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December 20, 2005
  • Sosua Submarine Theme Park
  • Samana is country's newest cruise destination
  • Catch the baseball finals
  • New hotels for Punta Cana
Sosua Submarine Theme Park
President Leonel Fernandez issued Decree 634-05 that creates the Sosua Submarine Attractions Theme Park. The decree entrusts a board, presided by the minister of tourism to prepare, coordinate and supervise the park's construction and development. Other members are the minister of environment, the mayor of Sosua, the president of the Association of Hotels & Restaurants of Sosua and Cabarete and the president of the Dominican Association of Diving Schools. Upon making the announcement, Tourism Minister Felix Jimenez said that the park will offer tourists visiting Sosua a different family, wellness and sports-oriented alternative that will contribute to the profitability of tourism in the north coast area. The decree follows in the efforts and perseverance of the Sosua community, and much of the credit is given to Massimilliano Scerra, president of the diving schools association, who has been its lead promoter. Mickey Gough, one of the promoters of the park and activists for coral reef improvements in the area in coordination with the Counterpart International program, commented that the decree will bolster efforts of the Coastal Management Project that has the collaboration of the ministries of tourism and environment, and is seen as an instrument to go a long way to ensure enforcement of park regulations.
Samana is country's newest cruise destination
Samana passed its first test as a cruise ship port with the arrival of the 2,200-pax Mediterranean Shipping Company Lirica ship that brought more than 1,300 European and Asian tourists to the northeastern port town. The visit was part of the program Bahia Cruise Services has prepared to bring an estimated 60,000 cruise ship passengers on board 40 ships of the Norwegian Cruise Lines and Mediterranean Shipping Company lines to Samana in 2006. Frederic Schad, president of Bahia Cruise Services, announced that a second ship is expected on 19 January, as reported in Hoy newspaper. He said their goal is to be able to program ship arrivals all year round, once a first successful winter season can be accomplished. He said that Samana offers a variety of side trips for the cruise ship passengers, making it an attractive cruise ship stopover.
Catch the baseball finals
The semifinals of the Dominican Professional Winter League start on 26 December and will break on 30 December. The series of 18 round robin games resumes on 2 January. The games will take place in Santo Domingo, Santiago and La Romana stadiums. A second break will come on Friday, 6 January and the third and last on Thursday, 12 January. The league has left the possibility of a tie-breaker taking place on 16 January. The two teams that make it to the finals will then play a best of nine games. The plan is to have a winner of the Dominican championship by 27 January. The team then will travel to Venezuela for the Caribbean Series scheduled for Maracay and Valencia.
Baseball continues, though, with the Dominican team then participating in the much-awaited World Baseball Classic in March.
See http://mlbplayers.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/mlb/wbc/schedule.jsp
New hotels for Punta Cana
The East Coast of the Dominican Republic will kick off the 2005-2006 winter season with the opening of several new luxury hotels. First to open are the Tortuga Bay and Sivory, the first two boutique luxury hotels of the area and the Paradisus Palma Real.
Tortuga Bay, part of the Punta Cana Group hotels, was decorated by Oscar de la Renta. It has 15 luxurious beachfront villas starting at US$750 per night double with airport transportation and breakfast included. Sivory, with 55 suites right on the beach and located north of Secrets in the Uvero Alto area of the East Coast, is far removed and sells exclusivity. It is receiving its first guests this December. The hotel offers personalized service and goes for double room rates of around US$500 EP. Sivory will become the country's second Small Luxury Hotels, following in the footsteps of Casa Colonial in Puerto Plata.
The Paradisus Palma Real with 554 luxury suites adjacent to the Melia Caribe Tropical received its first guests on 20 December, and is an operation in the new so-called six star category.
Another property scheduled to be in operation at the start of 2006 is the 659-room Majestic Colonial Punta Cana Beach Resort, a five star property, in the Arena Gorda-Bavaro area of the East Coast.
Another boutique hotel opening early next year is Villa Caleton the 16 beach villas at Villas Caleton, in the southernmost development area of the East Coast, Cap Cana. Villas Caleton are slated for a February-March opening, to precede the summer opening of the much-awaited first Jack Nicklaus Punta Espada golf course.
The Riu Palace Punta Cana in the Arena Gorda area is well advanced in construction working for a March 2006 opening also offering suites in the 6 star new luxury category.

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