Wednesday 1st September 2021, the Carnival Magic was due to dock in the Dominican Republic as part of its scheduled itinerary. Its sister ship the much larger Mardi Gras had paid a visit a few days previously without problems, so the Carnival Magic captain was somewhat surprised to be told that his entry was denied.
Port authorities gave a basic explanation, taking the stance that the cruise ship posed a potential threat to local health. The destination was Amber Cove, on the north coast, and scheduled to become a major cruise destination, representing a major investment. The last time cruise ships called here was more than thirty years ago, but now it has two docks able to accommodate 8,000 passengers and 2,000 crew. There’s thirty acres of waterfront property, shops, and beach for visitors to appreciate. But not this time.
After much discussion, those passengers fully vaccinated were allowed to go ashore. This was strange, because cruising regulations have this as a basic already. Then they were told that the beach was off limits and shore excursions cancelled. However, the pool was okay, as were the shops. Looking at online photos, I can see why the pool would be so attractive, because it is a purpose built facility as a major attraction to go ashore for.
Random testing would also be conducted on those going ashore so quite a few people decided that the hassle was too much. If I had been onboard my wife and I would have been in that category. The test was to be of the breath variety, something unusual and with varying degree of accuracy.
Amber Cove has been open since 2015, but looking at the schedule only three Carnival ships are due to call during this month, with nothing scheduled at all afterwards. A strange stance to take bearing in mind the need of the local economy and investment.