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MSC Cruises to welcome first guests to private island in November

MSC Cruises will welcome its first guests to Ocean Cay Marine Reserve this November. The company continues to transform the private island destination – a former industrial sand extraction site – in order to accommodate almost 400,000 cruise passengers annually.

A press release from MSC explained that in addition to its amenities for cruise passengers, it is creating a “flourishing marine reserve and private island destination that will exist in harmony with the local ecosystem.”

Ocean Cay will also include a Bahamian shop and market with authentic art and crafts by Bahamian artisans and local companies “to perfectly complement the spirit of The Bahamas”.

MSC signed the deal to develop the $100 million cruise port back in December of 2015. The then Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) government said the project was expected to generate $20 million in salaries for construction services, and create more than 600 new construction jobs, with 250 as full-time construction employees, over a two-year period.

MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato said in the release that the company did not need to build extensively on the island, as the plan called for it to be a “natural paradise”.

“However, we have undertaken extensive work to clean up the island, removing tons of historic industrial waste and helping to return the beaches, and the entire 64 square miles of protected waters surrounding the island, to their pristine state,” he said.

“We have created a guest experience that complements the breathtaking natural beauty of this remarkable part of the Caribbean.

“Ocean Cay has been designed to immerse guests in the natural beauty of their surroundings. The vision is to create a sustainable destination with activities that allow guests to connect with nature and provide opportunities to learn about the protection of the oceans, and the importance of preserving coral reefs through dedicated edutainment programs.”

Onorato added that Ocean Cay will bring something new and unique to MSC’s cruising itinerary.

MSC will also offer its guests the choice to rent for the day, a smaller island close to Ocean Cay.

“A private boat will take a group to the island and remain at their disposal,” the release notes.

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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