Amber Cove, located in near Puerto Playa in the Dominican Republic, is the newest cruise port and was developed by Carnival Corp. to attract cruise guests, including the Fathom Impact Travel trips. In many ways Amber Cove is much like any other cruise port. You will, of course, find duty free shopping, plentiful bars and souvenir shops. But, Amber Cove is also different from most cruise ports in that it offers resort amenities right at the port that serve as an extension of the ship amenities. While most ports serve primarily as a portal for other activities, Amber Cove can be considered a destination in its own right.
Amber Cove amenities include a large swimming pool with lazy river and slides and plenty of lounge chairs, a zipline, watersport rentals, and cabana rentals. The pool complex is free to use for anyone in port, while the other amenities have an additional cost. The zipline and water rentals are reasonably priced. We found the zipline, at $12 for an all day pass, to be a worthwhile investment for an afternoon of fun for our kids. We also splurged and rented one of the cabanas, ranging from $250-275. Overall, we felt the splurge was worth the value, although having visited and explored the cabana options, we might have chosen our cabana style differently.
Cabanas can be purchased as a shore excursion from the cruise line or at the rental desk in port. The price is the same either way, so if you know you want cabana during your stay, book it through the cruise line so that you will be sure to have one available. There are three cabana options: Ocean, Hillside, and Poolside. Each has a slightly different amenity and location, and knowing these things in advance can help you choose a cabana that most closely meets your expectations.
What you Can Expect from All Cabanas
Each of the three types of cabanas are air conditioned with TV and complimentary WIFI. An assortment of water and sodas are stocked in the refrigerator, as well as a snack selection of local fruits, chips, and treats. Each cabana includes lounger chairs, floats, outdoor showers, and all-day waiter service. You will have access to your cabana from 8 am until sometime in the evening. The cabana hours vary with the ship schedule, so check with the cabana rental desk to determine the hours for your rental day. Cabana prices include admission for six guests, which includes one hour of watersport rentals and all-day zipline passes.
What Makes Each Cabana Special?
Each cabana options offers something a little bit different in terms of amenities, and since you are paying a good chunk of money, you need to choose the one that works. One point on price: I felt that $250 for an all day excursion for the entire family was certainly a fair price, particularly with the included amenities. It would have cost just as much to do any of the other excursion options, and since we were looking for a day of relaxation, this was a great fit.
Oceanside cabanas are built out over the ocean with access to the smooth water of the cove via a ladder or a wild jump off the end of the cabana. The water here was relatively shallow and not great for snorkeling, but good for swimming and playing. The perks of the Oceanside cabana is that they are the most secluded from the bustle of the port and they have the easiest access to the ocean. The flipside of those perks is that you are a good distance from the pool, zipline and other amenities. Bottom Line: Choose the Oceanside Cabana if you want to get away from the crowd or ocean access is important.
Poolside cabanas are located just steps away from the pool and Coca Cana Poolside Bar. Poolside cabanas include floats and pool noodles for kids (and grownups) to enjoy the cool water and a covered patio complete with a lazy hammock. The perks of the Poolside Cabana are location adjacent to the pool and other water features. Bottom Line: Choose the Poolside Cabana if you have kids and you want to be able to keep an eye on them while they swim from the comfort of your cabana or hammock. The poolside cabana would be perfect for families with babies and older kids, so that the young ones would have a place for naps and changes, while the older ones could still swim and play.
Hillside Cabanas are appropriately located above Amber Cove on the hill. The surroundings are lush greenery and beautiful views of the Cordillera Septentrional” or “Northern Mountains.” A 360 degree view of the island can be seen from the Coca Cana 360 bar, located just a few steps from your cabana. The perks of a Hillside Cabana are a Jacuzzi located on the patio and a location that is secluded, but still near enough to be in eyesight of the pool. The Hillside Cabanas are also located conveniently near the launch point for the zipline, so if your kids are going to be serial riders, they can easily check in at the cabana on their way to the next ride. The downside of the cabana is that it is a good hike up, and although it there is a sloping path and a staircase, it could be difficult for anyone with mobility issues. With the sloped path, it is likely that a wheelchair or stroller could make it up the hill, but it seemed like it might be difficult. Likewise, those with small children who might feel skittish about being perched on the side of the hill probably wouldn’t love this location. Bottom Line: Choose a Hillside Cabana if you have older kids who will love the zipline and have the independence to venture down to the pool alone.