Record Number of Cruise Ship Visits for Popular Cruise Port

Turkish cruise ports are increasingly popular, with the beach-side city of Bodrum welcoming nearly 100,000 cruise passengers this year.

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Bodrum, a popular cruise port on the sunny coastline of the Aegean Sea, ended its cruise season on Tuesday, November 22, with a record number of cruise ship visits. One hundred and one cruise ships visited the port, famous for its historic center, beaches, and resorts. 

The last ship to visit the port was Costa Venezia, while throughout the season, cruise ships from Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, Mein Schiff, and Azamara Cruises visited the area. Combined, the 101 cruise ship visits brought nearly 100,000 visitors to the city.

Cruises to the Aegean are more than just visiting the Greek Islands. Turkish cruise ports are becoming increasingly popular due to the beautiful weather, friendly people, and historical sights and sounds. While Kusadasi has been in the spotlight for many years now, Bodrum is also becoming a popular option for cruise lines to include in itineraries. 

Located on the Bodrum Peninsula, the city is famous for its historic city center, particularly the castle, which was built partly with stones from the Halicarnassus Mausoleum, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. 

This year, 101 cruise ships visited Bodrum, with Costa Venezia concluding the cruise season before winter. It was the fifteenth time the Costa Cruise ship visited the port. Overall, nearly 100,000 cruise ship passengers visited the port this year.

Bodrum Cruise Port
Photo Credit: RauL C7 / Shutterstock

Aziz Güngör, Director of Eastern Mediterranean Ports of Global Ports Holding, said: “Bodrum has proven its position as one of Turkey’s high-potential main ports this year, with its location, the domestic and international airport terminal providing strategic flight routes and the high bed capacities provided by its hotels. We believe it will continue to prove its position strongly in the year 2023.”

Most major cruise lines are finding their way to Turkish ports. Norwegian Jade, operated by Norwegian Cruise Line; Mein Schiff 5, Mein Schiff 6, and Mein Schiff Herz, owned by Tui Cruises; and Azamara Journey and Azamara Pursuit, owned by Azamara Cruises, all visited Bodrum this year. 

Odyssey of the Seas visited Bodrum for the first time this year. The Quantum-Ultra class, a 169,300 gross-ton cruise ship, was the biggest cruise ship in history to visit Bodrum. 

Turkey Bets Big on Cruises

The rising popularity that Turkey is experiencing is something that has been built up over several years. Cruise ships have been coming to Turkey for many years, with Kusadasi and Bodrum becoming steady ports of call on itineraries. 

The capital Istanbul has seen significant growth over the last couple of years. It is currently one of the most popular embarkation ports for cruise ships alongside Pireaus in Greece in the eastern Mediterranean. 

Earlier this year, a new cruise port was inaugurated in Istanbul, which even features a popular restaurant by world-famous Instagram star chef Nusret Gökce, better known as Salt Bae. 

The Galaport cruise port, featuring a 29,000-square-meter underground terminal, has a capacity for three ships handling 15,000 cruise passengers per day. From Istanbul, cruise ships can visit the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. 

Turkey expects to welcome 1.5 million cruise passengers in Istanbul, further bolstering cruise tourism to cities such as Bodrum. 

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