MSC Cruises Update: Changes to Istanbul, Turkey Port Stops

MSC Cruises has recently announced changes to it’s cruise itineraries that affect port stops in Istanbul, Turkey. Specifically, the MSC Splendida, a luxurious Fantasia-class cruise ship owned and operated by MSC Cruises, will be departing from Istanbul, Turkey on a 9-night Eastern Mediterranean sailing. This remarkable vessel, constructed at STX France in Saint-Nazaire with a staggering $550 million investment, will embark on a journey to 7 different cruise port destinations, including it’s departure point. The MSC Splendida's departure is scheduled on a picturesque Sunday (May 14, 2023), and it will gracefully return to Istanbul on a delightful Tuesday (May 23, 2023).

Do Cruise Ships Still Go to Istanbul?

As of now, cruise ships still visit Istanbul, Turkey. Despite some changes and adjustments, Istanbul remains a popular port of call for many cruise lines. With it’s rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture, Istanbul continues to attract tourists from all over the world.

There are numerous cruises that depart from Istanbul and sail to various destinations, such as Abu Dhabi, Athens, Barcelona, Dubai, Dubrovnik, and more. With a wide range of itineraries to choose from, travelers have the opportunity to explore different parts of the Mediterranean and beyond, all starting from Istanbul.

The month of August sees the highest number of departures from Istanbul, with a whopping 162 available options from fourteen leading cruise lines. Whether you prefer a luxury cruise or a budget-friendly option, you can find the perfect fit for your preferences and budget.

Day Trips From Istanbul: Learn About the Various Day Trip Options From Istanbul, Including Visits to Ancient Cities Like Ephesus, Pamukkale, and Troy, as Well as the Scenic Bosphorus Cruise.

  • Visit ancient city of Ephesus
  • Explore Pamukkale, known for it’s thermal waters
  • Discover the historic site of Troy
  • Enjoy a scenic Bosphorus cruise

When it comes to exploring the stunning region of Turkey, cruise itineraries offer an ideal way to experience it’s beauty. With durations ranging from 10 to 12 nights, these cruises take you on a journey to between seven and ten different ports. Departing from Rome, Venice, or Barcelona, these itineraries allow for two to four nights at sea, providing ample time to immerse yourself in the highlights of this magnificent destination.

Do Any Cruise Ships Go to Turkey?

Cruise ship itineraries to Turkey have been a popular choice for travelers seeking to explore the rich history and culture of this beautiful country. Despite the changes in recent years, there are still cruise lines that include stops in Turkey on their itineraries. MSC Cruises is one such company that offers trips to Turkey.

MSC Cruises provides itineraries ranging from 10 to 12 nights, visiting between seven to ten different ports. Departing from Rome, Venice, or Barcelona, these cruises offer ample time to experience the highlights of the Mediterranean region. With two to four nights spent at sea, passengers can unwind and enjoy the amenities onboard while sailing to their next destination.

Although there have been changes to the port stops in Turkey due to recent events, MSC Cruises continues to offer experiences in Istanbul, Turkey. This vibrant city, known for it’s blend of modernity and ancient history, remains a prominent highlight on many cruise itineraries. Passengers can explore iconic landmarks such as the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace, or indulge in the vibrant bazaars and delicious local cuisine.

Coastal cities like Ephesus, Kusadasi, and Bodrum offer a glimpse into Turkeys rich historical and cultural heritage. These ports provide opportunities to discover ancient ruins, visit archaeological sites like the Library of Celsus and the Ephesus Theater, or simply relax on the beautiful beaches.

In recent years, Istanbul has become a popular destination for cruise ships, attracting a variety of vessels from different cruise lines. Some of the cruise ships that regularly stop in Istanbul include the Oceania Sirena, MSC Splendida, Silver Spirit, and ms Oosterdam. These ships carry a range of passengers, from smaller luxury vessels to larger ships accommodating thousands of travelers. With it’s rich history and vibrant culture, Istanbul offers a unique and captivating experience for cruise ship passengers.

What Cruise Ships Stop in Istanbul?

There are several cruise ships that make stops in Istanbul, Turkey as part of their itineraries. One of the ships that frequent the port of Istanbul is the Oceania Sirena, owned and operated by Oceania Cruises. This ship has a capacity of 803 passengers and is scheduled to arrive in Istanbul on the 18th of August at 08:00.

Another cruise ship that visits Istanbul is the MSC Splendida, owned by MSC Cruises.

Silversea also includes Istanbul on it’s cruise itineraries, with the Silver Spirit being one of their ships that call at the port.

Holland America Line also features Istanbul on it’s cruise ship schedule, with the ms Oosterdam being one of their vessels that docks in the city.

These cruise ships bring thousands of passengers to Istanbul, allowing them to explore the citys rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning landmarks such as the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.

Day Trips From Istanbul: Suggest Nearby Day Trips and Excursions That Cruise Ship Passengers Can Take From Istanbul to Explore the Surrounding Area.

