Monday, 27 February 2017

The Glory Days: Amber Cove

Amber Cove reminds me of Grand Turk. It is definitely catered toward cruise ships as the port is actually newly developed by Carnival. However, while Grand Turk has a beach at the port, Amber Cove does not. There is a pool, a bar, a zip line, and a whole strip of souvenir shops, but no beach. Because of that, we decided to book an excursion at Coconut Cove Beach Club at the advice of the Shore Excursion Team.

Amber Cove is also the gateway to Puerto Plata. The landscape in Puerto Plata was beautiful. Along with the clear turquoise waters, there was plenty of greenery. Fun fact: Puerto Plata is where they filmed the museum scenes for Jurassic Park.



When we arrived, we saw bungalows to the right and a shopping village (including the duty-free Dufry serving as the cruise terminal) on the left. Very Grand Turk-ish. We got off the ship as soon as it was docked. It was a quite a walk along the pier from the ship to the cruise centre. Even though it was 8 AM in the morning, it was already scorching hot. However, if you're not up for the walk, there are pedicabs which will take you to the cruise centre. As soon as we did get to the cruise centre, we joined our excursion group for Coconut Cove.

An open-air taxi took us to Coconut Cove. The port officers were very thorough at the checkpoint, two officers checked the entire truck from top to bottom as we exited the port.

To no one's surprise, the driver drove like a madman. It was a short drive through the city, but a long and rocky drive through the countryside. The description said it was a 35 minute ride but it was at least 45 minutes, if not, more.



Coconut Cove Beach Club is run by a tour company called Wild Play Adventure. Unfortunately, there is not much information about them online. The beach was beautiful, and the beach club employees went above and beyond. Anytime I got up with litter, one of them would come running to toss it for me. Two of the employees came around with a monkey for pictures (with a fee, of course!), but I wasn't too keen on having the little guy run and poop on my shoulders, so we passed.

Because we got the all-inclusive package, lunch and drinks were included. The buffet was just okay, but the service, again, was spectacular. The busboys make sure you have a drink the second you sit down, and the second you're done, they bring you another one! The one problem I have with island drinks is that they are way too strong for me. I know, it's terrible but I just love the overly-sugary cocktails on the ship. In the Caribbean, they give you what you pay for, and that's alcohol. So if you love your boozy drinks like my fiancé, you're in luck!

Unfortunately, it was also very windy. The water was also too cold, and the waves were too strong for a swim. We spent the day lounging on the beach and taking pictures, only getting up for the occasional drink. Time flew by as it was only a 4 hour excursion.



Our taxi was late leaving Coconut Cove. A few passengers had lost their way or lost track of time so our driver had to go search for them. On the way back to the ship, we also stopped for some pictures (as seen below).


When we returned to the cruise centre, we did some shopping. Although we were ducking in and out of shops, it was hot at Amber Cove. Thank goodness the stores were air conditioned! We ended up buying Dominican cocoa and some trinkets for our friends. We didn't have time to check out the zip line or the bar.

Now was Coconut Cove a great excursion choice? Unfortunately, far from it, but we had exceptional service at the Beach Club and a nice time relaxing on the beach, and of course, we got sun so no complaints there. I'd definitely check out what Amber Cove had to offer at the cruise centre next time. I really wanted to try the zipline. Amber Cove is a relatively new port, so I do hope more and better excursions will come along in the future.

It was our second formal night so we wasted no time in getting ready after we were onboard. One thing we definitely missed about being on the lower decks was being able to walk up the stairs to our cabin. We were on Deck 6 so after a long and sweaty day on land, we opted for the elevators. It is a long wait for the elevators from the gangway!

No lobster tonight... and apparently, no appetizers either according to our camera roll. I'm pretty sure we both had pretty boring appies, like cocktail shrimp and soup. For our entrees, salmon for myself and filet mignon for him. For dessert, chocolate cake for myself and a soufflé for him.



After dinner, we went straight to the Amber Palace for the show. The Playlist Productions cast put on a great show of Cuban music combined with current Latin hits. It was a live Caribbean romance performance. Very energetic, very passionate. I can't rave about them enough - they were phenomenal.



From there, we headed over to the Ebony Cabaret Lounge for the Punchliner Comedy Club performances of the night. The two comedians of the night were Jim Brick and Derrick Eason. Both men were hilarious and we enjoyed the show very much. It was definitely more challenging to find seats in the lounge in comparison to the Vista. It wasn't a smaller lounge, but rather, it seemed like more people were interested in comedy.

We played in the casino for a little while before retiring to our cabin for some shut eye. The next day was our last full day and it was a sea day. Nothing like a little R&R to end our cruise... Stay tuned!

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