With the aim of diversifying its broad-based portfolio of offers and consolidating its position as an increasingly complete destination, Cap Cana is opening its shores to cruise ships. The leading tourist area in the eastern Dominican Republic, which has never received visitors via this route has now acquired added value.
Marina Cap Cana is an ideal spot for cruise ship passengers to disembark. It is a safe and protected port with an extensive pier area where several tenders can dock at the same time to ensure smooth and rapid passenger transfer. The pier has the additional advantage of being a part of the commercial area as well as being easily accesible to the vehicles that will be taking visitors on a wide range of excursions to nearby attractions.
According to Federico A. Schad, director of Bahia Cruises Services, Cap Cana can increase arrivals by hundreds of thousands of passengers using the offshore anchoring modality. “The Caribbean has several examples of ports that handle around one million passengers a year using this method.” The ships with Cap Cana on their itineraries belong to the world’s leading luxury lines – Seabourn, Silversea, Oceania Cruises and Holland America Line.
The average spending by a Caribbean cruise ship passenger is US$100 per port. Schad believes that in a port with a varied choice of entertainment and where the passenger feels safe and at ease, spending could reach US$250, as is the case in St. Maarten and St. Thomas. He points out, nonetheless, that when a destination does not have a good offer or a safe port, spending can go down to US$50 per person.
Experts in the field, including Schad, are predicting that for the 2016/2017 season (from December to March), Cap Cana will host 12 ships, while for next season (2017/2018) the number could rise to 17 arrivals. “These first two seasons should be treated as tests. The lines want to assess the results of these operations and hear their passengers’ comments to help them plan their future itineraries or forthcoming seasons. Given the excellent conditions of the Cap Cana- Punta Cana destination, we believe that the cruise ship sector’s expansion to this area is promising.” stated the director of Bahia Cruise Services.
The capacity of the vessels that are expected during Cap Cana’s first cruise ship season ranges from 500 to 1,200 passengers -small ships by sector standards. “Due to the large number of attractions that we have on offer here, the destination can handle this number of passengers perfectly well. As they are luxury ships, the cruise passenger spends more in each port and requires more exclusive excursions. We must make the most of this and pinpoint what makes us distinctive compared to other Caribbean ports.” suggests Schad.