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River, Ocean, And Now — Viking <i>Expeditions</i>!
Cruise News
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River, Ocean, And Now — Viking Expeditions!

Porthole Cruise Magazine - January 24, 2020
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Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve Now Open

We’ve been waiting with patient anticipation and today for the first time, MSC Cruises welcomed passengers on board MSC Divina to Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, the cruise line’s new private island in The Bahamas. 

What is Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve?

The island’s opening is a major milestone for MSC Cruises, one of the fastest growing brands in cruising. As part of a multi-faceted restoration strategy, the cruise line has transformed the island from what was once an industrial sand excavation site into a private island resort perfect for fun or relaxation. While working with environmental engineers and other experts to revitalize the surrounding ocean beds, MSC was able to bolster marine life and help protect endangered coral.

Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve

An aerial view of Ocean Cay | Photo: MSC Cruises

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises, shared why the company was so focused on environmental protection. 

 “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. Having the first guests arrive on the island is a moment of great pride for all of us at MSC Cruises” he said. “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.”

RELATED: MSC Cruises Introduces New Accessible Shore Excursions Program

The environmentally-sound development of Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve is a unique feat, taking nearly three years to complete an island destination capable of delivering the best possible guest experience as well as meeting the Company’s uniquely ambitious environmental targets. 7,500 tons of scrap metal were removed and, throughout the clean-up process, a team of expert divers and marine biologists carefully removed individual hard coral colonies from debris on the ocean bed and relocated them to an approved location outside the construction area. More than 75,000 plants and shrubs planted across the island to create a biodiverse and sustainable environment.

Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve

MSC Divina at Ocean Cay | Photo: Conrad Schutt

What’s Next for MSC Cruises?

In the coming months, MSC Cruises will also introduce a Conservation Center on the island, which will serve as an active base for coral education and research. The natural, unspoiled beauty of the ocean and beaches is at the heart of the Ocean Cay experience, and the eco-friendly and sustainable practices on the island as well as designating the surrounding waters as a flourishing marine reserve are built around MSC Cruises’ commitment to protecting, restoring and conserving it.

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