Carnival Corp. is turning its sights on the Dominican Republic. The cruise company confirmed it has signed a memorandum of understanding to finance a $65 million port facility and retail/restaurant/recreation complex geared towards cruise passengers just west of Puerto Plata on the country's north coast.
Carnival is partnering with the Rannik family - which has shipping operations in the DR - on the project, which includes a docking facility at Maimon Bay that will be able to accommodate two post-Panamax (over 1,000-feet) ships.
In addition to retail and recreation, the space will also include a transportation hub, Carnival said. The facility is expected to open in Fall 2013.
Carnival Corp. already has a long-term deal with the Dominican government to rent a small island, Catalina, about five miles off La Romana, which serves as a private island for its Costa Cruises (and where topless sunbathing is allowed on some quiet beaches).
The company did not say which ships or brands – which also include Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Cunard and Seabourn – might visit the new Puerto Plata facility.
Additional details will be announced at a later time, a spokeswoman said.
The new deal follows Carnival's pattern of investing in ports when it needs more places to put its growing fleet of ships. Carnival opened port facilities with retail complexes in Grand Turk in 2006; Cozumel, Mexico, in 2008; and $62 million Mahogany Bay in Roatan, Honduras.
Grand Turk was originally opened for Holland America ships but is now visited by seven brands and has become the third most popular of Carnival Corp.'s Caribbean ports after Nassau and Cozumel, according to Carnival officials. Facilities include the Caribbean's largest Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville bar.
Source: Travel USA Today
For the best rates and deals on hotels, resorts and holiday accommodation in the Dominican Republic click here
If you found this interesting check out our updates on Facebook and Twitter.