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Ocean Cay~ The Final Countdown


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It amazes me that there are so many posts about OC not being different or unique and people should not book a cruise just for this destination when it could be missed like any port could be.

 

I booked the Seaside in December 2016 for sailing in March 2018 for two reasons:  A brand new ship that looked fantastic and the private Island, OC that looked cool and unique.  Unique because you are docked at the island (no tendering) and you are there a full day (not 8 hours).  With the chance to come and go, not fend off aggressive vendors, be able to easily get on and off the ship it is truly a unique stop.  I was excited and off course the opening of OC was delayed.  I went on the cruise and had a fantastic time.  The ship was as advertised.  Here was my review if interested   https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2527695-short-review-seaside-32418/?do=findComment&comment=54482098.

 

I have been to a few ports with long hour stays including overnight (Bermuda, Hawaii) and the extra time at these stops makes it truly a relaxing, different feel and experience then the typical 7-8 hour stops.  Generally not enough time to really see what you want without feeling rushed.

 

OC is a unique, different stop than 98% of the places that cruise ships stop at.  To have a problem with a cruise passenger's disappointment that they missed this port or found out as they are boarding the ship that the stop has been canceled is really unfair in my opinion.  I have been to most ports in the Caribbean and I really don't care to go to most ports again.  I have again booked a MSC cruise in March 2020 in hopes that I will get to OC.  My wife wants to cancel telling me it will never be open but I am stubborn and recognize the unique opportunity.   I am an experienced cruiser and realize things happen.  I was on a cruise out of San Juan that was chased by Hurricane Georges.  I sailed through a hurricane in the gulf.  This is not stopping me from booking a cruise with OC as a key component to the itinerary.  If OC is not open by January 1 I will explore other ships leaving the same day from Miami or Ft Lauderdale since my airfare is booked.

 

Everyone looks for different reason to book.  Go easy on those who are disappointed in missing this island for reasons that are not at least weather related. 

 

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42 minutes ago, DCGuy64 said:

Those of you who speak Spanish might want to consider reading this interesting article I just found from yesterday, which gives some of the reasons Ocean Cay's opening was delayed. Of particular note is the mention of climate-related issues such as strong winds and waves, along with leveling of the sand. Are these the "operational issues" they spoke of? Who knows, but at least it helps to read something more specific. I do not take responsibility for the accuracy of the information in this article, FYI. :classic_wink:

https://cruceroadicto.com/ocean-cay-msc-marine-reserve-abre-el-5-de-diciembre.html

I did smile upon reading the following:

.....'When passengers start arriving at Ocean Cay they will have panoramic views of crystal clear waters'.... 

 

Really, panoramic views from sea level?.....of course, something may be lost in translation from Spanish! 🤣

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9 hours ago, DCGuy64 said:

Those of you who speak Spanish might want to consider reading this interesting article I just found from yesterday, which gives some of the reasons Ocean Cay's opening was delayed. Of particular note is the mention of climate-related issues such as strong winds and waves, along with leveling of the sand. Are these the "operational issues" they spoke of? Who knows, but at least it helps to read something more specific. I do not take responsibility for the accuracy of the information in this article, FYI. :classic_wink:

https://cruceroadicto.com/ocean-cay-msc-marine-reserve-abre-el-5-de-diciembre.html

 

Yeah the photos from last Saturday look like it was pretty windy there.  Perhaps too windy for the workers to be out as I don't see any in the photos.

 

And there are mountains of sand that need to be leveled around the lagoon.

 

IMG_5303.JPG.762ceb71f6c282690a22b2fc9b04534a.JPGIMG_5304.JPG.078b7f9c555180f178d9ad854a71b90d.JPGIMG_5305.JPG.ebdfb3261b19e690acd82a78d7935526.JPG

Edited by Motegi
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I still can't even figure out exactly what I'm looking at in the last picture. Is that a dredger in the bay and is it still excavating sand onto the island? It sure looks like the truck is dumping sand but it's hard to tell. Whatever is going on, that is a lot of sand :).

 

I read that changes to the new itineraries for the upcoming cruises have been finalized, yet no changes to web site just yet. This is an area of communication that MSC could improve upon. 

 

The good news is that there are fantastic deals to be had in the upcoming weeks!! I created a deal alert thread, but prices are still good today if interested.  With these prices, if you have cruises booked in the upcoming weeks I'd give your agent a ring for a possible price adjustment. Heck, it may be cost effective to accept a penalty to full out cancel/rebook. 

 

Although limited, yacht club rooms are still available on most sailings between now and the Holiday cruises (both interior and balcony). Extremely good selection of balcony locations available. If you a have a cruise booked on MSC I highly recommend calling your TA or MSC and working on upgrades/price matching/OBC, etc... 

 

I sure hope someone in the forum can benefit these truly GREAT rates. 

 

 

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Edited by BermudaBound2014
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I know there are those that would have picked the cruise for the island destination and it's a shame that it hasn't opened. And knowing that it's not guaranteed that you will visit all ports on an itinerary it doesn't make it any less disappointing.  Given the time of year though, the weather itself could have prevented stopping there, you never know.  An RCCL ship couldn't dock at Cococay this week due to high winds.

 

 

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We are just of the seaside. I had been reading about OC for a while so was prepared for the fact that we wouldn’t be going there and didn’t care too much either way. I thought it was weird that we weren’t told before we sailed but just shrugged it off. 
 

it wasn’t until I was speaking to a young couple that I realized it really impacted people.  Not so much about not going to OC but not knowOmg What the stop was going to be. People research ports before hand. And if you’ve never been to Nassau and you don’t know you’re going to stop there this can cause a problem. They like to book private excursions or go to places themselves and felt this was handled badly. I tend to agree. It didn’t affect my cruise but it did to others.  

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This appears to be the English version of the article posted above. Some rational is given for the delay. I found the following two pieces of added information interesting.

 

1) Weather delay;  This included heavy weather in early November which required part of one of the beaches to be further reinforced.

 

2) Issues with sand: Secondly, last-minute issues with the leveling of the sand in certain areas of the island, the completion of the second breakwater ....

 

https://www.travelpress.com/ocean-cay-msc-marine-reserve-opening-soon/#.XdKj0VdKgdU

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Sorry to say, but i´m honestly surprised what a ignorant company MSC seems to be. OC is not ready - noone can change that.

But to delay communication on purpose with the passengers and changing the whole cruise without notice is completely unacceptable. 

 

What is with the people who booked some tours in Nassau? And even if they change the whole cruise, why dont inform the passengers earlier so they can plan ahead? To manipulate them to book the MSC trips on the ship?

 

This is apparently the message which is circulating on FB, which they send to the travel agents:

 

"Dear All,
This is to kindly inform you that the call at Ocean Cay will be replaced with other ports in the Caribbean – unless further updates - also for the next sailings of MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seaside.
Passengers will be informed directly at embarkation: please find herewith attached letter that will be forwarded on board for the upcoming sailings of SE 16.11.2019 and MR 17.11.2019.
Also for the next cruises MR 21.11.2019, MR 24.11.2019 and SE 23.11.2019, passengers will be informed directly at embarkation.
Therefore we kindly ask you not to inform passengers earlier."
 
I´m not even that sad about the OC miss, but this behaviour makes that cruise my first and last MSC cruise...
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18 minutes ago, nuky said:

Sorry to say, but i´m honestly surprised what a ignorant company MSC seems to be. OC is not ready - noone can change that.

But to delay communication on purpose with the passengers and changing the whole cruise without notice is completely unacceptable. 

 

What is with the people who booked some tours in Nassau? And even if they change the whole cruise, why dont inform the passengers earlier so they can plan ahead? To manipulate them to book the MSC trips on the ship?

 

This is apparently the message which is circulating on FB, which they send to the travel agents:

 

"Dear All,
This is to kindly inform you that the call at Ocean Cay will be replaced with other ports in the Caribbean – unless further updates - also for the next sailings of MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seaside.
Passengers will be informed directly at embarkation: please find herewith attached letter that will be forwarded on board for the upcoming sailings of SE 16.11.2019 and MR 17.11.2019.
Also for the next cruises MR 21.11.2019, MR 24.11.2019 and SE 23.11.2019, passengers will be informed directly at embarkation.
Therefore we kindly ask you not to inform passengers earlier."
 
I´m not even that sad about the OC miss, but this behaviour makes that cruise my first and last MSC cruise...

 

It does seem rather shabby on MSC's part.  I'm on the Seaside in less than two weeks.  We're allegedly the second ship to go to Ocean Cay.  Will be interesting to see what happens.

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6 hours ago, nuky said:

Sorry to say, but i´m honestly surprised what a ignorant company MSC seems to be. OC is not ready - noone can change that.

But to delay communication on purpose with the passengers and changing the whole cruise without notice is completely unacceptable. 

 

What is with the people who booked some tours in Nassau? And even if they change the whole cruise, why dont inform the passengers earlier so they can plan ahead? To manipulate them to book the MSC trips on the ship?

