Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve: All the pieces you’ll want to know

In case you’re searching for waterslides and zip traces, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve is just not the non-public island playground you’ve got been in search of. But when a soothing day of lounging within the sand and floating on the waves, maybe with an hour or two of snorkeling or paddleboarding, is what the physician ordered, MSC Cruises’ latest vacation spot is likely to be your new favourite cruise port.

MSC Cruises remodeled a former sand extraction web site, surrounded by broken reefs and full of business garbage, into an idyllic seaside vacation spot that the road hopes would be the poster baby for coral restoration. It planted 1000’s of crops and timber and created a coral nursery on the island’s east facet. MSC has partnered with the Bahamian authorities to designate the 64 sq. miles of waters round Ocean Cay as an official marine reserve.

Ocean Cay is technically two tiny islands related by a footbridge. Within the center is a sheltered lagoon. Beachgoers can select from quite a few oceanside or lagoon-facing seashores, every with its personal vibe. Bars and meals vehicles are scattered all through the island, and guests can e book water-based excursions or hire water sports activities tools.

There’s loads of area for everybody however little or no shade. Ships dock proper on the island, so passengers can stroll off the ship every time they’re prepared for his or her time within the solar.

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Acquired an upcoming journey to Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve? This is every part you’ll want to know to plan your seaside day.

Word: Costs for actions and leases can differ based mostly on sail date and whether or not they’re booked pre-cruise, on board or onshore.

The place is Ocean Cay?

MSC Seashore at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. CONRAD SCHUTT/MSC CRUSES

Ocean Cay is a artifical island within the Bahamas, about 20 miles south of Bimini and 65 miles southeast of Miami. It’s nearer to Florida than many different cruise line non-public islands and seashores, akin to Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Cay or Royal Caribbean’s Good Day at CocoCay.

The island’s proximity to the Florida cruise ports signifies that MSC Cruises ships can keep in port late into the evening and nonetheless make it again to the U.S. very first thing within the morning.

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Associated: Bahamas cruise information: Greatest itineraries, planning ideas and issues to do

Which cruise ships go there?

Solely MSC Cruises ships go to Ocean Cay. Normally, they’re the ships based mostly year-round or seasonally within the U.S., crusing Bahamas and Caribbean cruises. Often, one other ship on a repositioning cruise would possibly pay a go to.

Ships visiting Ocean Cay via 2025 embody:

Sister cruise line Explora Journey’s Explora 1 may even make a couple of stops at Ocean Cay.

How do you get to and round Ocean Cay?


Ships dock proper at Ocean Cay’s pier, so passengers can stroll off the ship through the gangway as a substitute of taking a young boat. This makes it faster and simpler to shuttle from the ship to the island.

Pathways take you from the pier, via the Ocean Cay Village (with its retailers and bars), to the assorted seashores. From the pier to the farthest spot on the island is a 20-minute stroll. An electrical tram service additionally picks up passengers at designated stops (most with shaded seating areas) and takes them to the assorted seashores across the island. This manner, you are not compelled to stroll if you cannot or do not need to.

What are the MSC Ocean Cay seashores?

The principle factor to do on Ocean Cay is to get pleasure from a soothing day on the seaside. Guests can select to spend time within the protected waters of the lagoon or on a seaside that fronts the ocean. In a single space, the lagoon’s ground is roofed in vegetation, so that you may not need to wade however reasonably swim over.

Sundown, Bimini and Paradise Sands seashores should not have lifeguards stationed alongside the seaside like the opposite seashores do and are marked as such; nonetheless, lifeguards on jet skis do patrol the waters close to these swimming areas.

Some seashores are extra chill, whereas others have leisure or water sports activities. All are near meals vehicles providing complimentary burgers, scorching canines and fries, in addition to bars. However in order for you handy entry to the complete lunch buffet, you will need to hang around on South Seashore close to Seakers Meals Courtroom.

Floating seaside mats and shade umbrellas can be found for hire. It is cheaper to hire them upfront versus on the island. The present onboard worth is $15 per umbrella rental or floating seaside mat.

