Cruise lines are opting out of Turkey port calls after this week's attack.
Update: Cunard has announced that all of its 2016 calls to Istanbul will now be canceled. “Following the tragic events in Istanbul this week Cunard is cancelling all 2016 calls to Istanbul. We are currently preparing new itineraries and will communicate these to guests in the next 24 - 48 hours," it said in a statement.
Cruise lines that hadn’t already planned to skip Turkey in 2016 have begun to do so after this week’s attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport.
Seabourn Odyssey, which was scheduled to stop in Istanbul on Friday, now will stop in Piraeus (Athens) instead. Seabourn said the decision was made after analyzing “information regarding safety and security from many sources, which includes liaising with government intelligence agencies and on-the-ground port security assessments.”
A spokesperson for Cunard told TMR it will be removing Istanbul from its planned itineraries on Queen Victoria in July and August. Those calls will be replaced by Thessaloniki and an additional call to Volos. Cunard also will release a shore excursion program for the new ports in the next few days, and any excursions booked for Istanbul will be refunded.
“We apologize for any disappointment this change may cause, however, our first priority is always the safety and security of our guests and crew,” Cunard said.
All Celebrity Cruises calls in Turkey also have been canceled; they will be replaced by calls at Athens (Piraeus). Celebrity said the decision was made in the interest of guest safety and after discussion with its global security team in Miami.
Celebrity is “currently finalizing the details of these itinerary changes and will communicate with our guests or their travel agents as soon as we have additional details.”
Windstar is making changes to 16 of its cruises in light of the attack. All scheduled port calls—including a number of embarkations—will be changed from Istanbul to Piraeus (Athens). Cruises on Wind Star, which were supposed to alternate with Istanbul embarkations, will now depart from Athens on 16 consecutive Saturdays from July 2 to October 15.
We apologize for any disappointment this change may cause, however, our first priority is always the safety and security of our guests and crew.
Other lines—including Holland America and Princess Cruises—haven’t yet cancelled their scheduled calls in Turkey.
Holland America said it is “closely monitoring the situation in Turkey” and assessing its upcoming schedule. Its next scheduled call is ms Eurodam’s sailing on July 24, and decisions will be made “closer to the scheduled call date and communicated with booked guests and their travel agents. The safety of our guests and crew is our top priority,” it said.
Princess Cruises’ next stop in Istanbul will be next week, July 7, on the Royal Princess. No changes to that itinerary have been made and a spokesperson for the line said, “We will advise guests and our travel consultant partners should the need arise to make changes to any of our published itineraries."
Crystal Cruises, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line brands and Disney Cruise Line all made the decision earlier in the year to stay away from Turkish ports this season because of ongoing security issues—mostly sparked by an attack in January that killed 10 German visitors in the tourist center of the city.
At the time, Crystal said the decision was made because of “ongoing security concerns for travel within Istanbul” and to allow guests to sail “without the added worry of security in a particular destination.”
Norwegian said it made the decision to stop calls by all of its brands—NCL, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises—at Turkish ports because of concerns over “the safety and security of our guests and crew.”