With just one year to go until it welcomes its first guests, MSC Cruises’ Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve marked an important milestone in the island’s transformation with the planting of its first trees.
Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve will transform a former industrial sand extraction site in the Caribbean into a marine reserve and private island destination exclusively for MSC guests. 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 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.
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 walk on and off at their leisure throughout the day and evening. MSC Cruises is also in the process of recreating the seabed surrounding the island, which will soon be repopulated with a variety of marine life. A year from now, guests will have the opportunity to swim in the warm shallow waters, snorkel, dive or take a boat trip to one of the neighboring deserted cays. With the goal of restoring the natural coral around the island, 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.
“As a company with such a rich maritime heritage, preserving the oceans is of the highest importance to us and this is a wonderful opportunity to protect a little piece of paradise and allow our guests to experience it,” said MSC Cruises’ executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago in press materials.
Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve will open November 2019 with four MSC Cruises ships calling at the island on different days. For more information, visit msccruisesusa.com. In addition, bookings on the maiden voyage of one of MSC’s newest ships is now available; get the details here.