Bodrum Cruise Port, an up-and-coming cruise ship destination on Turkey’s southwest coast, expects to see a roughly 35% hike in the number of ship calls this season versus 2022. The port officially opened this year’s cruise season with the arrival of the Blue Sapphire, which will homeport at the facility.
Port to Welcome 138 Cruise Ships in 2023
The cruise season has kicked off at Bodrum Cruise Port with the arrival on May 2 of the 750-guest Blue Sapphire, operated by Lagoon Sea Cruises, a Turkish company. The ship markets to Turkish, European, and South American cruisers, and will sail from the port for the full season, offering 46 sailings.
The ship is among many others that are scheduled to call at the port through the season, which continues into November. Global Ports Holdings (GPH), the world’s largest cruise port operator, runs the Bodrum facility.
GPH Regional Director of East Med Aziz Güngör said, “With the ability to host the world’s largest cruise ships in the world, BCP will have a very successful season, just as it did last season. We can clearly see an increase in interest towards Bodrum. This season we expect 138 ships and 125,000 cruise passengers to visit Bodrum Cruise Port which will be a record year in terms of cruise tourism this year.”
The numbers reflect a substantial increase in ship and passenger visits from 2022, when 101 cruise vessels called, bringing close to 100,000 guests to Bodrum. The numbers indicate that 37 more ships will call versus last year, or about 37% more.
Growing Port Attracts Several Luxe Cruise Ships
While Istanbul remains Turkey’s most popular cruise ship port, both the Bodrum and Kusadasi ports are growing. Bodrum is situated on the Bodrum Peninsula in the Aegean Sea, southeast of Athens.
Among its top attractions are the medieval Bodrum Castle and the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and dating to the 4th century B.C.
While Bodrum is known for its many beach towns and resorts, it also offers archeological sites, a waterfront pedestrian promenade filled with shops and cafes, and several museums, including the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archeology.
Several luxury and ultra-luxe ships are scheduled to call at the port this spring and summer, including Silversea Cruises’ 608-guest Silver Spirit, Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ 706-guest Seven Seas Voyager, Seabourn’s 600-guest Seabourn Encore, and Windstar Cruises’ 312-guest Star Pride.
“We can also see the increasing luxury awareness of Bodrum as a brand in recent years that has led to an increase in the interest of luxury cruise ships to visit Bodrum,” the port’s Güngör said.
Other upmarket lines are including Bodrum on their itineraries this spring and summer, such as Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady and Resilient Lady, both accommodating 2,770 guests, Oceania Cruises’ 1,250-guest Marina, and Norwegian Cruise Line’s 2,466-guest Norwegian Jade, among others. Cruises that call in Bodrum typically include the Turkish destination on itineraries that also visit one or more of the Greek Islands.
Bodrum Cruise Port operates a ship pier that can accommodate two large-sized, or four smaller cruise ships at a time. Its harbor also has capacity for up to 30 mega-yachts, and has three ferryboat ramps. Its cruise terminal offers welcome facilities, duty free shopping, and a restaurant.