MSC Cruises welcomes first guests to Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve

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MSC Cruises has welcomed the very first guests to Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, its new private island in The Bahamas, designed to be environmentally sound.

The company transformed the island from an industrial sand excavation site into a tropical destination and worked with environmental engineers and other experts to revitalize the surrounding ocean beds, marine life and endangered coral.

The development of Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve took nearly three years to complete. During that time, 7,500 tonnes of scrap metal were removed. 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 were planted across the island to create a biodiverse and sustainable environment.

“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,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises. “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.”

Guests arriving at Ocean Cay guests will enjoy crystal blue waters and pristine white sand beaches at their leisure. Shore excursions help guests discover the marine life up close, including activities such as snorkelling, stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking. Guests can enjoy a spa treatment or relaxation at a private cabana; stroll the Bahamian village to find Bahamian arts and crafts made by local artisans; enjoy complimentary meals at the Seakers Food Court or from one of six food trucks on the island; sip drinks from multiple bars around the island; and enjoy evening entertainment events such as traditional Junkanoo parades and lighthouse light shows.

MSC Cruises will also introduce a Conservation Center on the island, which will serve as an active base for coral education and research. 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.

Image: MSC Cruises

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Marisa has been writing about transport design and the passenger experience since 2013 and is also a contributor to sister titles Aircraft Interiors International and Business Jet Interiors International. She has travelled the world extensively by car, plane, train and cruise liner.

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