November 7, 2018.
MSC Cruises is entering the final phase of developing the cruise line’s private island in The Bahamas.
With just one year to go until Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve welcomes its first guests, MSC Cruises marked an important milestone in the island’s transformation with the planting of the island’s first trees. Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve will transform a former industrial sand extraction site into a flourishing marine reserve and private island destination exclusively for MSC Cruises guests, existing in harmony with the local ecosystem.
With the landscaping work underway, over 75,000 native shrubs and plants will be planted including more than 60 types of indigenous Caribbean trees, grasses, flowers and shrubs to create a lush, tropical environment.
Work on over 100 environmentally-friendly structures will soon begin, which will include bars and restaurants as well as housing for employees and staff who will live on the island. Work on the lighthouse will also be underway shortly – set to become an iconic landmark of the island and a focal point of the evening’s entertainment for guests.
One of the island’s most distinguishing features will be a pier that allows the ship to dock alongside the island so that guests can simply walk on and off at their leisure throughout the day and evening. MSC Cruises has designed each aspect of the island to create an authentic, immersive Bahamian experience that will allow visitors to immerse themselves in this beautiful environment.
During the island’s clean-up, over 500 tons of industrial waste and scrap metal have been removed, with the final underwater debris clean-up about to begin. To create a solid foundation, over 500,000 tons of sand and soil have been moved and work has been carried out to shape the island itself. A shallow water lagoon will be created in the center of the island to provide a fun area for families to relax. The island will feature eight world class beaches each with a different character and ambience. The beaches are formed from aragonite sand, which is distinguished not only by its stunning white color but also by the key role it plays in the growth of coral reefs by maintaining the pH levels of the water.
MSC Cruises is working in close collaboration with environmental auditors, Bahamian environmental experts and other entities to ensure that best practices are followed. Plans are underway for a marine laboratory to be situated on Ocean Cay, which will research climate change-resistant coral in hopes of providing insights to similar island habitats.
Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve will open November 2019 with four MSC Cruises ships calling at the island on different days. More information about the guest experience will be revealed in the coming months.