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Will Carnival change Amber Cove for another port?

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11 hours ago, SNJCruisers said:

Amber Cove is the DR's version of Grand Turk, so there should be no problems there.  BUT, what about the southern caribbean cruises that stop at La Romana?  Between now and the end of the year, the Horizon visits there 13 times and the Magic twice.

 

We were at Amber Cove last year. Took a taxi to the cable car. We had to go through a little bit of Puerto Plata. I never felt unsafe. Traffic was pretty crazy, especially all of the motorcycles that don't seem to abide by any sort of traffic laws. Even saw a little girl on the back of her dad's motorcycle, she was probably 5 or 6 yrs. old. I was more so a bit awestruck by the chaos of it all, if than anything, but never felt fear or unsafe.

 

We'll be in La Romana next March. We were going to do an excursion there, but we've decided to do one somewhere else. Not because of what's going on, though. We just found a different one we like better. I wasn't worried about leaving the port. If we did and drank anything, I'd just make sure we drank out of sealed cans/bottles. Now we'll probably just check out the vendors at port and use it to enjoy a quieter ship. I don't think there's anything else worthwhile within walking distance, but if there was, I wouldn't be afraid to go.

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What bothers me right now about DR is that we still don't know what's causing the illnesses/deaths.  There are theories, and commonalities, but no conclusions.  Mini bars have been mentioned a lot, and so have pesticides.   But for all of you saying you "feel safe" in DR....you can't protect yourself from a danger that is as-yet unknown.   Now, with that said, I do believe that Amber Cove is fairly safe, because it really is a self-contained, Carnival-controlled port.   But even then, I feel like there is some risk.   And it's just for each traveler to weigh.  I agree....no way is Carnival going to stop going to this port, with all of the investment they have in it.

 

I will be traveling to La Romana, DR in September.   If we don't have some serious conclusions on the root of these issues by then, I will be staying on the ship.   For me, it's not worth the risk.   

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12 hours ago, SNJCruisers said:

Amber Cove is the DR's version of Grand Turk, so there should be no problems there.

17 hours ago, Kentucky816 said:

We love this port, stayed in the compound and enjoyed the pool and the local beer.  The pool area has as I recall a nice area for the kiddos.  I honestly wish all the ports that Carnival goes to were this nice.  

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It would be much nicer if it had an actual beach.  We are not really big fans of Amber Cove.  The last two visits there we have walked around the port area 45 minutes or an hour and then went back to the ship.  To us, it is not really worth the very long walk to go ashore.  Going there again in September and will probably just stay on the ship.

 

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2 hours ago, amyotravel said:

Not seeing alot of shade/trees for those who cannot take too much sun.

 

Where do you get food on AC, what are the choices, and what is the cost?

 

MARAPRINCE

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2 minutes ago, Lee Cruiser said:

 

AC is a tender port, right?

 

MARAPRINCE

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2 minutes ago, Maraprince said:

AC is a tender port, right?

 

MARAPRINCE

No, it is a very long pier.  But they do have the cycle carts that will take you back and forth for a tip.

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4 minutes ago, Lee Cruiser said:

No, it is a very long pier.  But they do have the cycle carts that will take you back and forth for a tip.

As long as we dock and providing that we do not book a shore excursion, we will at least get off the ship and have a look around.

 

MARAPRINCE

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1 minute ago, Maraprince said:

As long as we dock and providing that we do not book a shore excursion, we will at least get off the ship and have a look around.

 

MARAPRINCE

Yes, that would certainly be good if you have never been there before.  But we have been twice, so there's not much more for us to see.

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1 hour ago, Domergirl said:

What bothers me right now about DR is that we still don't know what's causing the illnesses/deaths.  There are theories, and commonalities, but no conclusions.  Mini bars have been mentioned a lot, and so have pesticides.   But for all of you saying you "feel safe" in DR....you can't protect yourself from a danger that is as-yet unknown.   Now, with that said, I do believe that Amber Cove is fairly safe, because it really is a self-contained, Carnival-controlled port.   But even then, I feel like there is some risk.   And it's just for each traveler to weigh.  I agree....no way is Carnival going to stop going to this port, with all of the investment they have in it.

