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Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve Shore Excursion Reviews

Cruise ship at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve (Photo: Conrad Schutt)

Popular Things to Do in Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve

Find Things to Do in Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve on Viator

Food and Drink in Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve

Ocean Cay Marine Reserve has one buffet, an ice cream and coffee shop, and food trucks galore. A second buffet restaurant is slated for spring 2020.

The island has vegetarian and vegan dishes and will also offer veggie burgers, salads and gluten-free breads (available upon request). The island will not be able to accommodate specific allergies, so it's recommended for those with food sensitivities to eat onboard the ship where crew will be able to accommodate special requests. Kosher food will not be available on the island as well.

The ship's dining room and buffet will also remain open during select times, so passengers can come and go as they please, if they wish to eat onboard the ship.

Free in Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve

Seakers Food Court: Authentic Bahamian flavors and American classics will be available at this complimentary buffet restaurant. A second buffet will open spring 2020.

Food Trucks: Don't feel like going to the buffet? Find one of nine complimentary food trucks located throughout the island for hamburgers, hot dogs and brownies.

Fee in Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve

The Smiling Fish and Coffee Bar: For dessert, head to The Smiling Fish, located near the welcome center, for a variety of soft serve ice cream (including key lime and coconut flavors) with your choice of fresh fruit and favorite toppings. There is also a coffee bar that offers freshly brewed whole bean coffee, espresso and iced drinks. Specialty coffees are included in premium drink packages.

Ice cream is for a fee, but for a true splurge order the Smiling Fish cone -- a thick fish-shaped waffle cones stuffed with your choice of ice cream and toppings.

Bars in Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve

There are three MSC beverage packages for purchase that extend to Ocean Cay. Easy, Premium and Premium Plus drink packages can be used on the island.

Springer's Bar: Established by a local Bahamian family and located in the marina, this authentic Bahamian bar offers cocktails and drinks in a friendly atmosphere. (This is also where the Junkanoo parade kicks off around 8:30 p.m.)

Lighthouse Bar: Towering into the sky at the edge of the island, the Ocean Cay lighthouse is a striking landmark. Enjoy drinks and food at the Hemingway-style bar downstairs with live music, DJs and an evening lights show.

Tiki Bars: Grab a drink at one of the island's tiki bars located right by each of the food trucks. There are eight tiki bars spread across the island with a wide choice of beverage options, each claiming its own unique look and feel.

Beaches in Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve

At least one lifeguard is on duty on every one of Ocean Cay's eight beaches. Due to the size of the lagoons, there will also be in-the-water lifeguards available.

Seakers Family Cove: This is the designated family beach with shallow water for little ones to enjoy and splash around.

Ocean House Beach: This is the dedicated beach for Yacht Club guests, featuring the Ocean House bar and restaurant.

South Beach: South Beach feature shallow, crystal-clear water for protected swimming and water activities, and marks the longest stretch of continuous beach around the island.

Bimini Beach: Located farthest from the port, this beach is the place for seclusion and relaxation. Food trucks are slated to arrive though no concessions are available here at the moment.

Lighthouse Bay: A lively beach with great views of the lighthouse, Lighthouse Bay is filled with entertainment options both day and night.

Sunset Beach: Offering a half-mile-long stretch of sand, this beach is fantastic for swimming. In the evenings, enjoy a romantic picnic for two with a stunning sunset.

Paradise Sands: Next to The Spa at Ocean Cay, this peaceful beach is dedicated to tranquil beach bums, offering easy access to a massage on the beach.

Pineapple Beach: Within the Ocean Cay Lagoon, Pineapple Beach is east of South Beach and bordering North Island.

Don't Miss in Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve

Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve has been designed to highlight the island's natural surroundings with the hope that a focus on nature, rather than shiny amusements, will foster an appreciation and respect for the environment and The Bahamas. The eco-conscious cruiser will especially appreciate that the island boasts low-impact operations, including water recycling (with refillable water bottle stations located near bars), no single-use plastics, fresh water production and biodegradable spa products.

A key component of Ocean Cay is its conservation activities. The MSC Foundation was created in 2018 to support causes that protect and preserve the oceans and raise awareness about the importance of marine protection. Using this foundation, MSC will work with local partners to establish a coral nursery in waters around the island so that the reef thrives through transplanting corals to depleted areas.

