November 13, 2019.
MSC Cruises today announced that Ocean Cay’s opening date is now set for December 5, 2019. The island was scheduled to open last weekend but the inaugural cruises to the new private resort were rerouted to other ports.
The development of Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve has been a multiyear project in which MSC Cruises worked with multiple contractors and partners to transform what was once an industrial sand excavation site into a new destination, including designating the surrounding waters as a marine reserve.
According to MSC Cruises, “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. At the same time, while the Company anticipated that the island would be ready to receive guests mid-November, as it reached the final stages of readying the island for its opening, some adverse weather conditions and unexpected last-minute operational challenges slowed down the completion of the island.”
First, despite Hurricane Dorian and the demobilization of 600 workers, the Company took measures to remain on track and deliver the project on time. However, in the weeks that followed, further adverse weather conditions with strong winds and heavy swell caused several days of interruptions and created additional delays. This included heavy weather in early November which required part of one of the beaches to be further reinforced.
Secondly, last-minute issues with the leveling of the sand in certain areas of the island, the completion of the second breakwater and the landscaping aspects to be fully in line with the Company’s exceeding environmental criteria, have created further last-minute operational issues that could impact the guest experience.
The ships that were scheduled to call the island before December 5, 2019 will be rerouted to alternative Caribbean destinations or will add a day at sea to their schedule. Guests will be compensated for the missed call at Ocean Cay. Those on the first cruises to be rerouted received $100 onboard credit and 20% off a future booking, so I’d expect the same for the newly revised cruises.