Booked guests are beginning to report itinerary changes related to the temporary closure of Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve in spring 2024, and some changes are far more significant than expected.
One MSC Seashore sailing, for example, is completely changing itinerary and the next sailing is both changed and extended, giving cruisers a longer and much different voyage than originally booked.
MSC Seashore Itinerary Changes
Due to the temporary closure of MSC Cruises’ private island in The Bahamas, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, from April 7, 2024 through May 22, 2024, MSC Seashore‘s April 14, 2024 itinerary is being dramatically altered.
What was to have been a 7-night Western Caribbean sailing visiting Ocean Cay, Belize, Costa Maya, and Cozumel has now become an Eastern Caribbean cruise instead, with every port changed.
Now, the ship will be visiting Nassau, Puerto Plata, and San Juan – one less port of call than the original cruise. Only Port Canaveral as the homeport remains unchanged.
There is no explanation as to why the complete itinerary was shifted, rather than simply removing Ocean Cay as a port of call and replacing it with a sea day or another port in The Bahamas, such as Freeport, Nassau, or Bimini.
The very next departure (April 21, 2024) has been altered even more, changing from a 4-night Bahamas sailing that was to have visited Ocean Cay and Nassau to a 7-night cruise that will now visit Nassau, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel.
Travelers already booked on the April 21 cruise will not be charged extra for what will now be a 7-night sailing instead of the original 4-night cruise.
This extreme change could be problematic if guests have already arranged airfare or planned for time off work or other travel arrangements, such as pet sitting or post-cruise hotels. Adjusting those plans could have significant financial repercussions.
Because these dramatically altered cruises are still nine months away, booked guests likely still have flexibility to change their travel plans or make adjustments as needed. Guests could also cancel if necessary, and they would receive a full refund from MSC Cruises with no penalties or fees.
MSC Seashore is just one of four ships that will have multiple cruises impacted by the private island’s six-week closure. MSC Seascape, MSC Divina, and MSC Meraviglia are also impacted, though the number of cruises and how they will be changed for each ship vary. In total, more than 30 cruises are being adjusted due to the closure.
Upgrades Coming to Ocean Cay
MSC Cruises has not yet announced exactly what changes are in store for Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, only that the closure is planned “in order to make necessary guest experience enhancements and support the island’s future growth plans.”
This could mean more areas of the property will be developed, new structures may be added, or additions could be made to the facilities already in place.
Ocean Cay first opened in December 2019, but of course, was not visited during the 15-month industry shutdown due to the pandemic. Still, MSC Cruises now has several years’ of guest feedback to consider when upgrading, renovating, and expanding the island’s facilities.
The initial $200 million (USD) investment included not only stunning landscaping and Bahamian-inspired structures in tropical pastel colors, but also a lighthouse, sports courts, eight amazing beaches, shopping area, and docking facilities, as well as the Yacht Club Sanctuary. Guests visiting the island can find plenty of ways to relax, join in organized activities, or book shore tours for even more fun and adventure.