First Guests Arrive at MSC’s New Ocean Cay

MSC Ocean Cay Opens (AP Images for MSC Cruises)

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.”

MSC Ocean Cay Opens (AP Images for MSC Cruises)

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.

MSC Ocean Cay Opens (AP Images for MSC Cruises)

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. 

MSC Cruises delays the opening of the private island

Image result for ocean cay msc marine reserve bahamas"

MSC Cruises has delayed the opening of its private island Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve over concerns the destination is not ready to host passengers.

The line will now welcome passengers to the island in the Bahamas on November 20 after scrapping four calls.

MSC had planned calls on November 9 on MSC Meraviglia, November 15 on MSC Seaside, November 16 on MSC Meraviglia and November 17 on MSC Armonia – all with paying passengers on board.

Speaking on board MSC Grandiosa on Tuesday, Antonio Paradiso, the line’s the UK and Ireland managing director, said: “The launch has been pushed back because the experiences were not quite up to the standard that we wanted it.

“We have given ourselves an extra 10 days to make sure that the guest experience is in line with what an MSC product is. It is a brand new island so it will take time.”

More:  MSC Cruises reveals details of a private island

MSC Cruises set to open Bahamas ‘Marine Reserve’

Paradiso said Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve – which is 65 miles off the coast of Miami – showed how MSC Cruises was taking sustainability “seriously”.

“We have had hundreds of people planting the trees on the island and a coral keeper who is in charge of restoring the coral to help bring the fish back,” he said. “We are bringing back nature.

“The idea is to show our customers the natural beauty of a bohemian island.”

Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve will feature eight beaches, including the main beach where water sports will take place.

Lectures on the work the line has done on the former sand excavation site will be available on the island for visiting passengers.

Every MSC ship sailing from Miami on a Caribbean itinerary will call at Ocean Cay.