Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning 2020

4 0 PL ANNER PERSPECTI VE Creating beautiful and sustainable experiences Juan Trescastro explains to Richard Humphreys what Virgin Voyages considers when developing its itineraries W henever Virgin Voyages plans an itinerary, it starts by performing extensive studies to understand which regions are most desirable to its guests. “These studies drive our internal conversations and create a point of reference,” says Juan Trescastro, the brand’s senior director of itineraries, destinations and government relations. “After this extensive research process is mapped out, we work towards selecting a homeport as the base of operations.” For this task, Virgin Voyages considers many factors, including how accessible it is for sailors (Virgin Voyages’ term for guests). “We put the rest of the puzzle together based on timing, speed, distance and destinations that are appealing and available,” says Trescastro, who lists the following destinations as his highlights: Alaska, the Baltics, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Oman, Portugal, Russia, Spain and the United Arab Emirates. “There are some very special places on this great Earth that are wonderful and choosing one [cruise itinerary] is almost impossible,” says Trescastro. “However, there are a few places that come to mind as holding a special place for me. A trip from Venice to Syracuse in Italy offers great historical architecture, wonderful people that bring the country to life, majestic outdoor beauty and of course, the best food in the world! Italy offers something for everyone, no matter one’s age or interest, this country delivers a truly beautiful experience. “Two more special destinations are Australia and New Zealand. The land is truly the outdoorsman’s paradise. The great people who love where they are from, make it a wonderful experience.” While beautiful scenery, food and people help to make a guest’s experience memorable, revenue is a key factor when creating a cruise itinerary. A marquee port can be crucial for such a reason but might not always be necessary. “Each port has its weight, and a major contributing factor is the perceived Scarlet Lady will sail itineraries from Miami, Florida to destinations such as Mexico, the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic