Since the inaugural Seatrade Winter Cruising Forum in Malta in 2008 the concept has gone from aspiration to reality being embraced by cruise lines ports and retail agents alike not forgetting cruise passengers themselves.
Addressing the seasonality challenge and boosting yields are the main pulls of shoulder and off-season deployment for the lines while ports welcome the chance to extend their profitable cruise season. Retail agents have a new product to offer and passengers enjoy a winter break at sea visiting attractions off-peak in more moderate temperatures.
In addition to the older generation active career professionals as well as upscale cruisers and families are becoming more attracted to the prospect of visiting destinations with fewer crowds winter adventures and regional festivals on the shorex menu an escape from cold winters and of course lower prices.
The concept is not without challenges; sound itinerary planning and weatherproof shorex options are essential but as more ports ply the winter trade of the liners and more ships are deployed out of traditional summer seasons there is still great scope for growth.
Focus on Turkey as a cruise crossroads
The rise of Turkey as a top cruise destination is undisputed and this ancient trade route and cultural gateway has now become a modern cruise tourism crossroads linking Europe to Asia via the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea ports.
The forum will feature a special workshop on Turkey focusing on both the success stories and the issues confronting the region as it continues its rapid development as a culturally intriguing and diverse cruise destination. Following tailored conference sessions the workshop will give regional destinations an opportunity to present their product and services to the cruise lines one-on-one at pre-scheduled meetings.
The 2nd Seatrade Winter Cruising Forum will take place under the auspices of the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Tura Turizm and with MedCruise as a supporting organization from 5-7 December 2011 in Istanbul (venue to be advised). Cruise lines and stakeholders will meet to examine increased winter deployment in the Med and around the world as well as discuss what more can be done in Turkey and the surrounding region to ensure that challenges are overcome and positive trends continue.