Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning 2020

3 6 PL ANNER PERSPECTI VE Ambitious itineraries Elisabetta De Nardo talks with Alex Smith about how MSC Cruises delivers exciting cruise experiences for every kind of guest A s cruise lines look to attract passengers back to the seas following the global pandemic, it will become more important than ever for them to build exciting and popular itineraries. According to Elisabetta De Nardo, vice president of port development for MSC Cruises, the itinerary is an integral part of the overall appeal of cruising. “A cruise is, by definition, a holiday that offers the attraction of a wonderful hotel resort with a wide range of onboard experiences, including fine dining, varied entertainment, sports activities and total relaxation, as well as the ability to visit different countries without having to continually unpack and repack luggage,” she says. “Undoubtedly, the majority of cruisers focus primarily on the itinerary, although the actual ship and all that it has to offer will always be an integral factor when choosing a cruise holiday.” Cruise passengers come from a broad mix of different nationalities, ages and backgrounds, and appreciating these different expectations is part of the skill in building an appealing itinerary. “There’s no real ‘one size fits all’ and that’s part of the attraction,” says De Nardo. “Everyone has their different and specific aspirations for what will constitute a great and memorable holiday. Popular voyages should always include ‘must-see’ destinations, but others prefer slightly off-the-beaten track itineraries with more overnights and onshore experiences. It’s our role to create a range of different itineraries to match these ambitions and desires. The key for us to have as strong a portfolio of options as possible in the many parts of the world that we serve for all of our potential guests.” Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi