Last updated: 04:18 PM ET, Wed September 14 2016

MSC Cruises Delays Opening of Ocean Cay Marine Reserve Until 2018

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Patrick Clarke | September 14, 2016

MSC Cruises Delays Opening of Ocean Cay Marine Reserve Until 2018

PHOTO: A rendering of MSC Cruises' Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve (image courtesy of MSC Cruises).  

MSC Cruises announced Wednesday that the opening of its Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve in the Bahamas will be pushed back nearly a year to October 2018.

Originally scheduled to open in December 2017, an official groundbreaking ceremony for the private island is scheduled to take place Oct. 6  and will be attended by the Prime Minister of the Bahamas as well as other government officials.

MSC Cruises executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago confirmed Wednesday that work has already started on the 95-acre cay. However in the process of finalizing construction plans officials realized more time would be needed.

READ MORE: MSC Cruises Announces Development of Unique Private Island in the Caribbean

"As we set out to finalize construction plans for this one-of-a-kind destination, we realized that to ensure the level of quality and attention to details in both infrastructure and services that our guests have rightfully come to expect from MSC Cruises, it was only appropriate to allot a longer time frame," said Vago in a statement.

"In fact, while working on the final project, it was hard not to further enrich this unique beach destination with new and additional unique services for our guests," Vago added. "This naturally called for more time than originally planned."

Because of the 10-month delay, MSC Cruises said that MSC Seaside and MSC Divina calls that had been scheduled for Ocean Cay beginning in December 2017 will be replaced by stops in Nassau until the island opens in two years' time.

When it first announced the project last December, MSC Cruises said it would work alongside the Bahamian Government and ecologists to develop the cay into a marine reserve that will be able to coexist with the local ecosystem. The project is also expected to boost the local economy.

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