MSC Cruises Reveals Details About ‘Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve’

January 16, 2018.

Bahamas, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve

Ocean Cay (pronounced “key”) MSC Marine Reserve, the private island being developed by MSC Cruises,  opens on November 9, 2019.  The cruise line revealed more details about the new port this morning.

Here is a synopsis:

  • Creating a flourishing marine reserve: With Ocean Cay, MSC Cruises is transforming a former industrial sand-extraction site into a vibrant marine reserve. The company has hauled tons of debris out of the surrounding waters and a coral nursery is being established to encourage and sustain the growth of new coral. Overall, the vision is to create a sustainable destination that allow guests to connect with the surrounding nature.
  • Guest Experience: On the island guests will enjoy,

Seven beaches, including a smaller family lagoon for younger guests to enjoy.

– A variety of shore excursions to explore nature’s beauty, including snorkel safaris, kayak tours and paddle boarding.  This includes being able to rent your own private island nearby for the day ($$$$).

Entertainment activities day and night.

Docking at the island, so guests can easily move on and off the ship to refresh and enjoy evenings on Ocean Cay.

A variety of food and drink options including a buffet, casual food carts with handhelds such as tacos and conch fritters,  a variety of bars with different atmospheres, and an ice cream parlor.

Island shopping with a Bahamian Shop & Market, hosting authentic arts and crafts by local artisans.

Spa services on the island with a selection of body and facial treatments.

Wi-Fi will be available on the island (that will be a first among all cruise line private islands).

Here are the details (with images!):

With over two miles of  white sandy beach shore formed from the world’s best aragonite sand, guests will have a choice of seven distinct beach areas, each with their own character. Guests can either escape with warm sand between their toes and the sound of the ocean, or be more active with 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, while the smaller family lagoon is designed for younger guests to enjoy, offering 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.

Excursions

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 the entire family.

For those looking for a really special experience, Ocean Cay guests are able to privately rent a smaller island close to the main body of land for the day, which 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, guests can participate in a wide range of entertainment activities including sports games and tournaments, dance lessons as well activities for the entire family.

One of the key highlights of Ocean Cay is that the ship will remain in port into the evening since the island is conveniently located just 65 miles south of Miami, allowing for a range of incredible evening experiences. Once the sun goes down guests can enjoy night time activities such as 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.

Food And Drink

The choice of options for food and drink ashore will include:

  • Buffet: Conveniently located near the family lagoon, at the buffet guests will get  freshly prepared meals from a variety of international culinary traditions, including American classics and authentic Bahamian flavors as well as some kids’ favorites.
  • Food carts: For guests not seeking a sit-down meal, food carts with casual street food will be available including a taco truck, conch fritter truck, and more. The trucks will be stationary during the day around the beaches and will move to the Marina area at night creating an atmospheric food festival-style feel.

Food and beverage services will be offered at an additional cost with upgrades available to the beverage package. As the ship is easily accessible guests are able to walk on and off at their leisure, allowing them to also be able to freely dine on board as they choose.

A range of different bars with varying atmospheres and ambiences are spread across the island. These include:

  • Authentic Bahamian Bar: Located in the Marina, this friendly bar offers cocktails and drinks in an authentic Bahamian style.
  • Lighthouse Bar: This Hemingway-style cocktail bar offers an ample selection of rums, other spirits and delicious cocktails, all with  incredible sea views. It’s the perfect spot to take a break from one of the island’smany activities during the day.
  • Beach Bars: There are seven beach bars spread across the island, each with its own personality and its own special look and feel.
  • Ice Cream Parlor and Coffee Bar: Located in the Marina, this venue offers different kinds of ice cream, from classics to more innovative flavors. The coffee bar serves freshly brewed whole bean and ground coffee, espresso and cappuccino for an energetic start or a quick afternoon boost.

Shopping

The Bahamian Shop & Market hosts authentic arts and crafts by local artisans and Bahamian companies to 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 items for adults and children ranging from T-shirts, caps, beach items, towels and accessories.

