Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning 2020

Costa Cruises was born in the Mediterranean Sea over 70 years ago. Jon Ingleton talks with Mario Alovisi about the inimitable allure of the Mare Nostrum A nna C was the ship in the Costa Cruises fleet that was purely for passengers. Continuing the tradition of naming ships after Costa family members, she entered service in March 1948 and sailed to South America from the company’s home in Genoa. Seventy years on and Costa is known for itineraries around the world, but most fondly associated with the proud history it has forged on its home sea, the Mediterranean. Costa Deliziosa became the first ship in the Carnival group to restart operations after the pandemic, departing from Trieste and calling at Bari and Catania. Costa Diadema and Costa Smerelda have also resumed sailing and Costa Firenze is expected to follow in December, all with Mediterranean itineraries. “The Mediterranean Sea is an unbelievably enriching destination for the cruise market and the broader tourism industry, as it offers the possibility of living unique experiences all year round,” says Mario Alovisi, vice president of global revenue management, itinerary development and transportation at Costa Cruises. As restrictions lift, itineraries will expand once again into more recognisable voyages with calls to multiple countries: “We visit a great combination of unique seaside destinations from East to West, art cities with millenary history such as Rome, Florence, Alexandria in Egypt, the charm of Turkey,” says Alovisi. The cultural connection between the nations of the Mediterranean is a significant differentiator for Alovisi: “The Mediterranean Sea represents an incredible mix of different cultures, sharing the common feature of being connected by the sea and enabling us to offer unique and unforgettable vacations and long lasting memories. For all these reasons the Mediterranean Sea is currently the second largest cruise destination in the world right after the Caribbean. It welcomes over 31 million guests annually and that figure is growing.” The regions within the Mediterranean market are evolving at a different pace, presenting singular opportunities and challenges. “The western Mediterranean has always been our home and home port. We are restarting from the Mediterranean after this challenging period. The west Mediterranean represents the closest seaside available for all major European countries and it also provides excellent accessibility and state- of-the-art infrastructure, also able to host our new generation vessels. The west Mediterranean will keep on evolving its features and will continue to represent a core pillar in our strategic deployment,” says Alovisi. “The east Mediterranean is the second pillar of our strategic deployment and one of the most appreciated series of destinations by our guests, as it offers both great short haul (Italy, Greece) and medium haul (Turkey, Egypt) destinations. Unlike the west Mediterranean, the only limitation we currently face is the slower infrastructural REGIONAL SPOTL IGHT: MEDITERRANEAN At home in the Med Costa’s western Mediterranean cruises allow guests to enjoy rich cultural experiences in destinations like Istanbul, Turkey 5 6