 

This is apparently the message which is circulating on FB, which they send to the travel agents:

 

"Dear All,
This is to kindly inform you that the call at Ocean Cay will be replaced with other ports in the Caribbean – unless further updates - also for the next sailings of MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seaside.
Passengers will be informed directly at embarkation: please find herewith attached letter that will be forwarded on board for the upcoming sailings of SE 16.11.2019 and MR 17.11.2019.
Also for the next cruises MR 21.11.2019, MR 24.11.2019 and SE 23.11.2019, passengers will be informed directly at embarkation.
Therefore we kindly ask you not to inform passengers earlier."
 
I´m not even that sad about the OC miss, but this behaviour makes that cruise my first and last MSC cruise...

Unless this is written on official MSC letterhead and signed by a confirmed MSC official, there is no telling if this is a fake letter or not. Some fact check may be in order.

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10 hours ago, nuky said:
I´m not even that sad about the OC miss, but this behaviour makes that cruise my first and last MSC cruise...

Legendary rule for MSC cruises since ten years or more: Their ships are full of people who have sworn before "This was my last cruise with MSC!". One example for that kind of people: Me in 2011 and 2015 :classic_cool:

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I'd like to see this on letterhead also. Or if one of the many travel agents who have posted on this thread can just verify?  If MSC really did send out this letter, I call BS. Super shady and definitely not in the guests best interest. However; I can't see why MSC would take this approach. What do they have to gain by deliberately keeping the consumer uninformed. 

 

I don't believe even the most loyal of MSC followers can support this move (but I may be surprised lol) 😉 

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36 minutes ago, BermudaBound2014 said:

I'd like to see this on letterhead also. Or if one of the many travel agents who have posted on this thread can just verify?  If MSC really did send out this letter, I call BS. Super shady and definitely not in the guests best interest. However; I can't see why MSC would take this approach. What do they have to gain by deliberately keeping the consumer uninformed. 

 

I don't believe even the most loyal of MSC followers can support this move (but I may be surprised lol) 😉 

As a TA with clients on both the 11/17 MV and 11/23 Seaside sailings, I can confirm I HAVE NOT received anything of this nature from MSC.  In fact, aside from calling them to find out the itinerary changes, I have not heard a peep from them about it.

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I just called MSC again...Confirmed that the 11/23 Seaside is doing a direct swap of Nassau for Ocean Cay with no changes in dates or anything for the rest of the itinerary.  Also confirmed that they are still doing the $100 OBC and 20% FCC based on the cruise only price of this cruise.  Was never asked not to relay that info to my client, and they have it readily available at their fingertips for anyone that calls to ask, whether booked direct or through a TA. They are not trying to hide anything or keep cruisers from finding out, just not being forthcoming for some reason.

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19 hours ago, Happy Cruiser 6143 said:

 

It does seem rather shabby on MSC's part.  I'm on the Seaside in less than two weeks.  We're allegedly the second ship to go to Ocean Cay.  Will be interesting to see what happens.

Please if you come up with bull... come up with good one. 

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13 hours ago, sfaaa said:

Unless this is written on official MSC letterhead and signed by a confirmed MSC official, there is no telling if this is a fake letter or not. Some fact check may be in order.

 

You may be right or wrong, i dont know for sure. The text was just circulating in a Facebook Group and i was wondering if this is real.

 

But then i called MSC in my country to ask about the replacement port for Ocean Key. But first they didn´t even wanted to confirm that Ocean Key will be missed, even its on the news on their own homepage :D. When i asked him about that, he muted himself for some minutes and come back with following answer: "We can´t give you more information about that. Passengers will be informed at the ship". Seemed very strange...

 

But the most ridiculous thing is that they still offer the cruise with Ocean Cay on their website. And THAT is just irresponsible and misleading 😡

 

 

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11 minutes ago, nuky said:

 

You may be right or wrong, i dont know for sure. The text was just circulating in a Facebook Group and i was wondering if this is real.

 

But then i called MSC in my country to ask about the replacement port for Ocean Key. But first they didn´t even wanted to confirm that Ocean Key will be missed, even its on the news on their own homepage :D. When i asked him about that, he muted himself for some minutes and come back with following answer: "We can´t give you more information about that. Passengers will be informed at the ship". Seemed very strange...

