Construction and restoration work has commenced to turn a former industrial wasteland just off the coast of Florida into a pristine natural habitat which will become the private island for the exclusive use of MSC Cruises guests from November next year.
To be known as Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, the island features nearly 3,500 metres of coastline and six separate beaches which MSC Cruises guests will be able to enjoy on regular calls to the island by ships sailing in the Caribbean and surrounding areas. The facility is around a year behind its original schedule, with plans for the destination to welcome its first guests this coming December put back.
In addition to a natural welcome centre, MSC guests will have access to a variety of bars and restaurants (including a dedicated children’s restaurant), retail offerings, an amphitheatre and a pavilion where weddings and special events can be hosted.
Those booked in the line’s high-end MSC Yacht Club will have an exclusive spa and wellness centre on the island at their disposal, which will consist of private massage huts. Like other islands in the area, MSC ships will be able to dock alongside at a purpose-built marina and boardwalk, allowing guests to walk directly off the ship and onto the shore.
Central to the island’s operation will be the development of a marine reserve, using native plants & trees known to thrive in the region. The plan is for new coral life to be transplanted into the area which will attract marine life to make their homes in its waters. This will be achieved via a comprehensive landscaping program where more than 80 indigenous trees, grasses, flowers, shrubs and plants will be returned to native soils on the island.
Work now underway involves the clearing of the existing industrial infrastructure in order to prepare it to accept this native plant life once again.
MSC Cruises currently cruises in the Caribbean with MSC Divina based in Florida and two ships – MSC Armonia and MSC Opera – based seasonally in the Cuban capital of Havana. The line is currently in the midst of a period of enormous expansion with 11 new ships which will come into service from May this year through to 2026.
The line will take delivery of its first ship MSC Meraviglia in the middle of the year and MSC Seaside in November, which will immediately transfer to join MSC Divina in the Caribbean.