Russia's Astoria Grande ship (ex AIDAcara) operates Black Sea cruises from Sochi to Istanbul (Turkey)

   July 12, 2022 ,   Cruise Industry

Russia is preparing to launch voyages to Turkey this month with the Astoria Grande ship operating in the Black Sea roundtrips from Sochi Russia to Istanbul Turkey, starting mid-July.

Sailings commence on July 16th, Yuriy Vladimirov, Port Sochi's general manager said.

Astoria Grande has max passenger capacity 1340 (590 staterooms). The ship will first call at the Turkish cities of Trabzon and Sinop on the Black Sea coast, prior to docking in Istanbul for a couple of days. During her 2-week-long trip, the ship will then head for the resort town Cesme (Aegean coast) and Bozcaada Island, before sailing back to Sochi.

Astoria Grande will offer 16 such services until October 2022.

The Astoria Grande cruise ship was previously named AIDAcara (Germany-flagged) and sailed in the Baltic Sea. The Russian company Akvilon bought the vessel in 2021.

The Turkish tourism company Miray Cruises will offer the services at the ports Astoria Grande will call.

From January through to May, ~856,000 Russians visited Turkey, comprising 7.5% of all foreign tourist arrivals, the latest data from the Culture and Tourism Ministry revealed.

In the same period in 2020 and 2021, Turkey welcomed ~570,000 and ~318,000 Russian vacationers, respectively.

In the first 5 months of 2022, Russians were the 3rd largest group of foreign tourists, after Germans and Bulgarians.

Astoria Grande cruise ship

In May, 360,000+ Russians vacationed in Turkey, up from ~19,000 a year ago and 964 back in May 2020.

During the first 6 months of 2022, a total of 317 cruise ships visited ports in Turkey with the total number of passengers reaching ~206,000. 

The resort town of Kusadası in the western province of Mugla was the most popular cruise destination. From January to June, 162 liners visited the town, bringing nearly 140,000 visitors. Cesme saw 13 ships with ~4000 cruisers over the same period. Istanbul received 56 ship calls and ~40,000 passengers during 2022-H1.

A total of 1052 cruise ships are scheduled to visit Turkish ports in 2022, bringing ~1.5M tourists. Istanbul and Cesme will host 200 and 77 cruise ships in 2022, respectively.