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Puerto Plata: The Caribbean’s newest cruise destination

Puerto Plata welcomed its first cruise ship in nearly 30 years on Oct. 6 when the Carnival Victory, carrying nearly 3,000 guests, docked at the new Amber Cove Cruise Center.

Carnival Victory at Amber Cove Cruise Center. Photo courtesy of the Dominican Ministry of Tourism.

Carnival Victory at Amber Cove Cruise Center. Photo courtesy of the Dominican Ministry of Tourism.

Visitors received a colorful welcome as they arrived at the 30-acre cruise center, which features bars, restaurants, retail outlets and an elaborate pool area with water slides that guests can enjoy for free.

Representatives of nearby Ocean World greeted passengers with a sign: “You are the first group of cruise ship clients in our history.”  Dancers in colorful, traditional dress performed as guests strolled through the plaza.

The Victory was the first eight Carnival ships that will call at Amber Cove during the port’s inaugural season. Ships from Holland America, Princess and Costa will also bring guests to Amber Cove. Starting in April, Carnival Corp.’s new fathom brand will bring the first bi-weekly “social impact” cruises to Amber Cove from Miami.

The Caribbean’s newest destination, Amber Cove will be able to accommodate up to 8,000 cruise passengers and 2,000 crew members daily. The two-berth facility on the Bay of Maimon is expected to host more than 250,000 cruise passengers in its first year of operation. A transportation hub allows visitors easy access by land and sea to nearby destinations.

A joint project between Carnival Corp. & plc and the Rannik family of Grupo B&R, the more than $65 million project was designed to re-establish the Dominican Republic’s North Shore as a popular cruise destination.

Casablanca Night in Cofresi

Casablanca night in Cofresi

Ocean World, the world’s first fully interactive marine park

by Ron Añejo – The POP Report

PUERTO PLATA- The brand new, $30 million Ocean World located in the exclusive Cofresi resort area isn’t about just sitting around and watching “Flipper” dance on his tail in the water — it’s about jumping in and dancing with him.

And it’s not about strolling past gigantic aquariums teeming with coral reefs and tropical fish and sharks— it’s about actually getting inside the aquarium and swimming with them.

“This is the first park of its kind, where you’re interactive with all the animals sea lions, dolphins, sharks, stingrays, tropical fish and tropical birds,” says Eric Bogden, director of operations.

Eric is an18-year veteran of Sea World parks in the States. He was netted by Ocean World’s owners to manage the design and completion of this unique park’s exhibits.

This is the second park operated by the same owners. Their first one, Dolphin Encounters, is a huge success located on Blue Lagoon Island near Nassau.

Ocean World is brand new and some of the exhibits will open over the next several months. “We’re training the sharks right now. Just this morning I had one sitting on my lap,” says Eric proudly. When the shark pool is ready, your friendly shark will stick his jaws out of the water for a photo op with you.

Open a scant six months, the dolphin swims and encounters are already selling out, attracting more than 100 people per day. Dolphin Swims, the ultimate experience where you actually get towed around the lake by a friendly pair of dolphins, are limited to 10 people twice daily, and are sold out more than a week in advance. And while we had to settle for a Dolphin Encounter, where up to 30 can participate; it turned out to be an unforgettable experience just the same.

“These animals are super sociable and want to have a good time,” explained one of the three trainers who were assigned to our group. “So the more you whoop it up, clap and have fun, the more they will respond and interact with you.”

Indeed, this isn’t about sitting in bleachers and watching animal tricks from a distance. This is about getting into your bathing suit and sitting with just a couple dozen people on a floating deck, with three trainers attending and three dolphins sharing an enclosed pool not much larger than a jacuzzi.

This is about standing in shallow water as a 400-pound dolphin comes up erect in front of you. You hold his fins, and, as the trainers whistle a quick five bars of merengue, you feel the power as he dances in your outstretched arms.

This is about standing in shallow water as Boomer, the newest arrival at Ocean World, comes right up to you for a hug, pressing his body against your chest, head on shoulder. And you feel the strength, the power and the gentle affection of these incredible mammals as they wiggle their snouts against your cheek for a friendly kiss.

