Post updated: 23/01/2019
MSC Cruises have announced further plans on their current development of a former sand extraction island as it transforms into a marine reserve, complete with bars, restaurants, an amphitheatre and more!
A private island in the Bahamas
Back in 2016, the cruise line signed a 100-year lease agreement with the Bahamian government, allowing it to begin plans for the island and expand its offering to cruisers in the Caribbean. It’s said that the overall development will take a few years and require an investment of $200 million from MSC Cruises – the biggest island development by any cruise company in the Caribbean.
When will the island be open?
The island will open on November 9 2019, and will be available on selected MSC Cruises.
What will be there?
There will be a purpose-built pier which will allow guests to move easily between island and ship. There will also be an arrival centre with an island-themed musical gazebo.
In addition, all services on-board the MSC Cruises’ ship will also be available while the ship is docked, including the casino! Other amenities on the island include a 2,000-seat amphitheatre, zip line, ‘architecturally faithful’ Bahamian village, wedding pavillion, lagoon, family beach with kids’ restaurant, walking and running paths, bike rentals, shops and restaurants, as well as a spa and wellness sanctuary for guests of MSC Yacht Club.
The cruise lines has also announced that guests can enjoy special excursions on the island such as snorkel safaris, paddleboarding, and kayak tours. Guests can also rent out their own smaller island for the day which comes with a private boat!
How is the island helping the environment?
Michelle McGregor, Operations Manager for Ocean Cay said:
“Expert ecologists have been enlisted to undertake a coral relocation project, designed to help create a new marine habitat while allowing the existing habitat to thrive.”
The island will comprise 95 acres and will create a “flourishing natural haven from the desert island.” The reserve will also be home to 80 varieties of native trees and other plants, as well as an 11,400 feet beachfront spread across six beaches. It’s clear that the cruise line is keen to protect the area and support the local ecosystem.
Pierfrancesco Vage, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman said:
“This is a natural progression for our company, which is growing very rapidly. Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve and its exclusive offerings will be a magnificent extension of our shipboard experiences.”
How will Ocean Cay support the Bahamas?
As well as sustaining a fantastic ecosystem in the island, the Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve Project will also mean that MSC Cruises has a permanent placement in the Bahamas, during which the cruise line plans to recruit 240 Bahamians across various roles.
The cruise line is also planning to open a crew training school in Nassau to provide local manpower for the growing number of MSC Cruise ships sailing in the Caribbean.
Gianluca Suprani, Head of Global Port Development and Shore Side Activities said:
“The island has some of the finest aragonite sands in the world and once the work is completed, its surrounding waters will be home again to beautiful corals and rich aquatic life. It will become a truly exclusive destination for MSC Cruises guests to experience the best the Caribbean has to offer.”
Where is the development up to now?
As the build moves to the final stages, with plans to be available to visit on itineraries in November 2019, it’s clear that the island will provide guests with the ultimate Bahamian experience. The cruise line has recently announced that the Ocean Cay will also be home to four new stores, though these won’t include duty-free pricing.
MSC Cruises’ Head of Retail, Adrian Pittaway said:
“We will operate four shops on the island and will focus on MSC & Ocean Cay own-label products predominantly. Other local Bahamian partners will also offer some products for guests.”
The island boasts stunning 360-degree ocean views and a lighthouse which will serve as a unique focal point for guests as they relax on the island.
Book your MSC Cruise to Ocean Cay Marine Reserve
This island is set to be an unique port of call and one you wouldn’t want to miss. You can make your way to the island on itineraries to the Caribbean from November 2019, when ships including MSC Seaside, MSC Divina, MSC Opera and MSC Armonia will be the first to visit. These include stops during both day and night, meaning guests can experience the island at all times of the day.
Find our 2019 MSC Cruises by clicking the link below and take a look at the sailings available for your chance to visit!
Call our Cruise Concierge team on 0808 1234 118 for expert advice on MSC Cruises and award-winning advice with your booking.
Would you like to visit Ocean Cay? Do you like visiting cruise line exclusive islands during your cruise? Let us know in the comments below!