Caribbean Cruise Destination Sees Record-Breaking Visitors

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The Dominican Republic has welcomed more than 7 million tourists during the first three-quarters of 2023, with the best August numbers in the country’s history.

Based on these trends, more than 10 million tourists are expected before the end of the year, with cruise guests making up more than 1.5 million visitors so far.

Dominican Republic Tourist Numbers Breaking Records

With more than 7 million tourists visiting the Dominican Republic in the past nine months, the Caribbean nation is seeing a 25% increase in visitors over the same time period in 2022. In August alone, more than 782,000 visitors were recorded, the best August the country has ever seen.

Compared to pre-pandemic numbers of 2019, the Dominican Republic is showing the possibility of full 10% growth for the year, according to the tourism trend analysis firm ForwardKeys.

In total, more than 1.5 million cruise guests have visited the Dominican Republic so far in 2023, with various cruise lines regularly docking in Puerto Plata, Amber Cove, and La Romana.

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

Despite challenges from hurricane season that have caused port changes and cancellations, cruise ship visits will continue throughout the last part of the year as guests enjoy these idyllic destinations.

“The summer is always an interesting benchmark for our country,” said David Collado, Dominican Tourism Minister. “Summer is always a popular travel season with many attractive options – such as many European countries. But despite the competition, the Dominican Republic has remained a preferred destination for travelers from both Europe and North America.”

Collado attributes the appeal of the Dominican Republic to the nation’s outstanding climate, stable security, and amazing hospitality – all of which is evident to cruise guests who enjoy the vibrant culture and welcoming nature of the destination.

Cruising to the Dominican Republic

Many top cruise lines of all sizes visit the Dominican Republic, with calls to the Caribbean island nation – the eastern half of the island of Hispaniola – made year-round.

Various ships from Carnival Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Virgin Voyages, Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Costa Cruises, Oceania Cruises, and Marella Cruises typically visit Puerto Plata or Amber Cove, depending on berth availability and time of year.

Both Amber Cove and Puerto Plata are located on the nation’s northern coast, just 7 miles (12 kilometers) apart. Guests to either port of call often have similar shore tours or visit the same attractions and points of interest.

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

The smaller port of La Romana is located on the nation’s southeastern coast, and is must less frequently visited just due to its location further from the main routes for Caribbean itineraries.

Southern Caribbean itineraries or more exotic cruise schedules will visit La Romana, however, which welcomes ships from Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, TUI Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, AIDA Cruises, P&O Cruises, Costa Cruises, Oceania Cruises, and more.

In December, even more options will become available to cruise lines as the new port of Pedernales will open on the country’s extreme southwestern edge. Norwegian Cruise Line already has visits scheduled to the new $126 million (USD) port in early 2024.

In the vibrant country, guests can not only enjoy pristine beaches and associated water sports such as snorkeling, kayaks, catamarans, and more, but the beautiful beaches are also the scene for horseback riding and other activities.

Top attractions such as Monkeyland, hidden waterfalls, and dolphin swims are always a top choice among cruise guests, and tours of local farms, cigar factories, and chocolate factories are popular as well. For more adventure, guests can take a ride on zip lines or ATVs, while beach breaks and resort passes provide a relaxing vibe.

According to the World Travel and Tourism council, tourism – including cruise vacation visitors – makes up 17.5% of the national employment of the country, and 15.3% of its overall economy.

The Dominican Republic is located 725 miles (1,167 kilometers) southeast of Miami, Florida and is a top Caribbean destination year-round.

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