MSC Cruises welcomed the first guests Thursday to the company’s private island destination in The Bahamas, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve.
The cruise line has worked to transform the island from an old industrial sand excavation site into a stunning tropical destination, while also revitalizing the surrounding ocean beds, marine life and endangered coral.
In November, MSC Cruises revealed it canceled the first four scheduled calls at Ocean Cay after deeming the private island destination not ready for guests. The cruise line cited “adverse weather conditions and unexpected last-minute operational challenges” for the delay.
“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,” MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said in a statement.
“Having the first guests arrive on the island is a moment of great pride for all of us at MSC Cruises,” Vago continued. “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.”
The development and construction of Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve took nearly three years to complete, and the island destination will host all four of MSC Cruises’ North America-based ships—MSC Armonia, MSC Divina, MSC Seaside and MSC Meraviglia—on different days.
The private island will offer snorkeling, stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, spa treatments, Bahamian arts and crafts, a complimentary food court, multiple bars, 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.
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