MSC Cruises Opens its New Private Island, Ocean Cay
On Thursday, MSC's new Ocean Cay private island opened to passengers with the arrival of the cruise ship MSC Divina. The former sand mine-turned-resort site has two miles of white sand beaches, cabanas, water sports, catamaran tours, a special VIP satellite island and a spa.
"Ocean Cay is founded on a deep commitment to ecological principles – beliefs that shape everything from how venues are built, to how the island is run, to the kinds of activities featured on the island," said MSC Cruises executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago. "Having the first guests arrive on the island is a moment of great pride for all of us at MSC Cruises. We wanted to create for our guests something sustainable, with a higher purpose. Ocean Cay is not just a vacation island, it is a unique marine reserve where people and nature thrive in harmony.”
Notably, Ocean Cay does not have the constructed water park / theme park elements that distinguish competing private island Perfect Day at CocoCay, located some 80 miles to the east. "There was no need for us to build extensively on an island that already had the ingredients of a natural paradise," said MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato in a recent statement. "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.”
The oolitic aragonite sand at Ocean Cay is fundamentally different from silicate sand found on U.S. shores. Each grain is built up over time by carbonate deposition, forming round, smooth particles. Its texture and bright white color make it a popular choice for aquariums, and it is desirable enough for beachgoers that it has occasionally been exported for (private) beach replenishment projects in Florida.
MSC Meraviglia arrives in the Americas
The opening of Ocean Cay is the second big development for MSC's U.S. division in a month. On November 11, the cruise line welcomed its largest ship yet in the Caribbean market, MSC Meraviglia, to her new home port of Miami.
The 4,500-passenger vesssel features a theater with two distinct Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows, a winter-themed waterpark and a VIP "ship-within-a-ship" luxury section. From November through April, the Meraviglia will sail two different seven-night western Caribbean itineraries visiting ports in Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Mexico, Belize, Honduras and The Bahamas.
"We are thrilled that MSC Meraviglia will now be part of the beautiful Miami skyline, joining MSC Seaside, MSC Armonia and MSC Divina," said Ken Muskat, EVP and Chief Operating Officer of MSC Cruises USA.