Creating a welcoming and supportive environment for crew members

Lorenzo Vera Franco tells Rebecca Gibson how MedCruise’s new initiative will transform the onshore experience for crew members visiting ports in the Mediterranean and its adjoining seas

Creating a welcoming and supportive environment for crew members
The new ‘crew friendly’ initiative will be supported by a #MedCruise4Crew social media campaign

Crew members are a vital component of any cruise, working tirelessly to deliver memorable experiences for guests and acting as ambassadors for both their brand and the wider industry. However, this requires them to sacrifice their personal lives for months at a time, which can negatively impact their mental and physical well-being.

“The pandemic showed that we must do more to reward crew members’ hard work and protect their physical and emotional health,” says Lorenzo Vera Franco, vice president and director of destination development at MedCruise, which represents over 150 cruise ports and 47 associate members in 22 countries in the Mediterranean and adjoining seas.

“Typically, MedCruise’s initiatives focus on creating wonderful guest experiences, but we’re now encouraging ports and destinations to offer special benefits, facilities and services for crew too. However, it’s challenging to know how best to implement our initiative because we welcome thousands of crew annually and their backgrounds and personal needs are all different.”

To ensure it can create a welcoming and supportive environment for all, MedCruise has asked members to complete extensive surveys to identify how they currently cater to the physical and emotional well-being of crew.

“Crew need more than a lounge with comfortable seats or easy access to a bank or supermarket; they might also require things such as a private space for phoning loved ones or praying,” explains Vera Franco. “Using the survey data, we can build an overview of existing services, identify our strengths and weaknesses, and develop a solid plan for our ‘crew friendly’ initiative.”

MedCruise will engage with representatives from cities, local businesses and other key stakeholders too. “We’ll also collaborate with cruise lines to hear from crew what facilities and services they would find most valuable,” adds Vera Franco. “Plus, we aim to learn from the best practices implemented by ports in Canada, Italy, Spain and other destinations that are already providing helpful services for crew.”

He predicts that MedCruise will roll out the ‘crew friendly’ initiative within the next three years. “Implementing this unique initiative across such a large and diverse network will be challenging, but it will transform the crew experience – and by extension, the guest experience too,” says Vera Franco. “The Mediterranean is famous for its sunny beaches, rich cultural heritage and wonderful gastronomy, and this initiative will ensure we’re known as the most hospitable cruise region for guests and crew too.”

This article was first published in the 2023 issue of Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. Subscribe to Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning for FREE here to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox or your door.

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Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
30 November 2022

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