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matymil

Amber Cove Excursions with a baby

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We have amber cove on our upcoming cruise, our kid is going to be a 16 months old. We were supposed to go to amber cove before but we missed the port. Just wondering if anyone has ever gone through carnival for an excursion at amber cove with a baby and if so which one and did you like it?

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10 hours ago, matymil said:

We have amber cove on our upcoming cruise, our kid is going to be a 16 months old. We were supposed to go to amber cove before but we missed the port. Just wondering if anyone has ever gone through carnival for an excursion at amber cove with a baby and if so which one and did you like it?

 

If I were going to Amber Cove with a toddler, I would just use the kiddie pool that is provided right at the port.  FWIW, there are also hammocks covered by a palapa between the pool and ocean that would be ideal for "resting" with a toddler. When we were there they were all empty, like people didn't know they were there.

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12 hours ago, jakesnana said:

 

If I were going to Amber Cove with a toddler, I would just use the kiddie pool that is provided right at the port.  FWIW, there are also hammocks covered by a palapa between the pool and ocean that would be ideal for "resting" with a toddler. When we were there they were all empty, like people didn't know they were there.

Thanks for the info. Is there a charge for the hammocks? We will try to get down there early. Our other two ports are Grand Turk and HMC, I think we planned on staying by the port and doing the beach at both of those so even if we do a short excursion I think we may want to do something. We have never seen the island before so we are excited but I have heard that the port is nice.

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We were at Amber Cove last year. What we thought was going to be our worst port turned out to be my favorite. The scenery reminded us a lot of the Smoky Mountains (but with different trees), which we love. 

 

We took a taxi (mini van) to the cable car that goes to the top of Mt. Isabel. About 15 min. from the port. There are a ton of taxis waiting at the port complex when the ship arrives. And our driver waited for us, about an hour or two. It was $30 for four of us each way.

 

We unexpectedly got a tour guide as soon as we arrived at the cable car. I’m glad we did for our first time there, he turned out to be great. The ride up the cable car was awesome and the view of Puerto Plata and the island is amazing. I had to laugh, though, when our guide pointed out the “Dominican Eagles” flying overhead. In the U.S., those “eagles” are just buzzards. LOL

 

At the top is a smaller version of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil, but still quite large. Good photo op here. Fair warning, the small building that the statue stands on is filled with several vendors. They want you to stop after your tour of the grounds to visit their shop. I think they take turns, because we were only approached by one guy and only asked to visit his little space. Don’t feel pressured and be wary of their sales pitches. With that said, we did haggle for a couple nice souvenirs here.

 

We didn’t mind that part of it because the gardens and forest at the top of this mountain are beautiful. Our guide took us around the area to see the entrance to an old cave, a “waterfall,” as he called it. Pretty much a stream flowing down the hillside. An example of a hut kitchen used by indigenous people of their past. The whole area, with the trees, flowers, and plant life was just a great place. He said there were wild parrots, but we didn’t see any. The tour wasn’t too long and most of the paths are paved, with some gravel. And some concrete steps, but nothing major. I highly recommend it if you like nature. Just go as soon as you get to port because the cable car gets very busy. We went up with only two other people from the ship. We went down with a full car. The ride down was great because, by the time we finished the tour, the clouds had engulfed the top of the mountain. It was fun breaking through the cloud cover as we descended. I don’t know if you want to try something like this with a 16-month old, but thought I’d throw it out there as an alternative to staying at the port.

 

A Carnival excursion isn’t necessary for what we did. Simple, easy, & fairly cheap. We checked out the pool area when we got back. I’ll tell you what, I am not the type of person who goes to a tropical island just to sit around a pool, but that area is very nice and I’d consider relaxing there a little while if we went back. We definitely want to go back.

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9 hours ago, matymil said:

Thanks for the info. Is there a charge for the hammocks? We will try to get down there early. Our other two ports are Grand Turk and HMC, I think we planned on staying by the port and doing the beach at both of those so even if we do a short excursion I think we may want to do something. We have never seen the island before so we are excited but I have heard that the port is nice.

