Amber Cove Update

The Amber Cove cruise center is located on the north coast of the Dominican Republic about 20 miles – or 32 kilometers – west of the city of Puerto Plata. The cruise center features complimentary pools and waterslides as well as shopping, restaurants, and a zip line. We previously visited Amber Cove in 2017 and returned aboard the Holland America Rotterdam in December 2022.

In this Amber Cove update video, we provide an updated overview – and some new tips – for your visit to Amber Cove. The Amber Cove cruise center is owned by Carnival Corporation and the port has a pier that can accommodate two ships at the same time, so no tender was required. Our walk along the pier to the cruise center took about ten minutes.

Complimentary rickshaw service was available for passengers who preferred a ride and the drivers worked for tips. If you choose to walk to the cruise center, be sure to keep a lookout for the rickshaws because the bikes were fairly quiet during our visit.

Before heading into the cruise center, we recommend checking out one of the detailed maps located along the pier, so you can get your bearings and find points of interest inside. Looking at the map, we noticed that similar activities were generally grouped together, which made the cruise center area very easy to navigate.

ocean cabanas
Overwater cabanas at Amber Cove.

There were areas for Shopping, Transportation, Water Attractions, and an area we called The Hill. After walking through the sizable gift shop at the end of the pier, we entered the cruise center area. We quickly noticed signage for passengers who were taking ship-sponsored excursions, as well as local vendors selling last-minute excursions for those who were interested.

Turning to the left, we entered the Shopping area. Many of the typical Caribbean cruise port shops were located in the area, including EFFY Jewelry, Diamonds International, and more. There were also numerous souvenir shops available and some of them offered free WiFi during our visit.

The octagonal-shaped building located toward the end of the Shopping area – in the middle of the circular courtyard – was the home of the Tourism Office. Locals inside the office provided information about the port, the surrounding area, and the Dominican Republic.

Amber Cove sign
Amber Cove sign for photo op

Outside the Tourism Office, signage pointed the way to some bathrooms that were not in our immediate view. Just past the shops and Tourism Office, the iconic “Amber Cove” sign was located along the waterfront and was a very popular photo op. Since our ship was docked on the closer side of the pier, it was also a great opportunity to get a photo of our ship.

Walking a bit inland from the Tourism Office, we came to the Transportation area. The area had a covered walkway leading outside the cruise center, with rental car agencies, taxis, and independent tour buses available. Taxi fares for visitors who wanted to independently explore the surrounding area were listed in US dollars.

Fares were posted for various destinations, including popular beaches, waterfalls, and an adventure park. It’s important to note that fares were charged by vehicle rather than per person. If you’re interested in spending time at the pool, water slides, and splash park, head to the right after you enter the cruise center area. Be sure to bring your beach towel from the ship and return it to the ship at the end of the day.

pool side cabanas
The pool cabanas are right by the pool, below the zip line.

An Amber Cove sign photo op was available on the path that led to the pool area and we found the photo op was less crowded later in the day. Near the photo op, a pathway led up to The Hill, which had fantastic views of the port area. The pathway had roughly 80 stairs, so it was a bit of a hike.

Another pathway on the other side of The Hill – closer to the pool area – did not have stairs, but it still had a relatively steep incline. At the top of The Hill, there was a large structure that had a bar and a 360-degree overlook of the port area. Other parts of The Hill had cabanas that were available to rent, a zip line that was available for an additional charge, and two complimentary water slides.

Amber Cove zip line
The long zip line at Amber Cove.

During our most recent visit, a pass with unlimited rides for the zip line cost $28. The minimum age was 8 years old and participants had to weigh between 80 and 265 pounds. The complimentary water slides were available for guests who were 4 feet or taller. T-shirts, eyeglasses, and sunglasses were not permitted on the slides.

Returning back to the base of The Hill, we continued walking to the Water Attractions area, which the cruise center called the Aqua Zone. The area featured a restaurant, swim-up bar, and many complimentary lounge chairs. During our visit, most of the complimentary loungers were located in full sun and very few were available in shaded areas.

Nearby, a booth offered non-motorized water equipment, pool accessories, sun umbrellas, and lockers for rent. WiFi was also available for a nominal fee. The large pool that was the main feature of the Aqua Zone was shaped like a lazy river, but it did not have a current and was actually just a pool with a small island in the center that had VIP loungers and umbrellas available to rent.

Water sports rental
The water sports rentals booth
The nearby splash pad included several water features and smaller slides for younger guests to enjoy. Just beyond the splash pad, a small basketball court and a beach volleyball court were available for complimentary use. Closer to the bay, five large, complimentary hammocks were available for some comfy relaxation. And a large Amber Cove chair photo op was available in the grassy area near the hammocks.
Kids splash pool area
The Amber Cove Kids Splash area

Just beyond the Amber Cove chair, the Grand Cabana and Ocean Cabanas were located on the bay. All of Amber Cove’s Cabanas – including the ones located on The Hill and near the pool – included amenities like air conditioning, WiFi, lounge chairs, floats, outdoor showers, all-day zip line passes, and non-alcoholic beverages. Prices started at $340 during our visit.

Speaking of beverages, if you’re looking for a quick beverage or snack, check out the relatively hidden “Crew Center” shop. Although it was listed on the map and directional signage was available, we saw very few passengers at the shop. In addition to beverages and snacks, the “Crew Center” shop also had t-shirts, souvenirs, various toiletries, and more.

During our visit, prices inside the shop were less expensive than what we found elsewhere around the cruise center. Outside the “Crew Center” shop, there was a shaded area with picnic tables available and a small building with restrooms. Unfortunately, even though free WiFi was posted on several “Crew Center” signs, we were unable to find an available connection.

Finally, the Amber Cove website is a great resource for learning more about the cruise port. The site includes a map of the cruise center area, a listing of taxi fares, excursion descriptions, and a calendar showing which ships are scheduled to be in port each day.

Note: The Transcript of the video is made for those who have difficulty hearing, or for any other reason need to rely on text at any given moment. For more highly recommended videos on cruising you can subscribe to the Jelly Beans channel on Youtube. Thank you for watching this Amber Cove update video.