Guests will be able to purchase essentials for the whole family from the MSC Shop, with a range of MSC Cruises branded products such as hats, flip flops, towels, beach bags, sunscreen and lip balms.  Guests will also find a number of exclusive partnership products highlighting the marine and sustainable values of the island. Finally guests can collect pre-ordered essential items at the Welcome Center including Ocean Cay survival kits and other essentials and at the same time gather top tips for a day on Ocean Cay.

Spa Treatments

For those guests looking to relax and rejuvenate on the island, there will be services provided by the award-winning MSC Aurea 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, which uses aromatic spray waters with soothing and refreshing properties, mainly aimed at the legs, feet and back — the areas 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 delicate facial skin exposed to the sun.

The island will welcome its first guests on November 9, 2019. To find out more visit www.msccruises.com.

 

Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve Enters Final Phase

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.

 

Royal Caribbean ‘Perfect Day Island Collection’ Announced

March 15, 2018

It was a busy evening in New York on Wednesday, as several huge changes were revealed that will change the landscape of cruising – literally.

Royal Caribbean International unveiled the first details of the new ‘Perfect Day Island Collection‘, a series of private island destinations around the world.

The first in the collection, Perfect Day at CocoCay, will boast a number of distinct experiences and new features.  Coco Cay – the company’s private island in The Bahamas – will be getting:

  • The tallest  waterslide in North America
  • The Caribbean’s largest wave pool
  • The highest view in The Bahamas from a helium balloon 450 feet in the air
  • The largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean

Scheduled for completion in fall 2019, the new Perfect Day at CocoCay will offer seven distinctive island experiences.

The Perfect Day Starts Here

Setting the stage for the perfect day is the arrivals plaza, visible to guests as soon as they step ashore.  A welcoming party of live music will be playing as cruisers come ashore.  A zip line ride will fly across the harbor, and you can get soaked by more than 30 water cannons on a shipwrecked Galleon, or by the Sprayaway Geyser, spraying water 82 feet in the air.   Splashaway Bay will give kids fountains, pools, sprinklers, geysers, water cannons and whirlpools – plus five kid-size waterslides and two massive drench buckets.

At Captain Jack’s, the island hangout and meet-up spot, guests can grab a drink at the rowboat bar and enjoy waterfront views or chow down on chicken wings and crispy steak fries – the house specialty. For a nautical, world-traveled vibe, guests can opt to head to Skipper’s Grill for lunchtime favorites like burgers, sandwiches, tacos and salads.  Some food items will incur an added fee.

Thrill Waterpark will lie at the heart of Perfect Day at CocoCay, with two water towers with 13 slides – the most slides found in any waterpark in the Caribbean – as well as the Caribbean’s largest wave pool and a kid-friendly obstacle course pool.

Key features of Thrill Waterpark will include:

  • Daredevil’s Tower – seven slides, including twin Dueling Demons drop slides and the duo of Manta Raycers; the high-speed, fully vertical Screeching Serpent; the coiling Green Mamba; and the 135-foot-tall Daredevil’s Peak – the tallest waterslide in North America.
  • Family Tower – Adventurous squads will share the thrill with six multi-rider slides, including The Twister, a winding tube slide for two sharing a raft; The Slingshot, a zero-gravity slide for four; and the four-lane Splash Speedway racing slides. 

    Guests can ride the tide at the largest wave pool in the Caribbean, and soar above it all on the 1,600-foot zip line – ending with the only splash water landing in the region.

    At Adventure Pool, youngsters will find an obstacle course with lily pads, a rock-climbing wall and swing ropes to bounce, climb and swing to their heart’s content.

    At Oasis Lagoon, guests of all ages can explore the coves of the Caribbean’s largest freshwater pool.  Guests can make their way through three distinct coves, each with a vibe of their own.  Guests can splash right in at the kid-friendly beach entry, have drinks at the swim-up bar before catching some rays on one of three mini swim-up islands with in-water loungers, or treat themselves to total relaxation in a private cabana, complete with its own cabana attendant. ($)

A Sky-High Perspective

With Up, Up and Away, cruisers will go airborne 450 feet above in a colorful helium balloon, allowing them to take in the island from the highest vantage point in The Bahamas. The sure-to-be iconic attraction will be visible from anywhere on the island as well as ships docked in port.  This will be tethered to prevent any Wizard Of Oz moments from happening.