 

But the most ridiculous thing is that they still offer the cruise with Ocean Cay on their website. And THAT is just irresponsible and misleading 😡

 

 

What country MSC office are you dealing with? Wondering if it could be something with different regulations/conditions of carriage that is causing them to have a good reason not to disclose in certain places? Maybe a requirement for certain compensation or allowing cancellation without penalty in these places?

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Official update. I work in the industry. Just came out. Delays are unfortunate, but we are all cruisers, and this does happen from time to time.

 

 

 

MSC Cruises

OCEAN CAY UPDATE

If you're having trouble reading this email click here

 

November 19, 2019

Dear Travel Advisor Partner,

Last week we announced that the new opening date for Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, our new private island in The Bahamas, will be Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019.
As a follow up to that announcement, below please find the original and updated itineraries for MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seaside sailings impacted by the change in opening date.

Nov. 21 - 24, 2019 Sailing On MSC Meraviglia

ORIGINAL ITINERARY

DATE

PORT

ARRIVAL

DEPARTURE

11/21

Miami/Florida, United States

 

19:00

11/22

Nassau, Bahamas

7:00

19:00

11/23

Ocean Cay, Bahamas

7:00

23:00

11/24

Miami/Florida, United States

7:00

 

NEW ITINERARY

DATE

PORT

ARRIVAL

DEPARTURE

11/21

Miami/Florida, United States

 

19:00

11/22

Nassau, Bahamas

7:00

19:00

11/23

At sea

---

---

11/24

Miami/Florida, United States

7:00

 

 

Nov. 23 – Nov. 30 sailing on MSC Seaside

ORIGINAL ITINERARY

DATE

PORT

ARRIVAL

DEPARTURE

11/23

Miami/Florida, United States

 

19:00

11/24

At Sea

---

---

11/25

Costa Maya, Mexico

7:00

15:00

11/26

George Town, Cayman Islands

11:00

18:00

11/27

Montego Bay, Jamaica

9:00

17:00

11/28

At Sea

--- 

--- 

11/29

Ocean Cay, Bahamas 

9:00

23:55

11/30

Miami/Florida, United States

6:00

--- 

NEW ITINERARY

DATE

PORT

ARRIVAL

DEPARTURE

11/23

Miami/Florida, United States

 

19:00

11/24

At Sea

---

---

11/25

Costa Maya, Mexico

7:00

15:00

11/26

George Town, Cayman Islands

11:00

18:00

11/27

Montego Bay, Jamaica

9:00

17:00

11/28

At Sea

--- 

--- 

11/29

Nassau, Bahamas 

9:00

18:00

11/30

Miami/Florida, United States

6:00

--- 

 

Nov. 24 – Dec. 1 sailing on MSC Meraviglia

ORIGINAL ITINERARY

DATE

PORT

ARRIVAL

DEPARTURE

11/24

Miami/Florida, United States

 

19:00

11/25

At Sea

---

---

11/26

Isla de Roatan, Honduras

9:00

17:00

11/27

Belize City, Belize

8:00

18:00

11/28

Costa Maya, Mexico

7:00

18:00

11/29

At Sea

---

---

11/30

Ocean Cay, Bahamas

9:00

23:55

12/1

Miami/Florida, United States

7:00

 

NEW ITINERARY

DATE

PORT

ARRIVAL

DEPARTURE

11/24

Miami/Florida, United States

 

19:00

11/25

At Sea

---

---

11/26

Isla de Roatan, Honduras

9:00

19:00

11/27

Belize City, Belize

8:00

19:00

11/28

Costa Maya, Mexico

7:00

19:00

11/29

Cozumel, Mexico

7:00

19:00

11/30

At Sea

---

---

12/1

Miami/Florida, United States

7:00

 


MSC Divina will be the first ship making a call to Ocean Cay on Thursday, December 5, 2019. This will take place during her 11-night cruise departing from PortMiami on November 25, 2019. All other calls to Ocean Cay will take place from December 5th forward as originally scheduled. These include itineraries on MSC Divina, MSC Seaside, MSC Meraviglia and MSC Armonia.

Guests on sailings impacted by the change in itinerary will be compensated with a $100 per stateroom onboard credit and a 20% future cruise credit (based on the amount of the cruise fare paid on their impacted cruise). We greatly appreciate your understanding as we work to develop Ocean Cay in the most eco-friendly and sustainable way and ensure the best possible experience for our guests and your clients. We look forward to welcoming your clients to the island beginning December 5th.

We look forward to welcoming your clients to Ocean Cay beginning December 5th and we thank you again for your understanding and support.

 

Sincerely,
Ken Muskat
EVP & Chief Operating Officer MSC Cruises (USA)

 

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