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Island beach oasis enriches MSC's Emirates cruises

A tropical beach oasis linked to Sir Bani Yas Island by a boardwalk (Rendering: MSC Cruises)
A 1.5-mile-long tropical beach oasis off the coast of Abu Dhabi joins MSC Cruises' itineraries in the Arabian Gulf this winter.

The oasis, on a smaller island linked to Sir Bani Yas Island by a boardwalk, offers golden beaches with hundreds of palm trees, shaded cabanas and more than 2,000 sunbeds. Facilities include a family and kids' area, a Bedouin tent offering locally made arts and crafts, and a lounge with a bar and live music.

MSC Fantasia will begin calling in December, enriching cruises that embark at Dubai or Abu Dhabi with a tropical island experience. The destination is exclusive to MSC on the days of its calls.

The line has been working with the Abu Dhabi Ports Authority for more than two years to customize the destination for MSC.

MSC Yacht Club passengers get access to an exclusive, private enclave that serves elegant finger food and refreshments. An MSC Aurea Spa area offers massages in beachside cabanas with sea views. Spa treatments include the 'Aurea Del Mare' massage with seashells, bamboo massage and a range of Bali massages. A number of natural sunbathing spots and walking trails are available, too.

MSC passengers will be able to graze on a selection of fresh and authentic foods, with cooking stations serving regional and international favorites. Charcoal beach barbecues will grill light dishes and snacks, and exotic cocktails will be mixed at six bars. Ship food and beverage services, such as drink packages, extend onto the island for a seamless experience.

For those seeking more action, excursions on the main island include a 4x4 expedition experience or high-octane mountain biking. Other sports activities include beach volleyball, football, snorkeling, paddle boarding and sea kayaking.

Sir Bani Yas is one of the region’s largest wildlife reserves. The Arabian Wildlife Park on the main island is home to more than 13,000 indigenous and endangered animals, and millions of trees and plants. MSC has been working closely with the Abu Dhabi Ports Authority and ecologists to develop the beach oasis in line with the broader Sir Bani Yas Island project and to support the ongoing preservation work.

The beach oasis will also offer direct access to the nature reserve, and specially designed excursions include horseback riding, a safari-style nature drive and a tour around the island in a traditional dhow. Participants will have the opportunity to see animals like giraffes, hyenas and cheetahs.

They also can access the archaeological excavations on Sir Bani Yas by taking a tour to an early Christian monastery site dating from the 6th century.