Discover an Out-of-Office Oasis

Guests will find a beach escape on Chill Island.   Chill Grill, the largest dining venue on the island, will offer beachside dining with fresh bites. Guests will also find beach day favorites here, including wave runner excursions, boat tours, snorkeling to see the spectacular marine life, as well as plentiful cabanas and daybeds for relaxation under the shade.

Amp Up and Wind Down

South Beach will feature volleyball, beachside basketball, soccer, paddle boarding, glass-bottom kayaking and zorbing in an inflatable zorb ball. After working up an appetite, guests will be able to grab a bite at the Snack Shack or wade out to the floating bar to cool off with a drink. If relaxation is more their speed, photo-worthy teepee cabanas, as well as daybeds, are perfect for napping and snapping in the shade.

Elevate the Perfect Day

At the exclusive Coco Beach Club, the first and only overwater cabanas in The Bahamas will offer guests a luxury stay at Coco Cay.  With an overwater hammock, waterslide, and private attendant, guests will have everything they need for a few hours of complete indulgence.

In addition, beachside cabanas and daybeds will offer up a private slice of paradise. Elsewhere, guests can find  a freshwater infinity edge pool and bar, spanning an expansive 2,600-plus feet, or enjoy an exclusive dining venue that serves up freshly made Mediterranean fare with a side of ocean views.  The Coco Beach Club will be extra fee, and will be available for reservations by all guests regardless of their cabin category.

Perfect Day at CocoCay will roll out in phases, beginning September 2018 with the completion of the pier, and the majority of the island will launch spring 2019.  Coco Beach Club, the final experience to be completed, is set to open Nov. 2019. Additional Perfect Day Island Collection destinations in Asia, Australia and Caribbean will be announced at a later date.

 

Princess Completes Renovations and Enhancements to Princess Cays

 

February 15, 2018.

 

 

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The private island resort of Princess Cays  has received several enhancements and renovated areas, which include the new MedallionNet™ Wi-Fi, the only cruise industry private island to offer connectivity ashore.  So now you can post photos and videos live from the beach to your Facebook or Instagram page, just like you are on the ship.

Located on the southern tip of the island of Eleuthera in the outer Bahamas, Princess Cays has offered a beachside hideaway to guests since 1992. The beach is situated on approximately 40 acres, including more than a mile and a half of some really pristine, white-sand shoreline.  This is a featured call on Princess’ Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.

Additional Princess Cays enhancements include new shore excursions, refurbished retail and bar areas, shopping, landscape and infrastructure:

  • Shore Excursions – On February 17, the new Lagoon Clear-Bottom Kayaking Adventure, a guided paddle through the Island’s lagoon that allows guests to explore the flora and fauna of this unique habitat debuts. In addition, Island Bicycle Adventure offers guests Princess Cays’ scenery and history with a leisurely bike ride to some of the town’s popular sites. Construction of a new “Davy Jones” water sports rental equipment provides snorkeling and water gear. And new Stingray Beach Encounter allows guests to feed, touch and hold live stingrays. Animal trainers teach guests interesting facts about the behavior of these animals as they reach out to touch their soft wings.
  • Princess Cays Shopping – Princess guests will enjoy adding meaningful mementos to their journey by visiting the new nautical-themed and “pick-a-pearl” jewelry section within the Bahama Treasure store.
  • New Marina – Completion of the marina expansion, including new channel and turning basin depth which can accommodate larger tenders and offers smoother disembarkation and embarkation of guests, including a shaded security pre-clearance area.
  • Guest Experience Improvements – Guests also will enjoy a new information booth with shaded waiting lounge area and a new public announcement and music system; newly painted structures both inside and out with tropical pastel colors; guest services station for towel and water distributions at the Welcome Center; extensive landscaping of all guest areas, including additional planters and newly planted palm trees; and refitted beach bungalows.