Celebrity Cruises Scrap Entire 2016 Istanbul Cruise Schedule

November 26, 2015

Celebrity Cruises have today announced that the Celebrity Reflection and Celebrity Equinox will no longer be calling at Istanbul in 2016.

Instead, the Celebrity Reflection will dock overnight in Athens whilst the Celebrity Equinox will extend its time in Santorini or alternatively overnight in Malta depending on the itinerary.

Customers who have booked these cruises will be able to alter their bookings to sail on a different ship if they wish.

This decision has been made due to the fact that the port will be undergoing construction and have limited access. The port of Istanbul (known as Galataport) will receive renovation to make it larger, enabling it to increase the possible number of cruise passengers to 2 million per year.

This means the port will then be able to receive visits from the larger mega ships such as Oasis or Allure of the Seas. The surrounding area will also be renovated; receiving restaurants, hotels and other “green” areas as part of the project.

The development will start in 2016 and continue until 2018 and is set to challenge Barcelona in terms of cruise tourism revenue. Celebrity have not yet revealed whether the continued project will affect sailings in 2017 and 2018.

It should however be noted that the announcement has not been made with any connection to security concerns regarding Turkey although earlier this year Celebrity did stop ships from ‘overnighting’ in Istanbul due to increased concerns.

Celebrity made a statement to address the news: “Due to berth availability and port construction in Istanbul scheduled for 2016, Celebrity Reflection and Celebrity Equinox will no longer overnight in Istanbul, Turkey. Celebrity Cruises truly regrets having to take this action, but feel it is in the best interest of all our guests. Celebrity Cruises would like to thank guests for their cooperation and understanding.”


What do you think of the news? Will these changes affect your holiday?

Let us know in the comments below.