(8:15 a.m. EDT) – Celebrity Cruises has confirmed that Celebrity Reflection and Celebrity Equinox will no longer overnight in Istanbul in 2016 due to port construction and berth availability.
Construction of the Istanbul Salipazari Port Area project, commonly known as Galataport, is set to make Istanbul one of the world’s largest hubs for cruise tourism. The development is slated to start in 2016 and due to be completed in the last quarter of 2018. As yet, it is unclear as to whether Celebrity Cruises sailings in 2017 and 2018 will be affected.
Earlier this year, Celebrity continued to call in to Istanbul, but pulled all overnight stays due to ongoing security concerns. Three ships — Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity Equinox and Celebrity Constellation — and eight itineraries were affected.
However, Celebrity has said the decision is not based on security concerns.
A statement from Celebrity read: “Due to berth availability and port construction in Istanbul scheduled for 2016, Celebrity Reflection and Celebrity Equinox will no longer overnight in Istanbul, Turkey. Celebrity Cruises truly regrets having to take this action, but feel it is in the best interest of all our guests. Celebrity Cruises would like to thank guests for their cooperation and understanding.”
The decision to pull Istanbul came to light after Livin Life posted on the Cruise Critic message boards that they had received an email from Celebrity announcing the news.
Celebrity Reflection’s 2016 Greece, Turkey and Italy itinerary will instead overnight in Athens with further stops in Chania, Crete, and Bodrum, Turkey. The Celebrity Equinox Greece and Turkey sailing will overnight in Athens and extend its time in Santorini, Mykonos and Ephesus (or overnight in Malta, depending on the itinerary).
Customers who already have reservations confirmed for 2016 are able to change their booking for an alternative ship or sailing date at the prevailing rate, should they wish.