The best evidence that the cruise market is in flux and subject to wild changes is that Douglas Ward’s Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships hasn’t been updated since 2020. The Berlitz Guide used to sit on most travel agents’ desks. For 35 years, it could be counted on to give clients a two-page summary of every vessel promoted to clients by American travel advisors. It was more than a mere directory. The 754-pages of the 2020 edition rated the accommodations, cuisine, and service on each ship. It was the final word on ship statistics, so that passenger space ratios, passenger crew ratios, and tonnage could be reliably compared.
In my 2019 Amazon book, How to Plan Your Next & BEST Cruise: Secrets of Selecting Cruises, Ships & Destinations, I used Douglas Ward’s data in every chapter to show readers how to move beyond the ads and hype, and to make viable comparisons among cruise ships they were considering. Read the rest of this entry »
A new summer experience awaits MSC Cruises’ guests as five of its ships added new packages for its East Mediterranean itineraries.
As demand for cruise trips surges and the CDC lifts most of the COVID-19 restrictions for cruises, several lines announced new travel packages hoping to entice tourists. On Monday, April 4, MSC Cruises announced an additional voyage opportunity both ashore and at sea.
MSC will upgrade its East Mediterranean summer sailings with its new ‘Stay and Cruise’ tour package. The program will give MSC Cruises’ guests the opportunity to explore the city of Athens, Greece, or Venice, Italy for two days before they set sail for the seven-night sea vacation.
The package includes several perks including 4-star hotel accommodation for two nights, luggage transfers from the hotel to the guests’ cabins, as well as a half-day city exploration. An option to add air travel is available as well and can be booked through MSC Cruises webpage.
“Up to two days spent in the magnificent cities of either Venice or Athens will be a fantastic prelude to our guests’ seven-night cruises in the East Mediterranean,” the Vice President – Global Sales, MSC Cruises said.
The travel package is available for guests onboarding MSC Cruises’ five ships, namely MSC Sinfonia, MSC Armonia, MSC Fantasia, MSC Musica, and MSC Lirica. It will be on sale by the end of April and can be booked via the luxury liner’s official website or through travel advisors.
The package will also be soon available for MSC Cruises’ U.S sailings from Miami and Orlando by the end of summer, while it will be added in summer 2023 for New York sailings.
Half the cruise ships are sailing, carrying half the passengers they once did. At each port, they are beset by differing and ever-changing protocols, negotiating life-and-death decisions with new players with whom they do not have the usual long-term relationships.
And yet, guest satisfaction is off the charts. The new-to-cruise customers that many expected to be frightened off are instead showing up. New ships and new partnerships, new terminals and new ports are on the horizon—and they promise to share the wealth with local communities and to promote a healthier environment for all.
“We built this industry over more than five decades; we deliver a phenomenal experience that our customers love, and the Caribbean is an unbelievably popular destination for our core markets,” said Royal Caribbean International president and CEO Michael Bayley at the Caribbean Spotlight: A Focus on the Future breakout session. “We need to just stay focused and trust each other and, in another year or so, we’ll be looking back trying not to remember any of this.”
In short, this week’s Seatrade Global conference was unlike any other Read the rest of this entry »