MSC Cruises has unveiled plans to develop a private marine reserve island in the Bahamas. The project was launched December 16 in Nassau when MSC’s Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago signed a 100-year lease with Bahamian Prime Minister Perry Christie to allow MSC to develop the island.
The former sand extraction station, located 20 miles south of Bimini and 65 miles east of Miami, will be renamed Ocean Cay MSC, when completed in November 2017.
The Geneva-based global cruise line will invest $200 million for the biggest ever island development project by any cruise company. It will feature 6 beaches; a 2,000-seat amphitheatre; wedding pavilion; inland lagoon; several restaurants, bars and shops; music gazebo and numerous water sports options. Its purpose-built berth and pier will enable passenger to disembark straight from the ship to the island without tendering.
MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said:
“Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve and its exclusive offerings will be a magnificent extension of our shipboard experiences. We ensure every decision we make keeps each of our ships true to the promise of our brand, offering the authenticity and quality our guests expect.”
“This is a natural progression for our company, which is growing very rapidly, and we are thrilled about providing this totally new experience for our guests in the Caribbean.”
MSC Cruises will be working with the Bahamian government and ecologists over the next two years to transmute this island into a marine reserve that will amicably coexist with the native ecosystem.
When finished, the 95-acre island will be the only marine reserve island experience for many cruise lovers.
MSC Cruises, in a press release said that the project will be fully sympathetic to the culture and traditions of the Bahamas. For the landscaping, 80 indigenous Caribbean trees, flowers and shrubs will be planted and local specialties will be offered in select restaurants and bars.
Passengers onboard MSC Seaside’s maiden voyage from Miami in December 2017 will be the first to visit the island. Those staying in MSC’s premium-tier cabins – MSC Yacht Club – will have exclusive access to a spa and wellness sanctuary with private bungalows and massage huts on the northwest corner of the island.