2019 brought the much-anticipated return of cruising to Turkey, and 2020 will fortunately see the number of cruise calls increase yet again! This is great news for everyone that hasn’t yet experienced this extraordinary part of the world, of course, but equally significant for the many cruisers itching to yet again take in Turkey’s beautiful landmarks, bustling markets, vibrant coasts and ancient history.
More than a dozen cruise lines—including Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises and Seabourn—now offer itineraries to Turkey. The majority of these voyages depart May through October, but you will find limited embarkations earlier in the year, especially on longer world voyages and world cruise segments.
The gems of most Turkey cruises are Ephesus and Istanbul, and as such, we’ve highlighted each of these featured ports below:
Kusadasi, a lovely coastal city in its own right, is most often visited as a gateway into ancient Ephesus. Highlights in Ephesus include the Temple of Hadrian, the Great Theater and the Library of Celsus. In fact, the entirety of Ephesus is heaven for Roman and Biblical historians, especially the Ephesus Museum and the ruins of the Basilica of St. John. Be sure to leave ample time to explore the markets where you can observe traditional carpet-weaving and find all manner of local wares.
The Blue Mosque (aka The Sultan Ahmed Mosque) will probably catch your eye upon arrival, so venture over for a closer look at its towering minarets and decorative stained glass windows. Pick your jaw off the ornate tile floor and head to the even older Hagia Sofia, now a museum and testament to the beauty of Byzantine architecture. Afterwards, put your hometown shopping mall to shame and explore Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, the largest covered market in the world! Enjoy some Turkish coffee while reveling in the city’s marvelous mixture of old and new.
Keep in mind, Ephesus and Istanbul may be the most popular, but they’re just the start of your available cruise ports in Turkey! Antalya, Bodrum and Bozcaada, for instance, are but three more of the incredible destinations awaiting your discovery in Turkey.
And if you’re not yet convinced that cruising is back for Turkey, consider that in 2020, Kusadasi will receive nearly twice as many ships as 2019, and Istanbul is poised to welcome five times as many ships as it will have received by the end of 2019. So if you’ve been waiting for this moment—queue Phil Collins drum solo—make 2020 your year for Turkey!
To plan your cruise and learn more about sailing to Turkey and its neighboring Mediterranean destinations, visit www.cruiseweb.com or call The Cruise Web’s friendly experts at 1-800-377-9383!