Antalya Port ready for ’attack of cruisers’ .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} ANTALYA - One of the biggest cruise ship companies in Europe will be bringing passengers to the Antalya Port, a port official has said.

As the effects of the global crises weakens, Antalya is on the radar of the European cruise companies, Taner Güngör, deputy general manager of Antalya Port, told the Anatolia news agency.

European tourists are bored of Greece, the first-choice destination of European cruising companies, Güngör said, adding that the companies are now including Turkish ports among their destinations. AIDA, one of the biggest cruise ship companies in Europe, will make 42 landings in Antalya starting from April 2010, with two vessels with a capacity of 1,500 passengers each, he said. The company is expected bring in more than 120,000 visitors to Antalya.

’One-third of voyages this year canceled’
"AIDA’s cruiseships will come to Antalya after visiting Venice, Crete and Limassol. The city will benefit from these high-income tourists."

More than 60 voyages had been planned for this year to Antalya, Güngör said, but companies have had trouble finding passengers due to the global economic crisis and have canceled some of them.

"One-third of voyages to Antalya have been canceled. So far this year, only 2,122 cruise tourists have come to our port, but the busy season will start in September. The total capacity of the vessels to come in that term is 44,000 passengers, it will be good during the crisis even if these ships come half full."

The Antalya Port may also become a "savings port" for some cruising companies. Around 10 firms have inquired about the Antalya Port as part of efforts to their expenses, Güngör said.

"At a time of crises, especially European companies are seeking less expensive ports for their cruiserships," Güngör said.

"The Antalya Port has drawn interest for its various choices of service and security precautions. If the deal goes through, the companies will leave their ships here for five or six months. And the staff exchange process will be easy since the port is close to the airport. We are ready for this challenge."