One of the things people love most about cruising is the variety of ports that can be visited on a single voyage. In fact, many travelers plan their Caribbean cruises based on the itinerary and its destinations.
As the popularity of cruising has grown, so has the need for more ports of call with better facilities. In much of the world, cruise ships have added new destinations by using commercial port facilities in cities without cruise-specific terminals. If a city or town has good port facilities, amenities, and easy access to fun or interesting things to do, one or more cruise ships probably visit.
However, in the Caribbean — the world’s most popular cruise destination — cruise ships were already visiting most of the Caribbean islands and towns with sufficient facilities by the turn of this century. And since local governments often lack the funds needed to build new port facilities, demand for new ports far exceeds what could be developed locally.
To address this demand, cruise lines themselves began building their own ports of call. These resort-style facilities often cost millions of dollars to build. Boasting amazing pools and exciting portside activities, these ports are built exclusively for cruise passengers. The locations provide easy access to historical towns, lush countrysides, and gorgeous beaches; and nearby communities have grown to support those working in the shops, bars, restaurants, and other facilities used by the cruise ship guests.
Whether built by cruise lines or investors, these ports have made the Caribbean even more fun and memorable, not only by adding a new port option, but by helping local economies and enhancing the already desirable tropical destinations of the Caribbean. Let’s look at five of the best ports that cruising built.
Amber Cove, Dominican Republic
Columbus may have discovered the Amber Cove region of the northern coast of the Dominican Republic in the 1490s, but he wouldn’t recognize it now. Carnival Corporation invested $85 million in constructing the 25-acre Amber Cove port complex, which opened in 2015. This certainly qualifies as a port that cruising built since cruise ships hadn’t visited this area in almost 30 years.
Amber Cove features a massive pool with a swim-up bar, waterslides, a lazy river, and over-the-water cabanas to rent. Nearby, active cruisers can zip line over a rain forest; go exploring on an ATV or in a helicopter; or swim with dolphins, stingrays, or sharks. Guests will find on-site retail shops, restaurants, and bars; and history lovers will notice touches of Spanish colonial architecture in the nearby town of Puerto Plata. Amber Cove has an impressive transportation hub where shore excursion buses embark. Visitors can also rent a taxi bound for a nearby beach.
Costa Maya, Mexico
Puerto Costa Maya is located about 100 miles south of Cancun. It’s on the western side of the Caribbean Sea near the Belize border. Private investors who recognized the need for more cruise ship ports in this section of the Caribbean financed the new port in 2001. The port experienced damage during Hurricane Dean in 2007, but reconstruction finished up a year later.
Costa Maya has all….
By Linda Garrison
Photo: stock_colors/Getty Images