Road Warrior

Carnival set to open $85 million port in Dominican Republic

Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic will welcome its first guests on Oct. 6 when the Carnival Victory drops lines at the new, state-of-the-art port developed to simultaneously accommodate two docked massive cruise ships.
Source: Carnival Cruises

Land ho!

Cruise giant Carnival Corp. is putting the finishing touches on its newest travel destination in the Dominican Republic. The multi-million port, called Amber Cove, will welcome its first guests on Oct. 6, when the Carnival Victory docks at the Caribbean island. The new state-of-the-art port was developed to accommodate two docked massive cruise ships simultaneously.

"We've invested more than $85 million into the facility—the largest by a cruise company in the Dominican—to make sure that it is a warm, welcoming and fun port for all of our guests," Carnival CEO, Arnold Donald, told CNBC in an interview.

The Carnival Victory, the Queen Mary 2 and the P&O Azura will be among the many Carnival-branded ships to visit the tropical destination between October and April 2016. Carnival expects Amber Cove to provide a destination for at least 250,000 passengers in its first year, which is expected to boost local jobs by at least 400.

The new destination will feature one of the Caribbean's most extensive shore excursion programs available. The menu includes cross-country all-terrain vehicles, horseback riding on the beach, snorkeling. For the ultimate luxury experience, guests can reserve their own private beachside bungalow, with the services of a personal chef, bartender and staff.

While Amber Cove will cater to those who want to go on an adventure or just relax, it will also play a key role in Carnival's new social impact brand, Fathom, when it launches next year. The program lets travelers become part of the culture in which they are traveling.

"While the Dominican is a beautiful island, it is also in great need, with 40 percent of the population living below the poverty line," Donald said. "We are looking forward to bringing hundreds of Fathom travelers…to work alongside people in the Dominican communities to make a significant impact in terms of education, environment and economic development."

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Analysts say the new facility may help boost investor interest in a stock that's up more than 12 percent in 2015, and has surged more than 20 percent over the last year.

"It offers a new destination, which can be particularly appealing to a repeat cruiser who now has a new place to try. Nobody has 'been there, done that,' " said UBS analyst Robin Farley. Additionally, it's a way to differentiate their itineraries from those of their competitors, she added.