MSC Cruises has welcomed the first passengers to its new private island Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve.
The line hailed the project to restore the industrial sand excavation site in the Bahamas into a destination as “a unique feat”.
Around 75,000 plants have been planted on the island for the project, while 7,500 tonnes of scrap metal has been removed.
The line had planned to open the island on November 9, but as the launch date approached concerns were raised about whether it was ready to host passengers.
Confirming the delay last month, the line said the project had been “extremely complex”, adding that Hurricane Dorian in September had caused issues.
Every MSC ship sailing on a Caribbean itinerary from Miami – 65 miles away – will call at the island.
Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ executive chairman, said: “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.
“We wanted to create for our guests something sustainable, with a higher purpose.
“Ocean Cay is not just a holiday island, it is a unique marine reserve where people and nature thrive in harmony.”
A range of shore excursions are available, including snorkeling, stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking, plus visitors can also choose a spa treatment or to relax in private cabanas.
In the coming months, MSC Cruises plans to build a conservation centre on the island, which will serve as an active base for coral education and research.
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