The Aegean Sea resort town Kusadasi (port to Ephesus, Turkey) welcomed on Thursday, September 2, its first cruise ship following a 16-month pause due to the COVID restrictions that brought the travel industry to a halt.
Kusadasi City (Aydın province) is popular for hosting the highest number of cruise passengers annually.
The Blue Sapphire ship docked at Kusadası Ege Port early in the morning with 450 passengers consisting mostly of Russians.
Global Ports Holding Eastern Mediterranean Regional Director and Kusadası Ege Port General Manager Aziz Gungor said they were excited to welcome the first cruiser following a 16-month pause.
Bodrum, one of the most popular holiday destinations in southwestern Turkey’s Mugla province, welcomed a cruise ship in March 2021. Yet, the ship was without passengers and had arrived to pick up her crew members and restock supplies before restarting.
Blue Sapphire embarked from Antalya before she arrived in Kusadası from Egypt. The vessel had to skip Greece since it keeps the sea border gates closed, and lifting of the closure would enable more ships to come to Turkey.
Meanwhile, Turkey will soon launch a mega port project for Istanbul. Galataport will soon see the first ship anchor at its shores opening a new era for the tourism industry of the metropolis as it aims to become one of the top cruise destinations. Situated on the shore of Istanbul’s Karakoy district, the project will have the potential to welcome ~25 million visitors, ~7 million tourists, and ~1.5 million cruise passengers.
Galataport is jointly being built by Turkey’s Dogus Group and Bilgili Holding with an investment of USD 1,7 billion (TL 14,07 billion). It is one of the largest coastal projects in the world, aiming to become one of the top cruise destinations.