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CroisiEurope UK sales director John Fair: ‘Looking forward with realism’

CroisiEurope UK sales director John Fair

CroisiEurope UK sales director John Fair says the line is looking to the future with “realism and optimism”, buoyed by a positive response to its 2022 programme.

Like many companies throughout the world, here at CroisiEurope we’re celebrating a milestone anniversary in lockdown with no fanfare and very few celebrations. However, in this, our 45th year of successful operation, we’re not downhearted and we are looking to the future with realism and optimism.

This year will be challenging for CroisiEurope and for the industry as a whole, but I’m positive that 2022 will be very different. We recently launched our 2022 programme – our most expansive ever, featuring 55 ships on 16 major rivers plus multiple tributaries, the French canals, two coastal routes, ocean itineraries and Lake Kariba in Africa – and the response from agents and customers has been overwhelming.

I’m particularly excited about our new ocean itineraries in Corsica and the Canary Islands. These are perfect destinations for the boutique-size ship La Belle des Oceans.

These itineraries are already proving popular with our customers, who are always looking for new and exciting destinations, as well as those looking for a small-ship experience not too far from home.

Other 2022 highlights include the introduction of a second ship on Lake Kariba in Africa and new exclusive itineraries through the Neckar Valley, on the Elbe and Vltava rivers and along the Canal Bianco through Emilia Romagna, Lombardy and Veneto.

We’ve also increased capacity on our French hotel barge itineraries, which are proving increasingly popular with the UK market and are a fabulous option for families and groups of friends.

2020 programme ‘selling fast’

Our 2022 programme really does offer something for everyone, from perennial favourites on the Rhine, the Seine, the Danube and the Douro, to more innovative itineraries on the Guadalquivir, the Vltava, the Po, the Garonne and on Lake Kariba in Southern Africa. Plus, with all meals and drinks included on our cruises, they offer fantastic value for money which is more important than ever at this time.

The safety and wellbeing of guests remains the top priority. For the last year, CroisiEurope has been successfully working with Bureau Veritas for the SAFEGUARD certification of its ships.

The Safeguard Certification Label ensures the proper application of preventive sanitary measures, which have been subject to a rigorous auditing process and confirm that crew members have been thoroughly trained to implement them.

These measures will be further strengthened this year with guests needing to provide proof of vaccination or a negative PCR or rapid antigen test prior on embarkation.

While CroisiEurope was able to operate a number of cruises in 2020, the vast majority were cancelled and our customers have moved their bookings a number of times in order to ensure that they get the cruise that they want.

However, we couldn’t have done this without our loyal trade partners who we will continue to support as business takes off again. Our 2022 programme is selling very well, [so] there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I know that I’m not alone in feeling this way and I’m full of admiration for all my industry colleagues who have worked so hard over the last year, in conjunction with CLIA, to ensure that cruising will be one of the safest forms of travel as we emerge from this pandemic.

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