Passengers will be able to learn about the protection of the oceans and preserving coral reefs when visiting MSC Cruises’ new private island in the Bahamas.
The line is working to establish a roadmap for the restoration of marine resources around the former industrial site once used for sand excavation, including habitats and species present in the area.
This will include restoring endangered corals and the other conservation and educational programmes.
The Ocean Cay island is situated within protected waters spanning 64 square miles but the ambition is to further extend this to ensure an even greater impact, according to the company.
Now that the waters around the island are protected, the seabed is returning to normal and the hope is that the coral will again begin to thrive.
Plans are under way to establish a coral nursery on the east side of the island with the hope of propagating even more coral, particularly the more endangered varieties, according to the line.
All MSC Cruises ships from Miami will call at Ocean Cay as part of Caribbean itineraries from November.
A rapid ecological assessment commissioned to provide a short-term overview of the waters around Ocean Cay identified 88 different species of fish around the island as well as lobster, sea turtles and rays.
Ocean Cay is a productive habitat for conch – sea snail – and steps will be taken to ensure the protection of the conch to thrive.
No motorised water sports will be allowed as a result, with water-based activities based on paddle boarding and kayaking.
Snorkelling will be available on a 1.5 hour trip to a nearby cay as well as scuba diving with PADI qualified instructors.
A spa has been created along with yoga sessions.
Lifeguards will monitor all beaches on the island with a shallow lagoon – Seakers Family Cove – designed for young children.
Evening entertainment includes a light show around a 30-metre high red and white lighthouse and a Bahamian-style festival.
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