(4 p.m EDT) -- Royal Caribbean is putting Turkey back on 2019 cruise itineraries after suspending service for two years due to security concerns.
It joins several other lines that plan to return to the country. Most major cruise lines stopped visiting Turkey after a July 2016 attempted military coup to overthrow president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
While the U.S. State Department still advises to "reconsider travel" to the nation, it notes risks are concentrated on the Syria border and a handful of provinces. Most cruises stick to Istanbul and Kusadasi, home of the ancient site of Ephesus.
Royal Caribbean will begin selling trips on April 23 for two 12-day itineraries from Rome (Civitavecchia) on Jewel of the Seas. The Oct. 30 and Nov. 11 sailings will both include stops in Ephesus (Kusadasi), says company spokeswoman Celia de la Llama. She notes that Crown & Anchor Society members will be able to book one day prior to the general opening date.
Royal Caribbean decided to return to the country after consulting with security experts. Other lines with plans to call on Kusadasi include Regent Seven Seas, Oceania, Silversea, Star Clippers, Azamara Club and Celestyal.
In addition, Regent Seven Seas recently announced that it will return to Istanbul on two new cruises on Seven Seas Voyager, leaving from Rome on Oct. 8 and Athens on Oct. 16, 2019. And Celestyal Cruises will call on Istanbul on one cruise leaving Athens on Nov. 11, 2019, and on two others from Crete in May and September 2020.
--Larry Bleiberg, Cruise Critic contributor