Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning 2022

3 0 longer Black Sea voyages which prove very popular as guests get to experience the real range of destinations the Mediterranean has on offer, from Malta to Greece and Turkey,” says Powell. “More specifically, some of our newer cruises can take guests further afield, including the cultural city of Istanbul or the ancient city of Troy in Turkey.” Post-pandemic, Duncan says that both the Eastern and Western Mediterranean “could potentially see increased demand quite quickly as customers return to travel and they want to visit their favourite destinations in Europe.” Regarding other regions, he says: “Cruise lines will focus on the most popular regions for their customers first, so the Black Sea and North Africa may take a little longer to get back to pre-pandemic levels. However, there is no doubt that customers will again want to explore further afield so I cannot see it being too long before these destinations appear more regularly on itineraries.” Ports that have a wide appeal have never been more important for the predictability they bring to cruise lines’ itinerary planning, says De Nardo. “Our marquee West Mediterranean sailings are extremely popular because of the many ports available and dramatically different destinations to visit, similarly the itineraries in the East Mediterranean remain popular for the same reasons.” Theophilides lists several itineraries that reliably do well for Celestyal Cruises. “Our seven-night ‘Idyllic Aegean’ itinerary is always incredibly popular thanks to the inclusion of the marquee destinations of Mykonos and Santorini, as well as Crete, Rhodes, Kusadasi, the lesser-known island of Milos and the historic city of Thessaloniki. Celesytal will also homeport in Thessaloniki, which has stunning Paleo Christian and Byzantine monuments, a Unesco World Heritage Site, monuments to the famed Alexander the Great, and a rich Roman and Sephardic Jewish heritage. Thessaloniki is now also a hub for the Balkans and European markets due to its newly upgraded airport, which offers competitive airfares to and from Northern and Western Europe, thus making cruising and Celestyal more COVER STORY Saga Cruises’ ships visit destinations across the Mediterranean “ The mix of cultures and history means that there really is something for everyone” Iain Powell, Saga Cruises