Santo Domingo Feature
Cruising Into Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo has two stellar cruise-ship terminals, and has become a growing port for cruise passengers. Despite the sluggish economy, in 2009 cruise-ship visits were up 24%. The final tally of cruise-ship passengers for 2010 throughout the country is expected to be close to 600,000.
The Port of Don Diego is on the Ozuma River, facing the Avenida del Puerto, and across the street are steps that lead up to the main pedestrian shopping street of the Zona Colonial, Calle El Conde. A lovely yellow-and-white building, with stained-glass windows and faux gaslights, it has a small cafeteria, and potted palms soften the cordoned-off lines where passengers wait to have their tickets checked and go through immigration. The reception area has telephones, Internet access, and a currency exchange. Just down the dock is an ATM machine; in front of that is a counter where you can get cold drinks and snacks. Across from it is a booth offering self-guided audio tours.
The Sans Souci Terminal complex, diagonally across the Ozama River from Don Diego Terminal, on Avenida España, has been operational since early 2010, but this long-term redevelopment project is still a work in progress. Its mezzanine level accommodates immigration and customs, duty-free shops, and both Internet and information centers. Like the Port of Don Diego, it has stunning lighting systems that cover the exterior and perimeter areas for greater security and visibility for visitors. When completed, the complex will have finished its marina, have a full complement of stores, a 122-acre real-estate development, a new sports arena, and more. This major project is aimed at integrating the port area and the Colonial Zone to create an appealing destination for cruisers, yachtsmen, and high-end tourists.