Istanbul (Turkey, Galataport)

Cruise Port schedule, live map, terminals, news

Rating:
Istanbul cruise port

Region
Mediterranean - Black Sea

Local Time
2022-11-30 18:06

min: 53 °F (11 °C) / max: 59 °F (15 °C) 56°F
13.1°C
Wind: 48°/ 6.9 m/s  Gust: 10.8 m/sWind: 48°/ 6.9 m/s  Gust: 10.8 m/sMod. breeze
6.9 m/s
Min / Max Temperature59 °F / 15 °C
53 °F / 12 °C
  Port Map

Istanbul is a major port city in Turkey, as well as the country's most populous and its historic, cultural and economic center. The city covers a total area of approx 1539 km2 (594 mi2) and has population around 14,1 million (metro around 14,8 million).

Historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople, Istanbul is a transcontinental city (located in both Europe and Asia) and straddling Bosphorus Strait between Black Sea and Marmara Sea (Eastern Mediterranean). The city's historical and commercial downtown is on the European side, and around 1/3 of its population is on the Asian side. Istanbul Metro is one of the world's most populous cities - ranked 7th-largest (city proper) and Europe's largest - followed by Moscow (Russia) and London (UK). It also has one of world's fastest-growing metro economies.

Established under the name of Byzantion (around 660 BC), the city developed to become one of the most prominent in European history. After the reestablishment as Constantinople (330 CE), the city served as the imperial capital for nearly 16 centuries. The period included the Roman (330-1204), Byzantine (1261–1453), Latin (1204–1261) and Ottoman (1453–1922) empires. During Roman and Byzantine times, it was Christianity's second most important city (after Rome), before in 1453 the Ottomans conquered and transformed it into an Islamic stronghold and Ottoman Caliphate's capital.

Istanbul has a strategic position on the Silk Road (rail networks from China to Middle East and Europe) and is also on the only sea route between Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea. Its population has increased tenfold since the 1950s. Music, film, cultural and arts festivals were established at the end of 20th century and continue to be hosted today. Infrastructure improvements and redevelopments have produced a complex transportation network.

Currently, Istanbul is ranked the world's 8th most popular tourist travel destination (as city), while Turkey is ranked the world's 6th (as country). Its biggest attraction is the historic downtown (partially listed as UNESCO Site), as well as entertainment and cultural venues (across the Golden Horn/natural harbor in Beyoglu district). Most tourists arrive via flights, but ~0,5 million foreigners arrive by ships/yachts annualy.

Port Istanbul (Turkey) cruise port Galataport

Port Istanbul

Port Istanbul (locode TRIST) as cruise port is both homeport (departure/turnaround) and call port, visited mainly on Eastern Mediterranean itineraries. Most voyages start in Italy (Venice) or Greece (Piraeus-Athens). Some of the world's largest cruise brands with European seasonal programs - like Uniworld (river cruisetours packages combining flights to/from Istanbul), RCI-Royal Caribbean. Princess - were the first to drop Turkish ports (including Istanbul) from their 2016-2017-2018 schedules. These companies were soon followed by Celebrity, Azamara, Cunard, Holland America,P&O UK. All ports of call in Turkey were replaced by Greek Islands port destinations.

In 2015, the cruise port in Karakoy was closed down due to construction works of the new Galataport. The tourists' decline resulted in many street businesses closing down as tradesmen lost nearly 90% of their businesses in comparison to 2015. In 2016, the number of foreign tourists to Turkey decreased by 32% (down to 17,4 million) over 2015. There was a significant decrease in arrivals from Western- and Asian countries and from Russia. On June 6, 2019, Istanbul's Sarayburnu Port welcomed its first cruise vessel in 4 years - Seven Seas Voyager - operated by RSSC-Regent.

Turkey (previously a hugely popular travel and leisure/resort destination) was subject to a number of deadly terrorist attacks in 2016 and 2017. In June 2016, an Istanbul airport attack (shootings and suicide bombings) resulted in 42 deaths. In December 2016, a twin bomb attack outside a football stadium killed 38. There was also a shooting in the Reina nightclub (Ortakoy district of Istanbul) in January 2017 resulting in 39 dead and 69 injured.

In early-November 2018, Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean (RCCL) placed bids for tendering of Port Yenikapı (Istanbul). Both companies are interested in building a new cruise port in Istanbul (as build-operate-transfer project) and intend to turn Istanbul into a Mediterranean cruise hub. Carnival and RCCL are represented here by Tura Tourism (a Turkish sales agency).