 

I will be traveling to La Romana, DR in September.   If we don't have some serious conclusions on the root of these issues by then, I will be staying on the ship.   For me, it's not worth the risk.   

 

I watched a video of one couple that was interviewed after these deaths had been occurring. They were just at one of the resorts in the news for their honeymoon some months ago. They had both gotten real sick a few days into their vacation. Thankfully for them, it wasn't fatal and they made it home. Each had their own doctors and both concluded that they were exposed to a chemical that's used in pesticides that is mostly banned in the U.S. And when it is used here, it's heavily regulated. But in the D.R., there probably aren't any regulations like we have. Their symptoms matched all the symptoms that this chemical exposure causes. They've mostly recovered, but do still experience some health issues months after.

 

I'll admit I haven't been following all of the stories involving the deaths, but they are all occurring at resorts, right? So cruisers don't have anything to worry about regarding mini-bar drinks. And if you drink, make sure it's out of a sealed cans/bottles. Granted, the mini-bar drinks are sealed, too, but since this seems to be isolated to these resorts, it doesn't appear that drinks from other sources is a problem. And cruisers aren't likely to come into contact with the pesticides (in high doses anyway) that are being used to maintain these resort grounds. So the fact that this is happening at 2 or 3 resorts says a lot about the safety of cruisers.

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1 hour ago, Lee Cruiser said:

It would be much nicer if it had an actual beach.  We are not really big fans of Amber Cove.  The last two visits there we have walked around the port area 45 minutes or an hour and then went back to the ship.  To us, it is not really worth the very long walk to go ashore.  Going there again in September and will probably just stay on the ship.

 

There are locals who operate pedi-cabs from the ship to the entrance to Dufry. They work on tips alone. When I overheard one person ask them how much for a ride, his answer was, "Whatever your heart feels like paying." I think on average people gave $5. I agree that it'd be even better if they had a sand beach. But I still think it's a nice area. We were there last year, but did something else. We checked out the pool/bar area when we got back. I'm not the type of person who likes to sit around a pool, but it's nice enough that I'd give it a try the next time we're there.

 

1 hour ago, Maraprince said:

Where do you get food on AC, what are the choices, and what is the cost?

 

The bar & restaurant are right near the pool. I did a quick search for a menu and found this thread from 2016. Burgers, chicken, salads, shrimp, etc. Prices are kind of steep. Here's the thread with pictures of the menu if you want to look: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2316226-amber-cove-port-restaurant-menu-food-and-bar/

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Sadly, a young girl got a flesh eating infection from the waters in Destin Fl and died from it.  Another was bitten by a shark along the Florida Gulf.. I don't see folk expressing fear of going there though.  And if Carnival would ever release figures of how many cruisers die on their ships each year, I'll wager that total will far exceed the # of reported deaths in the DR.

 

The deaths in the DR, either in Punta Cana or La Romana are so far away from Amber Cove's sterile cookie cutter play corral that Amber Cove may as well be in Disneyland, it's so detached and protected from the DR countryside.  Carnival will perpetuate the scare of venturing away from their enclave, just as they warn shoppers not to go into any stores not on their approved list.

 

If anything, Carnival will beat the safety drum for Amber Cove and port even more ships there.

 

Disclaimer:  I booked an 11 night vacation at an adult only AI in Punta Cana with RT air and airport transfers for way less than a 7 night balcony on the Horizon.  Happy BDay to me!

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It’s mostly all inclusive resorts where these incidents are occurring.  I saw something about the mini bars being stocked with booze that is substituted with illegal alcohol.   Cruisers should not worry...this country really depends on tourism- we did a beach break tour and loved the wonderful hospitality at the place we went. Get off and spend some money...

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1 hour ago, evandbob said:

Carnival will perpetuate the scare of venturing away from their enclave, just as they warn shoppers not to go into any stores not on their approved list.

 

If anything, Carnival will beat the safety drum for Amber Cove and port even more ships there.

