The MedCruise General Assembly in Corfu shifted into high gear on Thursday, May 25, with speed networking sessions and more panel discussions bringing cruise lines, port members and journalists together.
MedCruise President Figen Ayan said the General Assembly was about community and inclusiveness.
“We are sharing our experiences here, working together through any situation and for improvement,” said Cristina de Gregori, PR, communication and marketing director for MedCruise and from the Comm. and Marketing department at Western Ligurian Sea Port Authority.
Among the topics discussed on Thursday in Corfu was the expedition market in the Mediterranean and its potential. While many expedition and luxury lines flocked to the Black Sea in prior years, this destination is now off-limits with the ongoing war in Ukraine. It’s a notable loss for ticket and onboard revenue, with Black Sea cruises commanding high ticket prices and producing significant shore excursion revenue.
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Meanwhile, leading luxury expedition lines like Ponant can use their zodiacs to deliver an expedition experience, according to Sylviane de Tracy, research and development director for the French brand. That means minimal impact and minimal logistics needs, she said, also noting the company is open to using smaller yacht marinas. She noted passengers do not want bus rides anymore, but are interested in more immersive experiences and thus the port was looking for ports where attractions are closer to the docking site or landing area.
What about crew? It’s a big topic at Carnival Cruise Line, noted Ugo Savino, deployment director, who said the company as concerned about the lack of crew-friendly infrastructure in some ports. He said they should consider a crew area, including a lounge, free shuttle service and internet access. Savino said the Caribbean was way ahead in this regard.