MSC Cruise Line's New Private Island: Ocean Cay
Updated: Jan 29
While on our recent cruise on the MSC Meraviglia, we stopped at Ocean Cay and it was a gem in the making!
In a previous blog post, I talked about our Christmas cruise to the Western Caribbean on the MSC Meraviglia. One of the stops, the last stop in fact, is at Ocean Cay, MSC Cruise Lines Private Island and Marine Reserve. Just to give you a little background, this island used to be an industrial site where sand was dredged and it was it was just a whole lot of nothing. The coral reefs were dead due to "bleaching" and then MSC came along and decided to turn this tropical wasteland into a place where ocean life would once again thrive, while providing their guests with a little bit of paradise on their trip. This island is for MSC cruise guests only and while brand new, it is beautiful.
For those of you who have been reading about Ocean Cay online or maybe in some of the Facebook Groups, you probably know of all the issue that recently happened. For those of you who may not know, the island was purchased about 5 years ago for MSC to rebuild and recreate an island paradise. They invested MILLIONS into cleaning the ocean beds and reefs and turning an industrial dump into an amazing place where things will thrive. Like any major project, it was delayed multiple times in opening. Most recently, it was supposed to be ready for the first passengers to arrive at the beginning of November. After a few more weeks of delay (and very generous compensation for those who were unable to dock there as planned) Ths island finally opened to visitors the first week of December, and while it is not super lush and green because let's face it...greenery and Palm Trees take a while to become established...it is GORGEOUS.
(photo credit: Kevin Bonds & Ken Muskat)
The above pictures were taken by some of the early December passengers, and I just wanted to give you a little look at Ocean Cay. When you are stopped there, you are there all day with access to different restaurants, full bars where you can use your onboard drink packages, a wedding gazebo, spa treatments, shopping, beach cabanas that you can rent, guided excursions, snorkeling gear and paddleboard rental and a super cool LED Lighthouse that has amazing music and light shows after sunset. If you are looking for over the top waterparks and characters in costumes, this is not the right island for you.
Here is a map so you can check it out a little more yourself. The Yacht Club area with the Ocean House Restaurant and Beach is reserved for Yacht Club guests only, while the rest of the island is open to all guests!
I have to say we really enjoyed our time on Ocean Cay. It takes about 20 minutes to walk from one side to the other, but they do have trams for passengers to take to different beach areas. For Yacht Club members, they have golf carts that will take you to the Yacht Club area where you will need to be wearing your TC wristband in order to gain access. We had lunch at the Ocean House, which opens at 12 noon...although people begin getting in line and sitting at tables as early as 11:30. My suggestion, either get their early or go after 1:00 pm for lunch. Their burgers are FANTASTIC....like seriously, I haven't had a burger taste so good in a long while kind of awesome. Sarah really enjoyed her TWO lobster roll lunches she had, as did Jason (see the menu below for lunch selections).
Due to the high winds (roughly 23 knots) that day, water activities, such as paddleboarding, jet skiing and snorkeling were cancelled, but any paid activities were refunded back to our shipboard account. It was so enjoyable, though, to just lie on the beach, look for turtles and stingrays in the water and drink some pretty awesome Pina Coladas! There is a shopping area right outside of the dock area and there are a number of bars (yes, your drink packages will work on the island) along with food trucks serving Hamburgers, Hotdogs, sandwiches, etc...along with a buffet restaurant for island guests.
While it will take a while for all the palm trees, sea grass, bougainvillea and other vegetation for become established, in 3 to 5 years, Ocean Case will be an Island Paradise!