Choose them up at designated rental stations on the island (together with the umbrellas, which you will have to hold to the seaside and arrange your self). Word that solely South and North Seashore have preset umbrella stands for putting your rental umbrella. Free umbrellas are already arrange at Lighthouse Bay.


Ocean Cay’s eight seashores embody:

South Seashore

The nearer, longer lagoon-facing seaside, with easy accessibility to bars, meals vehicles and the principle Seakers Meals Courtroom. In case you’ve signed up for water sports activities, you will discover tools akin to standup paddleboards and kayaks at one finish of South Seashore.

North Seashore

Throughout the lagoon from South Seashore (and a farther stroll/tram journey), this seaside is an efficient wager for fewer crowds than South Seashore or journey events who need to simply swap from lagoon to ocean swimming.

Bimini Seashore

Bimini Seashore is on the ocean facet of Ocean Cay’s smaller island and one of many farthest spots from the ship.

Sundown Seashore

Ocean Cay’s longest seaside (greater than half a mile) faces the ocean. The farthest finish of the seaside is certainly a trek from the ship.

Paradise Sands

This tiny seaside is between the Spa at Ocean Cay and the marriage pavilion.

Lighthouse Bay

Lighthouse Bay, with its colourful (and complimentary) seaside umbrellas, sits between the ship and the island’s iconic lighthouse. It is a taking place spot with leisure and actions all through the day.

Ocean Home Seashore

This seaside is unique to company staying within the Yacht Membership. It has its personal restaurant and bar, in addition to butler service and cabanas to hire for an extra price.

Associated: How MSC’s private-island expertise is totally different for cruisers in suites

Seakers Household Cove Seashore

This small seaside remains to be within the design course of and has not but opened. It is meant to be a shallow seaside for households with younger children and is situated near meals, loos and the ship.

What are one of the best Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve issues to do?

In order for you extra to do than swim, float or chill out in a lounge chair, you could have a couple of choices on Ocean Cay. Nevertheless, there aren’t as many choices as a tricked-out, theme-park-like non-public island like Royal Caribbean’s Good Day at CocoCay.

Water sports activities leases on Ocean Cay. ERICA SILVERSTEIN/THE POINTS GUY

For a bit train, the next leases can be found. Leases are for one hour except in any other case famous:

  • Snorkel tools (all-day rental, $32)
  • Stand-up paddleboard ($32)
  • Kayak ($32)
  • Ceclo pedal boat ($122)
  • Windsurf board ($52)
  • Hobie crusing kayak ($75)
  • Hobie household kayak ($92)
  • Hobie Eclipse paddleboard ($49)

On my summer time crusing, the snorkel tools was already bought out after I went to order a set the day earlier than we docked at Ocean Cay. In case you plan on renting tools reasonably than bringing your personal, put a maintain on a set as early as attainable.

You possibly can e book massages on the on-island Spa at Ocean Cay, situated on Paradise Sands Seashore, previous the far finish of South Seashore, the place you’ll be able to benefit from the sea breezes in a non-public therapy cabana. The marriage pavilion can also be on this seaside do you have to want to tie the knot throughout your cruise.

The ship’s leisure workers organizes a couple of actions, together with volleyball, bocce and kite competitions (marked as 18+). The youth workers organizes child and teenage actions, too, together with treasure hunts and energetic video games.

You possibly can take a stroll across the island, however you’ll be able to’t climb the lighthouse except you e book an official tour.

In case you like to buy, Ocean Cay Village by the pier options a number of storefronts promoting Bahamian and MSC/Ocean Cay-themed souvenirs and seaside requirements.

A Uncover Scuba diving heart has been constructed however will not open till the cruise line has completed creating its diving program and excursions.

You can too e book a handful of excursions via the cruise ship (see under).

Ocean Cay is uncommon in that it presents night occasions, because the ship can keep late in port, given its proximity to the Florida cruise ports. A Junkanoo parade places everybody in a celebration spirit and culminates in a laser mild present on and across the lighthouse. On sailings that keep further late, company can reside it up on the Luna Libre get together on Lighthouse Seashore, full with a DJ, bonfire, dancing and limbo contests. Bars on this a part of the island keep open late, as nicely.

