Amber Cove, Dominican Republic
We have been to Amber Cove twice now. Once on Holland America’s Zuiderdam and most recently on the Carnival Magic. it’s a nice place to go but of course you’re not really seeing the culture of the Dominican Republic. it’s more like a sanitized version or Disney World of sorts. The ships usually get there in the morning and tend to leave between 4 and 6 in the afternoon.
How to Avoid the Crowds at Amber Cove
If you want to stay away from the crowds, then wait to get off the ship until the crowds have died down (about 2 hours), then first go to the duty free store and any shops you want to see at the shopping plaza. There was almost nobody in there because they were all at the pool and bar. You can also take this opportunity to walk through the nature cove which is across the path from the duty free shop.
The Pier at Amber Cove
It’s a long walk down the dock, but there are people on bicycle rickshaws who will take you to the end if you choose not to walk. I quite enjoyed the walk and getting some exercise after all the food we ate on board.
The Duty Free Shop
You will come into the complex through a duty-free shop that has just about everything under the sun. We bought an $8 bottle of rum and poured it into our water bottles while we were sitting by the pool. It’s a good way to get it back on board.
After you leave the duty-free shop you’ll see a very large shopping area with everything from clothing to shoes, to touristy knick-knacks and gifts. There is a Panama Joe store which I really liked. The shoe store was pretty handy when my flip-flops broke and I had to buy a pair of slides.
If you turn right when you come out of the duty-free story you’ll go by a little nature area on your left which has a path through it to a waterfall, examples of amber and it’s history on the island, as well as some plaques that describe the local flora and fauna. It’s a nice miniaturized view of what the local area is like without actually leaving the complex.
Main Restaurant and Bar – Coco Caña
After that, you will pass the bar and restaurant which is the largest building on the left. In front of you you’ll see the pool with the swim up bar which then branches out into a lazy river going under a series of bridges throughout the area.
Water Sports Rentals
On the right is where you can rent stand up paddleboards, kayaks and paddle boats. I have included the prices that were current in September of 2021.
Zipline, Slides and Hillside Cabanas
There is a zipline up above on the left in the far corner of where all the beach chairs are. There is a path near the slides that will take you up around behind the hill where you can take the zipline over the Poldark which is pretty fun. You do have to pay for the zipline, but if I remember, it was only $20 for the entire day. The slides are free.
There are Cabanas for rent up on the hillside, but we never went up there so I only have pictures from the pool deck.
The Best Kept Secret of Amber Cove is a little-known bar out on the docks that lead to the waterfront cabanas, which are also for rent. We had never been out there because we thought the dock just lead to the cabanas and the office. But out there on the water is a small open-air bar which was not crowded at all. While we couldn’t even get a spot at the swim-up bar, the bar on the water was completely empty. And it’s a much nicer place to sit. I have some video of The Waterfront Cabanas as well.
By the time you make it to the water park, the crowds will start heading back to the ship. If they haven’t budged, then walk down to the bar on the cabana docks and have a drink by the beautiful view. After we had a drink and chatted with the bartender there, we wandered back to the pool deck. There were now plenty of lounge chairs and the swim-up bar had cleared out. We stayed for a couple of hours and then headed back to the ship.
Kids’ Pool Area
There is a cute kids’ pool area too with a giant tree dripping with water, a big fish and a slide with a giant bucket that splashes water down. It’s actually a nice place to stand when it gets hot because there’s a little water on the ground and a nice light spray of water in the air.
Recap of Amber Cove
We had plenty of time to do everything we wanted, and had the perfect combination of empty dock, and empty pool deck.
This port of call is really enjoyable. There is island music around the park and everyone is so friendly. I realize that this complex could be on any Caribbean island, lacking in any local personality, but I still really enjoy it here because it’s relaxing and pleasant and has beautiful mountain views.
**Do be careful if you decide to leave the Amber Cove park. We recommend only going on cruise-sanctioned tours. We ran into a guest upon our return who had ventured out with his wife and took a local “tour” from someone standing outside the gates. The driver wouldn’t bring them back to the ship or take them where they wanted to go. He kept taking them by places owned by his friends who harassed them into buying things they didn’t. This may have been an isolated incident, but best to be safe and stick with the cruise tours.