Ocean Cay, the private island cruise destination being developed by MSC Cruises, has entered the final phase of construction, and is scheduled to open in November, 2019.
MSC Cruises made the announcement via Twitter, and added that the first trees had now been planted on the island, which was a sand extraction site before it was purchased by the cruise line.
Our private #Caribbean island Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, is just one year from welcoming its first guests in November 2019, offering 360° #ocean views and stunning #beaches, providing an authentic Bahamian experience https://t.co/VZqQ9sbGYy pic.twitter.com/bpg9VS0yKK
— MSC Cruises News (@MSCCruises_PR) November 7, 2018
Ocean Cay lies 23 miles south of Bimini in the Bahamas. It was initially scheduled to open in mid-2019, but development was delayed by the Caribbean’s hurricane season.
Ocean Cay is intended to be a marine reserve and tropical island once complete. MSC will infuse it with 75,000 native shrubs and plants, and a sea bed that will foster marine life (and provide for snorkeling and diving opportunities).
All buildings will be environmentally friendly, according to the news release, including the island’s focal point, a lighthouse that will also serve as a central meeting place for nighttime entertainment.
A marine laboratory dedicated to researching climate change-resistant coral is also scheduled for construction.
Ocean Cay will offer cruise passengers eight beaches, a shallow-water lagoon, excursions to neighboring cays, a wedding chapel, and a number of bars and restaurants that will serve authentic Bahamian beverages.
Suite guests will be treated to their own exclusive part of the island, the Ocean Cay Yacht Club. An outfit of the Aurea Spa also will be on hand to offer massages and treatments in sea-view cabanas.
At least 140 Bahamians will work on the island. In addition, MSC Cruises has said it is sourcing local materials and using local vendors whenever possible.
Unlike MSC’s other private cruise destinations, such as the cruise beach on Sir Bani Yas Island in the Arabian Gulf and Pomene Bay in Mozambique for its South African cruises, where passengers are ferried ashore by tender, Ocean Cay will include a pier.
Having a cruise ship dock will give passengers easy access to the shore. Four different MSC ships (MSC Meraviglia, MSC Divina, MSC Seaside and MSC Armonia) will visit Ocean Cay during its inaugural season, calling on different days to avoid overcrowding.
Each ship will spend around 14 hours at the island, with the first scheduled call by MSC Seaside planned for November 9th, 2019. She’ll call at the island on a 7-night roundtrip cruise from Miami that includes port calls in Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Cozumel.
“It was a very special moment to be on the island together with the team that has been working non-stop on this incredible project to see how our vision is starting to take shape,” said MSC Cruises executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago, who recently visited Ocean Cay.
Our Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago and Head of Global Port Development Gianluca Suprani helped to plant Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve’s first trees, with Mr. Vago sharing “I can’t wait to welcome [our first guests] to this truly magical place” https://t.co/VZqQ9sbGYy pic.twitter.com/CZEFxSpV4c
— MSC Cruises News (@MSCCruises_PR) November 8, 2018
“We are already seeing the return of the marine life that is usually so prevalent in this area. We are seeing an abundance of lobster, conch, stingrays and other fish, and by the time we finish the work the waters around the island will be again teeming with life and new coral,” he added.