Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning 2024

73 to adversity, ‘Love thy neighbour.’ In this interpretation of the phrase, cruise line speakers were asked to comment on the importance of port-city relations through greater local community engagement. Natalie Allaby, director of cruise excellence at Port Saint John, joined remotely to present her bestpractice case study that has earned her port high praise both locally and across the industry. Case studies were well utilised in Burgas. Lorenzo Vera, commercial unit manager at Motrilport, and Susana Soria, manager of the Port of Castellon, communicated the crew-friendly approach to cruise ship visits at the Port of Castellon. Meanwhile Carolina Navarro, director of Fundación Valenciaport, orchestrated an informative discussion about The Ealing Project, which is accelerating the deployment of onshore power solutions in European ports. The final case study slot was given to Even Husby, head of environment at the Port of Bergen. Husby presented his port’s best-practice approach to onshore power during a dedicated session on the topic that also shared analysis carried out by MedCruise. ‘Developing a must-see destination’ is a common goal for ports, cities and tourist boards across the industry. On this occasion, MedCruise turned to Ryan Baird, project manager for destination communication at Holland America Line, and Debbie Holbrook, director of deployment and itinerary planning at Princess Cruises, for their advice. Baird’s recommendations included: find your unique proposition, be accessible, ensure safety and security, develop polished tourism marketing tools and appeal to all five senses. “Be open, learn from success stories, seek improvement and use data to drive it,” added Holbrook. BURGAS, AT A GLANCE Burgas celebrated its 120th anniversary this year by hosting the MedCruise 63rd General Assembly. The event won new admirers for the port as it seeks to entice planners to relaunch itineraries featuring western Black Sea ports. Surrounded by lakes on the western Black Sea coast, Burgas is a historied bayport located 240 miles east of Sofia and 75 miles south of the better-known cruise port of Varna. Our visit gave us an opportunity to experience three of the city’s most popular shore excursions. A boat trip to Saint Anastasia Island and Chengene Skele delivered a neat cultural and social combination, while a visit to the ancient city of Nessebar provided a journey through three-millennia of history, and a walk through the streets of Burgas revealed glimpses of its Bronze Age origins, Ottoman rule, and its industrialisation in the early 20th century. Burgas is not a polished tourism destination, but this gives it an authenticity that many will find endearing. CFIP executive editor Jon Ingleton (centre) with Emilio Freeman of Sea Dream Yacht Club (left) and Michele Bosco of Princess Cruises (right) Photo: Unsplash/Julia Igoshev