The island’s opening is a major milestone for MSC Cruises. As part of a multi-faceted restoration strategy, the cruise line has transformed 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.
The environmentally-sound development of Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve is a unique feat, taking 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. More than 75,000 plants and shrubs planted across the island to create a biodiverse and sustainable environment.
Upon arrival at Ocean Cay guests will be 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 will have plenty of time to soak up the spirit of The Bahamas and enjoy the day as they wish. With many shore excursions to choose from, guests can discover the marine life up close, including snorkeling, stand up paddle boarding, and kayaking.
Guests 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; grab a bite at the complimentary Seakers Food Court or from one of six food trucks; enjoy cocktails and drinks from multiple bars around the island; and catch one of a kind evening events such as traditional Junkanoo parades, and lighthouse light shows. (check out images here and video here).
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.
Following this week’s first call to the island, all four of MSC Cruises’ North America-based cruise ships – MSC Armonia, MSC Divina, MSC Seaside and MSC Meraviglia – will call at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve on different days.