The Galataport project was initially scheduled for completion in March 2020. However, due to the Coronavirus crisis, the project was delayed and the cruise port was inaugurated in August 2021. The modern facility was planned for annual capacity ~1,5 million and daily capacity ~15,000 (passengers and crew). Among the largest cruise companies with booked berthing were RCI-Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Marella, RSSC-Regent Seven Seas, Ponant, Silversea, Fred Olsen, Windstar, Celestyal.

Istanbul cruise terminal

Istanbul cruise port terminals are located near Galata Tower. Cruise ships dock at Karaköy Yolcu Salonu passenger terminal (at Beyoglu's southern tip). The terminal is located in Karakoy (Galata), on the waterfront of Bosphorus Strait. This whole area was redeveloped into the new Galataport cruise ship terminal complex.

Istanbul cruise port map (printable)

Istanbul cruise port terminal is right in downtown (in close proximity to major tourist attractions) and approx 20 km / 12 mi (or 25-min) away from Ataturk Airport.

Cruise ships generally arrive in Istanbul and dock at the Salı Pazarı terminal between 8:30-9 AM. After disembarkation, passengers arrive to the shoreline Meclis-i Mebusan boulevard. All the port's ship docking quays are along the shore - starting from Golden Horn's mouth and going northeastward to the districts Findikli and Tophane.

Near the port is the tram station Fındıklı from where you can cross Galata Bridge and go to some of the city's most popular tourist destinations - Sultanahmet (Blue Mosque), Topkapi, Eminonu (Spice Bazaar), Beyazit (Grand Bazaar), Karakoy (Galata Tower), Dolmabahce Palace (5-min walk from the tram's last stop), Taksim Square. Istiklal Avenue (city's most popular street).

From the cruise terminal, Galata Bridge is at 10-min walking distance. At Galata Bridge's northern end (across Golden Horn) is Karakoy - the city’s oldest district. Via an underground cable-car you can go from Karaköy to Tunnel Square, from where an easy walk leads to Istiklal Avenue.

Yolcu Salonu passenger terminal is capable to accommodate 4 cruise ships at a time. If there are more vessels, the dock at Salipazari Pier. The cruise terminal building has 3 halls with combined capacity 10,000 passengers.

Galata Port

İstanbul's new cruise port "Galataport" project originated in 2001 as a redevelopment project that combines functions complementing Turkey's capital city as a center of tourism, commerce and culture. The project covers a land area of 0,1 km2 (0,04 mi2), where the existing buildings (at Karaköy Yolcu Salonu) were renovated - keeping their authentic forms but acquiring new functions.

Istanbul Galata Port map

By this project, the city's customs zone was transformed into a modern tourism complex consisting of an art museum, hotels, restaurants and bars, fast food venues, shopping malls, numerous souvenir shops, office buildings, exhibition areas, car parking facilities.

Istanbul Galata port cruise ship terminal

The following Galataport map shows the Atakoy–Bakırkoy district development project. This district is the city's most populated. The development (started in 2013) planned to provide high-end residential properties, including boat and yacht marinas. The total land area is approx 0,5 km2 (0,2 mi2). It features a well-developed city transportation network - highways, railways, the Atatürk Airport (at just 8 km / 5 mi).

Istanbul Galata port map

Salı Pazarı cruise terminal was temporarily closed for restoration (2015-2021). The new Galataport cruise terminal was initially scheduled for opening in 2018 but was eventually postponed for August 2021.

In May 2017, to Galataport's masterplan was proposed a new concept combining a movable gangway with underground cruise passenger operations. The idea includes a hydraulic boardwalk deploying a gangway during ship calls only (when a vessel is docked). As space, the hydraulic system takes only 3,5 m of the boardwalk.

Galataport was jointly built by Dogus Group (one of Turkey's largest private-sector holdings) and Bilgili Holding (real-estate developer and tourism investor). With an investment of ~TL 14,07 billion (USD 1,7B / EUR 1,43B), this is one of the world's largest coastal and cruise port projects, with annual capacity ~25 million visitors (including ~7M tourists and ~1,5M cruisers).

  • Galataport Cruise Terminal has berthing capacity of 3x liners (simultaneously docked) and ~15,000 passengers.
  • The first cruise ship docking at Galataport (on September 25-26, 2021/overnight) was MS Eurodam (HAL-Holland America Line).
  • Istanbul Galataport's facilities feature an underground cruise terminal (world’s first) sized 29000 m2 / 312155 ft2 which has a unique access/hatch system. During ship days (with docked ships) the cruise terminal converts the port into an esplanade.

