just need to walk in, turn left, and head out near the back of the port complex. That’s the meeting point for the buses leaving on shore excursions. It’s also the home of the National/Alamo car rental counter if you’re feeling like exploring the island on your own.

If you’re looking for something between a planned shore excursion and a sporty day driving yourself in the Dominican Republic, the taxi stand can help you have a day in town, at the beach, exploring the 27 waterfalls attraction, or any of the other things to do on the island. Be aware that the taxis are pricey compared to those at other Caribbean ports, so you may want to gather a group.

Giant carnival masks on display in the Amber Cove cruise port

Giant carnival masks on display in the cruise port

Amber Cove sign at the cruise port in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Do you have a favorite spot in the Caribbean?

Amber Cove cruise port in the Dominican Republic goes beyond the typical port. It offers a huge pool - complete with waterslides - plus a zip line, kayaking, and more.

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What do you think about Inside the Dominican Republic’s Amber Cove Cruise Port?

  1. Nadezhda Wagner May 2, 2016 at 7:08 am #

    Looks like a really fun place to visit 🙂 Nice photos!

  2. Derek August 3, 2016 at 3:42 pm #

    If you’re arriving on a Princess ship, is there any charge for using the pool area? Also, with the swim up bar and such, how does one pay for drinks? I.e. is it local currency, or can you charge to your cabin.

    • Laura Longwell August 3, 2016 at 4:32 pm #

      Only ships from Carnival Corporation use Amber Cove. Princess would be included in that, so I doubt you’d have any extra charges to use the pools. I don’t believe you can charge to your cabin, though, because the businesses are individually owned. I just used a credit card.

  3. Virginia Altmiller October 17, 2016 at 4:25 pm #

    Amber Cove is beautiful. I loved it there when we visited in April 2016. My husband & I chose the excursion to swim with the Dolphins. So we went to Ocean World. The park was beautiful. It was so clean and well kept. It was not crowded at all. We got to see the excellent bird show. We were getting ready to see the sea lion show when it was our turn to swim with dolphins. I will admit at first I was very scared to get in the water and our group instructor/trainer (not sure his title) was so nice and understanding. Finally I just jumped in. It was the greatest experience of my life. My husband even loved it and had a great time. It was honestly amazing. An experience I know I will never forget. It was well worth the money it cost. There is 2 different dolphin excursions…1 is an interaction with the dolphins you do get in the water with them but you do not actually swim with them. the 2nd you do a lot more interacting with the dolphins and you actually get to swim with them I believe this one is $40 more… it is well worth it. I absolutely do not regret choosing this excursion however I would of loved to have seen more of the Dominican Republic…it looked beautiful. I am planning on taking another cruise with Amber Cove being a stop just because I want to explore this place. I am extremely excited about this I can not wait to see everything the island has to offer.

    • Laura Longwell October 17, 2016 at 4:50 pm #

      Thanks for your comment, Virginia. We’re glad you enjoyed the experience in Puerto Plata. It’s a great place with many different things to do. We would strongly encourage visitors to steer clear of activities that involve interacting with animals in captivity.

      • Missy October 26, 2016 at 3:17 pm #

        Amber cove in July 2017 .. I wanted too know if i rent a cabana the one near the pool do it included all drinks or that’s on our own we pay for our drinks and food or you know a place that I purchase tickets etc.. That comes included with all .. We are taking a cruise on carnival .. I seen it in the excursion on carnival that we can rent a cabana but it doesn’t say it comes with drinks and food included

        • Laura Longwell October 26, 2016 at 3:40 pm #

          I think sodas and water may be included, but I would assume most food and drinks are an additional expense. I didn’t get a cabana, though, so I cannot say for sure.

  4. Susan Domres March 17, 2017 at 10:28 pm #

    Do you know when Christmas decorations go up? Will be there 12/5/17. Thank you

    • Laura Longwell March 18, 2017 at 10:05 am #

      I haven’t been at that time of year, so I can’t say for sure, but I would imagine they would be up by then.

  5. Sharon I Kelly June 26, 2018 at 7:18 pm #

    Is there a charge to use the 300,000 sq ft pool area at Amber Cove?

    • Laura Longwell June 27, 2018 at 12:53 am #

      If you’re a cruise passenger, it should be free.

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