 

There was not a charge for the hammocks and all the ones I saw were empty. They are not very close to the pool area, if that is of consideration. That's why I think they were empty, people didn't know about them. I happened to be walking around looking for a restroom for my grandson and saw them.  I call them hammocks because they are hung from poles and swing, but it is actually a large plastic covered piece of foam suspended between the two poles. Perfect place for the 3 of you to take a nap :)  BTW, the water slide is free also, just the zip line cost extra.

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7 hours ago, Organized Chaos said:

We were at Amber Cove last year. What we thought was going to be our worst port turned out to be my favorite. The scenery reminded us a lot of the Smoky Mountains (but with different trees), which we love. 

 

We took a taxi (mini van) to the cable car that goes to the top of Mt. Isabel. About 15 min. from the port. There are a ton of taxis waiting at the port complex when the ship arrives. And our driver waited for us, about an hour or two. It was $30 for four of us each way.

 

We unexpectedly got a tour guide as soon as we arrived at the cable car. I’m glad we did for our first time there, he turned out to be great. The ride up the cable car was awesome and the view of Puerto Plata and the island is amazing. I had to laugh, though, when our guide pointed out the “Dominican Eagles” flying overhead. In the U.S., those “eagles” are just buzzards. LOL

 

At the top is a smaller version of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil, but still quite large. Good photo op here. Fair warning, the small building that the statue stands on is filled with several vendors. They want you to stop after your tour of the grounds to visit their shop. I think they take turns, because we were only approached by one guy and only asked to visit his little space. Don’t feel pressured and be wary of their sales pitches. With that said, we did haggle for a couple nice souvenirs here.

 

We didn’t mind that part of it because the gardens and forest at the top of this mountain are beautiful. Our guide took us around the area to see the entrance to an old cave, a “waterfall,” as he called it. Pretty much a stream flowing down the hillside. An example of a hut kitchen used by indigenous people of their past. The whole area, with the trees, flowers, and plant life was just a great place. He said there were wild parrots, but we didn’t see any. The tour wasn’t too long and most of the paths are paved, with some gravel. And some concrete steps, but nothing major. I highly recommend it if you like nature. Just go as soon as you get to port because the cable car gets very busy. We went up with only two other people from the ship. We went down with a full car. The ride down was great because, by the time we finished the tour, the clouds had engulfed the top of the mountain. It was fun breaking through the cloud cover as we descended. I don’t know if you want to try something like this with a 16-month old, but thought I’d throw it out there as an alternative to staying at the port.

 

A Carnival excursion isn’t necessary for what we did. Simple, easy, & fairly cheap. We checked out the pool area when we got back. I’ll tell you what, I am not the type of person who goes to a tropical island just to sit around a pool, but that area is very nice and I’d consider relaxing there a little while if we went back. We definitely want to go back.

You say you "unexpectedly got a tour guide" at the cable car.  Can you elaborate a bit?  Did he have a sign, or ask if you wanted a tour?  What did he charge?  Were there many of these folks standing around, like the taxi drivers?  Thanks!

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4 hours ago, obx_fintoo said:

You say you "unexpectedly got a tour guide" at the cable car.  Can you elaborate a bit?  Did he have a sign, or ask if you wanted a tour?  What did he charge?  Were there many of these folks standing around, like the taxi drivers?  Thanks!

 

We weren't expecting a tour guide because we thought the only thing at the top of the mountain was the statue. He greeted us outside the cable car building when we got out of the taxi. He just introduced himself and told us he'd be our guide. Showed us where to buy the tickets and wait for the next car up the mountain. We assumed that's just how it worked. But like I said, we were glad he was with us because if he hadn't been, we probably would've never known there was a large garden and forest area to hike around. If I remember correctly, he was the only one there (who looked to be a guide) at the time. There might've been more later when the rest of the crowds came. We got off the ship, went right to the taxi loading area, and straight to the cable car. Other than the woman and her grandson who rode up the mountain with us, we were the first ones there. This is where our taxi driver waited for us, by the way.

 

When we got to the statue, another guy came out. He was one of the vendors. Our guide told us that the guy knew all the good places for pictures of the statue and, in return, would ask us to visit his shop later. He knew how to position everyone in the pictures to make it look like you were holding hands with the Jesus statue, things like that. And he did a really cool panorama shot where the 4 of us on the left side of the picture were pointing to the right...pointing at the 4 of us standing on the right side of the picture. With the statue in the background. We couldn't have done all that without the local's help, so seeing what he had to sell was worth it, I thought. And we bought a couple things. But we went into his shop after the tour of the area.

