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More Cruise Lines Are Shuffling Itineraries to Avoid Visits to Turkey

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Skift Take

The announcement by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings to cancel all stops in Turkey this year is the most sweeping yet by an American cruise operator. Now all eyes turn to Carnival and Royal Caribbean.

— Hannah Sampson

Three cruise lines announced Friday that they are the latest to suspend calls in Turkey following a suicide bombing in Istanbul earlier this month.

Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises — all part of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings — will scrap visits throughout Turkey for the rest of 2016. More than 50 sailings across the three brands are affected.

“Our primary concern is to ensure the safety and security of our guests and crew,” the lines said in a statement.

The company has not released details of alternative itineraries yet, but said it had started notifying passengers who were booked on the affected voyages and will update each brand’s website with changes.

Friday’s news follows the announcement by European line MSC Cruises on Wednesday that it was suspending calls in Turkey until further notice. One ship, MSC Magnifica, was to call on Istanbul and Izmir on a weekly basis starting March 29; those stops will be replaced by visits to Athens and Mykonos.

“This decision was made by the company amid growing concerns by guests as a result of the recent tragic events in Istanbul,” MSC said in a statement.

Crystal Cruises said last week that it would head to Greece instead of Turkey for two upcoming trips in April and May on Crystal Symphony. Visits to Turkey in April and November aboard the line’s new luxury yacht, Crystal Esprit, will also be changed.

Several cruise operators with Turkish ports on future itineraries have said they are monitoring the security situation but have not made changes, including Royal Caribbean International, Princess Cruises, and Holland America Line. In August, Costa Cruises canceled all stops in Turkey for the rest of 2015 following an attack on the U.S. consulate in Istanbul, but the Italian line has not made any changes to planned visits this year.

“We don’t have any brands scheduled to call on Istanbul in the short term,” said Roger Frizzell, a spokesperson at Carnival Corp., in an email. “Our brands will be looking at this market – with input from our guests and others – to make longer term decisions about cruises to this location.”

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