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Dominican Republic Sets New Cruise Ship Record As Popularity Skyrockets

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The Dominican Republic is adorned with over 1,000 miles of coastline that contain over 200 beaches. Cities such as Puerto Plata and Punta Cana have built tourist-friendly infrastructure, luxury resorts, and a plethora of entertainment options to ensure visitors feel safe and have fun during their time in the country. These investments, coupled with the natural geography of the Dominican Republic, have resulted in the country quickly becoming one of the most coveted cruise destinations in the Caribbean.

Cruise ship in port

The crescendo of the growing popularity in the country has resulted in the biggest cruising month in the Dominican Republic’s history. Jean Luis Rodríguez, the executive director of the Dominican Port Authority (APORDOM) reported that the country saw 85,912 cruise passengers in October 2022. 

cruise ship

Rodriguez was pleased with the results, noting that this figure was “an increase of 149% compared to October 2021 and 40% compared to October 2019.” He additionally noted that the Dominican Republic exceeded pre-pandemic numbers, and with the high season kicking into full gear, he expects that record number to continue to be pushed this winter. 

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cruise port

Of the almost 86,000 passengers the country welcomed last month, over 75,000 passengers descended on Puerto Plata through the two ports of Amber Cove and Taino Bay. In Third place was La Romana in the country’s most popular destination – Punta Cana, where over 10,000 passengers docked during October.

Cruise ship at sea

When asked what he attributes the increased passenger numbers to, Rodriguez was quick to praise investments the country has recently made, noting, “In the last two years, we have managed to diversify the reception platform and cruise stops in the Dominican Republic, incorporating new terminals and with it, the arrival of hundreds of ships and thousands of passengers by sea, thus promoting the development and revitalization of the economy in various parts of the country.”

Cruise ship docked

APORDOM notes that according to statistics collected on tourism spending, each passenger who disembarks from their cruise ship for the day to enjoy the various attractions and beaches in the Dominican Republic spends approximately $100 US Dollars. That figure means that cruise tourism alone was able to inject over $80 Million dollars into the tourism economy in the country during October. 

Cruise ship view

Jean Luis Rodriguez is excited about what the future has to hold as the Dominican Republic continues to gain popularity as a premier cruise destination in the Caribbean. The country plans on continuing to make investments in the sector of cruising to ensure they can keep up with the increased demand.

“Currently, we are receiving cruise passengers at two anchorages and four cruise terminals, which are: Sans Souci, Amber Cove, Romana, and Taíno Bay, the latter two being expanded. We have two more terminals underway, Port Cabo Rojo and Samaná Bayport; In addition to those that are in operation, a process with the General Directorate of Public-Private Alliances for Arroyo Barril and an analysis of the design of a last one, in Barahona.”

Pedernales Cruise Ship

Port Cabo Rojo is being built in the Pedernales region and is expected to be completed in December 2023. The port will be able to dock over 1 million cruise passengers per year and will include entertainment facilities, spas, and shopping centers. 

Samaná Bayport will be located in Samaná bay and will have the ability to receive nearly 20,000 cruise passengers per day. It will have the most advanced “Seawalk” technology available, which will allow the port to be retracted when not in use to minimize environmental impact on the region and ensure the port does not damage the scenery of the bay. These efforts will undoubtedly help the Dominican Republic accomplish its goal of becoming the home port for cruising in the Caribbean!

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