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Six Carnival brands book new Amber Cove port

Carnival Corp.
A 'drone's-eys' view of the $85m Amber Cove construction
Besides the earlier announced plans for Carnival Cruise Line calls, five additional Carnival family brands have booked Amber Cove, the new $85m Dominican Republic facility.

Passengers will be able to visit the country's north coast—known as the Amber Coast and where part of the original 'Jurassic Park' movie was filmed—which has not been a regular stop for cruise ships since the 1980s.

Amber Cove will open expanded itinerary options, and will pair with Carnival Corp. & plc's Grand Turk Cruise Center, 100 miles to the north. Plus, the port is strategically located to be incorporated into itineraries featuring potential stops in Cuba in the future.

The two-berth facility will be able to accommodate the largest cruise ships operating today.

As earlier reported, the port will open with Carnival Victory visit on Oct. 6. Additional brands and ships now scheduled are Cunard's Queen Mary 2 on Nov. 22, P&O Cruises' Azura on Dec. 5, AIDA Cruises' AIDAvita on Dec. 11, Costa Cruises' Costa Deliziosa on Dec. 31 and Holland America Line's Eurodam on Jan. 19.

Further Carnival family ships booked in late 2015 and through 2016 include Carnival Fantasy, Splendor, Valor, Sunshine, Conquest and Breeze and HAL's Nieuw Amsterdam. These visits will consist of 57 calls by 13 ships across the six brands between October and April, accounting for more than 155,000 passengers.

For the first time, Carnival officials have used drones to monitor the various stages of the port's construction progress. The facility, a joint project between Carnival Corp. and the Rannik family of Grupo B&R, is expected to host more than 250,000 cruise passengers in its first year of operation. It will provide approximately 430 local jobs.

'The construction of the cruise port at Amber Cove has been an incredible project for our entire country, as well as the Caribbean region as a whole,' said Francisco Javier, tourism director of the Dominican Republic. He added that Carnival's investment in Amber Cove has already proven beneficial to the economy, and is expected to have a long-lasting economic impact.

'The new port will also give cruise passengers an opportunity to see another part of the Dominican Republic, our Amber Coast, which hasn't been available as part of cruise itineraries in nearly 30 years. This is a very exciting development,' Javier added.

'There are several markets that are becoming increasingly important to the cruise industry, but today the Caribbean is the single largest share of our business,' noted Giora Israel, svp global port and destination development for Carnival Corp. 'We are constantly looking for new ways for our guests to enjoy their cruise experience, and it is always exciting to add new destinations to our itineraries, especially in the Caribbean where many of our passengers have been before.'

Israel noted Amber Cove provides a convenient gateway to the Puerto Plata region, which he called 'spectacular.' The city itself is rich in history and has a lively and attractive waterfront, the Malecón.

Amber Cove will feature a waterfront welcome center with a variety of retail offerings, including a marketplace for Dominican crafts and souvenirs and a wide range of food and beverage establishments. The port will also have a recreational area with a pool, splash zone and green spaces. The transportation hub—the single largest component of the development—will provide visitors easy access by land and sea to the surrounding destinations and attractions.

The new port will offer one of the Caribbean's most extensive shore excursion programs, roughly 40 experiences including beaches, water sports and culinary, cultural and adventure options. Many of these excursion offerings will come from established local operators. The Ocean World marine adventure park is nearby.

Other Carnival Corp.-developed destinations in the Caribbean include the Grand Turk Cruise Center, Cozumel's Puerta Maya and Roatán's Mahogany Bay.

Amber Cove details are here.