Besides being a cruise port, Galataport serves mainly as a leisure destination offering domestic tourists and citizens entertainment and activities themed on gastronomy/modern and traditional Balkan cuisine, shopping, arts, culture, modern tourist attractions and amenities. Galataport also houses a new art museum (Istanbul Modern), Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, MSFAU (Museum of Painting and Sculpture), Tophane Square (Beyoglu district, with the mid-19th-century Tophane Clock Tower). More historical buildings also underwent restorations as part of the Galataport project - including Merkez Han, Karakoy Yolcu Salonu (passenger terminal), Karakoy Cinili Han, Peninsula Istanbul Hotel (2022-inaugurated).

Istanbul tours, shore excursions, hotels

City Tours and Shore Excursions

  • Galata Tower: half a kilometer away from Istanbul Cruise Port. Take a bird-eye view from the Galata Tower top. You will see the amazing modern part of Old Istanbul.
  • Basilica Cistern: dates from the 6th century, one of the most romantic attraction.
  • Aya Sofya: 4 km away from Istanbul Cruise Port. The extraordinary church dates from 6th century.
  • Topkapi Palace: 3 km away from Istanbul Cruise Port. It is a must-see attraction. Topkapi used to be the home of many sultans generations. Discover the delicate kiosks, the lush green courtyards and the secretive harem.
  • Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan Hamam: located in the Sultanahmet Square . It was built in the 16th century for Roxelana, the wife of Suleiman the Magnificent. You can also visit more steamy bathhouses like Cemberlita, Sulemaniye and Galatasaray baths.
  • Blue Mosque: 4 km away from Istanbul Cruise Port, just across Aya Sofya. The Blue Mosque was designed by Sedefkar Mehmed Aga and dates from the early years of the 17th century. It is surrounded by small lively park.
  • Istanbul Archaeology Museums: great place with section for all the family.
  • Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum: housed in the former Ibrahim Pasha Palace.
  • Suleymaniye Mosque: designed for Suleiman the Magnificent by Sinan, a famous Ottoman architect.
  • Taksim Square: two and a half kilometers away from Istanbul Cruise Port.
  • Grand Bazar: take a 20 minutes walk from Istanbul Cruise Port to find almost everything at this marketplace.
  • Dolmabahce Palace: 3 km away from Istanbul Cruise port. The stunning palace was constructed in the period 1843-1856 by the architect of Sultan Abdulmecid, Karabet Balyan.

Daily tours from Istanbul to Edirne (departures every 2 hours) are also offered. The distance is approx 210 km (130 mi). Bus travel time is around 2,5 hours.

Port Istanbul cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from Istanbul, Turkey, Galataport. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.

DayShipArrivalDeparture
1 November, 2022
Tuesday
Azamara Cruises Cruises cruise lineAzamara Pursuit08:0022:00
6 November, 2022
Sunday
Carnival Cruise Line Cruises cruise lineCarnival Venezia06:00
6 November, 2022
Sunday
Seabourn Cruises Cruises cruise lineSeabourn Encore07:0017:00
6 November, 2022
Sunday
Celestyal Cruises Cruises cruise lineCelestyal Crystal15:0018:00
7 November, 2022
Monday
Ambassador Cruise Line Cruises cruise lineAmbience07:0019:00
10 November, 2022
Thursday
Norwegian Cruise Line Cruises cruise lineNorwegian Epic09:0018:00
10 November, 2022
Thursday
Celestyal Cruises Cruises cruise lineCelestyal Crystal15:0018:00
11 November, 2022
Friday
Viking Cruises Cruises cruise lineViking Venus
13 November, 2022
Sunday
Carnival Cruise Line Cruises cruise lineCarnival Venezia06:00
13 November, 2022
Sunday
Celestyal Cruises Cruises cruise lineCelestyal Crystal15:0018:00
14 November, 2022
Monday
Carnival Cruise Line Cruises cruise lineCarnival Venezia17:00
14 November, 2022
Monday
Norwegian Cruise Line Cruises cruise lineNorwegian Star07:0018:00
17 November, 2022
Thursday
Viking Cruises Cruises cruise lineViking Neptune
20 November, 2022
Sunday
Carnival Cruise Line Cruises cruise lineCarnival Venezia06:00
20 November, 2022
Sunday
Norwegian Cruise Line Cruises cruise lineNorwegian Epic09:0018:00
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