Costa Cruises always deploys its newest ships in the Mediterranean
For Mario Alovisi, vice president of revenue management and itinerary design at Costa Cruises, there are four crucial factors that go into creating the ideal cruise itinerary: guest satisfaction, safety and security, nautical feasibility, and accessibility. However, the greatest priority is placed upon the guest.
“We work every day to make our guests happy and this is our main goal when we design an itinerary,” says Alovisi. “In order to exceed guest expectations and desires, we analyse markets trends, past year results and feedback from guest forms, and we perform surveys accordingly. In this phase, we identify the optimum length of the cruise and the main destinations that we want to touch.”
When it comes to safety, the importance of minimising the chance of danger is clear. “Our ships must visit only areas with no political issues or risks,” says Alovisi. “Safety also includes ports or facilities, which must meet specific standards.”
Having met these criteria, Costa Cruises then needs to establish nautical feasibility, ensuring that it will be able to reach an adequate sailing speed between ports. “It is also necessary to find a port in the itinerary for bunkering, water load and discharge, provisioning,” Alovisi adds.
As a cruise line that operates globally, Costa Cruises must also factor accessibility into the decision-making process. “Our guests come from different countries and they must be able to join our cruise easily, possibly departing from a port accessible to where they live,” Alovisi said. “Therefore, our most popular cruises include many ports of embarkation in the same itinerary.”
The Mediterranean offers the best solution for balancing these factors, says Alovisi. “The combination of ports allows us to increase the accessibility for all our main source markets: we can have a direct gateway for Italy, France and Spain, and a very good flight connection for Germany, Austria and Switzerland,” he explains. “That is why our new ships are always deployed in this area.”
The balance of revenue generation relates closely to the pillars that Costa Cruises relies upon. “Revenue balance is a consequence of guests’ needs. People on holiday look for a frictionless, all-inclusive and ‘no worries’ experience,” said Alovisi, adding that guests are at the centre of his view of the future too. “We are committed to listening to them and exceeding their expectations.”
Of course, delivering a first-class experience also requires the help of the cruise line’s industry partners.
“Partners ashore play a key role in delivering the best possible guest experience and we must be able to include them into a broader strategic framework,” said Alovisi. “In the next few years, dozens of new ships will come into service, featuring new technologies such as LNG. Not only do ports need to develop their infrastructures to accommodate this, but tour operators and port agencies should also develop to face this growth in a sustainable way. Technological step-change across the whole value chain will be an enabler for a richer guest experience.”
This article was first published in the 2019 issue of Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.
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