Cruise and Ferry Review - Summer/Spring 2020

2 2 9 Destinations also need the ‘wow’ factor. “It’s important to continually introduce new destinations to our guests, but it’s hard to sell itineraries with only these destinations, so we ensure that there’s always at least one marquee destination in every itinerary,” says De Nardo. “Plus, we want ports of call that will be true eye- openers. Thankfully, we’re blessed with these types of destinations worldwide.” There are practical considerations too. For example, every itinerary must have a strong source market. “We look for cities and ports that are well-known overseas, have a sizeable local and regional population and good road, rail and air links to provide access to guests who live further afield,” says De Nardo. “‘This is particularly important for homeports or turnaround ports. MSC Cruises already has a range of ideal source markets in more than 80 countries and we attract 180 different nationalities onboard our fleet as guests every year. As airlines continue to increase low-cost air travel options in Europe, new desinations are emerging as the source markets of the future, even those that were unthinkable until recently.” In addition, every port must have high-quality terminal facilities for guests to embark and disembark safely and travel to local attractions effortlessly. “Homeports also need a range of providers that offer high quality services for stores, waste reception, luggage handling, repairs and accommodation,” says Young. “Southampton, UK, has been P&O Cruises’ homeport for over 150 years and over the next three years, we’ll grow our capacity by over 50%.” Guest feedback plays a big part in final port decisions. “We have a detailed port rating process that combines appeal and satisfaction scores, and we test itinerary appeal directly with guests through market research,” says Young. Ports, tourist boards and regional cruise networks play a pivotal role MSC Cruises sails to destinations that offer high-quality terminal facilities and easy access to local attractions, such as in Dubrovnik, Croatia “We have to balance potential guests’ interests with practical necessities” Steven Young, Carnival UK