The parent company of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH), has announced that it is suspending all calls to Turkey through 2016 for all three of its brands. NCLH is also the parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line.
The announcement makes NCLH the latest cruise company to suspend calls to Turkey following a terrorist attack at a major tourist attraction in Istanbul. MSC Cruises and Crystal Cruises have also suspended Turkey calls, redirecting ships to destinations in Greece. Frank Del Rio, NCLH's president and CEO, told Luxury Travel Advisor's cruise editor Susan J. Young at a dinner in Miami that the company is currently reworking schedules to include more ports in Greece and that things had improved there. In addition, he said ships will also include port calls in Malta.
"We will continue to closely monitor the situation and make future itinerary adjustments as appropriate," NCLH said in a statement announcing the decision. "We have begun the process of informing guests booked on the affected cruises of the itinerary changes and will update the respective brand websites with revised voyage information."
At the media dinner Del Rio said that he really did not want to pull ships from Istanbul and other Turkish ports, noting the kindness and friendliness of the Turkish people and the amazing historic sites in Istanbul, Kusadasi and other ports in Turkey. He also noted that when he was in the process of establishing Oceania, the first person who ever wrote him an investment check was a Turk.
That said, Del Rio told media that safety and security for guests and crew must take priority, and he sincerely hopes the situation improves and the lines can return next year.