Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning 2024

59 Photo: credit anchor to our planning for a season,” says Griffiths. “There are no port or shore excursion fees, and they are very popular. There was a transformation in the late 2000s where polar exploration went from an area where we had our oldest and most outdated ships to a region where today we deploy our most up-to-date and advanced vessels. That’s essentially because of the demand; people want to see polar bears!” Navigating between the ‘anchor’ itineraries in a season, however, can be a challenging task. “The times between those anchors in a season are the difficult part of itinerary planning,” says Griffiths. “Repositioning cruises are naturally less popular because it’s more difficult to explain to guests the value of those voyages, even though in reality they can be some of the most rewarding that we sail. We have to build around that reality to give our guests what they want.” There are also unique practical considerations to consider for each vessel, especially when introducing a new ship to the fleet. Scenic chose to debut the second of its discovery yachts, Scenic Eclipse II, with a sailing from Lisbon in Portugal due to a combination of good timing and its appeal as a destination. “There also comes a point in the building of a ship where you have to commit to the programme of itineraries that you’re selling – there’s a before and an after that point,” says Griffiths. “Lisbon was in a great position for us at the time we needed it, and so it naturally became a good choice for us. It’s a great place to start a Mediterranean cruise, which is particularly popular with our American guests, and it’s a beautiful city.” In total, Scenic visits 357 ports in 54 countries over seven continents onboard its two discovery yachts. The worldwide coverage of its itineraries allows the brand to explore a range of destinations. Griffiths suggests Scenic Eclipse II’s voyages to The Kimberley in Western Australia as a highlight in the ship’s programme. “While I was able to sail in Australia during my days at sea, I never got a chance to visit The Kimberley,” says Griffiths. “It’s a very popular area, and I was excited for Scenic Eclipse II’s visit to such a beautiful destination.” Scenic visited The Kimberley in Australia for the first time in 2023 Photo: Tourism Western Australia