Why you may visit Albania, not Turkey, on some 2017 cruises

Cunard plans to stop in Sarande, Albania, instead of Turkish ports on 2017 sailings.
Cunard plans to stop in Sarande, Albania, instead of Turkish ports on 2017 sailings.
(Witold Skrypczak / Getty Images)

Some cruise lines won’t be stopping in Istanbul and other Turkish ports next year because of safety concerns. Passengers instead will substitute the Greek islands or even Sarande, Albania, on some itineraries.

Cunard, British line P&O Cruises and Holland America — all owned by Carnival Corp. — announced plans to skip Turkish ports in 2017.

“After careful consideration, Cunard has taken the decision to remove Turkey from all itineraries in 2017, based upon various sources, including advice given by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office,” a Cunard statement says.


Cocoa Katz writes on a Cruise Critic online forum about the August 2017 sailing on Cunard’s Queen Victoria: “Received a message from Cunard regarding the cancellation of all Turkish ports … very disappointing as this was over 40% of the cruise.”

Holland America says 10 departures next year are affected by the change, and that travel agents and passengers will be notified. Anyone who had paid for shore excursions in the skipped ports will receive a refund, according to a statement.

Three other cruise lines — Norwegian, Oceania and Regent -- also canceled itineraries that include Turkey in 2017.

The U.S. State Department on Oct. 29 warned Americans to “carefully consider the risks of travel to and throughout the country, noting they may be “explicitly targeted” by terrorists.

The cruise lines made the decision to pull out of Turkey before the bombing of a football stadium in Istanbul on Saturday that killed 44 people. Some cruises dropped Turkish port calls after a June 28 bomb attack at the city’s airport, which killed more than 40 people, and a failed violent coup attempt on July 15.

USA Today reported in June that some lines, including Crystal Cruises, Disney Cruise Line,MSC Cruises, had canceled visits to Turkey in 2016.



How the returning Disneyland Electrical Parade went from ‘absolute disaster’ to beloved attraction

Want more bang for your vacation cruise buck? See which lines U.S. News says deliver value

Cruise Critic editors select Carnival Vista as 2016’s best new cruise ship; Seabourn, best luxury line