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Sunday,  July 14, 2024 3:09 AM 

MSC's marine reserve will be the Caribbean's newest paradise

MSC's marine reserve will be the Caribbean's newest paradise
MSC Ocean Cay. Photo: Conrad Schutt

Formerly an industrial sand extraction site, and now a flourishing marine reserve and private island, MSC Cruises' Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve will open to guests as of Nov. 9, 2019. 

READ MORE: MSC Seaside will take you on an island-hopping adventure this summer

Ocean Cay has been designed to immerse guests in the natural beauty of their surroundings, implementing sustainable activities that allow guests to connect with nature and provide opportunities to learn about the protection of the oceans and the importance of preserving coral reefs through dedicated edutainment programs.

The island is surrounded by 64 square miles of protected waters. A coral nursery is also being established to encourage and sustain the growth of new coral. Plans are underway for a marine laboratory to be situated on Ocean Cay for researching climate change-resistant coral in hopes of providing insights to similar island habitats.

Quiet, private beaches

With more than 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. 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 water is perfect for protected swimming and water sports, while the smaller family lagoon is designed for younger guests to enjoy, offering very shallow, calm water and plenty of games. At more than 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.

MSC Cruises’ CEO Gianni Onorato explains:

“Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve will bring something new and unique to our Caribbean itineraries from Miami and is set to become a truly memorable highlight for our guests. We have created a guest experience that complements 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.” 

“For the guest services on the island we have kept it authentic and designed an experience that will allow guests to simply enjoy nature at its best. The ship is an integral part of the experience as we have built a pier so that guests can go easily back and forth between the ship throughout the day making full use of both the ashore and onboard facilities.”

MSC Ocean Cay: quick FAQs

  • Wi-Fi: Ocean Cay is equipped with Wi-Fi. The ship’s Wi-Fi works only to a limited distance on the island. If guests wish to stay connected with friends and family during their stay on Ocean Cay they can purchase a Wi-Fi packages specific for the island or they can upgrade their onboard one.

  • Equipment rental: Every beach on Ocean Cay has its own rental station, located behind the public restrooms. There guests can rent mats, beach umbrellas and snorkel gear.

  •  Plan Ahead: It is advisable to book services in advance, including spa treatments, excursions and activities. This can all be done on board at the relevant information desks or through the MSC for Me app.
  • Restrooms: Every beach on Ocean cay is equipped with restrooms. They are clearly indicated on the island map and on the signs around the island.
  • Payment: All payments on the island are managed via the guest’s Cruise Card. The only place that does not accept the Cruise Card is the Bahamian Market where USD will be accepted, so guests shouldn’t forget to bring some cash for the Bahamian Market.
  • Life Guards: Lifeguards will be on duty on all the beaches on the main island.
  • Booking Excursions: Excursions can be pre-booked before the cruise with 20 per cent savings off on board prices, booked through the shore excursion team on the ship, via the MSC for Me app and from the Information Desk in the plaza.