We’ve only been to Amber Cove once before, and that was when it was brand new and not completed. Amber Cove is a private Carnival port that is in the Dominican Republic near Puerta Plata. Let’s see what’s new.
Before the Freedom docked in Amber Cove
We weren’t scheduled to dock in Amber Cove until 10:30 am, but we still got up early and decided to have breakfast in the Posh Dining Room. We haven’t tried breakfast in the Lido Buffet yet because we discovered last cruise that we could get a really good breakfast in the dining room, and not have to hunt for a seat or stand in line. It’s so much easier. You do have to make a reservation via the HUB app first, but that’s really easy. It only took us a couple of minutes till our table was ready. If you make your reservation before you even leave your room, the table will probably be ready when you get to the restaurant.
Breakfast was good. Our waiter was Herwin, and he was very attentive. I had a yogurt parfait. These are delicious! Then I had two eggs over easy, wheat toast, hash browns, and bacon. Also, coffee and orange juice. That should keep me going in Amber Cove. We never buy food in a port, we only eat what’s free on the ship, so we didn’t want to spend money on food. Then we ran to the Lido Buffet to get some orange juice for Mimosas later and some skim milk to put in the fridge.
Pulling into port
We watched the Pilot Boat come up to our ship and drop off the pilot. The pilot is the one who stears the ship through the passage because he knows the waters in the area. This one was really good, he managed to actually back the ship up to the dock through the narrow passage. It was interesting to watch.
I could see that there is a public beach off to the left of the port. I’m not sure how you’d get there. I watched a YouTube video and it looked like quite a walk. Amber Cove does not have a beach.
Like I said, Amber Cove is a Carnival owned port area. Last time we went there was only a pool and a zipline. The zipline at that time was $20 for unlimited zips. We did try it then, it’s a very short zipline from the top of the hill over the pool to the bottom of the hill. It was fun, but you definitely feel the stop. This is maybe a good starter zipline. Price has gone up to $28 unlimited.
We didn’t take any excursions at Amber Cove. We decided just to walk around and check out what was new. To get to the port area, you have to take a very long walk down the docks. There are men on little bike rikshaws that will peddle you to the port. You just have to tip them when the ride is over. We managed to walk both ways, but I did consider doing this.
To the right…
If you go to the right after you get through the Duty Free shop you’ll find the pool / waterslide area. It’s a large pool with plenty of chairs, but practically no shade at all. Most chairs are free but you have to rent the umbrella covered ones. You’ll also find some cabanas that you have to pay for, some are in the water. Also to the right are some photo opportunities, a large Amber Cove chair, surrounded by nice looking hammocks. There is even a kissing booth near the end of the zipline.
There is a crew store next to the end of the zipline. I’ve heard you can shop there, but I didn’t try it. As you go around the pool you’ll find a Nathan’s Hot Dog stand, and then past that is a hill. You can climb that hill to get to the included waterslides and the sky bar. You can get some good views from the skybar, and there is also an overlook just behind the skybar to take pictures of the ship from. This is also the area that you will find the top of the zipline in.
To the left…
This is the newer side of Amber Cove. If you go left after the Duty Free shop you’ll find the shopping area, along with the area that you’d find taxi’s at. You’ll find a number of the usual ship shops like Diamond’s International, and some small souvenir shops. My favorite shop was the chocolate shop. You can taste test hot chocolate…delicous! And you can sample a ton of different flavors of chocolate. Of course, everything is available to buy and take home with you. If I bought it, it wouldn’t make it home, that’s for sure. There’s also a small local market with local goods for sale. It used to be an “Everything under $25” shop, but now it’s an “Everything under $30” shop. They had the usual trinkets, along with blown glass, coffee, cigars, and chocolate.
You’ll also find signage about area history and wildlife, local dancers, and art. There are also restaurants in the area, along with plenty of clean restrooms, and an Amber Cove sign to pose in front of for pictures.
My thoughts on Amber Cove
I have to admit that this is my least favorite cruiseline owned port that I’ve been to. I’ve sampled Labadee, Coco Cay, and Princess Cays, and I’ve liked them much better. I think it’s because Amber Cove is so small, plus, there is no beach access. There is no close by town to walk to and shop. And on top of that, there is very little shade, especially by the pool. It would really be nice if Amber Cove provided beach umbrellas.
After we checked out the port we headed back down that long dock to the ship. We got some lunch at the Lido Buffet. I started out by trying the Mongolian Wok since there was no line. I’m not sure why, but I did not like it. I normally like Mongolian, but they didn’t have Teriyaki sauce so I asked for the least spicy. I got the beef, but it didn’t smell good, and didn’t taste good. I don’t like wasting food but I couldn’t eat it. I then went to the burrito area. Selection was limited, they didn’t even have any beans or rice to choose from. So, I was disappointed in my burrito also. I ate what I could and got a bit of dessert to salvage my disappointment. After that I went back to the room to work on my blog and get a bit of rest and have our Mimosas.
Hopefully dinner would be better than lunch. I checked out the menu but there wasn’t anything really different to choose from. I ended up having BBQ Boar for an appetizer. It was really good. I think that should have been an entree. I also had Ministrone, which was good too. For entree I had Fettucini with sausage. That was pretty good too. And for dessert I got the roasted pineapple, which I liked. Dinner was not nearly so rushed as the night before, thank goodness. Service was good though, like always.
And then finally…the waiters were going to do their show. The maitre d’ announced that it was showtime, and then there was dancing. Mostly by the waiters. I don’t know where they get their energy. We did have a talk with I Dewa from Bali. We were talking to him about our waiter on the Elation who was from Bali. He knew the name, and when I showed him a picture of I Nyoman, it turns out that they had been friends in Bali. Small world for sure.
The rest of the evening
We walked around a bit and decided to go and see the comedy show at 8:30. All I can say is “she was hilarious!”. We had a great time watching her. One word about the Punchliner Comedy Club in the International Theater is that sometimes you can smell sewage. Not the best smell at all. It wasn’t too bad this time but the first time in the club was enough to give me a headache. And the club has some funny sofas, they tend to like to spin around on their own.
And then we walked around for awhile. I’ve been hiding ducks for people to find so I found a couple of hiding places for them. If you ever find a rubber duck on a ship, it’s a thing, and you can keep them or rehide them. Lots of fun.
And then we came back to the room and sat on our balcony just to enjoy the sound of the ocean. We’re not really partiers, so we really prefer the quiet times.