The Rising Star of
the Mediterranean – Marmaris Cruise Port
The town where the Aegean kisses the Mediterranean, and a port with a view…
Marmaris is a hidden paradise for all cruise liners in Turkey and the
Aegean. A sheltered, natural harbour provides superb protection from all wind
and sea conditions, making for a pleasant and safe berth all year round. Two
well-fendered quays of 305m and 134m, each 15m wide with draft up to 11m, are
able to accommodate all mega cruise ships.
The mild climate, turquoise sea, scenic pine-clad mountains, unique architecture
of the old town, typical Turkish bazaar, traditional Turkish restaurants, and
above all the warm, hospitable people of Marmaris make it a perfect and
unforgettable stop in the Mediterranean.
The quay is situated adjacent to a large, modern yacht marina within easy
walking distance to the colorful marketplaces (bazaars) and unspoiled beaches.
There are also many exciting opportunities for shore excursions, including the
ancient port of Caunos and Lycian rock tombs at Dalyan, golfing at a brand new
luxury golf and spa venue, the Greek island of Rhodes, jeep safaris, rafting
expeditions, a visit to a traditional Turkish bath, local village and culture
tours and not forgetting the possibility of fun days out for the family at a
nearby water park.
Marmaris Cruise Port operated an innovative shore excursion model in 2008 for
Carnival, where guests stepped off their ship and straight onto a fast catamaran
ferry that took them to the Greek island of Rhodes for the day, delivering them
back to the pier in Marmaris in time for their ship’s departure, and enabling
them to have seen 2 ports with 1 call!
Similar ease of transit was recently experienced by MS Europa guests, when they
embarked traditional Turkish wooden “gulets” moored on the quay right next to
their ship for a relaxing day sailing around unspoiled local bays.
Marmaris Cruise Port Inc. leased the rights to manage the port of Marmaris from
the state in 2001 for a period of 30 years. The shareholders are all local
business people who are involved in tourism, travel and hotel related
enterprises. Since 2001 the company has invested heavily in improving the
infrastructure of the facility, including the passenger terminal, and has also
expanded the pilotage, towage and waste collection services as well as achieving
ISPS compliance. Perhaps most importantly however, a strong marketing campaign
has increased cruise traffic. Up until 2001, there were only 3 or 4 cruise ships
calling annually at Marmaris. Since privatization, cruise ship visits have
snowballed consistently every year.
The port is the main gateway for Marmaris town as an international connection
hub, with excellent air and land connections as well as frequent ferries between
Marmaris and the Greek island of Rhodes, carrying as many as 120,000 passengers
a year. Marmaris is also a regular port of call for cargo ships engaged in the
yacht transport trade, who use Marmaris as their Eastern Mediterranean loading
Marmaris Cruise Port is now commencing another busy summer season, with numerous
maiden calls making up just some of the 90+ cruise ships due to call in 2009, a
24% rise in cruise traffic from 2008.
Marmaris receives surprise calls like this frequently due to the protected
nature of the bay and lack of obstacles near the pier, making it easy to berth
even in heavy weatherMaiden Calls 2009
AIDADiva • GOLDEN IRIS • CLUB MED II • COSTA MEDITERRANEA • ADRIANA III • MSC
Costa Concordia also made an unexpected maiden call in January when adverse
weather conditions meant she diverted from Rhodes at the last minute and instead
berthed in the sheltered natural harbour of Marmaris. Marmaris receives surprise
calls like this frequently due to the protected nature of the bay and lack of
obstacles near the pier, making it easy to berth even in heavy weather. This is
also one of the reasons why Marmaris has numerous scheduled winter calls,
whereas almost all other ports in Turkey have little or no activity during the
Looking Forward to 2010
Marmaris Cruise Port is excited to become the new homeport for the Thomson
Celebration in 2010!
David Selby, Director of Cruising, TUI UK & Ireland said: “Our new summer 2010
programme reaffirms our belief that the Eastern Mediterranean is the next
cruising hotspot for the UK market, it reflects our ongoing commitment to our
customers and what we believe they are looking for when booking a cruise
holiday. The launch of a brand new full season of cruises from Marmaris in
Turkey with flights from 12 UK airports offers our customers easy access to an
exciting and popular area of the Mediterranean.”
Around 100 cruise ships are expected in 2010, carrying almost 125,000 guests,
including 26 turnarounds by the Thomson Celebration and The World returning for
an overnight stay in May.
And to the Future
Plans to develop new annexed pier of 300m are underway and awaiting final
approval from the Turkish Ministry of Tourism. This project will increase
capacity from 1 mega + 1 medium vessel to 3 mega + 1 medium cruise ship able to
dock simultaneously. Once final permission is granted, construction will begin
immediately and is expected to take around 10 months to complete at an
approximate cost of 8 million US$. Refurbishment of the passenger terminal is
also scheduled for winter 2009.
Marmaris is already a popular tourist resort in close proximity to Dalaman
airport, a major European flight hub for mass tourism operations. Geographically
Marmaris is situated where the Aegean meets the Med and where the Eastern Med
begins, which enables ships originating their cruises from Marmaris to offer
numerous itinerary alternatives, e.g. Eastern Med & Middle East, Aegean,
Istanbul & Black Sea, Ionian & Adriatic. Marmaris is situated within weekly
cruising proximity to all these destinations. In 2010 Thomson Celebration
home-porting here will be a good example of a cruise line utilising this
opportunity and Marmaris Cruise Port hopes to receive more home-porting vessels
in the future.
Last but not least…
Didim Cruise Port “Gateway to the Land of Oracles”
Didim Cruise Port, a new port of entry into Turkey, is also managed by Marmaris
Cruise Port. Didim is situated on the south-west Aegean coast of Turkey between
Bodrum and Kusadasi. It is a sheltered bay, ideal for anchoring ships, with a
golden, sandy beach within easy walking distance from the pier for cruise
guests. Also, a regular fast-ferry connection runs during the summer months to
the Greek islands of Kos, Patmos and Samos, all of which are within a radius of
30 nautical miles. The pier at Didim Cruise Port is currently only suitable for
ferries and tenders. The passenger terminal is new and the whole facility is of
course ISPS compliant.
Didim Cruise Port will be pleased to also welcome Club Med 2, as well as Sea
Dream 1 and Arion on maiden calls in 2009, from where their guests can visit
famous sites such as the ruins of the Temple of Apollo at Didyma and the ancient
Ionian cities of Miletus and Priene, not forgetting of course the ancient
metropolis of Ephesus and nearby house of the Virgin Mary, also within easy