First Look at the Upcoming Must-See Cruise Private Island Attractions
Rendering courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line
Two exciting private island destinations are on their way to the Caribbean, and both MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line are offering up a fun list of attractions that will be available exclusively to each of its guests to enjoy. MSC’s Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve is set to open in December 2017, and Norwegian’s Harvest Caye is scheduled to open sooner in November of this year.
MSC Cruises ~ Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve
Rendering courtesy of MSC Cruises
Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve will be the cruise line’s first private island located in the Bahamas, 20 miles south of Bimini and 65 miles east of Miami. Its opening will coincide with the launch of the new MSC Seaside sailing year-round from Florida. Highlighted attractions to look forward to are as follows:
Day and Night Pier Access
Eliminating the need to tender to the island, the marine reserve will include a dedicated pier for the MSC Seaside and the line’s other ships to conveniently dock right alongside the island. What’s more, even when the ship is berthed at night, the casino and shops will still be able to remain open onboard.
The destination consists of 95 acres of space and 11,400 feet of beachfront divided among a half dozen of individual beaches.
The island will be uniquely accessible in the evenings, unlike other private cruise line destinations, for nighttime live music and entertainment hosted at a 2,000-seat amphitheater.
Thrill seekers will enjoy a zip wire that crosses over the island while those wanting more active endeavors can utilize the island’s walking and running paths and bicycle rentals.
MSC Yacht Club
The island will feature an extension of the private MSC Yacht Club onboard with an exclusive spa and wellness facility, bungalows and massage huts on shore in the northwest area.
The island was formerly a sand extraction station but will become a conservation hub with more than 80 indigenous Caribbean trees, grasses, flowers and shrubs, like Jamaica Dogwood, Red, Black and White Mangroves and Beach Morning Glory planted throughout. An approximately $200 million investment will transform a desert island into the marine reserve.
Also available on the island will be many restaurants and bars, a family beach area with a children’s restaurant and other facilities, a tranquil inland lagoon, a pavilion for wedding ceremonies and other celebrations, a Bahamian village, shops and an arrival center with gazebo.
Norwegian Cruise Line ~ Harvest Caye
Renderings courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line
Harvest Caye will be the cruise line’s second private island joining its Bahamian Great Stirrup Cay in the Eastern Caribbean. The new island will complement it in the Western Caribbean in Belize with easy access to the mainland for additional shore excursion options. Showcased attractions on their way include the following:
Attached Pier Access
The island will feature an attached dock that will, in fact, be Belize’s only cruise ship pier, making for quick access on and off the island without the need for tender transfers.
Easy Mainland Access
Most private islands are too far away from the mainland to offer anything beyond its shores, but Harvest Caye will be close enough to Southern Belize that guests will have the opportunity to enjoy tours of Mayan ruins, nature including river rafting and more.
The focal point of the island will be a 7-acre beach along which will be 11 private villas available for rent. The villas can accommodate up to 10 guests each and include air conditioning, lounge and dining areas, a restroom, indoor and outdoor showers, hammocks and dining and beverage options complete with concierge service.
At the interior of the island will be a 15,000-square-foot resort-style pool with a footbridge, waterfall feature below and swim-up bar, all surrounded by umbrella-shaded lounge chairs and 15 private pool cabanas for rent. The cabanas here come with lounge furniture, privacy drapes and beverage service.
Reaching to the sky will be a 130-foot-tall “Flighthouse” for aerial activities that besides great views include suspension bridges, free fall jumps and more than 3,000 feet of zip lining including a tandem "superman" variety and three platforms. The island will also have its own ropes course above a saltwater lagoon, and other activities will encompass kayaking, paddle boarding and canoeing.
Dining and Shopping
Available a la carte will be five restaurants and bar options spearheaded by a two-story Landshark Bar & Grill in partnership with Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville. The restaurant will feature a scenic upper deck and a swim-up bar. Other dining options will highlight Belizean cuisine in the shopping village, the Laughing Bird Bar & Grill for beach service, the Manatee Marina Bar & Grill at the marina and the Horse-Eye Jack Bar & Grill for cabana service and food and drink delivery around the pool. The shopping village will sell name-brands and local items.
Featured also will be the island’s local flora and fauna with an aviary, butterfly garden, educational center and manatee observation tours. The aviary will even work to breed and release Scarlet Macaws, and over 10,000 new mangroves have been planted around the island. The conservation program was developed by award-winning author and wildlife expert Tony Garel.
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