GENEVA — MSC Cruises will break ground on a new US$200 million “exclusive marine reserve island experience” in the Bahamas this coming March.
‘The Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve’, scheduled to be completed by December 2017, will offer the cruise line a permanent presence in the Bahamas and will be ideal for all MSC Cruises ships serving the Caribbean region, notably MSC Divina and the under-construction next generation ship MSC Seaside (launching December 2017), both sailing from Miami, plus MSC Opera and MSC Armonia, sailing from Havana, says MSC.
The project was officially launched Wednesday in Nassau, where Prime Minister Perry Christie and MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago signed a 100-year lease agreement that will enable MSC Cruises to occupy and develop the island.
“This is a natural progression for our company, which is growing very rapidly, and we are thrilled about providing this totally new experience for our guests in the Caribbean,” said MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago.
“Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve and its exclusive offerings will be a magnificent extension of our shipboard experiences. We ensure every decision we make keeps each of our ships true to the promise of our brand, offering the authenticity and quality our guests expect. This is what made us the leading brand in many of the markets we operate, including across Europe, South America and South Africa. We will apply the same thinking and attention to detail to our Caribbean offering, of which this exclusive marine reserve will become a cornerstone, because we know our guests will be amazed by this industry-unique experience.”
The island is 95 acres in size, with 11,400 feet of pristine beachfront spread across six beaches. Ocean Cay Marine Reserve will be – by a large margin – the biggest island development by any cruise company in the Caribbean, notes MSC.
A purpose-built berth and pier right on the seafront means that MSC Cruises guests will be able to step off the ship straight onto the island. Since a unique part of their visit will be the island’s night life in particular live music and entertainment at the 2,000-seat amphitheatre, and many restaurants and bars, guests moving at leisure between ship and island will be especially convenient, said MSC. In addition, the ship and all on board services – including the casino – will stay open while berthed at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve.
All installations and experiences on the island, which lies 32 kilometres south of Bimini and 104.5 kilometres east of Miami, will be fully sympathetic to the culture and traditions of the Bahamas, says MSC. A landscaping plan will see more than 80 indigenous Caribbean trees, grasses, flowers and shrubs planted across the island. There will be an architecturally faithful Bahamian village, plentiful restaurants and bars offering local specialties, a variety of shops and an inviting arrival centre with island-themed music gazebo.
For MSC Yacht Club guests, an exclusive spa and wellness sanctuary with private bungalows and massage huts has been designated to the northwest corner of the island.
And getting around the island will be a breeze, thanks to a network of walking and running paths, bicycle rentals and other stress-free transport options, says the cruise line.
Other highlights include:
- A family beach with kids’ restaurant, play areas and other facilities
- A tranquil inland lagoon
- A zip wire crossing the island
- A pavilion for weddings and celebrations.