Amber Cove is an $85 million port in the Dominican Republic developed for cruise passengers by Carnival Corporation. Originally developed with the intention to use the port for volunteering opportunities on the now-defunct Carnival brand fathom, cruisers from various Carnival Corp. cruise lines can still join fathom shore excursions like a tour of a women's cooperative making chocolate, or a recycled paper and crafts entrepreneurship.
When Amber Cove opened in 2015, it was the first time since the 1980s that a cruise ship stopped at what is known as the Amber Coast, so called for its abundance of the translucent, burnt-orange stone. Located along the Bay of Maimon on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic -- not far from Puerto Plata, which was used as a filming location for the first Jurassic Park film -- the port is equipped with two berths and designed to accommodate 10,000 passengers from most of Carnival Corp.'s brands, including Carnival, Holland America, Costa, Cunard and P&O, among others.
Visitors can walk the long dock or take a complimentary covered pedicab (tips appreciated) in order to pass through the fort-like structure that leads to Amber Cove's duty-free shops and tour buses. Note that some tours meet as soon as you pass through the entrance and into this area. The cobblestoned space with candy-colored buildings offers a range of shops from Diamonds International and stores for watches and leather goods to a pharmacy and a shop that offers all items for $20 or less. You'll also find a cafe and a bar (these offer Wi-Fi and restrooms). In the center is a round building offering stamps and information about the Dominican Republic. For those taking a stroll, you'll notice a few eye-catching sculptures around a fountain, and a wall of information about the area's history, including its various uses as a filming location.
To the far left, if you walk beyond the stores and past the bar, you'll uncover a great photo opportunity of the words "Amber Cove!" in large lettering, typically in front of where your ship is docked. Surrounding this quiet outcrop are a handful of stalls manned by local vendors selling their wares.
If you continue straight through the cobblestoned path, to the right of the central building, you will see a huge archway that leads to tour buses and shore excursion departures on the right, and a taxi line on the left. Prices for one to five people start at $20 one way to Ocean World; $35 to Puerto Plata and $50 to Damajagua, known as the waterfalls. Also to the left, right before you pass under the archway, are a few administrative offices, a desk for National/Alamo car rentals and an ATM.
For cruisers staying close by, Amber Cove offers a resort-style swimming pool, including a swim-up bar, and a lazy river. An open and a closed water slide at the Aqua Zone are fantastic for kids (and adults). This entire area, including the lounge chairs, are free of charge. Further on, visitors will find a separate playground/splash pad for small children, a basketball court and jumbo chess. Restrooms are located all around the area.