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Amber Cove

Green lights all the way for Amber Cove development

Construction of Carnival Cruises’ much-heralded Amber Cove port development in the Dominican Republic is going ahead rapidly and is on course to open in time for the 2015 winter cruising season.

When complete, the Amber Cove Cruise Center will be able to accommodate two post-panamax cruise ships, and will be equipped to handle up to 10,000 cruise passengers per day. The new 30-acre facility will provide host space for local vendors, bars and restaurants as well as presenting a waterfront attraction. The cruise center is expected to handle some 250,000 passengers in its first year of operation. A transportation hub will be developed to enable visitors to explore the region’s many sites of historical interest.

A leading international consultant, the Atkins Group, was awarded the design contract for the US$65 million development, which is now advancing through its maritime and landside construction phases. Atkins has been involved in the project since 2011, drawing up the land use and conceptual plans, site diagrams and cost estimates that allowed Carnival Corporation to evaluate the scheme as well as providing support for the environmental permit application.


Joint venture

The new cruise center is being developed by the Carnival Corporation, a partner of DR Port Cruise, in a joint venture between Carnival and Grupo B&R. An official ground-breaking ceremony was held in May 2012 and Carnival then spent the next 18 months working with local partners, completing the environmental impact statement and working with the government before Atkins was given the go-ahead for the design stage. Dredging and piling work began in late 2013 in preparation for Construction.

Under the contract, Atkins is providing the complete landside design, comprising the architecture and engineering for the project’s 25 buildings as well as its roadways, landscapes and plazas.

The terminal will include:

  • A water park amenity of between 7 and 14 acres with two integrated food and beverage locations
  • A transportation center with zones for 50 taxis, 50 buses and 50 rental cars
  • A staging area for 150 taxis and up to 150 buses
  • A government office building
  • A series of shops totaling 35,000 to 40,000 sq ft
  • A duty-free shop of 10,000-12,000 sq ft
  • A hilltop food and beverage outlet with a ramp and mechanical access from below.

The new cruise center will serve as a gateway to the province, helping to boost the popularity of the north coast as a holiday destination. It is expected to transform the fortunes of the region as it looks forward to welcoming its first cruise ship for 30 years.


The location, in the Bay of Maimón on the north coast of the Dominican Republic, is near the historical town of Puerto Plata, also famous for resorts such as Playa Dorada and Costa Dorada.

Atkins’s senior program manager, Larry Levis, said: “Amber Cove will welcome visitors to the country with retail outlets and themed marketplaces along with dining and recreational amenities. The project will feature design themes that echo the cultural and architectural history of the nation, and particularly of the Puerto Plata region. These themes include architectural styles of three distinct periods: the fortified 16th century, the classical-colonial 18th century and the Victorian late 19th century.”

Fascinating past, captivating present

Puerto Plata has many claims to fame, of which perhaps the most historical is being home to the remains of the first European settlements in the Americas. Christopher Columbus landed there in 1492, naming it La Isabela.

Puerto Plata is famous today for its excellent coastline, with over 60 miles of Atlantic beaches dotted with coastal villages and hotels. The area is world-famous for windsurfing and kite-boarding. Devotees fly in from all over the world to enjoy the conditions.

The city is also home to the popular Ocean World Adventure Park, the colonial San Felipe Fort, dating from 1577, and the 27 waterfalls of Damajaqua, while the 793 meter Pico Isabel de Torres, the highest point in Puerto Plata, is home to botanical gardens and a 
replica of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro.

The city also contains the largest collection of 19th-century Victorian-style houses in the Caribbean.