 

I don't think everyone who came up the mountain after us had tour guides because we didn't see hardly anyone while we were on our little hike. But there were a lot of people around the statue when we got back to that area. And a full cable car on the way down. So I don't think you have to have a guide. If we ever go back, I think we'll say we've been there before and know our way around, so we don't need a guide. And there's signs pointing to some of the landmarks.

 

Our guide didn't charge anything, but obviously accepted tips, which we gladly offered because he was great. So that's at your discretion.

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38 minutes ago, Organized Chaos said:

 

We weren't expecting a tour guide because we thought the only thing at the top of the mountain was the statue. He greeted us outside the cable car building when we got out of the taxi. He just introduced himself and told us he'd be our guide. Showed us where to buy the tickets and wait for the next car up the mountain. We assumed that's just how it worked. But like I said, we were glad he was with us because if he hadn't been, we probably would've never known there was a large garden and forest area to hike around. If I remember correctly, he was the only one there (who looked to be a guide) at the time. There might've been more later when the rest of the crowds came. We got off the ship, went right to the taxi loading area, and straight to the cable car. Other than the woman and her grandson who rode up the mountain with us, we were the first ones there. This is where our taxi driver waited for us, by the way.

 

When we got to the statue, another guy came out. He was one of the vendors. Our guide told us that the guy knew all the good places for pictures of the statue and, in return, would ask us to visit his shop later. He knew how to position everyone in the pictures to make it look like you were holding hands with the Jesus statue, things like that. And he did a really cool panorama shot where the 4 of us on the left side of the picture were pointing to the right...pointing at the 4 of us standing on the right side of the picture. With the statue in the background. We couldn't have done all that without the local's help, so seeing what he had to sell was worth it, I thought. And we bought a couple things. But we went into his shop after the tour of the area.

 

I don't think everyone who came up the mountain after us had tour guides because we didn't see hardly anyone while we were on our little hike. But there were a lot of people around the statue when we got back to that area. And a full cable car on the way down. So I don't think you have to have a guide. If we ever go back, I think we'll say we've been there before and know our way around, so we don't need a guide. And there's signs pointing to some of the landmarks.

 

Our guide didn't charge anything, but obviously accepted tips, which we gladly offered because he was great. So that's at your discretion.

Awesome!  That sounds like a great plan for us.  Thanks so much for the details!  

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7 minutes ago, obx_fintoo said:

Awesome!  That sounds like a great plan for us.  Thanks so much for the details!  

 

You're welcome. One more thing. Since a lot of people, including me, don't like how many of the vendors at these ports of call can be quite aggressive, this particular one was not. He told us no pressure and stepped aside while we looked around. The only time he got involved was when we had a question. We bought a little stone statue and he even engraved "Dominican Republic" on it for no extra charge. Some of his prices were kinda high, but I got him to knock $10 or $20 off our total. The woman that happened to be with us said she had visited Puerto Plata in the past and we probably could've talked him down even more, but I was happy with the price we paid. There were maybe a half dozen or so vendors in that building and, once we left this guy's shop, none of the other ones bothered us to come into theirs, so it seemed as if they had some sort of agreement to share the tourists. 😁

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We have ALWAYS been thankful for each guide who showed up at any island venue. On Dominica, almost 15 years ago, a guide appeared and said he would help us. I was going blind at the time- it was just beginning to affect my life. He knew exact where to point to help me get up a mountain to see a magnificent waterfall and hot spring. I have been back there many times, but can no longer navigate the mountain. I am so thankful for this young man. Feel free to use these local folks. They are there to help you.

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20 hours ago, Organized Chaos said:

We were at Amber Cove last year. What we thought was going to be our worst port turned out to be my favorite. The scenery reminded us a lot of the Smoky Mountains (but with different trees), which we love. 

 

We took a taxi (mini van) to the cable car that goes to the top of Mt. Isabel. About 15 min. from the port. There are a ton of taxis waiting at the port complex when the ship arrives. And our driver waited for us, about an hour or two. It was $30 for four of us each way.

