MSC Europa – MSC World Class future LNG cruise ship.
MSC Cruises, Miami’s Super Bowl Host Committee and 54 NFL players have partnered to raise awareness about the need to protect and preserve coral reefs.
The MSC Foundation, a private nonprofit wing of MSC Group, launched the #SuperCoralPlay along with the pro football players, including Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry and retired NFL quarterback Mark Sanchez.
At a Miami event, MSC Cruises USA chairman Rick Sasso said that “we all need to do more” to protect the environment.
“The #SuperCoralPlay is the perfect way to create a change and engage as many people as possible,” he said.
As part of the campaign, MSC’s recently opened private island in the Bahamas, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, will become a centre for applied research on super coral, a hardy coral species that can withstand high ocean temperatures.
The project will bring together experts in marine biology and coral conservation from the University of Miami and Nova Southeastern University, among other partners, to have students and faculty do marine restoration research and activities around Ocean Cay. Graduate students from the universities will live on the island for a semester as they participate in the research as part of a fellowship.
The campaign coincides with this year’s Super Bowl being held in Miami and includes a music video featuring the NFL players on MSC’s private island, highlighting the issues facing coral and the steps individuals and businesses can take to help.
MSC Cruises today welcomed the very first guests to Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, its new private island destination in The Bahamas, according to a press release.
Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises, said: “Ocean Cay is founded on a deep commitment to ecological principles – beliefs that shape everything from how venues are built, to how the island is run, to the kinds of activities featured on the island. Having the first guests arrive on the island is a moment of great pride for all of us at MSC Cruises. We wanted to create for our guests something sustainable, with a higher purpose. Ocean Cay is not just a vacation island, it is a unique marine reserve where people and nature thrive in harmony.”
The island’s opening is a major milestone for MSC as it builds its North American operation, which has four ships sailing from Miami this winter.
MSC has turned the island from what was once an industrial sand excavation site into a stunning tropical destination, while working with environmental engineers and other experts to revitalize the surrounding ocean beds, marine life and endangered coral, according to a company press release.
The project took nearly three years to complete. 7,500 tons of scrap metal was removed and, throughout the clean-up process, a team of expert divers and marine biologists carefully removed individual hard coral colonies from debris on the ocean bed and relocated them to an approved location outside the construction area. More than 75,000 plants and shrubs planted across the island to create a biodiverse and sustainable environment.
In the coming months, MSC Cruises will also introduce a Conservation Center on the island, which will serve as an active base for coral education and research.
A rendering of beaches on Ocean Cay Marine Reserve.
MSC Cruises has cancelled the first four calls that had been scheduled for paying passengers at its MSC Ocean Cay Marine Reserve in the Bahamas.
It said the private island near Bimini is not ready for guests.
MSC cancelled calls planned for Nov. 9 on the MSC Meraviglia, Nov. 15 on the MSC Seaside, Nov. 16 on the Meraviglia and Nov. 17 on the MSC Armonia.
“While we fully anticipated that the island would be ready to receive guests this week, upon further evaluation with our onsite team and learning about last-minute operational issues that could impact the guest experience, we made the decision to cancel scheduled calls,” an MSC statement said.
Port calls elsewhere have been scheduled.
Guests on affected cruises will get a $100 onboard spending credit and a 20% future cruise credit.
Four years ago, MSC signed a 100-year lease on the island, a former industrial sand mining site, and announced plans to transform it into a private destination. Work on the 95-acre island has been ongoing for the past few years.