MSC plans to open Sir Bani Yas Island Beach Oasis in December.
Rick Sasso, president of MSC Cruises USA, said a new private island that MSC plans to open in December off the coast of Abu Dhabi is a sign of the company’s global reach.
The island, called Sir Bani Yas Island Beach Oasis, includes about 1.5 miles of beachfront on a barrier island. It will offer horseback riding, water sports, and a dhow tour around the island, among other attractions. “It’s not just a beach with cabanas,” Sasso said.
A bridge from the beach oasis to the main island of Sir Bani Yas will provide access to a nature reserve with dozens of indigenous species. “It will be a huge attraction because it’s unique to the region,” Sasso said.
“We’re thinking very globally now,” said Sasso, noting that MSC has a “pause” between ship deliveries that has allowed it to focus on some off-ship projects.
MSC has 11 ships on order. The next to be delivered is MSC Maraviglia, due a year from now.
“We’ve got to start putting in some stronger anchors beyond the Mediterranean,” Sasso said. “South America was one of those, for the past 10 years. China has opened up as of two months ago. And North America is now getting a swarm of attention with the Divina here year-round and the Seaside coming.”
Sir Bani Yas is the second private island announced by MSC in recent months. It previously disclosed plans for a large private island with extensive facilities in Bimini for use by its ships deployed in the Caribbean.
The island off the southwest coast of Abu Dhabi will initially host passengers from the MSC Fantasia. MSC has been working with the Abu Dhabi Port Authority for about two years to bring the project to fruition.