“I was amazed with the quality of the whole event,” said Jan Maclean, a veteran diver who has swam with dolphins and whales in the open sea. “It was obvious the trainers were completely wrapped up in what they were doing. They really care about the animals”

“I found the setting to be spectacular,” said Jean Hall on vacation from Montreal. “It looked like a magazine picture of the Caribbean. I’ve never been to a place where the public is invited to touch, dance, stroke and feed the animals. Being that close to such a large animal, standing stomach to stomach with him was incredible.”

Ocean World has become a must-see in Puerto Plata. It’s open every day but you’d do well to reserve in advance.

***

OCEAN WORLD ADVENTURE PARK is the most advanced marine interaction park of its kind.  Boasting the largest man-made dolphin habitat in the world, Ocean World is a must-see attraction for everyone visiting the Dominican Republic.
Guests of Ocean World Adventure Park have the opportunity to touch, pet and feed dolphins, sea lions, sharks, stingrays, exotic tropical birds, meet tigers, walk through a tropical rain forest and much more.
Ocean World Adventure Park emphasizes personal experiences between guests and marine animals through interactive programs.  There are only a handful of such facilities in the world, and none that rival the variety and quality that Ocean World Adventure Park provides.

Sea Lion show & Encounters. The Patagonian Sea Lions featured in this program originated from Uruguay.   Two of them are male and six are female.  Guests are provided with an opportunity to touch, feed, pet and play with these wonderful animals in the Sea Lion Encounter Program. The Sea Lion Show draws great reviews as guests watch the animals perform amazing behaviors and stunts.
Sea Lion Facility Features
•    Total Area 780m2
•    Stadium seating 350 guests
•    Water volume 60,000 gallons in 4 pools
•    Filtration system high rate sand filters, protein skimmers, ozone treatment

Snorkel Reef. In the coral reef aquarium, snorkelers swim in a colorful reef teeming with hundreds of exotic fish.  The snorkeling here is available everyday of the year.  Visitors are most likely to encounter angel fish, puffers, grunts, tangs, jacks, butterfly fish, spade fish, look downs and lobsters.
Snorkel Reef Facility Features
•    Total area 305m2 and 2.0m average depth
•    Water volume 150,000 gallons
•    Estimated number of fish 2,000
•    Filtration system, high-rate sand, protein skimmers, biologic, ozone treatment, temperature controlled
•    Split level underwater viewing panels 1.5m high and 15m long

Dolphin Swims and Encounters. For many guests, the highlight of a visit to Ocean World Adventure Park is the rare opportunity to swim and play with beautiful Atlantic bottlenose dolphins.  The Dolphin Swim experience begins with a brief orientation and educational program.  Then guests enter the water for their introduction to dolphins.  Guests learn about dolphin behavior and discover how Ocean World Adventure Park trainers use hand signals and positive reinforcement to communicate with them.  Taking the experience one step further, guests encounter, kiss, hug, pet, and feed dolphins one on one in their environment.
West Dolphin Lagoon Features
•    Total area 2,400m2
•    Volume 4,000,000 est. gallons, up to 4.5m deep
•    Filtration turnover rate 4 hours
•    Stadium capacity estimate 450 seats
•    Filtration system high rate sand, protein skimmers, ozone treatment
East Dolphin Lagoon Features
•    Total area 24,000m2 average depth 3.5m
•    Water volume 14,000,000 gallons
•    Turnover rate 4 hours, 24,000 gallons per hour
•    Filtration system, protein skimmers, ozone injection, system first of its kind in the world
Ocean World Adventure Park’s dolphin habitat is the largest of its kind in the world.