 

You've claimed this multiple times, and I've even argued against its validity a couple times, so I won't keep beating that particular dead horse. I'll just say that I do not believe they encourage passengers to shop with the stores they've partnered with just because it's a scare tactic. My wife has been to their shopping seminar thing and they explain the advantages of shopping with those partners. As far as Amber Cove goes, they have yet to try to encourage anyone to stay within the confines of the port complex. The only thing they've done was use their public mouth (JH) to assure everyone the food and drinks there are safe to consume.

 

What I do believe they'll do is keep a close eye on anything the State Dept. has to say about the D.R. If they begin issuing travel warnings, then Carnival is more likely to react.

 

4 hours ago, Domergirl said:

What bothers me right now about DR is that we still don't know what's causing the illnesses/deaths.  There are theories, and commonalities, but no conclusions.  Mini bars have been mentioned a lot, and so have pesticides.

 

The deaths are tragic, no doubt. But what bothers me the most is how the D.R. government reacted to the news coverage. They released a statement saying ALL of the deaths were due to natural causes and that they "hysteria" is being done intentionally to harm their tourism. If you ask me, those are words of a government trying to cover something up.

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Compound ? Enclave? I don't go to a foreign port to be locked into a false reality.  Sorry, been reading too much about detention centers.

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If you ask me, those are words of a government trying to cover something up.

 

This.^^

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Posted (edited)

I have been to Dominican Republic many times without incident, but it's been over ten years ago.

 

My concern is that some of the people that died seemed to be young-ish enough people who were not expected to die in that they [based on available info] weren't already suffering severe illness or ailment of any kind... Like the couple (49 and 63 years old) found dead together in their room with no forced entry.

 

I've read suspicions of in-room mini bars being the culprit.

 

Many years ago, we stayed 5 consecutive years at a Cancun AI that had in-room mini bars consisting of factory sealed "mini"s" in a refrigerated cooler (like the cruise lines have).

 

The last year we stayed there, the "mini bar" consisted only of liquor dispensers which basically seemed to be unsecured bottles of liquor turned upside down on a dispensing mechanism. Something that could easily be tampered with in my opinion. I even saw them in the game/card room where patrons could serve themselves after the waitstaff was off duty. I did not partake. 

 

I wonder if the mini bars "under suspicion" in some of these DR cases featured factory sealed mini bottles of liquor... or unsecured dispensers as described above?

Edited by alreadypacked
clarification

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55 minutes ago, alreadypacked said:

I have been to Dominican Republic many times without incident, but it's been over ten years ago.

 

My concern is that some of the people that died seemed to be young-ish enough people who were not expected to die in that they [based on available info] weren't already suffering severe illness or ailment of any kind... Like the couple (49 and 63 years old) found dead together in their room with no forced entry.

 

I've read suspicions of in-room mini bars being the culprit.

 

Many years ago, we stayed 5 consecutive years at a Cancun AI that had in-room mini bars consisting of factory sealed "mini"s" in a refrigerated cooler (like the cruise lines have).

 

The last year we stayed there, the "mini bar" consisted only of liquor dispensers which basically seemed to be unsecured bottles of liquor turned upside down on a dispensing mechanism. Something that could easily be tampered with in my opinion. I even saw them in the game/card room where patrons could serve themselves after the waitstaff was off duty. I did not partake. 

 

I wonder if the mini bars "under suspicion" in some of these DR cases featured factory sealed mini bottles of liquor... or unsecured dispensers as described above?

This is why I do not like the soap dispensers in hotels and on cruises.  Who knows what someone put into them.  I’ll take my own....

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41 minutes ago, CynCyn said:

This is why I do not like the soap dispensers in hotels and on cruises.  Who knows what someone put into them.  I’ll take my own....

 

I'm with you there too.

 

I always pack my own pump hand soap for cruises and hotel trips.

 

Plus many hotels provide only bar hand soap, which is unsanitary in my book.

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1 minute ago, alreadypacked said:

 

I'm with you there too.

 

I always pack my own pump hand soap for cruises and hotel trips.

 

Plus many hotels provide only bar hand soap, which is unsanitary in my book.

