MSC Cruises to close private island destination in Caribbean in 2024 for upgrades

MSC Cruises will temporarily close its private island, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, in 2024, in order to accommodate upgrades that form part of the cruise line’s growth plans in North America.

Ocean Cay is MSC Cruises’ first private island destination in the Caribbean. It was opened in December, 2019, marking MSC’s entry into a select club of cruise lines with private island destinations.

Within the Carnival Corporation group, Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, and Princess Cruises own private island destinations in the Caribbean, while Royal Caribbean Group’s flagship cruise line and Celebrity Cruises also have their own islands.

Ocean Cay

Norwegian Cruise Line has long-featured Great Stirrup Cay on its itineraries, but MSC Cruises is the first independent line to launch its own island destination.

“Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve will be temporarily closed to MSC Cruises guests from April 7th to May 22nd, 2024 in order to make necessary guest experience enhancements and support the island’s future growth plans,” the company said in a statement.

“We are in contact with impacted guests and travel advisors to share updated itineraries and travel options,” MSC added.

The cruise line’s upcoming World America debuts from PortMiami in early 2025 and will be the largest MSC ship to visit Ocean Cay.

MSC World America

Some of the upgrades being made will therefore likely include reinforcements to the cruise pier and dredging of the harbour basin.

Nestled in the Bimini island chain of The Bahamas, Ocean Cay is a marine reserve painstakingly rehabilitated after years of use as an industrial sand extraction location.

Ocean Cay has been designed with conservation in mind, the cruise line has rehabilitated the endemic marine life through coral restoration, and implemented best environmental practices and plans for scientific research and education programs.

This is reflected in the on-shore island experience as well. Highlights for example include snorkelling shipwrecks and stargazing, and while there is a lighthouse that serves as a bar, lounge, attraction and entertainment venue, there are no wild and messy beach parties.

Instead of waterparks and wild thrill rides, Ocean Cay offers up spa treatments, cabanas and eight beaches, with food trucks serving complimentary bites and a traditional beach buffet called Seakers.

Several tiki bars serve drinks (included if you have an MSC drink package), and the most popular is a local Bahamian-owned bar called Springer’s, with views of the marina.

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