We hired a private tour company we found on TripAdvisor. Since we had 6 people it was affordable and it is the way to go. We also hired a private guide through Athens Limo. She was extra but well worth it! They took us everywhere worth seeing and took us to lunch at a local restaurant that is not a tourist restaurant. The food was delightful. Highly recommend!
We did not book a tour in Bodrum and that may have been a mistake. Most of the attractions were closed on Monday unless you were on a cruise tour. They had made special arrangements. So, we didn't get to see several key sights like St. Peter's Castle. We did take a taxi tour and it was good other than not being able to get into the castle.
We took a taxi tour in Crete. It was nice but I think we were a bit weary by this point. We visited the German and the British cemeteries and then straight back to the ship. One lady went into town for shopping but the rest of us just wanted some down time.
Stops: carpet demo, Grand Bazaar, Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia and included lunch and city tour.
This was an expensive tour and I wasn't very pleased with it. On Friday morning the Blue Mosque is closed so they took us to the mandatory carpet demonstration and then cut us loose to shop in the Grand Bazaar. The guide did not take us to the Bazaar. She just gave general directions. We later learned that we missed it completely! All the attractions were in the afternoon and they were packed. The lunch at Topkapi Palace was nice. I may have felt differently about it if we hadn't had to change the schedule.
On the day of disembarkation we had hired a private guide and went to the Basilica Cistern and to the Grand Bazaar. Worth it! And we got to see the Bazaar after all. She took us to lunch at a local spot that had no tourists. You wouldn't even know it was there. The food was really good!
Do not miss Ephesus. It is fabulous and amazing.
At this stop you had to pay a little extra to ride a bus from the pier. Once there, we just got off and walked around. It was beautiful. I liked it better than Santorini. Many people stopped to eat at one restaurants right at the edge of what appears to be the main area of town. It was packed and they had only one server. Don't stop there! There are several restaurants right by where the bus stops. We went to one that was on the second floor and had a fantastic open air dining room that looked out over the water. The food was great and no crowd.
You have your choice of riding a cable car or taking a donkey. We didn't really want to smell like donkey's so it was the cable car for us! At the top of the cable car is a labyrinth of shopping. Eventually, we grabbed a cab and they took us to a black sand beach and came back. We had lunch at a little hole in the wall called Lucky's. The gyros were excellent and we can recommend it. And it was inexpensive, too.