December 6, 2016
(11:35 a.m. GMT) -- Carnival Corporation's Cunard Line and P&O Cruises have announced plans to cancel all calls to Turkey in 2017 -- opting to replace calls in the country with stops in Greece or Albania.
In a joint statement released this morning the lines said: "After careful consideration, we have taken the decision to remove Turkey from all itineraries in 2017 for both Cunard and P&O Cruises, based upon various sources including advice given by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
"The Turkish ports have been replaced with either Greek ports of call or Sarande, which is in Albania."
Cruise Critic was first made aware of P&O Cruises' decision to drop calls to Turkey over the weekend, when Mr Piano wrote on the line's members' board: "Just had a phone call from Travel agent, our itinerary for our Oceana fly cruise in June has been changed. They informed us P&O are removing all Turkey visits for all Cruises. But they have also changed another port of call. Instead of Ephesus (Kusadasi) we now have Katakolon, and instead of Rhodes we now have Sarande. Is this a good or bad swap? we have no idea. Never been to Rhodes so a little disappointing."
On Cunard's members' board, Cocoa Katz wrote earlier today: "Received a message from Cunard regarding the cancellation of all Turkish ports....very disappointing as this was over 40% of the cruise."
Cruise lines began pulling out of Istanbul following a terrorist attack on June 28, 2016, at the city's airport, which killed 42 people. Some lines -- including Azamara, Cunard, Seabourn, Silversea, Windstar, Star Clippers and TUI Cruises -- kept other Turkey calls on their summer itineraries, while others -- such as Crystal, Disney and MSC Cruises -- decided to pull out of Turkey altogether in 2016.
The U.S. Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens of increased threats from terrorist groups throughout Turkey and to avoid travel to southeastern Turkey. It adds: "In light of the July 15 coup attempt and its aftermath, we suggest U.S. citizens reconsider travel to Turkey at this time."
The U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office advise against all travel to within 10km of the border with Syria and to the city of Diyarbakir; and advises against all but essential travel to most of southeastern Turkey. It adds that the threat from terrorism remains high, although the situation has calmed since the attempted coup.
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade also cautions travel to Turkey.
Turkey's existing state of emergency -- announced by the country's National Security -- was extended on September 28 to a further three months, when it is expected to be reviewed again.
Cruise Critic is in contact will all other cruise lines and will update this story if more lines announce itinerary changes.
--by Kerry Spencer, Editor, U.K.