Our 2nd “new” country on this trip – the Dominican Republic – and we dock at Amber Cove on the north coast not all that far from the border with Haiti.
The cruise area is a new purpose built area with a courtyard of shops, a small duty free area and a swimming area with a zip wire and cabanas.
We have opted for a tour of the nearby town of Puerto Plata, a 20 minute coach ride away whilst John & Deirdre opt for a two centre snorkelling experience although of course John does not get in the water.
Lots of coaches needed for our popular tour with many people with limited walking ability choosing this morning’s tour.
Our coach’s microphone system is not working so our guide resorts to talking loudly which is fine but I am sure his voice will have suffered that evening!
First stop is in the Parque Indepencia which is being converted to a pedestrian precinct but somehow manages to accommodate coaches up one side to disgorge us tourists.
Our guide tells us all about the history of the island, the split between Haiti and the Dominican Republic and the religion in the town’s cathedral which is a plain building but with some nice stained glass windows subscribed by some of the families.
Back out to the square and after a brief talk on the architecture of some of the surrounding buildings we walk to a small Amber shop where, quite honestly, we did not have enough time to consider purchases.
Back on the coach we have a brief tour of the coastal area of the town stopping for a couple of photo opportunities of the beach front, Fortaleza San Felipe and the Statue of Neptune on an island just offshore.
The shops at the modern cruise terminal are in complete contrast to the shops and houses we have seen on our tour although we did see in the town, the shell of a new Supermarket being built.
The draw of one shop is obvious, not for it’s somewhat risqué t-shirt but the free internet access the shop provided.
We manage to speak with Flic & Mel but couldn’t get hold of Sarah and couldn’t down load all the emails in time to respond to a few important ones.
A good view of the island as we sail away from the port and our evening entertainment is by a Northern Irish comedian – William Caulfield – most jokes were repeats of what we had heard on previous cruises and even one by someone else on this cruise!
Half way point and we have a sea day with a difference as we have been away for 4 weeks so have to have another muster station drill during which we learn that Oceana, the ship that used our berth at New Orleans has got stuck there and has broken down with it having to go to Miami for repair. Not sure what happened to the passengers.
Port talks on Manaus and Parintins and a dinner in the Conservatory who are doing a Chinese buffet as it is Chinese New Year.
Evening entertainment by a Ukulele band – Ukebox, five guys from Liverpool who met at Liverpool University – and Ida, a female singing quartet one of whom came from Jersey and who sang some popular songs but also some Opera songs which were probably slightly better.
Tomorrow it is “Death in Paradise”.