Mega Ship Makes Its First Visit To Istanbul

Italian cruise giant MSC Cruises' newest and largest cruiser, MSC Orchestra, began its first tour this season, on June 2 from Venice, and arrived in Istanbul on June 5
The mega-ship was built in 2007 and has a 3,000-passenger capacity. The MSC Orchestra, the largest among vessels with regular tours to Istanbul, will visit Istanbul once every week for 21 weeks and travel between Italy, Croatia, Greece and Turkey.

MSC Cruises added Turkey to its destinations three years ago at the initiative of Arkas Holding -- a well-known sea transportation group in Turkey. The company was pleased with the interest from Turkish tourists and wanted to increase the number further. Weekly passengers boarding with MSC Cruises from Turkey were around 80 on average last year, and this year's average weekly passengers seem to be at around the 120 mark, according to early reservation numbers.

The MSC Orchestra is nothing less than a hotel and serves its passengers with 18 decks, five restaurants, meeting rooms, a three-floor theatre with a 1,250 audience capacity, duty-free shops, a fitness centre, a health and spa centre, mini-golf and tennis courts.

The cruise with the MSC Orchestra begins in Venice and moves on to Bari in Italy and Katakolon in Greece, docking in Turkey at Izmir and Istanbul. The mega-ship then heads back to Venice, calling in at Dubrovnik in Croatia on the way.

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