P&O and Cunard remove Turkey from all itineraries in 2017

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All calls into Turkey by P&O Cruises and Cunard ships have been cancelled for the whole of next year.

The sister lines confirmed that Turkish ports of call have been replaced with alternatives in Greece and Albania,

A joint statement from the Carnival UK brands said: “After careful consideration, we have taken the decision to remove Turkey from all itineraries in 2017 for both Cunard and P&O Cruises, based upon various sources including advice given by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

“The Turkish ports have been replaced with either Greek ports of call or Sarande which is in Albania.”

Turkey has been the target of numerous terrorist attacks this year, most notably on Istanbul airport in June, which killed 26 people.

The country also suffered from a failed military coup.

Crystal Cruises, Disney Cruise Line and MSC Cruises dropped calls in Turkey this year.

Cruise ship considered to house migrants in Greece

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Photo thanks to EuroNews

by Phil Davies

Leasing a cruise ship is one of the options reportedly being considered to use as emergency accommodation for thousands of migrants stranded in the Greek island of Lesbos after a fire gutted their camp.

Hiring a local stadium is also in contention after the island’s overcrowded refugee detention centre went up in flames on Monday night after clashes between rival factions.

Riot police have been sent to the island to bolster security in Moria, a hilltop village near the camp.

About 3,000 migrants who fled have since been caught and escorted back to the camp, but at least 2,000 others remain unaccounted for, with officers searching fields and olive groves to track them down.

The island’s mayor, Spyros Galinos, demanded that the Greek government move the asylum seekers off the island and find a more permanent answer, The Times reported. There were more than 5,700 migrants in a camp built to house 2,500.

“We don’t want temporary solutions,” he said. “We need a boat to start shipping these people out of here, to other places in Greece. We don’t need additional flash points, especially as the situation remains explosive here.”

Witnesses said dozens of tents and prefabricated units were destroyed by fire after reports circulated that the authorities were planning to deport hundreds of migrants to Turkey. At least 200 children have been transferred to a shelter in Mytilene, the capital of Lesbos.

More than 500,000 migrants crossed from the Turkish coast to Lesbos last year. A deal between the EU and Turkey initially helped to stem the tide, but the number has increased again in recent months, leaving 60,000 people trapped in Greece.

Under the EU deal, all new migrants should be sent back to Turkey, but only after any claims for asylum have been heard in Greece. The plan allows for those accepted as refugees to go to the top of the queue for relocation into the EU — once they have returned to Turkey.

An estimated 13,000 asylum requests have been filed since March, creating a backlog that understaffed officials in Greece have been unable to handle.

Each asylum request takes up to four months to process, creating friction among those stranded in detention centers such as Moria, while opposition to the arrivals appears to be growing, the newspaper reported.

“The situation is out of control,” Galinos said. “We’re like a powder keg about to explode.”

Royal Caribbean introduces overnight shore excursions

Tikal National Park – GoUNESCO

Royal Caribbean International said it will offer shore excursions that include overnight stays on select cruises.

The new Multi-Day Adventures program offers two-day overnight explorations in Greece; Bangkok; and Tikal, Guatemala.

The excursions let passengers leave their ship in one destination and rejoin at the next port of call. They include fully guided tours, dining, airfare (where applicable), hotel accommodations and transportation. Pricing wasn’t disclosed.

As an example, passengers can book flights from either Belize or Honduras to Tikal National Park, a Mayan archaeological site. The trip includes an overnight tour, an expedition to walk the ruins and a Mayan ceremonial experience, plus return flight.