MSC Cruises today revealed more details of this one-of -a-kind island experience that will await guests from 9th November this year.
With Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, MSC Cruises is transforming a former industrial sand extraction site into a flourishing marine reserve and private island destination that will exist in harmony with the local ecosystem. Around the island lies 64 square miles of protected waters and a coral nursery is being established to encourage and sustain the growth of new coral. Plans are underway for a marine laboratory to be situated on Ocean Cay that will research climate change-resistant coral in hopes of providing insights to similar island habitats.
MSC Cruises’ CEO Gianni Onorato explains, “Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve will bring something new and unique to our Caribbean itineraries from Miami and Havana and is set to become a truly memorable highlight for our guests. We have created a guest experience that complement the breath-taking natural beauty of this remarkable part of the Caribbean. There was no need for us to build extensively on an island that already had the ingredients of a natural paradise. However we have undertaken extensive work to clean-up the island, removing tons of historic industrial waste and helping to return the beaches and the entire 64 square miles of protected waters surrounding the island to their pristine state.”
Relax, discover and explore
With over two miles of beautiful white sandy beach shore formed from the world’s best aragonite sand, guests will be spoilt for choice with seven distinct beach areas, each with their own allure and character so that guests can either switch off from it all with warm sand between their toes and the sound of the ocean or for those looking for something more active there will be beach games and water sports.
Sun beds will be available on all beaches and some beaches will offer cabanas that can be rented for the day. The Great Lagoon’s shallow crystal-clear water is perfect for protected swimming and water sports, whilst the smaller family lagoon is designed for the enjoyment of the younger guests, with very shallow, calm water and plenty of games. At over half a mile long, the Great Bimini Beach is the largest stretch of beach on the island, as well as the place to go to enjoy a variety of water sports.
The Ocean Cay excursions will allow visitors to explore, discover, relax and enjoy nature’s beauty at it’s very best. Discover the waters around the island through snorkel safaris, kayak tours and paddle boarding. The Family Explorer club will also offer fun activities for all the family. For those looking for a really special experience, Ocean Cay guests are able to rent privately for the day a smaller island close to the main body of land and this will include: a private boat that will take the group to the island and remain at their disposal; and a marquee, sun beds and loungers and food and drinks. Near the island is an old shipwreck, making it a wonderful spot for snorkeling. In addition to the excursions, a wide range of entertainment activities will take place from sports games and tournaments, dance lessons as well activities for all of the family.
Once the sun goes down guests can enjoy night time tours, stargazing on the beach or romantic sunset catamaran tours to bring the day to a very special close. The entertainment on the island will focus around the iconic Lighthouse with breathtaking sunsets and with live music or DJs and a surprising visual experience that will further enhance the atmosphere.
For those guests looking to relax and rejuvenate on the island, there will be services provided by the award-winning MSC Aura SPA with a selection of relaxing body and facial treatments. All the beauty products used on the island are bio-degradable and eco-friendly. Some of the specially designed treatments include the Ocean Cay Breeze Boost massage that includes the use of aromatic spray waters with soothing and refreshing properties, mainly aimed at the legs, feet and back – the parts of the body normally more exposed to sun. The Ocean Cay Breeze Facial offers the soothing properties of a calming mask and refreshing spray waters, providing relief for the delicate skin on the face exposed to the sun.
As part of the commitment to ensure that the island is sustainable and to minimise waste, there is a select number of dining options on Ocean Cay. The ship will be fully operational whilst docked at the island and the furthest point from the ship is only a 20-minute walk or there is an electric cart service that will transport guests around the island. Near the family lagoon you will find a Buffet, this is place for freshly prepared meals from a variety of international culinary traditions, including American classics and authentic Bahamian flavours as well as some kids’ favourites. If you don’t feel like a sit-down meal, Food Carts with casual street food will be available around the beaches and the Marina, including a taco truck, conch fitter truck, and more.
A range of different bars with different atmospheres and ambiences are spread across the island. These include an Authentic Bahamian Bar located in the Marina, this friendly bar offers cocktails and drinks in an authentic Bahamian style; the Lighthouse Bar, an Hemingway-style cocktail bar that offers an ample selection of rums, other spirits and delicious cocktails, all with an incredible sea views. It’s the perfect spot to take a break from one of the island’s many activities during the day; the Beach Bars, seven beach bars spread across the island, each with its own personality and its own special look and feel; Ice Cream Parlour and Coffee Bar, located in the Marina, offers different kinds of ice cream, from classics to more innovative flavours; The Coffee Bar offers freshly brewed whole bean and ground coffee, espresso and cappuccino for an energetic start to your day on Ocean Cay or a quick boost later on.
These services will be offered at an additional cost with upgrades available to the beverage package. As the ship is easily accessible with guests being able to walk on and off at their leisure, guests will also be able to freely dine on board at their leisure.
A key part of the island experience is a specially designed retail concept which has been designed to reflect the overall vision of the island with four distinct shopping areas and offer guests the opportunity to take home unique and special souvenirs or to find holiday essentials that they may need.
The Bahamian Shop & Market offering authentic arts and crafts by local artisans and Bahamian companies to present perfectly complement the spirit of the Bahamas. Meanwhile the Ocean Cay Trading Post offers a wide selection of exclusive Ocean Cay souvenirs and gifts inspired by nature with gifts for adults and children, ranging from T-shirts, caps, beach items, towels and accessories.
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