“The two key places that we found people wanting to go to in the next 24 months or longer were the Caribbean and Europe,” said the new CEO of Tradewind Voyages, Alan McGrory.
According to McGrory, both regions have good airlift and offer a vast number of destinations that are open for travel. Because those destinations are plentiful, there’s flexibility to switch them around, should the need arise – due to coronavirus restrictions or otherwise.
“The Mediterranean is absolutely fabulous. We have Croatia; we have a lot of other areas in Greece. We picked some very remote islands. Many cruise lines have not been to some of these islands, so they’re new, different, relaxed. It’s a great opportunity for people to explore islands that they have not done before,” McGrory said.
McGrory gave an example of the Greek coast and the multitude of islands surrounding it.
“Many people have been telling us that they wanted to go somewhere different,” McGrory said. “That is what ticks the boxes – a unique experience that we’re trying to match with excursions shoreside to offer something different.”
The Caribbean offers a similar deal, McGrory said.
“The Caribbean is also good for providing that accessibility and flexibility, should the itineraries need to change. Some great islands there as well. Some islands that we know and some islands that are remote, that the guest does not experience on a regular cruise itinerary,” noted McGrory.
According to McGrory, Tradewind is more than just its ship, the Golden Horizon.
“It’s also the destination that we go to and making sure that the guests can go off later in the evening, if they want to dine ashore, and have that experience. The feedback that we’re getting from the guests has been: ‘We love Greece, but we’d also like to do some other items out of the regular schedule.’ So that’s what we’re looking at. We’ve touched on it in our current deployments, and that’s going to be part of our programs as we move forward,” McGrory explained.
When planning itineraries, the cruise line takes a guest-oriented focus.
“If we look at 2023-24, people want to fly within an eight- to a nine-hour window (for a cruise). That would be an American guest going to the Med, or vice versa,” McGrory explained.
Tradewind is currently working on itineraries for late 2024 and into 2025. The next one to two years of voyages, according to McGrory, will be in the Mediterranean and Caribbean, but the cruise line is looking to sail further too.
“We’re looking to branch out. So, we will be going back to doing a lot more of unique itineraries in different locations,” McGrory explained. “(After 2025), people are wanting to go further, and we will absolutely call on that. We put the focus on the feedback that we’re getting.”