Caribbean Nation Welcomes More Than a Million Cruise Guests

More than 1 million cruise guests have visited the Dominican Republic so far this year, and 2023 is likely break passenger records.

Cruise travel to the Dominican Republic has never been hotter, with more than 1.2 million cruise guests visiting the island in the first six months of 2023, and with more than 140,000 passengers in June alone.

These rising numbers demonstrate great confidence in the destination as an attractive cruise port, as well as continued investment in local cruise infrastructure.

Cruise Traffic Rising in the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Port Authority (APORDOM) has reported high numbers of cruise passengers to the country in the first half of 2023, with 1,266,732 guests arriving by sea in just six months.

In June alone, 144,525 cruise guests arrived at the country’s popular ports of call, compared to 78,279 cruise guests in June 2022 – an increase of an astonishing 84% year-over-year.

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

“We are delighted to see how cruise tourism continues to grow in the Dominican Republic,” said Jean Luis Rodríguez, executive director of the Dominican Port Authority. “These record numbers and the 84% increase compared to June last year demonstrate the attractiveness and quality of our terminals and destinations.”

A total of 44 different cruise ships have arrived in the Dominican Republic so far in 2023, most with multiple visits. Amber Cove is the most popular destination with 15 docked vessels to date.

Taino Bay (Puerto Plata) – just 6 miles (10 kilometers) down the road on the country’s northern coast – welcomed 12 ships, while four vessels called at La Romana on the island’s southeastern coast. The remaining sea passenger traffic is via ferries to Santo Domingo.

2023 May Be Record-Breaking Year

In all of 2022, a total of 1,325,442 cruise guests arrived in the Dominican Republic, which means 2023 is looking to greatly surpass and perhaps even double that total, depending on the overall capacity of visiting ships through the remainder of the year.

“The difference between June 2022 and June 2023 is only 12 more vessels this year, but the reality is that, with Taíno Bay operating this year with its two stages, and La Romana with the capacity to receive Oasis-type vessels, we receive larger cruises,” Rodríguez said of the higher visits so far this year.

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

These tremendous numbers demonstrate the attractiveness of the Dominican Republic to cruise travelers. At the tropical destination, visitors can enjoy authentic local shopping and dining; fun and refreshing pools, splash pads, and swim-up bars; adventurous water sports and zip lines; and much more.

Tour offerings typically include visiting a local rum factory, historic sites, dolphin swims, stunning waterfalls, beach breaks, deep sea fishing, and other great options.

“Hand in hand with Minister David Collado, we will continue working hard to provide exceptional experiences to our visitors and consolidate our position as the most attractive and welcoming destination in the Caribbean,” Rodríguez said.

Dominican Republic Cruise Port

Two new cruise ports are also under development in the Dominican Republic, with opening dates slated for late 2023 or early 2024. Together, these new ports may add as many as 20,000 additional daily guests to the island.

Every cruise ship that visits also helps support the local economy, employment, and the hospitality industry, further strengthening the Caribbean nation.

Cruising to the Dominican Republic

Different cruise lines visit the Dominican Republic year-round. The destination is especially popular with large mainstream lines, including Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, and Norwegian Cruise Line.

Marella Cruises, MSC Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, Virgin Voyages, Holland America Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and other cruise lines also have visits scheduled to Amber Cove and Puerto Plata in 2023.

Smaller cruise lines tend to call on La Romana, including vessels from AIDA Cruises, TUI Cruises, and P&O Cruises, as well as some Carnival ships and other cruise lines.

The winter months – November through April – are the busiest for calls to the Dominican Republic, when the weather is spectacular for cruisers escaping colder climates and travelers can easily enjoy all the island has to offer.

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