 

Unsanitary? The bars of soap in hotels and on cruises are wrapped in factory-sealed packaging. You're the only one using it. If, for some reason, there's an opened bar in your room, obviously don't use it and ask for a new one. Millions of people use bars of soap at home. Liquid soap from a pump bottle is a relatively new concept compared to how long bars have been around.

 

I don't have any fears about using the body wash & shampoo from the shower dispensers on cruises. A lot of people pack their own soaps & shampoos, but it's always because the stuff in the dispensers isn't the best quality and people like their preferred brands. I find it hard to believe that stewards or their team members would ever tamper with them.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Organized Chaos said:

 

Unsanitary? The bars of soap in hotels and on cruises are wrapped in factory-sealed packaging. You're the only one using it. If, for some reason, there's an opened bar in your room, obviously don't use it and ask for a new one. Millions of people use bars of soap at home. Liquid soap from a pump bottle is a relatively new concept compared to how long bars have been around.

 

I don't have any fears about using the body wash & shampoo from the shower dispensers on cruises. A lot of people pack their own soaps & shampoos, but it's always because the stuff in the dispensers isn't the best quality and people like their preferred brands. I find it hard to believe that stewards or their team members would ever tamper with them.

 

Organized..

 

You read me wrong...

 

Not accusing stewards or any staff of tampering with  soap or dispensers...

 

Sorry if I gave that impression...

 

A [very] few times I've traveled in group situations where people's hand hygiene sadly gave me significant pause...

 

 

 

 

Edited by alreadypacked

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First time to Amber Cove last year, absolutely hated it! Even I was amazed because I love Grand Turk + they're very similar. To begin with, if Amber Cove is a port, then I'm a movie star. The entire time we were docked, the ship literally slammed up against the dock shooting water all over the pier. That's because there's no natural protection from rough seas in that area. Tampa, Miami, Canaveral, Charleston, San Juan, those are ports. Secondly, I disliked the locals. If you lay anything of value on your poolside chairs, it'll be stolen. If you pay for a cabana, well, they're gonna charge as much as would have been stolen. To each their own, but for me, never again!

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Nobody is safe even in the carnival cruise port area!  We do not know what is causing this, rumor has it the liquor in the mini bar but that is a lie because I read two people who have died (perhaps more I don't know about all the deaths) do not drink any alcohol and 4 people didn't drink out of the mini bar.  It is something else, and we will probably never know because even if the autopsies show what it is, Dominica is not going to let that information out as they rely so much on tourism.  I feel the only way we get the answers, is unfortunately but fortunately somebody gets ill there and gets to return here in the states where we can do our own autopsy.

 

I know a chef on one of the Dream class ships, he said they are not allowed to get off at Amber Cove!!  Doesn't this tell you something?

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We will be in Amber Cove next month on the Breeze and I have been waffling on whether to take an excursion or just stay in Carnival's area. We currently have an excursion booked through ShoreExcursioneer to go on a nature hike to the Charco Grande waterfall (not the Damajagua falls excursion - that's a little too ambitious for me), but I am a bit leery. Not only would it be our first time to take a non-ship excursion, but there are so many unknowns about what is going on in the DR. The DR government is certainly not helping themselves with there "nothing to see here, move along..." attitude.

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Carnival appeals to a wide range of travelers.  While Amber Cove is nice enough (although not as nice as Mahogany Bay), the first thing I do is figure out how to walk out of the complex on youtube.  We've always pre-arranged private excursions in every country we've visited.  Had a few that were 'just okay'.  Had many more that were life memorable experiences.  YMMV. 

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"While the media is breathlessly raising the alarm over the Dominican Republic, in 2018, 14 Americans died in Canada, six in the United Kingdom, and eight in France of unnatural causes and, collectively, probably hundreds died of natural causes. Yet, there is no endless news coverage or reporters sniffing the vodka in pubs in England, nor calls for boycotts or change travel plans for those countries. While I was in Spain, hundreds of Americans died. Those deaths were difficult and sad, but no one ever accused the Spanish government of being involved in a conspiracy to cover up the fact that people died in their country. In fact, more Americans died in the Dominican Republic in 2010 and 2015."

 

https://thehill.com/opinion/international/450727-media-frenzy-over-dominican-republic-deaths-causing-more-harm-than-good

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