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Brand new island destination set to further enhance MSC Fantasia’s Emirates winter itineraries

Geneva, Switzerland, 1st June 2016 - MSC Cruises, the Swiss-based world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and brand market leader in Europe, South America and South Africa, has today released details of yet another exclusive island destination.

The Sir Bani Yas Island beach oasis, which further enhances the cruise line’s winter 2016/2017 itineraries in the Emirates, consists of a 1.5 mile-long stretch of land on the natural island just off the southwest coast of Abu Dhabi. This section of the island has been transformed into a beach oasis destination, exclusively for the use of MSC Cruises guests, and will mirror the MSC Cruises experience. From December 2016, MSC Fantasia will add this brand new destination to its winter itineraries in the region as guests will be able to spend a full day on this stunning tropical island paradise.

Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises’ CEO commented: “Last year we announced the new Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve in the Bahamas. Today’s announcement is further proof of our commitment to enriching our itineraries and to making unique experiences available to our guests that enable them to discover new cultures. Additionally this new, exclusive beach oasis experience stays true to our core values to provide our guests excellence in service, the best in entertainment as well as food options that are of the highest quality.”

Together with the Abu Dhabi Ports Authority, MSC Cruises has been working on perfecting this destination for over two years. The tropical beach oasis is on a smaller island connected to the main island by a wooden boardwalk that secures exclusive access for MSC Cruises guests. This authentic beach holiday experience comes complete with hundreds of palm trees, shaded cabanas and over 2,000 sunbeds across 36,000sqm of fine golden beaches. Other key features include:

•    An exclusive, private space for MSC Yacht Club guests with an area serving finger food and refreshments  
•    An MSC Aurea Spa area offering a menu of relaxing massages from beachside cabana huts with stunning sea views. Treatments available include the Aurea Del Mare massage with seashells, bamboo massage therapy and a range of Balinese massages
•    Sports facilities, including beach volleyball and tennis
•    A family and children’ area with a parents’ pergola
•    A Bedouin tent offering arts and crafts created by local communities
•    A lounge space with a bar and live music, for relaxing

In true MSC Cruises style, guests on the island will be able to enjoy a selection of fresh and authentic food options with a range of cooking stations serving delicacies from the region as well as international favourites. Guests can also expect to see beachside charcoal BBQs serving light dishes and snacks, and exotic cocktails served from one of six beach bars. Ship food and drink services, such as the Allegrissimo drinks package, extend onto the island to ensure  that the guest experience between the ship and the island is completely seamless.

For guests looking for something a little more action-packed, a 4x4 expedition experience or a high-octane mountain biking session over naturally-created tracks can be booked to enjoy on the main island. There will also be a variety of sporting activities on offer exclusively for MSC Cruises guests, including beach volleyball, football, or water sports such as  snorkelling, paddle boarding, sea kayaking and more.

The island is one of region’s largest wildlife reserves thanks to decades of intensive conservation work and ecological investment to restore and maintain its biodiversity. The Arabian Wildlife Park on the main island is today home to more than 13,000 indigenous and endangered animals, as well as millions of trees and plants. MSC Cruises has been working closely with the Abu Dhabi Port Authorities and ecologists to develop the island oasis for its guests fully in line with the broader island project and to support the ongoing preservation work.

The MSC Cruises beach oasis will also offer direct access to the natural reserve, with a range of specially designed excursions that will allow guests to experience the unique beauty of the natural surroundings. These include a horse riding tour, a safari-style nature drive through the reserve as well as a Dhow tour around the island in a traditional powered boat, giving guests the opportunity to see giraffes, hyenas and cheetahs in their natural habitat.

Finally, there are ongoing archaeological excavations taking place on the island. So for guests who want to discover more about the history and the culture of the island, a dedicated tour to the ruins of an early Christian monastery site from 6th century AD is available for them.

MSC Fantasia, one of the Company’s largest and newest ships,  will serve the island starting December 2016. The ship was constructed in 2008 and is currently the ‘youngest’ and largest ship in the region offering 1,250 cabins and some of the most modern facilities available to guests. These include outstanding entertainment, five restaurants serving refined international cuisine and an authentic Balinese spa. 75% of cabins have balconies offering panoramic sea views, and for those looking for a touch of luxury, the ship offers the award-winning MSC Yacht Club experience – a ship within a ship concept offering 71 butler-serviced suites with a focus on privacy and exclusivity.

Two departure ports will serve the island: Abu Dhabi and Dubai with fly-cruises offered in partnership with Etihad and Emirates. The first cruise on board MSC Fantasia departs Dubai December 3, 2016 calling at Abu Dhabi, UAE; Sir Bani Yas Island, UAE; Doha, Qatar; Bahrain and back to Dubai where guests can stay on the ship overnight. Prices start from £899 per person including flights with Emirates and transfers (based on two people sharing).

For more information or to book see or call 0203 426 3010.