It looks as though Turkey may be returning to cruise line itineraries. In 2019, both Ocean and Regent are “putting their toes in the water,” NCLH’s Frank del Rio told me. “It’s the little toe,” he joked, suggesting that Norwegian Cruise Line Holding’s two small-ship lines were testing the waters in Turkey.
Istanbul and Kusadasi are on the roster for 2019, but not as turn-arounds. “Let’s see what happens,” del Rio said. “What’s happening so far is that those sailings that have a Turkish port in 2019 are selling faster and at a higher price than the sailings before and after that don’t have Turkish ports.”
Since speaking with del Rio in early September, Istanbul now shows as a turn-around port for Regent on four cruises in 2020 (Istanbul also is an overnight port of call for Regent on four cruises in 2019). Oceania shows five cruises that call on Kusadasi in 2019. Kusadasi is the port of call for exploring ancient Ephesus.
Until a failed coup d’état in 2016, cruise lines frequented Turkey, a country rich in antiquities. A year before the coup, I spent 10 days traveling the Turkish coastline with my son Alex. We were on assignment to create a series of videos for Tura Turizm, an Istanbul-based company that provides shore excursions for several cruise lines.
Unfortunately, the videos never saw the light of day – until now. I’m making 30 of the videos that we produced available for your consumption. I hope you find as much to appreciate in the videos as Alex and I found to love about Turkey. I don’t think we’re alone when I say, we can’t wait to return.