MSC Cruises has welcomed the very first guests to Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, its new private island destination in The Bahamas.
The opening of Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve is a major milestone for MSC Cruises. As part of a multi-faceted restoration strategy, the company has transformed the island from what once was an industrial sand excavation site into a stunning tropical destination and has worked with environmental engineers and other experts to revitalize the surrounding ocean beds, marine life and endangered coral.
The environmentally-sound development of Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve is a unique feat and it took nearly three years to complete an island destination capable of delivering the best possible guest experience as well as meeting the company’s uniquely ambitious environmental targets. 7,500 tons of scrap metal were 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. Actions were taken to create a biodiverse and sustainable environment and more than 75,000 plants and shrubs were planted across the island.
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 holiday island, it is a unique marine reserve where people and nature thrive in harmony.”
Upon arrival at Ocean Cay guests are greeted by endless sweeping vistas of crystal blue waters and some of the most pristine white sand beaches. From early morning until late evening, they have plenty of time to soak up the spirit of The Bahamas and enjoy the day as they wish. Guests can choose from one of the many shore excursions designed to discover the marine life close up, such as snorkelling, stand up paddle boarding and kayaking. They can treat themselves to a luxurious spa treatment or relax in a private cabana, stroll the Bahamian village with authentic Bahamian arts and crafts by local artisans and grab a bite at the complimentary Seakers Food Court or from one of six food trucks located around the island and enjoy cocktails and drinks from multiple bars around the island. At night guests are treated to events such as traditional Junkanoo parades and lighthouse light shows.
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. The natural, unspoiled beauty of the ocean and beaches is at the heart of the Ocean Cay experience, and the eco-friendly and sustainable practices on the island as well as designating the surrounding waters as a flourishing marine reserve are built around MSC Cruises’ commitment to protecting, restoring and conserving it.
All four of MSC Cruises’ North America-based ships – MSC Armonia, MSC Divina, MSC Seaside and MSC Meraviglia – will call at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve on different days.
Photo credits: AP Images and Conrad Schutt for MSC Cruises