Royal Caribbean International has announced that all its scheduled port calls in Turkey will be cancelled for the entirety of the 2018 European cruise season.
The cruise line said in a statement that it has made the decision “due to the current unpredictability of Turkey, and taking our guests’ and crew members’ safety and wellbeing into account.”
Royal Caribbean’s Splendour of the Seas alongside in Ephesus, Turkey (image courtesy Esphesus Tours on Pintrest).
The move has been met with dismay on social media due to the immense popularity of Turkey and its capital Istanbul, as a cruise destination.
Straddling both Asia and Europe, Istanbul is a major port of call and home-port for Eastern Mediterranean itineraries, it’s also a popular fly-cruise port for Middle East cruise passengers.
While Royal Caribbean had pulled its Istanbul port calls immediately after last year’s attempted coup, it had kept Ephesus (Kusadasi) on itineraries, but now that has been cancelled as well.
Royal Caribbean has decided to replace calls in Ephesus (Kusadasi) with alternate ports-of-call for the 2018 Europe season.
Jewel of the Seas will now call at Rhodes, Greece and Vision of the Seas will call at Rhodes, Greece or Mykonos, Greece.
Any pre-paid Royal Caribbean shore excursions in Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey will be refunded to the original form of payment the cruise line said.
Royal Caribbean cancelled all its stops in Turkey in 2017 as well for similar reasoning, and said at the time it would keep an eye on the situation in Turkey for the 2018 season.