MSC Cruises has announced a new opening date for its new private island destination in the Bahamas, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve: December 5, 2019. Previously, the cruise line had expected the destination to be ready to receive guests by mid-November, but adverse weather and last-minute operational challenges slowed down the completion of the island, MSC said.
MSC Cruises ships that had been scheduled to call at the island before December 5, 2019, will be rerouted to alternative Caribbean destinations or will add a day at sea to their schedule, the cruise line said. Guests will be compensated for the missed call at Ocean Cay.
These challenges included the impact of Hurricane Dorian and the demobilization of 600 workers; after that, further adverse weather conditions, including strong winds and heavy swells, caused several delays of interruptions and created additional delays, MSC said. Additionally, heavy weather in early November 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 cruise line’s environmental criteria, have created further last-minute operational issues that could impact the guest experience, MSC said.
In the coming months, MSC Cruises will introduce a Conservation Center and coral nursery on the island, which will serve as an active base for coral education and research.
Built on a former industrial sand extraction site, the new private island destination has been designed with sustainability in mind. Key areas will include the Great Lagoon Beach, the island’s largest beach that is located in an inlet at the center of the island, as well as a 98-foot-tall Lighthouse that houses a Hemingway-style bar and terrace. Other food and beverage outlets include Seakers Food Court, a buffet restaurant serving international dishes, and the Ice Cream Parlor, which is a short walk from the beach. Ocean Cay is part of the Bimini chain of islands, just 65 miles from Miami. The island spans 120 square acres, and it is surrounded by a 64-square-mile marine reserve and four smaller cays.