  • Prince Islands: Visit Büyükada, Heybeliada, or Kınalıada to enjoy a peaceful retreat from the city.
  • Plovdiv: Explore the charming city of Plovdiv in Bulgaria, known for it’s ancient architecture and rich history.
  • Gallipoli Peninsula: Discover the historic battlefields and pay tribute to the fallen soldiers of World War I.
  • Bursa: Take a trip to Bursa, the former capital of the Ottoman Empire, and explore it’s impressive mosques and bazaars.
  • Troy: Unveil the mysteries of ancient Troy, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and delve into Greek mythology.
  • Princes’ Islands: Embark on a scenic boat ride to the Princes’ Islands and soak up the serene atmosphere.
  • Sapanca: Enjoy the natural beauty of Sapanca Lake and indulge in outdoor activities like hiking and biking.
  • Edirne: Visit Edirne, a city that once served as the capital of the Ottoman Empire, and marvel at it’s grand mosques.
  • Kilyos: Escape to Kilyos, a coastal village near Istanbul, and relax on it’s beautiful sandy beaches.
  • Belgrade Forest: Take a tranquil walk through the lush Belgrade Forest and rejuvenate amidst nature.

From this convenient location, passengers can easily explore Istanbul’s iconic landmarks and vibrant neighborhoods before or after their cruise.

Where Do Cruise Ships Leave From in Istanbul?

Istanbul has long been a popular stop for cruise ships, offering passengers the opportunity to explore this vibrant and historic city. When it comes to ports, cruise ships in Istanbul typically dock in the city center at the Yolcu Salonu, also known as the International Passenger Ship Dock. Located in Karaköy, at the northern end of Galata Bridge, this port provides easy access to the heart of Istanbul.

The Yolcu Salonu is strategically situated at the mouth of the Golden Horn, offering stunning views of the citys iconic landmarks. From here, passengers can easily explore popular attractions such as the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and Topkapi Palace. The port is well-connected to the citys public transportation system, making it convenient for travelers to move around.

One of the advantages of docking at the Yolcu Salonu is it’s proximity to Istanbuls vibrant neighborhoods. Within walking distance, visitors can immerse themselves in the shops, cafes, and restaurants of Karaköy and Galata. Here, they can experience the citys modern and trendy side while still being within reach of it’s historical sites.

Cruise ships leaving from Istanbul also have the advantage of being in close proximity to the Bosphorus Strait. This allows passengers to enjoy scenic cruises along this iconic waterway, passing by majestic palaces, elegant mansions, and charming waterfront villages. Whether they choose to explore the city on foot or embark on a Bosphorus cruise, travelers are guaranteed a memorable experience.

In recent times, due to political concerns and security issues, Istanbuls role as a cruise ship port has seen some changes. Some cruise lines have decided to modify their itineraries and exclude Istanbul from their routes. However, for those cruise lines that do continue to include Istanbul, the Yolcu Salonu remains the primary port of call. This ensures that passengers can still enjoy the incomparable charm and beauty of Istanbul as part of their cruise experience.

However, it’s important to note that the overall safety situation in Istanbul can change, and travelers should stay informed about current events and follow any advice or warnings issued by their own government.

Is It Safe to Travel to Istanbul Right Now?

Is it safe to travel to Istanbul right now? However, like any major city in the world, there are some potential crimes and scams that you need to look out for during your stay.

Fortunately, Turkish authorities are well aware of these issues and are actively working to prevent them. They understand the importance of tourism to the city and are implementing measures to ensure the safety and security of visitors. Istanbul has a strong police presence with officers patrolling popular tourist areas, such as the historic Sultanahmet district and the bustling Taksim Square.

Petty crimes such as pickpocketing and bag snatching can occur, especially in crowded areas like markets and public transportation. It’s important to be vigilant and keep an eye on your belongings at all times.

Another scam to look out for is the “friendly local” approach, where someone acts friendly and helpful but then tries to lead you to a store or restaurant where they receive a commission. It’s best to be wary of overly friendly strangers and trust your instincts.

Turkey is a country rich in history and natural beauty, making it a popular destination for travelers. However, safety concerns may arise when contemplating a cruise in this diverse nation. Rest assured, Turkey remains a safe place to visit, particularly when embarking on a gulet cruise. These cruises typically operate in touristic regions, far away from any potential problematic areas. So, let’s delve into the unmatched experiences awaiting you on a gulet cruise in Turkey.

Is It Safe to Travel to Turkey on a Cruise Ship?

When considering a cruise ship travel to Turkey, safety is always a top priority. It’s essential to stay informed about the current situation in the country.

One popular option for travelers is a gulet cruise in Turkey. These cruises typically take place in the southwestern coastal regions, such as Bodrum, Marmaris, or Fethiye. These areas have been favored by tourists for their breathtaking natural beauty, ancient ruins, and vibrant local culture.

The touristic regions along the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts are far from the eastern border, where some security concerns may arise. Cruise ships typically avoid these areas and stick to the well-established routes that guarantee the safety and enjoyment of passengers.

Additionally, MSC Cruises, as well as other reputable cruise lines, constantly evaluate the security situation in each destination and make adjustments accordingly. These companies have strict safety protocols in place to ensure the wellbeing of their passengers, and they closely cooperate with local authorities to monitor any potential risks.

It’s always advisable to stay updated with travel advisories issued by your government and consult with the cruise line for any specific concerns. By taking these precautions and choosing a reliable cruise line, you can enjoy a safe and unforgettable experience exploring the stunning coastal regions of Turkey.


This cruise allows passengers to visit a total of 7 different cruise port destinations, including Istanbul as the departure port. With it’s state-of-the-art facilities and world-class service, MSC Cruises offers a memorable experience for travelers looking to explore the beauty and culture of Istanbul and the surrounding Mediterranean destinations.

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