MSC Cruises has announced that its Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve will feature seven distinct beaches, food carts, seven bars, four different shopping areas, extensive outdoor activities like snorkel safaris and kayak tours and even a smaller private island for hire.
The new details were revealed ahead of the island’s opening this coming November.
“For the guest services on the island, we have kept it authentic and designed an experience that will allow guest to simply enjoy nature at its best,” MSC CEO Gianni Onorato said in a news release. “The ship is an integral part of the experience as we have built a pier so that guests can go back and forth between the ship throughout the day making full use of both the ashore and onboard facilities.”
The island is located 23 miles south of Bimini and 65 miles south of Miami, Ocean Cay. It was the former site of an industrial sand extraction plant, but has been totally redeveloped by the cruise line to become a marine reserve resplendent with 75,000 native shrubs and plants.
The most distant part of the island is a 20-minute walk from where the ships will dock, meaning passengers can re-board for meals, if they wish.
To get around the island, visitors can use a complimentary electric cart service. Four MSC ships will visit the island during its inaugural season, docking at a pier alongside the island.
The island will also include the MSC Aurea Spa; entertainment including dance lessons and sporting events; and sunset catamaran tours.
MSC’s commitment to the island includes using local vendors and materials; hiring as many as 140 Bahamians to work on the island and building a marine laboratory dedicated to researching climate change-resistant coral.
New details of the island announced by MSC Cruises include:
Seven distinct beaches, each with a team of lifeguards. Sun beds will also be available on each beach, and some will also have cabanas.
The beaches will be designed to have a unique appeal. The Great Lagoon, for example, will be for those seeking protected swimming. The smaller Family Lagoon will have shallow, calm waters as well as family-friendly games, and the half-mile-long Great Bimini Beach will be more open with a range of water sports on offer.
A smaller, private island for rent nearby. A private boat will transport guests to a smaller islet a few miles from Ocean Cay, and will remain offshore for their use throughout. Sun beds and loungers, food and drinks and a marquee will all be provided. An old shipwreck nearby will make the islet ideal for snorkeling.
A full range of outdoor and watersports activities including snorkel safaris, kayak tours and paddleboarding will also be offered on Ocean Cay istself. A Family Explorer Club will also offer all-ages fun.
Food carts near the beaches will offer casual fare such as tacos and conch fritters, but at an additional cost, as will a buffet near the Family Lagoon.
Seven bars, each with its own personality. The Lighthouse Bar, for example, is described as a “Hemingway-style cocktail bar” offering a wide selection of rums and cocktails. There’ll also be an authentic Bahamian Bar, located in the Marina, featuring local drinks.
Four distinct shopping areas. These will offer local goods as well as Ocean Cay- and MSC-branded souvenirs. Guests on the ship can pre-order some items and pick them up at the island’s welcome center. Most payments on the island are done via passengers’ cruise cards, but the Bahamian Market will accept U.S. dollars.
MSC Cruises says guests should book Ocean Cay excursions and spa services in advance, and that those booking excursions pre-cruise will receive a 20 percent discount.
Reservations can also be made onboard at the service desk or via the MSC for Me app.
For a Wi-Fi connection on the island, guests will be able to purchase a package specific to Ocean Cay or upgrade an existing onboard internet package.