Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings
said it will cancel calls in Turkey for the rest of 2016.
The move affects 32 itineraries
sailed by Norwegian Cruise Line, 17 for Oceania Cruises and 12 for Regent Seven
Seas Cruises. The lines go to five ports of call in Turkey, including
Istanbul, where a suicide bomber killed 10 people, mostly tourists, on Jan. 12.
Guests will instead go to Greek
ports of call, primarily Athens and Santorini, Norwegian CEO Frank Del Rio said.
“This is one of the toughest
decisions I’ve ever had to make, itinerary-wise, because Turkey is very near
and dear to our hearts,” Del Rio said.
The decision was based on
intelligence about possible terrorism over the past several months, as well as
the Jan. 12 bombing, Del Rio said. For the safety and security of guests,
“The correct course of action is not to call on Turkish ports in 2016.”
Other cruise lines have canceled
calls in Turkey but on a much more limited scale. Crystal, for example,
has scratched Turkish calls on two cruises this spring in favor of Greece. MSC Cruises said its MSC Magnifica
ship won’t call in Turkey until further notice.
Del Rio pointed out that last year
when some other cruise lines canceled calls to Turkey in the third and fourth
quarters, NCLH didn't. "We held out. We had confidence things would turn around,” he said.
He said that when calm, Greece and
Turkey are among the best destinations to visit and some of the highest
yielding ones for cruise lines.
“If you want to get a taste of
what Eastern life is like, Istanbul is the place to go,” said Del Rio, who also
praised Kusadasi as one of the top three places to see Roman ruins in the world.
Guests not past final payment can
either cancel the cruises or move them to other itineraries, Del Rio said. “If
in a month everything is calm and collected, then I made the wrong decision,”