MSC Cruises announced today that Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve has been postponed until October 2018.
The company unveiled its ambitious plans to create an unprecedented exclusive marine reserve island experience in the Bahamas back in December 2015.
At the time of the announcement MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago commented: “This is a natural progression for our company, which is growing very rapidly, and we are thrilled about providing this totally new experience for our guests in the Caribbean.” He continued “Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve and its exclusive offerings will be a magnificent extension of our shipboard experiences. We ensure every decision we make keeps each of our ships true to the promise of our brand, offering the authenticity and quality our guests expect. This is what made us the leading brand in many of the markets we operate, including across Europe, South America and South Africa. We will apply the same thinking and attention to detail to our Caribbean offering, of which this exclusive marine reserve will become a cornerstone, because we know our guests will be amazed by this industry-unique experience.”
At 95-acres in size and with 11,400 feet of pristine beach front spread across six distinct beaches, Ocean Cay Marine Reserve will be the biggest island development by any cruise company in the Caribbean. In addition, as the only marine reserve island experience, it will offer a multitude of key distinguishing features.
For example, a purpose-built berth and pier right on the seafront means that MSC Cruises guests will be able to step off the ship straight onto the island. Since a unique part of their visit will be the island’s night life in particular live music and entertainment at the 2,000-seat amphitheatre and many restaurants and bars, moving at leisure between ship and island will be especially convenient for the guests. In addition, the ship and all on board services, including the casino, will stay open while berthed at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve.
All installations and experiences on the island, which lies 20 miles (32 km) south of Bimini and just 65 miles (104.5 km) east of Miami, Florida, will be fully sympathetic to the culture and traditions of the Bahamas.
A comprehensive landscaping plan will see more than 80 indigenous Caribbean trees, grasses, flowers and shrubs, such as Jamaica Dogwood, Red, Black and White Mangroves, and Beach Morning Glory, expertly planted across the island. There will be an architecturally faithful Bahamian village, plentiful restaurants and bars offering local specialities, a variety of shops and an inviting arrival center with island-themed music gazebo.
For MSC Yacht Club guests, an exclusive spa and wellness sanctuary with private bungalows and massage huts has been designated to the northwest corner of the island.
Also, getting around the island will be a breeze, thanks to a network of walking and running paths, bicycle rentals and other stress-free transport options.
Other highlights such as must-have water sports and beach games include:
– A family beach with kids’ restaurant, play areas and other useful facilities
– A charming inland lagoon for absolute tranquillity
– A thrilling zip wire crossing the island
– A pavilion for weddings and celebrations
MSC Cruises planned to break ground on the development in March this year and to open Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve to guests in December 2017.
Unfortunately MSC today announced that Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve will now open in Oktober 2018.
Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises, commented: “As we sat out to finalise construction plans for this one-of-a-kind destination, we realised that to ensure the level of quality and attention to details in both infrastructure and services that our guests have rightfully come to expect from MSC Cruises, it was only appropriate to allot a longer time frame. In fact, whilst working on the final project, it was hard not want to further enrich this unique beach destination with new and additional unique services for our guests. This naturally called for more time than originally planned.”
Mr Vago added: “At the same time, today I am also pleased to announce that works on the island have already started in earnest, as originally planned.”
The official ground breaking ceremony for Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve will take place on 6 October 2016.
MSC Seaside and MSC Divina calls to Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, formerly scheduled between December 2017 and the new date of its grand opening to guests, will be substituted by calls to Nassau.
The Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve project will offer a permanent MSC Cruises presence in the Bahamas, for which the company plans to recruit 240 Bahamians in various roles over 2016 and 2017. The cay will be ideal for all MSC Cruises ships serving the Caribbean region, notably MSC Divina and the under-construction next generation ship MSC Seaside (launching December 2017), both sailing from Miami, plus MSC Opera and MSC Armonia, sailing from Havana, Cuba. In addition, the company will open a crew training school in Nassau to provide local manpower for the growing number of MSC Cruises ships sailing the Caribbean.