 

We unexpectedly got a tour guide as soon as we arrived at the cable car. I’m glad we did for our first time there, he turned out to be great. The ride up the cable car was awesome and the view of Puerto Plata and the island is amazing. I had to laugh, though, when our guide pointed out the “Dominican Eagles” flying overhead. In the U.S., those “eagles” are just buzzards. LOL

 

At the top is a smaller version of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil, but still quite large. Good photo op here. Fair warning, the small building that the statue stands on is filled with several vendors. They want you to stop after your tour of the grounds to visit their shop. I think they take turns, because we were only approached by one guy and only asked to visit his little space. Don’t feel pressured and be wary of their sales pitches. With that said, we did haggle for a couple nice souvenirs here.

 

We didn’t mind that part of it because the gardens and forest at the top of this mountain are beautiful. Our guide took us around the area to see the entrance to an old cave, a “waterfall,” as he called it. Pretty much a stream flowing down the hillside. An example of a hut kitchen used by indigenous people of their past. The whole area, with the trees, flowers, and plant life was just a great place. He said there were wild parrots, but we didn’t see any. The tour wasn’t too long and most of the paths are paved, with some gravel. And some concrete steps, but nothing major. I highly recommend it if you like nature. Just go as soon as you get to port because the cable car gets very busy. We went up with only two other people from the ship. We went down with a full car. The ride down was great because, by the time we finished the tour, the clouds had engulfed the top of the mountain. It was fun breaking through the cloud cover as we descended. I don’t know if you want to try something like this with a 16-month old, but thought I’d throw it out there as an alternative to staying at the port.

 

A Carnival excursion isn’t necessary for what we did. Simple, easy, & fairly cheap. We checked out the pool area when we got back. I’ll tell you what, I am not the type of person who goes to a tropical island just to sit around a pool, but that area is very nice and I’d consider relaxing there a little while if we went back. We definitely want to go back.

You did all this with a baby?

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I may be the sole discenting voice, I would exercise some caution.  DR does have issues with crime, and if you are leaving the port area on your own I would be careful.  I went with my big strapping adult son, and we took a carnival excursion.   Have friends who have stayed in AI's in the Dominican Republic who did not research and were surprised at how the nice resorts had armed guards patrolling outside the walls of the resorts.   The roads themselves can be hazardous, was surprised to see people riding 3 on motorcycles, passing cars on the highway in heavy traffic.  

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12 hours ago, matymil said:

You did all this with a baby?

 

No, sorry I didn't make that clear. But having done it, as parents ourselves (ours is a teen now) I don't think it's too much for a 16-month old. One concern is the taxi ride. I don't know how people with little ones handle the car seat situation when they go on cruises, but surely people do it somehow. And like I said, if you get there early, your cable car is practically empty. If it's full on the way down, and if it were me, I'd probably carry my kid. Anytime we ever went anywhere where we know we'd be walking, we'd take an umbrella stroller. Granted, we weren't cruising back when ours was that little, but if we had been, we would've taken one. Since Amber Cove is a port with nothing around but the port complex itself, if you don't feel comfortable taking a little one anywhere, then the pool area is still a nice place to spend some time. You could always go back to the ship when there's fewer people on board.

 

9 hours ago, CanWeGoYet? said:

I may be the sole discenting voice, I would exercise some caution.  DR does have issues with crime, and if you are leaving the port area on your own I would be careful.  I went with my big strapping adult son, and we took a carnival excursion.   Have friends who have stayed in AI's in the Dominican Republic who did not research and were surprised at how the nice resorts had armed guards patrolling outside the walls of the resorts.   The roads themselves can be hazardous, was surprised to see people riding 3 on motorcycles, passing cars on the highway in heavy traffic.  

 

For something like I mentioned, the cable car is on the far west side of Puerto Plata, not in the middle of the city. You drive past some resorts on the way, then through a small section of town that's pretty run down (and yes, people on scooters & motorcycles are nuts), but we never felt unsafe. The taxi driver knew how to handle the traffic without being careless himself. I get what you're saying, and it's wise to be cautious, but I look at it this way...millions of cruisers have done these things before me. But if someone feels safer going through Carnival, by all means, do what makes you feel safest.

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