Signing for an island: (L) Wendell Major, Secretary to the Cabinet, (R) Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises Executive Chairman.
As reported earlier by Cruise Industry News, MSC Cruises has unveiled plans to create an "unprecedented exclusive marine reserve island experience in the Bahamas."

The project was officially launched yesterday afternoon in Nassau, where Prime Minister Perry Christie and MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago signed a 100-year lease agreement that will enable MSC Cruises to occupy and develop the island, to be called Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve.

The two year project will come at a cost of $200 million, said MSC.

MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago commented: “This is a natural progression for our company, which is growing very rapidly, and we are thrilled about providing this totally new experience for our guests in the Caribbean.”

“Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve and its exclusive offerings will be a magnificent extension of our shipboard experiences. We are scrupulous about ensuring every decision we take keeps each of our ships true to the promise of our brand, offering the authenticity and quality our guests expect," Vago continued.

As well as being the only marine reserve island experience, at 95-acres in size, and with 11,400 feet of beach front spread across six beaches, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve will be the biggest island development by any cruise company in the Caribbean according to MSC.

Other highlights include a purpose-built berth and pier.

"This unique feature also means guests can move at leisure between ship and island, which will be especially useful since a key part of their visit will be the island’s night life, in particular live music and entertainment at the 2,000-seat amphitheatre, and many restaurants and bars. In addition, the ship and all onboard services – including the casino – will stay open while berthed at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve," said a statement from MSC.

For MSC Yacht Club guests, the northwest corner of the island has been set aside as an exclusive spa and wellness sanctuary, with private bungalows and massage huts.

Also, getting around the island will be a breeze, thanks to a network of walking and running paths, bicycle rentals and other stress-free transport options.

As well as all must-have water sports and beach games, other highlights include:

•    A family beach with kids’ restaurant, play areas and other useful facilities
•    A inland lagoon for absolute tranquillity
•    A zip wire crossing the island
•    A pavilion for weddings and celebrations

MSC Cruises plans to break ground on the development in March 2016, and Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve will open to guests in December 2017.