Shark Encounters. The sharks at Ocean World Adventure Park are an exciting variety of nurse, bonnet head and brown sharks; all indigenous to local waters. This rare award-winning interactive program includes touching, petting, feeding and snorkeling with the sharks.
Shark Pool Features
•    Water volume 200,000 gallons
•    Total area 360m2 and 2.5m deep
•    Filtration system high rate sand, protein skimmers, ozone and U.V., biologic filtration and temperature control
•    Two viewing windows 2m high and 8m long
•    Artificial reef structures decorate the bottom
•    The only shark pool specifically designed for human shark interaction

Stingray Encounters. Guests wade into the Stingray Basin, float and interact with the stingrays.  These fishes, which glide gracefully through the water, will provide you a really unique and memorable experience.
Stingray Basin Features
•    Total area 142m2
•    45,000 gallons of filtered sea water
•    2 separate water falls

Rainforest & Aviary. Ocean World Adventure Park has created the perfect rainforest.  The exotic tropical oasis is complete with waterfalls, sandy beaches and rocky lagoons.  In this area there exists a large free flight aviary, where guests are able to feed, touch and mingle with over one hundred colorful tropical birds.  Aquariums here feature exotic and unusual freshwater fish including arapaima fish.
Rainforest Features
•    Total area 3,650m2
•    Aviary 156m2 walk-through facility with tropical trees and waterfalls
•    Large Amazon fish exhibit of 24,000 gallons, 1.5m high 8m long view panels
•    Small Amazon fish exhibit of 25,000 gallons, demi-tube underwater view 7m long

Tiger Grotto. The highlight of the Tropical Rainforest is the tiger grotto.  Here, guests are invited to take a refreshing dip in the water next to the tiger habitat separated only by glass!  The pool stretches out toward what is reminiscent of ancient ruins overgrown with thick vegetation and waterfalls.
Tiger Grotto Features
•    26,000 gallon pool and total area of 450m2
•    Four rapid flow waterfalls
•    Rainforest stream entry
•    Swim cave

Trainer for a Day. Trainer for a Day will ensure a true dolphin trainer’s experience. From playing animal chef to issuing dolphin commands during a regular program with regular guests!!  Education is a significant and valuable part of this unforgettable day.
Trainer for a Day Features
•    Includes Ocean World T-shirt, hat, Trainer for a Day Certificate
•    Lunch with the Trainer
•    Dolphin Encounter interaction as a guest

SCUBA with the Dolphins or Sharks. New and exciting programs have begun at Ocean World Adventure Park; the fantastic once-in-a- lifetime opportunity to interact with dolphins or sharks underwater.  In these incredible programs visitors put on a wet suit and SCUBA gear then become immersed in an underwater paradise. The staff of Dolphin SCUBA offers instructional programs that prepare guests with the PADI open water SCUBA certification required for these programs.
Depending on experience levels; programs feature 5 different SCUBA adventures.

A ONCE IN A LIFETIME EXPERIENCE!

Click here to inquire or reserve

Click here for some interesting Facts about Dolphins

New arrival at Ocean World, a baby sea lion

PUERTO PLATA—Ocean World Adventure Park executives announced the birth of a baby sea lion, born July 24 during the day, after a labor of about an hour. Parents are named Chacha and Jefe , both 9 years old and originally from Uruguay. The pup is a male who, at birth, weighed 25 pounds. The delivery occurred in breech position (fins first), contrary to the usual head first

This is the second event of its kind to be recorded at the site, as in 2006 a bottlenose dolphin “Lili.” was born under human care at the park.

Chacha, the pup’s mother, nursed him after 8 hours of birth. He swam for the first time at 11 days old and is already a confident swimmer. “Like all babies, is very playful and loves to play with pieces of ice, hoses and other toys made by the coaches,” said Diego Tripaldi, General Director of the company.

“We are very happy to share this important news to the media, society and all Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, since the birth of this new baby sea lion symbolizes our commitment to preserving the environment, diversity of life, care and respect for all animal species that inhabit Ocean World,” said

Chacha's baby sea lion was born July 24th at Ocean World

Tripaldi.

This species of sea lions, whose scientific name is “Otaria flavescens”, also known as “Otaria byronia” are born after 11 months of gestation. This species is not endangered. The breast milk of these mammals has a high fat content, which is why the young gain weight rapidly. Adult females average 6 feet long with a weight of 330 pounds, while adult males average 8 feet long with a weight of 650 pounds.

The training of the new baby will start from the time when he can eat solid food (fish). Among the initial behaviors he will learn will be relaxation techniques to allow the veterinarians to perform routine checks, which ensure a long and healthy life.

