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Friday, January 6, 2017

What is Amber Cove Great For?

Carnival’s newest cruise-line-made resort in the Dominican Republic is all about the pool. It’s huge, curvy and appealing, with loungers built right into the water, a swim-up bar, waiters roaming with trays of coconut-shelled drinks and non-stop piped-in music.

There are two long and winding tubular water slides—one open and the other closed—and a slew of water sports to choose from, as well as a water park kiddie area. You can rent a cabana that sits over the ocean. Or, zip-line across the resort.

What it’s good for
In grand Carnival style, the place is nicely foliaged, with lots of tropical flowers and palms—we even saw a bunch of bananas hanging from one. And all this is quite scenic against the island’s lush green mountains, making for some good picture-taking.

You can get up close to flowers like plumeria and Golden Trumpet for macro shots, or do a panorama of the surrounding ocean from the Sky Bar atop the resort’s highest point. Steps or a gravel ramp will take you there.

What it’s okay for
The shopping, at this writing, has a feel of not-quite-there yet. The gateway to the resort brings you into the usual perfumes-and-liquor shop, but it does have some local rums, coffee, candy and other food stuffs.

It opens to a huge plaza that’s screaming for vendor stalls—but there aren’t any. There are a few colorful masks for decoration, a faux rock waterfall and museum-ish panel display of “Republica Dominicana” highlights, like the details on the resort’s namesake gemstone. The plaza is rimmed with about a dozen or so stores—jewelry and souvenir shops, and a small artisan market.

What it’s not good for
The beach. Because there is none.

Alas, this alone makes it pale in comparison to Labadee, Royal Caribbean’s own resort on the other side of the island, where the beach is positively luscious in its beauty and cove-conducing calm waters.

While you can get to a beach from Amber Cove through an excursion, there’s nothing like being able to saunter off your ship and find paradise at your feet.

Bottom line
With its pretty setting and modern facility, Amber Cove has a lot of potential and over time, will most likely grow. In the meanwhile, if you’re into the pool experience, you’ll find a lot to like there.

If you’re not a pool person, pack along your camera. Shooting the flora and oversized A-m-b-e-r C-o-v-e letters against the sea is more than worth getting off the ship for.