Capable of accommodating three ships and 15,000 passengers a day, the new facility had planned to receive calls in March 2020 but the temporary pause in cruise operations saw that date pushed back.
Further compounding the situation is a decision in August by the Greek government to only open its borders from the air, land and partially from the sea for vessels up to 49 passengers to sail directly from Turkey to Greece.
‘This is a situation that is having a negative impact on all Turkish, Black Sea and small Greek ports,’ Figen Ayan, Galataport Istanbul CPO, told Seatrade Cruise News.
Lobbying with MedCruise
Together with MedCruise, Galataport Istanbul is lobbying for the sea border between Turkey and Greece to reopen for cruise ships, too, in order to save the 23 calls scheduled for the remainder of this year.
Meanwhile, the $1.7bn infrastructure project is set to revive and redefine Istanbul’s historic port and is hoping to welcome 25m visitors, including 7m tourists and 1.5m cruise passengers and crew per year under normal operating conditions.
The 29,000 sq mtr Galataport Istanbul Cruise Ship Terminal, designed with a unique hatch system, creates a temporary customs area while a ship is alongside, converting Istanbul’s historic port into a unique promenade and leaving the coastline free after the ship departs.
In addition to a cruise port, Galataport Istanbul offers arts and culture, gastronomy and shopping, as well as visitor and resident attractions and amenities, including the Renzo Piano-designed new building for Istanbul Modern, the first contemporary and modern art museum of Turkey founded in 2004.
Additional cultural amenities include the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University Istanbul Painting and Sculpture Museum and Tophane Square which, with a specially restored Tophane Clock Tower dating back to 1848 as its centerpiece, will become the first museum square in Turkey.
In 2022, the 177-room The Peninsula Istanbul hotel will welcome guests.
‘Galataport Istanbul is an inspiration for ports of the future,’ said Ayan.
‘This heritage project saw multiple feats of engineering achieved by the close cooperation of Turkish engineers and international consultants to create the project’s most significant and unique aspects – the world’s first underground terminal building with a unique hatch system creating a temporary customs area and security area.’
Galataport Istanbul management has hired integrated marketing communications based agency FINN Partners to promote the port and its cruise and lifestyle offerings to the North American travel and cruise industry.