Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning 2022

3 1 MSC Cruises’ MSC Grandiosa sailing into Barcelona, Spain accessible and affordable. We are also seeing strong interest in our seven-night ‘Eclectic Aegean’ itinerary, as well as our award-winning seven-night ‘Three Continents’ itinerary which calls in Greece, Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Cyprus. However, I would say that our most popular itineraries are our unique three- and four-night cruises which visit two Greek ports of call per day.” Marella Cruises also has popular itineraries in the region, says Duncan. “Our ‘Adriatic Explorer’ itinerary sailing on Marella Explorer is popular with customers as it calls at some iconic hotspots including, Venice in Italy and Split and Dubrovnik in Croatia, but also allows people to discover some stunning hidden gems such as Kotor (Montenegro) and Koper (Slovenia).” While established favourites are an important part of the mix, cruise lines also need to refresh their Mediterranean itineraries each year to give repeat cruisers something new. The trick is judging which ports to drop and to add in this process. “MSC Cruises is always looking at new opportunities and most recently introduced Siracusa in Sicily and Taranto in Italy, both of which have proved to be very popular,” says De Nardo. “The market sets the rules on which ports to retain, and we take stock of customer satisfaction in our decision-making process for future itineraries.” Theophilides says: “Celestyal Cruises is renowned for taking travellers to some of the hidden gems in Greece and we are committed to protecting this reputation by listening to guest feedback and refreshing our ports of call on an annual basis, thereby constantly upgrading and evolving our offering. Each year we reimagine our itineraries to ensure that we always offer our guests the best possible experience. We include new ports of call that allow full days as well as late departures in popular destinations.” Powell says: “At Saga, we always try to refresh our itineraries as often as we can to ensure returning guests can experience something different. We often do this through a change in the ports we visit or altering the length of the sailing. We also strive to visit ports at times where something exciting is happening in the area, so that we can offer unique experiences for our guests.” Duncan says that Marella Cruises aims to refresh its itineraries every season for the benefit of both repeat customers and new cruisers. “Customer feedback is really important to us when thinking about adding a new port or destination, so we take their comments into consideration throughout the process. We will always aim to add at least two new itineraries to our Mediterranean programmes every year.” While the cruise lines seek to keep things fresh for their guests, cruise executives themselves often have eclectic personal wish lists for ports they look forward to visiting. Theophilides sings the praises of Milos, which is not visited by many other cruise lines. Top of Duncan’s list is what he calls Marella’s “surprise and delight” destinations, which include Ajaccio (Corsica), Kotor and Villefranche (France). Which all goes to show that, even for the experts, cruising in the Med never loses its attraction. CFIP Photo: MSC Cruises, Visualmedia