Tourism November 3, 2015 | 9:51 am

Carnival Corp. inaugurates Dominican cruise port with a bang

Miami (PRNewswire).-Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest travel and leisure company, todaycelebrated the opening of its new Amber Cove cruise port in the DominicanRepublic with a grand opening ceremony.

Several key officialsfrom various organizations attended the event including: Danilo Medina,president of the Dominican Republic; Francisco Javier Garcia, minister oftourism for the Dominican Republic; Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation;and Jeffrey Rannik, president of B&R Group.

Featuring a two-berthport and a 25-acre landside development nestled in a picturesque cove, AmberCove will provide cruise guests from eight of Carnival Corporation’s brandswith a convenient gateway to the newest Caribbean destination — the PuertoPlata region on the island’s north coast. Referred to as the "AmberCoast," the region is known for the friendliness of its people, itshistory and culture, and the beauty of its beaches, mountains, forests,waterfalls and rivers.

The port also re-opensthe spectacular Puerto Plata region to regular cruise ship visits for the firsttime in nearly 30 years, adding a new and exotic destination to the Caribbean,the world’s most popular region for cruising.

Following the firstvisit by the Carnival Victory on October 6, additional ships from CarnivalCruise Line and seven additional Carnival Corporation brands are scheduled tomake calls on Amber Cove — AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Fathom,Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and P&O Cruises. Notably, Amber Covewill be the first destination for the inaugural voyage of CarnivalCorporation’s new social impact travel brand Fathom, which is scheduled todepart 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 23ships.

Set in a cove among amountainous and lush tropical landscape, the port features dramaticarchitectural elements that reflect the area’s storied Victorian and Colonialpast. The waterfront welcome center hosts a variety of retail offerings,including a marketplace for Dominican crafts and souvenirs, as well as a widerange of unique food and beverage establishments featuring a variety ofspecialty dishes of the north coast along with an artisanal coffee shop thatbrews and sells locally grown coffee. At the Sky Bar perched atop a 60 footlush hill, guests can enjoy panoramic views of the port and cove.

The port also featuresa zip line and complimentary pool area with a swim-up bar, children’s splashpad and water slides. Guests can also rent cabanas, some built over the waterand some built on a lush hill providing amazing views.

"We are alwayslooking for new ways to create wonderful vacation memories for our guests, andwe cannot wait to share the excitement of opening our new Amber Cove cruiseport," said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. "We know ourguests love the Caribbean, and today celebrates our beautiful new port and thebeginning of us bringing our guests to one of the most unique, spectacular andhistoric regions in the Caribbean. We have worked closely with the local touroperators to offer more than 40 unique shore excursions, giving our guestsplenty of options for exploring and enjoying the island."

Added Alan Buckelew,chief operations officer of Carnival Corporation who also attended today’sceremony: "It is an honor to bring Carnival Corporation guests to AmberCove, which is absolutely beautiful, and to reestablish regular cruise visitsto the Puerto Plata from major cruise brands for the first time in nearly 30years. It is just as exciting to know that we will be bringing guests to thenewest destination in the Caribbean, the world’s most popular region forcruising. We are all looking forward to Amber Cove and Puerto Plata quicklybecoming a very popular port of call."

The Amber Cove port islocated in the heart of the Dominican Republic’s north coast just outside thehistorical town of Puerto Plata, which was discovered by Christopher Columbusin 1492. The region’s amber mines are considered some of the richest in theworld, as Dominican amber is 90 percent clearer than others and has 10 timesmore insects than amber found in the Baltic. Puerto Plata was a filming sitefor the original "Jurassic Park," which was loosely based upon theunique features found in amber stones.

Extensive ExcursionOpportunities Unlock the Richness of Puerto Plata

Amber Cove’stransportation hub will provide guests with easy access to an extensiveoffering of shore excursion experiences and attractions, as well as taxis andrental car services. In fact, Amber Covefeatures one of the most comprehensive shore excursion programs available inthe Caribbean, eventually offering more than 40 different sea and landsideexperiences from the port, including several beach getaways, kayak, paddleboard and snorkeling tours, zip line adventures, ATV-like terracross buggyexpeditions, Puerto Plata tours, helicopter rides, fishing trips, horsebackriding, deep sea fishing tours and catamaran sailings.

Visitors to the citycan tour the historic downtown area and main plaza, which will feature artistsand entertainment on days that cruise ships are in port. Visitors can alsostroll along the famed Malecon, a three-mile-long open air boardwalkoverlooking the Atlantic Ocean and close to some bars, restaurants and shops.Guests can explore Fort San Felipe, one of the oldest military colonial periodfortresses in the region, or enjoy museum tours to see the region’s famousamber.

Nearby Ocean World, oneof the region’s largest marine adventure parks, offers guests popular ways toexperience and enjoy a variety of marine animals. Guests can also travel viaspeedboat to beautiful Paradise Island, one of the Caribbean’s top spots forsnorkeling and scuba diving, or visit rural coffee plantations and sampletraditional Dominican cuisine, rum and seasonal fruit. Or for the ultimateluxury experience, guests can reserve their own private beachside bungalow withthe services of a personal chef, bartender and staff.

Amber Cove opensexpanded itinerary options in the Caribbean and pairs with the company’s othernearby ports of Half Moon Cay, Princess Cays and the Grand Turk Cruise Centeronly 100 miles to the north to anchor new central Caribbean itineraries forCarnival Corporation’s 10 global brands. It is one of about 60 ports CarnivalCorporation’s brands visit in the Caribbean region, and in looking to thefuture, the port is strategically located to be incorporated into itinerariesfeaturing potential stops in Cuba.

The opening of AmberCove adds to the portfolio of cruise destinations Carnival Corporation hasdeveloped in the Caribbean. This includes the Grand Turk Cruise Center in theTurks & Caicos Islands, Puerta Maya on the island of Cozumel, Mexico, andMahogany Bay on the island of Roatan, Honduras.

In addition to Donaldand Buckelew, other key Carnival executives attended today’s ceremonyincluding: 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 CarnivalCorporation; and Tara Russell, president of Fathom. Marie McKenzie, vicepresident of global destinations services and sources, and David Candib, vicepresident of development and operations and global port and destinationdevelopment group for Carnival Corporation, were also in attendance.