What are the MSC Ocean Cay excursions?

Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. AP IMAGES/MSC CRUISES

Need to have interaction in additional organized enjoyable? You possibly can e book a handful of excursions to your day on Ocean Cay.

Excursions embody:

  • WaveRunner jet ski tour ($169 per jet ski — as much as two company)
  • Guided stand-up paddleboard tour ($49)
  • Guided kayak tour ($49)
  • Ocean Cay Lighthouse climb ($15)
  • Ocean Cay “Bahama Breeze Escape” 2-hour catamaran tour ($85)
  • Shipwreck snorkeling tour ($82)
  • Hobie catamaran crusing tour ($142)
  • Dawn mimosa cruise ($85)

The entire excursions are 1.5 to 2 hours in size, besides the lighthouse climb, which is just half-hour. Relying on the MSC fare class you buy, you might be eligible for reductions on excursions if bought on-line earlier than your crusing. Costs for kids are cheaper, apart from the paddleboard tour (minimal age 14) and the jet ski tour (minimal age 10, however minimal age to drive is eighteen).

In case your cruise ship stays late or in a single day at Ocean Cay, you’ll be able to e book extra night excursions. These embody:

  • Glow nighttime stand-up paddleboard tour ($52)
  • Sundown Champagne cruise ($85)
  • Beachside stargazing ($89)
  • Twilight scenic island cruise and light-weight present ($79)

These actions weren’t out there on my summer time cruise as a result of a mixture of a later sundown and an earlier night departure.

Associated: Shore excursions: What you’ll want to know

Does MSC Ocean Cay provide cabanas to hire?

Cabanas provide a shady hangout with a couple of further perks. They’re out there on all seashores besides Sundown Seashore, Lighthouse Bay and Paradise Sands. Pricing and inclusions differ by cabana sort.


Ocean Cay Seashore Cabana

Anybody can hire a cabana on North, South and Bimini Seashore. The thatched roof huts are partially walled with a cushioned sofa and wood desk inside and lounge chairs outdoors; they arrive with further towels, chilly water and two floating mats. As much as six folks can occupy one cabana.

These value $252 per cabana to hire on board, however pricing would possibly differ when you e book earlier than your cruise or on the island.

Ocean View Yacht Membership Cabana

Yacht Membership company can entry cabanas on their unique seaside, Ocean Home Seashore. An Ocean View Cabana can also accommodate as much as six folks. Along with contemporary water and towels, the rental worth contains complimentary lunch and drinks, afternoon fruit skewers, 4 units of snorkel tools and 4 floating mats. These cabanas are on an elevated part of the seaside, providing nice views of the seaside and waves.

These value $402 per cabana to hire on board; the mats and snorkel gear are valued at $188.

Beachfront Yacht Membership Cabana

For an additional $50, you will get a cabana on Ocean Home Seashore that is nearer to the water than the Ocean View model however presents all the identical facilities. These value $452 per cabana to hire on board.

Is meals included on Ocean Cay?

Lunch is included on Ocean Cay, although sure venues cost further for particular meals. The island’s eateries embody:

Seakers Meals Courtroom

Seakers Meals Courtroom is the principle complimentary barbecue lunch buffet spot on Ocean Cay. It serves up quite a lot of premade salads, barbecue fare (burgers and veggie burgers, scorching canines, rooster, fish and extra), plus easy desserts like cookies. Water and iced tea are complimentary. Picnic tables are set within the sand across the buffet, so that you need not carry your meal again to your seaside chair.

I used to be impressed with the number of choices, and every part was tasty. I needed to ask for a veggie burger (they are not set out on the buffet), nevertheless it got here out in minutes (versus on different traces’ non-public islands the place I’ve needed to wait 10 minutes or extra for my meals).

Meals vehicles

In case you do not need to trek removed from the seaside to your lunch, meals vehicles across the island serve complimentary burgers, scorching canines, pasta salad and French fries. It is a way more restricted menu than the principle meals court docket, however generally comfort is essential.


