Some Mediterranean ports are facing tough times due to conflict and itineraries are being curtailed. But for clients looking for winter warmth, there are alternatives close to home, says CLIA’s Andy Harmer

The Mediterranean is one of those areas almost purpose built for cruise holidays and has always been a firm favourite for the British  – you can visit multiple countries, amazing beaches, wonderful cities, stunning islands and ancient civilisations. The region really does have something for everyone!  I think ever since cruising records began, this stunningly beautiful stretch of sea has been far and away the most popular.  Therefore, it truly is heartbreaking to see at the present time a few Mediterranean countries facing challenging times largely due to their geopolitical situation.    However, I don’t for a minute believe the Med will fall out of favour and that given time, affected destinations will once again open up for the cruise market.

But it’s worth pointing out that the Med does not retain its number one position throughout the year.  Come the cooler months here at home, there are two other favourite regions that come into play – the Caribbean and the Atlantic Islands – although we also shouldn’t forget the rapidly growing interest in the Far East.  And just like the Med, these other cruise destinations have a huge amount to offer the potential cruise customer and are visited by ships of all styles and sizes.

Having visited the Canaries many times, I can certainly vouch for them as being a great cruise holiday destination, not far away and with that wonderful warm all year round climate that means you can wear a T-shirt and shorts pretty much at any time.  And the region has the benefit that each island offers a different experience.

So I’m sure many of you are very familiar with the popular cruise destinations within the Canaries, including Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, La Palma and La Gomera.  But it’s also worth knowing that many of the Atlantic Island cruises also take in such places as Casablanca or Agadir in Morocco, and then there’s Funchal, the capital of the garden island of Madeira.  Other great destinations on a cruise to the Canaries can include La Coruna on the northern coast of Spain and the gateway to Santiago de Compostela, and then there’s Oporto in Lisbon.

Also key to this region’s popularity is the choice for customers of both UK departures and fly-cruise together with the diversity of cruise companies.

The choice of cruise itinerary is hugely important to the customers overall holiday enjoyment – so it is vital to have that destination knowledge. Use publications like this one to keep up to date with the experiences available in cruise ports and destinations, and take advantage of the great many learning courses, resources and search tools CLIA makes available to members at cruiseexperts.org

That extra knowledge can make all of the difference!