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Flipping the Script – Winter in the Mediterranean

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The travel industry has to be creative and resilient to deal with the various situations that can affect travel, and the latest innovative approach inspires this week’s article…

Flipping the Script – Winter in the Mediterranean

I’m currently in Fort Lauderdale at the CruiseWorld conference where I get to meet with top cruise executives and travel partners to learn the latest in the industry. And here’s a story that is fresh off the press…

During the fall time frame, many of the cruise lines have itineraries that visit the Mediterranean that also tie in visits to Israel. For many folks, a cruise is an easy way to get to visit Israel while tying it in with visits to other desired destinations.

Obviously with the terrible conflict in Israel over the last month, cruises with plans to visit that area have had to make modifications.

There are many cruise lines that have itineraries to visit Israel that need to change, so all the cruise lines are making modifications and replacing planned visits to Ashdod and Haifa with other options such as visiting various Greek Islands, Cyprus, ports in Turkey, or adding more sea days.

Windstar is a cruise line featuring six small ships and sailing yachts carrying 148- 342 guests, and last year announced they had planned a major itinerary focus in the Middle East starting November 2023. They had scheduled their Star Legend ship to sail to the region to include new itineraries featuring Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Oman, and Bahrain.

Since Windstar had made the Middle East such a significant part of their itinerary plans for the coming months and years, there was major overhauling to be done, and fast. Whereas other cruise lines had a few itineraries with Israel that needed adjustment, Windstar’s challenge was more comprehensive.

The travel industry must often deal with last-minute local and world events, and creative approaches are a necessity.

I’m very impressed with Windstar’s solution, as I think it represents innovation that gives clients an offering they didn’t know they wanted or didn’t know was missing, but totally hits the mark.

Windstar is introducing their newly designed ‘Legendary Winter in the Mediterranean’, where they will be cruising between the favorite cities of Rome and Barcelona during the ‘off-season’ providing guests the chance to visit top museums and attractions without the crowds.

Most cruise lines reposition their ships in October or November, so for the most part there aren’t any Mediterranean cruises from November to April.

Windstar has flipped the script – they’ve approached this opposite to standard practice and have created a very interesting new offering that looks exceptionally attractive.

If you saw ‘Downtown Abbey: A New Era’, you may have noticed that they talked about how people visited the Riviera in the winter, with the thought of vacationing there during the summer an entirely new (and not very appealing) idea. Before the 1920’s, the upper crust considered the Riviera as a winter playground, with the high point of the season in January.

Since that old philosophy has changed in the last hundred years and winter is now the off-season in the Mediterranean, cruising there now provides the opportunity for fewer crowds while seeing the most popular and charming cities across Europe.

Over four months of winter, the Star Legend will sail week-long cruises between Barcelona and Rome, with stops as the iconic Med ports of Marseille, France, overnight in Monte Carlo Monaco, and Florence and Pisa Italy. The ships will also overnight in both Rome and Barcelona, offering more opportunities for exploring those favorite cities while still onboard the cruise.

These new sailings provide  travelers with new winter experiences while sailing the Med – Florence’s amazing Light Festival, Christmas Markets in Nice, and  visiting the Vatican’s 100 creches exhibition.

I’m really excited to learn of this new offering by Windstar as I think it’s a brilliant idea and one that gets my creative juices going with the possibilities of visiting so many fabulous cities without the summer crowds.

This new itinerary will open for sale on November 6, so it you are like me and think this is a wonderful way to visit Europe, give me a call or email so we can get you set for ‘Winter in the Med’.