January can be a slower cruise month after busy holiday sailings, but the Dominican Republic isn’t seeing any signs that their tourism sector is about to slow down. 

On the contrary, it’s been a busy month for the city of Puerto Plata, which just celebrated another travel milestone with the arrival of over 25,000 cruise passengers in one day. 

We’re not even halfway through January of 2024, and the city of Puerto Plata already has a big tourism milestone to celebrate. 

On Tuesday, January 9, 2024, the Dominican Republic city welcomed more than 25,000 cruise passengers – 25,882 to be exact – across five different ships. The cruise ships were docked at two different ports on the Caribbean island: Puerto Plata and Amber Cove. 

Amber Cove, which opened in 2015, is the newest cruise port in the Caribbean. It’s exclusively used by Carnival Cruise Line and its sister companies, such as Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn, and Costa Cruises. 

On this particular Tuesday, Carnival Celebration and Holland America Line’s Nieuw Statendam were docked at Amber Cove. Both ships visited the island as part of seven-night Eastern Caribbean Cruises. 

Photo Copyright: Melissa Mayntz / Cruise Hive

Carnival Celebration, which can hold 6,500 passengers at maximum capacity, was responsible for bringing 5,887 cruisers and 1,740 crew members to the Caribbean port on January 9.

Nieuw Statendam, which can accommodate a maximum of 2,666 passengers, arrived with 2,536 guests and 982 crew members. The other three ships that called on Puerto Plata on January 9, 2024, docked at Puerto Plata Cruise Port (Taino Bay). 

Puerto Plata, or Taino Bay Port, is a cruise port visited by ships that don’t belong to the Carnival Corporation or one of its sister companies. It’s located within the heart of Puerto Plata, within walking distance to the city’s historic district. 

Two of the ships, Norwegian Gem and Norwegian Encore, are part of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Fleet

Norwegian Gem brought 2,704 visitors to the island, including guests and crew, as part of a 9-night cruise to the Caribbean, Dominican Republic, and Great Stirrup Cay. At maximum capacity, this ship can hold 2,394 guests and 1,070 crew members.

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic (Photo Credit: Joni Hanebutt / Shutterstock)

Norwegian Encore visited Puerto Plata as part of a seven-night Caribbean cruise to Great Stirrup Cay and the Dominican Republic. Although she can carry up to 3,998 passengers and 1,735 crew members – a total of 5,733 people – 4,537 were onboard when Norwegian Encore arrived. 

Last but not least, Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seascalled on the island with 3,691 passengers and 1,142 crew members onboard as part of a five-Night Eastern Caribbean sailing to the Dominican Republic and the cruise line’s private island, Coco Cay. At maximum capacity, Explorer of the Seas can accommodate 4,290 passengers and 1,180 crew members at a time. 

2023 was a very successful year for the tourism industry in the Dominican Republic, which celebrated a record number of visitors for the year. 

Combining travel by land and sea, approximately 10 million people visited the Dominican Republic in 2023, of which cruisers made up over 1.5 million. This exceeds the island’s previous record of 7.5 million tourists in 2019. 

The success of 2023 seems to be carrying over into the new year, with a total of 66 ships expected to visit Puerto Plata in January 2024 alone. 

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