From the first moment that the team of experts at the park were aware of the state of gestation of the sea lion Chacha, all necessary care was taken to ensure the well being of both mother and the baby.

Details of this event were announced during a cocktail held in the park’s facilities along with representatives of the media, authorities and society personalities of Puerto Plata. The event was led by Diego Tripaldi, general director of the park, along with marketing and sales executives and staff responsible for the care of the pup.

The executives stressed the satisfaction that Ocean World has to have successfully nurtured the second birth of an exotic animal in their facilities. As evidence that these species under human care can live long, healthy and safe lives.

Since last summer the park has developing an educational campaign aimed at children to create awareness about important issues such as the care and protection of animals and the preservation of our planet’s natural resources.

Ocean World Adventure Park, Marina & Casino, is one of the most important and complete entertainment centers in the Dominican Republic and Caribbean region. Located on Cofresi Beach in Puerto Plata this unique park stands along with a majestic building which houses it’s restaurants, casino, bar, theater with live shows, disco and an elegant marina.

Bravissimo! Nightclub Show

Ocean World Marina guests enjoy a wide variety of services and truly unique experiences unmatched in the region. By day our visitors enjoy our exciting marine park; by night they can have a sunset dinner overlooking spectacular ocean vistas in several restaurants and bars, enjoy a Vegas-style tropical show, or try one’s luck in the Caribbean’s most glamorous new themed casino.

So if you’re in the area be sure to plan for a great night out at Ocean World. You can book a package including dinner, show and transportation for only $89. See below

OCEAN WORLD CASINO overlooking the Marina is the most exclusive Casino in the Dominican Republic. Guests experience Las Vegas gaming in the setting of a true Caribbean paradise.
Here one can enjoy a choice of the most popular table games and slot machines in luxurious surroundings.
This glamorous building is adjacent to the famous Ocean World Adventure Park, the newest and largest marine park attraction in the Caribbean.
Ocean World Casino Features
•    Open daily starting from 7pm
•    Complimentary national drinks, snacks and cigarettes while playing
•    Valet parking
•    Slot Machines and Table Games (Black Jack, Caribbean Stud Poker, Roulette, 3 Card Poker, Craps, Texas Hold’Em, Baccarat)
•    Scheduled Tournaments every Tuesday and Saturday at 7pm

OCTOPUS BAR & GRILL, the restaurant overlooking the Ocean World Marina, is specialized on light and grilled snacks. Serving premium beverages and variety of premium drinks and refreshing cocktails, this is the perfect place to enjoy drinks with friends.
Octopus Bar & Grill Features
•    Open daily from 9am to 1am, for lunch and dinner
•    Terrace sitting area
•    Pool facilities
•    Swim-up bar
•    Plasma TV

POSEIDON ‘A-LA-CARTE’ RESTAURANT. This stylish modern setting combines sleek architectural features with a fusion of oceanic artifacts, creating an incredible ambiance. This different hot new concept in dining features various mouth-watering international cuisine favorites with a special focus on succulent seafood choices.
Poseidon A-la-Carte Restaurant Features
•    Open Tuesdays through Sundays from 7pm until 12am.
•    102 seats inside
•    Air conditioning
•    International cuisine specialized in seafood
•    Scheduled culinary activities

BRAVISSIMO SHOW is a Las Vegas style dance show with a tropical flair.  Gorgeous performers take guests on an enchanted journey throughout the Caribbean by presenting their interpretive dance collection from throughout the destination, with more that 100 costumes that will leave you breathless.
Bravissimo Features
•    Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 9pm
•    Thursday at 10pm
•    26 dancers
•    No pictures/filming permitted

LIGHTHOUSE LOUNGE & DISCO is with no doubt the most spectacular and classy Lounge & Disco Bar of the island, completely dressed in white, with comfortable sofas where you can relax and enjoy the unparalleled view and the best music.
Lighthouse Lounge Features
•    Open daily from 9am until sunrise
•    Spectacular ocean view
•    Wednesdays: Karaoke
•    Fridays: Ladies Night
•    Saturdays: Party Night
•    Also available for private events

Price:

Show Only $45

Dinner, show and transportation $89

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