Smaller islands on the radar of the major luxury cruise companies in trend towards unique experiences


Luxury cruise companies are turning their attention to smaller, off-the-beaten-path destinations, according to discussions at the 7th Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum, held in Thessaloniki, Greece. While mainstream ports of call will always have their place, the trend for unique experiences in lesser-known destinations is taking hold.

However, the inclusion of more exotic locales on luxury cruise itineraries is not without its challenges. Infrastructure readiness at smaller destinations can be a concern, as well as quality venue availability and berthing policies, as noted by several industry professionals.

In terms of what luxury cruise guests seek out of the secret gem destinations, unique human and sustainable experiences top the preferences list.

Luxury cruise guests are searching for the unique and the unexpected and few people would know that an actual desert exists in a Greek island, according to Olympia Anastasopoulou, General Secretary of Tourism Policy and Development, Ministry of Tourism, Hellenic Republic, who keynoted the second and final day of the Forum.

“Coastal and maritime tourism can be a powerful tool for the development of Greece’s national economy as it currently contributes 1.5% of the country’s GDP. Greece possesses the characteristics to make it one of the most attractive destinations for Europe in sea tourism, ranking ninth in the world in terms of coastline length.

“But we also have mountains, lakes, rivers and even a desert in the Greek island of Limnos. This is why our potential to become a leading cruise destination is significant.”