Turks' interest in cruises increases

Turks' interest in cruises increases

ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
Turks interest in cruises increases

Local tourists have recently been choosing to vacation on the blue seas, according to tourism officials. AA photo

With the decreasing costs caused by competition and increase in the number of boats using Turkish ports, local tourists are recently choosing to vacation on the blue seas.

Boat tours, generally known as cruises, are an exciting alternative especially for tourists who are bored with road tours. Most of the tours are in the following directions: the Aegean and Adriatic Sea, Greek islands, Western Mediterranean, eastern and western Caribbean, Aegean and Mediterranean, Scandinavia and the Baltic, Norwegian fjords, Transatlantic and South America.

Sarp Özkar, the manager of a tour company, spoke about the increase in demand for cruise tours. “Cruises were the champion last year with a 155 percent increase in demand and this year there has been a 94 percent increase.”

Özkar said the most important reason for the increase in early reservations, which rose 250 percent, was the increase in the number of ships preferring Turkish ports such as Istanbul, Çeşme, İzmir and Kuşadası. “The decreasing prices caused by competition among tour companies are another reason for this interest, too.”

Four-five countries in a week

Özkar said the price of cruise tours, which had appealed to high-class travelers in past years, had decreased to 199 euros and began to be chosen by people of all classes.

“One of the important factors is the chance to visit four or five different countries in one week. This attracts Turkish people. Even though one can wake up in a different port or country, there is no need to pack any luggage. In this way road weariness is avoided.” Özkar called the boats “floating holiday villages” and said they had spas, pools, massages, golf courts, tennis courts, fitness, shows and animation.

According to Özkar, cruises create a feeling of freedom in people with the infinite blue. “This is the best time to visit the Norwegian fjords. The nature and Scandinavian houses in the fishing towns make for a different holiday experience. All the other ports such as the Aegean, Greek islands and Mediterranean are special but the Norwegian fjords are different.”