'Taino Bay is redefining the cruise destination experience in the Caribbean with a unique and amazing shore excursion offering,' said Robert Shamosh of ITM Group, whose Puerto Plata Port Investments is behind the $80m project (pre-pandemic, this had been a Holistica Destination).
More than 30 excursions are available, ranging from food, art and history to nature and adventure.
160 calls booked through April
The new destination will be off to a roaring start with 24 calls planned this month and about 160 booked through April. Besides MSC Cruises, other lines sending ships include Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Virgin Voyages.
A popular Caribbean cruise stop decades ago, Puerto Plata lay fallow for years until Carnival Corp. & plc opened nearby Amber Cove in late 2015.
To create Taino Bay, Puerto Plata's former cargo pier was extended to handle two Oasis-size ships and one smaller vessel. Its first phase of upland development includes a welcome area, transport hub, retail, beach club, food and beverage outlets, entertainment and continuous free trolley service to Puerto Plata's colonial center, which is undergoing heavy investment.
Site inspection for MSC and Royal Caribbean
Yesterday and today, Shamosh hosted Albino Supino di Lorenzo, VP cruise operations for MSC Cruises USA, and Royal Caribbean Group's Josh Carroll, VP destination development and deployment, and Jaime Castillo, director worldwide port operations. They met with ITM and government officials and toured the port.
Earlier this year, Virgin Voyages' Juan Trescastro, senior director - itineraries, destinations & government relations, predicted Taino Bay would be a 'great Caribbean destination for our demographic in that they're very active and into nature and culture. It's going to be very popular,' he said.