MSC Cruises has delayed the opening of its private island destination in the Caribbean, Ocean Cay, citing ‘operational issues’ due to the complex nature of the project, four cruise itineraries for three of MSC’s ships have been affected.
MSC Seaside, scheduled to call on November 15th, MSC Meraviglia, which was due to call on November 9th, but had it cancelled, has now also had her November 16th call cancelled, while MSC Armonia’s November 17th call has also been cancelled, reports Cruise Critic.
“This has been an extremely complex project as MSC Cruises has been fully committed to developing the destination in the most eco-friendly and sustainable way,” MSC Cruises said in a statement.
“While we fully anticipated that the island would be ready to receive guests this week, upon further evaluation with our onsite team and learning about last-minute operational issues that could impact the guest experience, we made the decision to cancel scheduled calls at Ocean Cay,” it added.
The cruise line says that passengers booked on the four itineraries with the cancelled port calls at Ocean Cay have been provided with an on-board credit of US $100 per stateroom and a discount on a future cruise.
The discount is equivalent to 20 percent of the fare paid on the impacted itinerary.
“Our work on the island is an on-going process as our commitment to protect, restore and conserve this beautiful cay is part of a multi-phased effort,” MSC’s statement added.
Ocean Cay is a former industrial sand extraction site, and has been painstakingly rehabilitated by MSC Cruises into a marine nature reserve.
More than 75,000 native shrubs and plants have been transplanted to the island and the seabed around it has been infused with new reefs and underwater structured to attract marine life.
A marine laboratory dedicated to researching climate change-resistant coral is also scheduled for construction.
Other features of the island include 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.
There will be deep sea fishing (catch and release), electric Pedalo boat rentals, glow in the dark night paddle boarding, boat rides, snorkeling, scuba diving, and a whole lot more activities available for guests.