New Carnival Port
31.10.2016 - 31.10.2016
Amber Cove is a new Carnival Cruise line port, located on the Bay of Maimon near Puerto Plata on the Dominican Republic’s North Coast. They have the capability to host two cruise ships at their piers. Most of the ships come during the week
There are shops and many activities near the port area, as well as excursions to Puerto Plata. The area surrounding Amber Cove was one of the locations used to shoot the 1993 film Jurassic Park. Some of the decorations in the shopping area reflect the Jurassic Park connection.
I visited this area on a Carnival ship with my friend Lyndee who was helping me with my scooter and packing etc., because Bob was not interested in doing more cruises.
Lynde took my camera out to take photos as we came into port - she filled up her camera card in Nassau.
We got a wake-up call and room service breakfast. That enabled Lynde to have coffee right away when she got up. (I don't drink coffee) I had scheduled a trip with Marysol Tours and we were to meet them outside the port. I checked the forecast for the DR and it said 80% rain, so we took raincoats. The ship dock is very VERY long and we backed in. We were to get off at the bow so the whole length of the ship and then same distance or more to the entrance to the port.
We went out on deck to see the docking, and there was a golf cart with officials and an ambulance waiting for the docking to be completed. When they had the lines attached, both vehicles motored up to the ship and the EMTs took a stretcher aboard. I understand someone fell and broke some bones.
We got off immediately when the ship cleared. They had those bike rickshaws like in Cozumel. But I was on the scooter and Lynde walked. After we got to the port entrance and went through the covered shop area, we walked through the central area around the shops where the tourist information kiosk was. There was a tree in a little planter and the name tag at the bottom said it was an autograph tree.
We came out into the area where you could get a taxi or take one of the excursion buses (which was covered).
It started to rain really really hard, so we put on our raincoats, We just waited a couple minutes and it pretty much stopped and we continued to the port entrance.
When we got to the highway, we turned left and went along the highway to where the non-approved taxis and tour bus people (the ones who do not pay a kickback to Carnival) were waiting, and found our tour.
We were the first ones there. Our guide was Jesus and the driver (who spoke no English) was Raymond. I asked if I could sit in the front seat and was told that I could -it meant climbing over the center console as there was no door on that side. They put the scooter in the back without folding it. Pretty soon another group of six people came.
Then we waited a long time, and then drove up to the port entrance and picked up a lady with a walker from Edenton who said she had a broken back. She was irate because she had been told (by the travel agent) that it was 5 minutes walk from the port - which is was - from the port entrance. She thought they meant from the ship. I had talked to the guy from Marysol Tours on the phone and he said it would be 15 minutes from the ship, which was pretty much what it was.
It made us over half an hour late at the beginning of the tour which meant we did not get to visit some places.
We visited the Rum factory, a jewelry and souvenir shop, a cigar factory, the cathedral and the fort. We did not see the Amber Museum or the chocolate factory, and we did not get to ride the aerial tram because of lack of time. I had thought this would be a bus tour with drive-bys of various places. It was not. We actually went in and visited each place.
In addition to Lynde and me there was group of six people - a man named Jerry (with his foot in a soft cast because he fell two stories from a ladder and broke his foot), his wife Bonnie, his sister and her husband and Bonnie's good friend and her husband. Jerry had a kind of wheeled rest for his foot which he didn't use much so they put that in the back. And also the lady from Edenton NC with a walker and her husband. We drove into town - the traffic wasn't quite as hectic as in Santo Domingo, but was still "interesting"
First we went to the Casa Brugal rum factory.
I could have stayed on the bus here as the factory itself was non-accessible and no photos allowed.
- Jesus the guide inside the sales room
But some people had to use the bathroom so I did that too and wandered around the sales area a bit. I also sat and talked to the lady from Edenton - she said her husband (who was with her) has Alzheimer's. She says she does the driving because he forgets what side of the road to drive on. He seemed fine to me. Maybe he was just ignoring her because she was so irritating.
Jerry and Bobby (one of the other husbands) were late back to the bus because they were so into sampling the rum. Their wives told them that they were grounded. I think Lynde tried the rum but I did not.
The next stop was the Rainbow Gift Shop where we had a shopping opportunity.
The guide Jesus said we could bargain. I got T-shirts for Bob, Adrian and Lucas and some Larimar jewelry for my daughters. They said this was a rare stone and found only in the D.R., but it looked pretty much like turquoise to me.