Seafood Shack

The Nice Star meals truck close to South Seashore presents seafood specials for an extra cost. Select from lobster grilled cheese, fried calamari, lobster bacon roll, grilled octopus salad, seafood ceviche and seafood watermelon salad for costs starting from $7.95 to $12.95.

Ocean Home Restaurant

Ocean Home Restaurant is an indoor/out of doors eating venue and bar unique to Yacht Membership company; it is on their unique seaside. The menu is fancier than the fare you will discover at Seakers Meals Courtroom, with starters akin to crab ceviche and charred octopus; mains akin to a lobster roll, pineapple membership mahi mahi and a burger mixing contemporary angus chunk, quick ribs and brisket; and desserts akin to creme caramel and mango cheesecake.

The Smiling Fish Ice Cream Parlor

In order for you a cool deal with after a scorching seaside day, The Smiling Fish Ice Cream Parlor serves up cups, cone and its signature ice cream dish — ice cream in a fish-shaped cone. Flavors embody vanilla, chocolate, coconut and key lime, and you’ll order toppings like M&Ms, contemporary mango and Nutella sauce. Be ready for sticker shock: A cup prices $4-$6, a waffle cone $7 and a smiling fish cone $9.

Does my MSC drink bundle work on Ocean Cay?


Ocean Cay has 10 bars (plus the Smiling Fish espresso bar) unfold throughout the island, and no matter drink or all-inclusive bundle you could have on board will apply to the island. In any other case, you have to to swipe your cruise card to pay for drinks.

Many of the bars are thatched-roof, open-air huts with bar seating; there are dialog nooks within the sand with 4 chairs round a small desk and even some bean luggage for reclining together with your beverage.

Is there procuring on Ocean Cay?

Ocean Cay Village has a number of retailers promoting souvenirs and seaside requirements. Even higher, they’re blissfully air-conditioned, do you have to want a respite in your stroll from the sand to the ship.

The Ocean Cay Buying and selling Submit sells Ocean Cay branded souvenirs and presents impressed by nature. The MSC Store and Ocean Cay Customer Middle are the spots to select up necessities like sunscreen and seaside toys; the MSC Store additionally sells objects from the MSC Basis, highlighting sustainability and marine themes. The Bahamas Store sells regionally made Bahamian merchandise.

An artisan market was closed throughout my go to; when it’s open, it solely accepts U.S. {dollars} for fee.

What extra Ocean Cay facilities will I discover?

The rental stations doling out umbrellas and floating mats are the identical buildings the place yow will discover restrooms, altering rooms and showers. Seashore wheelchairs can be found for passengers with mobility points; these can be discovered by the loos.

Ocean Cay is wired for Wi-Fi, so your onboard web bundle will work on the island. Simply join your telephone or gadget to Ocean Cay Wi-Fi and register as you’ll on board.

Are you able to keep in a single day on Ocean Cay?


You possibly can’t keep in a single day on Ocean Cay — however your ship would possibly. Although MSC cruise ships keep at Ocean Cay into the night and generally stay docked in a single day for a two-day go to, there aren’t any lodging for company on the island.

In order for you the late-night expertise, search for sailings that both arrive within the afternoon and depart the night of the next day or arrive within the morning and keep for 2 full days. Do not assume you’ll be able to camp out on the sand. For these in a single day stays, passengers nonetheless should be again on board round midnight or 1 a.m.

What is the typical climate like on Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve?

Like the remainder of the Bahamas, Ocean Cay has heat climate year-round. Summer time highs are within the 80s, and winter lows are round 70 levels. Might and June are the rainiest months, with hurricane season working from June via November. Ought to a storm threaten Ocean Cay, your cruise ship will reroute and skip a go to to the island till climate situations enhance.

I’ve discovered the solar very intense within the Bahamas, and there is not a ton of pure shade on Ocean Cay. Make sure you apply and reapply sunscreen liberally when you plan to spend all day on the seaside to keep away from sunburns.

Associated: Greatest time to cruise to Bahamas

Can I see an MSC Ocean Cay map?

Certain! Here’s a map of Ocean Cay that will help you plan your day on the island.


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