Throwing its hat into the ring of private Caribbean island destinations is MSC Cruises with the newly announced Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve (rendered above) set to open in December 2017. The opening will coincide with the launch of the line’s upcoming MSC Seaside to be based year-round in the Caribbean, roundtrip from Miami, Florida.
The project was officially launched yesterday on Dec. 16 in the Bahamian capital of Nassau where Prime Minister Perry Christie and MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago signed a 100-year lease agreement, allowing the line to occupy and develop the island. Vago said, “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 will invest approximately $200 million in the project to make the one-time sand-extraction station a world-class regional attraction. The cay will be developed over the next two years in conjunction with the Bahamian government and ecologists into a paradise with many fun experiences and 11,400 feet worth of fine beachfront. Plans include the planting of 80 indigenous Caribbean trees, grasses, flowers and shrubs and construction of a Bahamian village, restaurants, bars, shops and an arrival center and gazebo.
MSC Cruises is doing a big push into the US market. Their private island plans look fantastic and will definitely be a great place for a port of call. I like the plan that the private island can be visited in the evening time to enjoy shore dining and live music and entertainment in a 2,000-seat amphitheater.
Also of note is that MSC has started taking reservations for their new Seaside class ship. The MSC Seaside, under construction in Italy’s Fincantieri shipyard, is scheduled to debut in November of 2017. The 4,140-passenger vessel will be christened in December at Port of Miami and will sail the Caribbean year-round.
MSC Cruises is definitely on my list of cruise lines I want to give a try.