Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning 2022

3 4 A breath of fresh air The return of cruising has come as a welcome relief to cruise line and port executives, who can’t wait to share new itineraries, excursions and destinations with guests. Michele Witthaus reports FEATURE For cruise operators, the postpandemic revival of the industry has been an emotional experience as the tough months of Covid-19 restrictions begin to recede into the distance. Getting back to cruising has triggered a cocktail of thoughts and emotions, says Daniel Schäfer, managing director at Sea Cloud Cruises. “First I was very much relieved, that all the time of being unsure about the future had ended. Just happy to be back at sea again. In addition, there were some magic moments, especially as Sea Cloud Spirit left the shipyard for her first journey – the happy end after 12 years of planning, working, struggles and hopes.” Francesco Galli Zugaro, founder of Aqua Expeditions also had a special reason to look forward to the return of cruising this year. “Our new ship, Aqua Nera, started sailing this summer in the Peruvian Amazon. I was thrilled to be back in the unspoiled sanctuary that is the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve – where it all started 14 years ago – for the launch of our fourth vessel after an incredibly challenging period. I felt incredibly grateful to have been able to share this special moment with my talented crew, my family, and our valued guests.” Meanwhile, Bret Bullock, director of guest experience at American Cruise Lines, says: “With comprehensive Covid mitigation and response plans in place, we resumed partial cruise operations in late March along our Mississippi River and Historic South itineraries on the East Coast. After such a long pause in travel, with pent-up demand at an alltime high, American’s unique ability to offer guests from the USA and around the world a safe personalised way to explore again, was truly a dream come true for all of us.” Galapagos Islands specialist Metropolitan Touring resumed operations in August 2020 – earlier than most other cruise companies, thanks to the remote nature and low population density of the brand’s destinations. Product manager Klaus Fielsch recalls: “Weighing the anchor for the first time since the world’s complete lockdown was for us a special moment. We were the first to implement expedition cruises in Galapagos back in 1969, and now we were the first to resume operations after five months.” Aqua Expeditions’ vessels sail in destinations such as the East Indonesia and the Peruvian Amazon