Your Private Island…With a Dock
Aaron Saunders, Live Voyage Reports
Thursday, February 12, 2015
Today, MSC Cruises’ MSC Divina was originally supposed to spend a day at sea before anchoring off Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas tomorrow. But a last-minute alteration was made to the itinerary, and it was one for the better. An unexpected berthing space popped up in the picturesque paradise of Grand Turk in the Turks & Caicos, and MSC jumped at the chance to bring MSC Divina there.
Created for Carnival Corporation PLC in 2006 at a cost of $40-million, Grand Turk is a manufactured cruise port of call – but a beautiful one at that. In many ways, it was designed to serve the same purpose as the so-called “private island experience” that many cruise lines have been offering for decades, but without the cumbersome need to tender ashore. In the 1990’s, when ships were smaller, tendering was possible, and even fun. Today, with ships holding thousands of guests, tendering ashore can be a real pain.
There is a smattering of local history here in Grand Turk. The United States previously used the island as an Air Force base, and NASA picked the Turks & Caicos to be one of their splash-down sites back when the Apollo space program was all the rage. But by and large, this is unabashedly nothing more than a beautiful place to kick back on the beach, go for a swim, and down a cold beer – all within sight of your cruise ship.