Turkey is back on the itinerary for two Royal Caribbean sailings in late 2019, according to the line’s Vicki Freed, senior vice president of sales, trade services, and support.
Royal Caribbean International made the decision after talking to its safety and security program director and deciding that it was safe to return for the two sailings. Neither sailings are on sale yet.
According to Freed, the line started thinking about going back to Turkey after not visiting any of the country’s ports in 2017 and 2018, because of conversations they had with a travel agent, Joseph Cavarra of Education Travel Service.
“Last year we had a pastor from Kansas City with a group of 650 people and when they pulled Ephesus out it was a major, major issue,” Cavarra told Travel Market Report. “The itineraries we had weren’t really geared for the Christian groups we had.” Those groups include one led by American televangelist Joel Olsteen.
The sailings will be two 12-day itineraries leaving on Oct. 30 and Nov. 12 out of Rome. Both will be on Royal’s Jewel of the Seas and will feature stops in Ephesus and in Israel, cities that “are very, very big ports for us,” and the rest of the religious travel community, Cavarra said.
According to Cavarra, none of the clients he’s working with are worried about the safety issues that initially pulled lines out of the area. “Everyone is worried about Turkey, but we would not put our pilgrimage in harm’s way,” he said.
According to Freed, Royal is aiming at fully incorporating Turkey back into the fold in 2020….
Join to my Facebook groups