Booming Cruise Month for Popular Caribbean Destination

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Puerto Plata, a top port of call for numerous cruise lines offering Caribbean itineraries, will see more than 60 cruise ships dock at either Amber Cove or Taino Bay during January 2024, bringing an astonishing number of visitors to the diverse destination and introducing travelers to the colorful culture and vibe of the Dominican Republic.

Puerto Plata to Welcome 60+ Cruise Ships

January may be a slow season for many cruisers after the hectic crazy of Christmas cruises and New Year’s seagoing celebrations, but January 2024 is poised to be a busy and dynamic month for Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic.

Between the coastal city’s two cruise ports – Amber Cove and Taino Bay – a total of 66 vessels are expected to visit. Amber Cove is the western port and will welcome 28 ships, while 30 will dock at Taino Bay, seven miles (12 kilometers) to the east.

“This impressive flow of visitors reinforces the position of Puerto Plata as one of the most outstanding tourist destinations in the entire Caribbean,” said Atahualpa Paulino, regional head of Tourism.

Because the two ports are so close together, cruise visitors can enjoy many of the same attractions and excursions no matter which actual port their ship docks at.

Most Carnival cruise ships, for example, dock at Amber Cove, a 25-acre port destination developed by Carnival Corporation with an $85 million investment. On rare occasions, other cruise lines may dock at Amber Cove if circumstances require it. The Amber Cove cruise port includes a water park, bars, restaurants, zip lines, private cabanas, and more.

Carnival Cruise Line's Amber Cove
Photo Copyright: Melissa Mayntz / Cruise Hive

Other ships in the Carnival family may also use Amber Cove if berths are available, including Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, and Costa Cruises.

Read Also: Carnival Pushes Amber Cove Past One Million Passengers

Cruise ships from other lines traditionally dock at Taino Bay, closer to downtown Puerto Plata. In January 2024, this includes ships from Norwegian Cruise Line, Virgin Voyages, Royal Caribbean International, MSC Cruises, Oceania Cruises, and Celebrity Cruises.

Scheduling availability, berth accommodations, ship size, and port agreements all factor in to which ship docks at which destination. Unexpected situations, such as dock damage, might also switch which ships are able to dock where.

Expanding on a Great 2023

This busy start to 2024 follows a spectacular 2023 for the Dominican Republic and a particularly amazing finish to last year, with five new cruise ships visiting the nation for the very first time. A total of 104 ship visits were planned in December 2023 alone, including debut calls by Norwegian Prima, Celebrity Ascent, Oceania Vista, Explorer of the Seas, and Brilliant Lady.

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic (Photo Credit: Joni Hanebutt / Shutterstock)

This continues an upward trend for the nation in welcoming more and more cruise visitors, which in turn benefits the local economy.

Cruise passengers who arrive in our country will have the opportunity to explore the natural and cultural beauties of these destinations, and at the same time they will consolidate the economy by promoting tourism for our population and even interaction with businesses and services in the area,” said Jean Luis Rodr√≠guez, executive director of the Dominican Port Authority.

During the first nine months of 2023, the Dominican Republic welcomed more than 1.5 million cruise guests. While final numbers for all of 2023 are not yet available, this put the nation firmly on the path to a record-breaking year for 2023, and an even better start to 2024.

Visiting Puerto Plata

Regardless of whether ships dock at Amber Cove or Taino Bay, each cruise terminal is an amazing gateway to the rich history, beautiful beaches, and unique sites the region offers for visitors to explore.

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Wildlife encounters with dolphins, sharks, and sea lions are always top excursion choices, and the area also has stunning waterfalls to enjoy. ATV adventures, horseback riding, deep sea fishing, beach breaks, snorkeling, catamaran sailing, cooking demonstrations, and visits to cocoa or coffee plantations are all on offer for guests to Puerto Plata.

One of the most unique and popular tours is to Monkeyland, a stunning botanical garden that is home to a colony of squirrel monkeys.

Both Amber Cove and Taino Bay are staple ports of call on many Caribbean itineraries. Depending on a ship’s exact route and timing, this destination is more often part of an Eastern Caribbean cruise, but can also be included on primarily Western Caribbean or Bahamas itineraries.

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