MSC plans to provide opportunities for cruisers to learn about the protection of the oceans and the importance of preserving coral reefs through dedicated "edutainment" programs. On the nearby island of Bimini, a community engagement project with local partners will focus on environmental issues. The cruise line is also seeking to partner with universities and local environmental NGOs to engage student participation in the coral restoration efforts.

A purpose-built scientific Conservation Center will be developed on the island to serve as a facility for marine biologists, coral reef experts and students to conduct scientific research into coral restoration.

Shore Excursions

  • Marine Reserve Snorkel Safari (all day)
  • Scuba Diving (3- and 4-hour options)
  • Ocean Cay Deep Sea Fishing: Catch, Tag and Release (3 hours)
  • Shipwreck Snorkeling and Secluded Island Getaway (2 hours)
  • Ocean Cay Rum Rendezvous (2 hours)
  • Ocean Cay Bahama Bank Escape: Family Tour (2 hours)
  • Ocean Cay Waverunner Tour (1.5 hours)
  • Kayak Explorer Tour (2 hours)
  • Sunset Champagne Cruise (1 hour)
  • Beachside Stargazing (1 hour)
  • Nighttime Standup Paddleboarding (1 hour)
  • Ocean Cay Lighthouse Climb (30 minutes)

Cabanas in Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve

There are four types of cabanas for rent on Ocean Cay Marine Reserve, and each accommodates up to six people. There are beach cabanas ($250 all-day rental) and deluxe beach cabanas ($350). Exclusive to Yacht Club passengers, there are oceanview ($400) and beachfront ($450) cabanas available for all-day rental. (Prices might vary.)

Exclusive Spaces in Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve

An exclusive hideaway is available ashore for MSC Yacht Club passengers. A private stretch of sand is located along the northeast coast of the island offers loungers with butler service. Food trucks here will offer both hot and cold items -- not just the burgers and hot dogs found on the rest of the island's trucks. But the jewel of this private beach-within-a-private island is Ocean House, a clubby bar/restaurant/lounge where guests can unwind on plush furniture in chic surrounds. A dedicated lunch menu is available including items like a crab ceviche starter, lobster roll and a carne asada steak entree. A limo golf cart is available as transportation around the island, exclusively for passengers of the MSC Yacht Club.

Spa in Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve

The Spa at Ocean Cay offers eight massage huts on the beach and eco-friendly products. Passengers can experience three types of massages: a 30-minute Smooth Breeze massage for about $69, and a 50-minute Breeze Boost or Deep Blue massage for $119 each. At this time, no couples massages are offered on Ocean Cay.

Fitness classes, including sunset yoga, are offered on Sunset Beach for an additional fee.

Attractions in Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve

Seakers Family Cove: Dedicated to families with kids, Seakers Cove boasts shallow water and calm surrounds. It's an ideal place for children to have fun with dedicated entertainment for families and kids, both on the beaches and in shaded areas.

Children's Activity Pavilion: Multiple tours will be available for little ones, including beachside stargazing, helping Doremi save the island, inflatable family raft outings, family kayaking, snorkeling and more.

Lighthouse: More than 100 feet tall, the red-and-white lighthouse is a striking landmark and a useful orientation point on Ocean Cay. It is also home to a bar and a terrace. For an admission fee (book in advance), visitors can climb 165 steps during a 30-minute guided tour offering history of the island and some stellar views.

At Night in Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve

Cruisers calling on Ocean Cay will be able to enjoy a variety of nighttime amusements, including a light show that can be seen from Lighthouse Bay. Those looking for a chilled-out atmosphere can watch from the beach, sitting around one of the fire pits. Or, join in the Luna Libre dance party, held between the 9 and 10 p.m. light shows.

A traditional Junkanoo parade -- inspired by the historic Bahamian festival and consisting of colorful costumes, music and dancing -- will get people in the party mood. This kicks off the evening festivities around 8:30, beginning near Springers Bar.

Cruisers will also be able to appreciate the island's natural environment, even in the evening. An extra-fee stargazing program comes with a welcome drink and features an astronomer guide, who uses a state-of-the-art computerized tracking telescope to find the most striking celestial bodies on display that evening. After-dark stand-up paddleboarding is also available for the thrill-seeking.

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