The Dominican Republic has big plans in store for the future when it comes to cruising. The tropical nation aims to become the leading Caribbean destination for cruise ships, and its government is investing heavily in new ports and upgrading existing ones.
This week, Luis Abinader, inaugurated the second phase of Taíno Bay’s massive overhaul, representing a big step forward for the island nation and a major improvement to one of the country’s most popular ports.
Cruise Ship Popularity Skyrockets In The Dominican Republic
New figures suggest the cruise ship industry has made a remarkable recovery in the Dominican Republic, exceeding 2019 travel figures by a considerable margin. In 2022, over a million people traveled to the tropical island on board a floating hotel, an impressive milestone for an industry that many experts only recently described as obsolete following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, in 2023, the Dominican Republic is paving the way for cruising to further surge in popularity. This week, Luis Abinader, the Dominican President, inaugurated new facilities and amenities in Taíno Bay, Puerto Plata. The $15 million investment package delivered significant improvements to the cruise ship terminal, one of the country’s largest.
Taíno Bay currently has three piers capable of welcoming ships that regularly carry over 4,000 passengers. The massive cruise ship terminal also houses restaurants, shops, and cafés. The ongoing renovation has already resulted in 26 new shops opening their doors, as well as a swim-up bar and lazy river. The goal of the massive makeover is to invite passengers to spend more time on shore by providing more activities and a versatile experience.
These Mega-Projects Are On The Way
Aside from ongoing improvements to Taíno Bay, officials are currently busy improving several other cruise ship terminals, including in Samaná and Pedernales, which will have the country’s newest flagship terminal later this year. Upon completion, Cabo Port Rojo will also have 12,000 new hotel rooms and countless entertainment options for travelers to enjoy, including a water park, shopping, and fine dining.
According to the Dominican Republic’s long-term goal for the cruise ship industry, the country is to become the leading destination for cruise ships in the Caribbean. Although ambitious, the goal is easily attainable, according to officials, and will mainly benefit travelers. The Dominican Republic will have up to 8 modern terminals by 2025, according to Jean Luis Rodrígues, the head of the Dominican Port Authority.
Visitors will be able to access new destinations, such as Pedernales, which is poised to become one of the top eco-hotspots in the country. Aside from its untouched white-sand beaches, the rugged coastline is home to unique flora and fauna, as well as the largest national park in the Caribbean, Parque Nacional Jaragua.
For now, Puerto Plata remains the largest cruise ship destination in the Dominican Republic. The seaside resort city currently houses Taíno Bay and Amber Cove, two of the largest terminals in the country. Puerto Plata’s mountainous scenery and abundant natural attractions have made it one of the most sought-after destinations for cruise ship travelers.
Overall, growing cruise ship passenger numbers are expected to propel the Dominican Republic to a new all-time tourism record this year. More than 8 million people are projected to flock to the sun-soaked island for a taste of Caribbean hospitality and some of the world’s top white-sand beaches. This year, the Dominican Republic is also featured as one of the top 10 destinations in the world, according to TripAdvisor.
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