MSC Cruises Announces New Development Program at Ocean Cay

MSC Cruises has announced a new infrastructure development program for Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve in the Bahamas. The heads of agreement was signed at a ceremony in Bimini attended by the country’s Prime Minister Philip Davis, and the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation Chester Cooper, along with other government officials.

The cruise line’s further investment to the island stays true to the original vision, which was to create a positive long-term impact to the environment and the local communities. The development will see a significant benefit for the Bahamian economy and will generate jobs both for the construction work as well as the long-term jobs on the island. 

Enhancements will be made to the island with additional amenities for MSC Cruises’ guests who visit the destination, as well as new amenities and accommodation for staff, environmental infrastructure, and operational and technical improvements. Guest facilities will be enhanced with the introduction of excursion centers to support watersport activities and island tours, as well as a sea dive and snorkel center, and additional food and beverage outlets, among other facilities.

In addition, the MSC Foundation’s Marine Conservation Centre will be built as a base for biologists, coral reef experts and students. It will house interactive pavilions, a lecture hall and coral exhibition tanks, providing educational opportunities to guests on the importance of the marine ecosystem and the need to protect the world’s oceans. 

The island is also home to the MSC Foundation’s Super Coral Program, which is considered a critical contribution in the contemporary understanding of coral reef resilience throughout the region. The MSC Foundation supports graduate student programs designed to address and mitigate changes in thermal resilience of coral reefs throughout the tropical Western Atlantic. The coral nurseries at Ocean Cay are thriving with young and healthy—yet critically endangered species of endemic—reef-building corals, in hope of restoring these fragile ecosystems. 

The development will also see a third solar farm installed as part MSC Cruises’ aim to achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions for Ocean Cay, an advanced wastewater treatment plant, a landscaping plan to further diversify and develop the sustainable environment on the island with native and adaptive trees, grasses, and shrubs to provide erosion control, improve vegetation and support ecosystem health.

New accommodation buildings will provide new amenities for island staff, which will see an increase in staff numbers from 150 to 280.

The company also pledged, as part of its ongoing social responsibility and commitment to invest in future generations of seafarers, that it will support the LJM Maritime Academy and the University of The Bahamas to enhance the training of Bahamians seeking to enter the maritime sector.

MSC Cruises transformed Ocean Cay from an industrial sand excavation site to a marine reserve and private island destination that opened in 2019. The island has since won several awards for both tourism and environmental stewardship.

MSC Cruises will deploy its largest capacity in the North American market during the winter 2023-24 season with five ships—MSC Divina, MSC Magnifica, MSC Meraviglia, MSC Seascape and MSC Seashore – all vessels visiting Ocean Cay.

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