Istanbul was all that i imagined, have been looking forward to seeing this city since a child. You need at least a week here to even start to grasp all that Istanbul offers so the 2 day stay was great. Shuttle bus from ship to Grand Bazaar was good (expensive though!! 10 Euros each) Next time I'd plan for more walk-about time here.
We chose not to go on a tour and instead strolled ashore and wandered along the beach and talked to some locals and had a drink in a portside cafe. Interesting to walk along the beach, not good for swimming, very shallow and almost muddy, but there is a swimmable beach not far away we were told. Very relaxed and low key, a chance to see how the local people live. This is where people from Athens etc come for their holidays, lots of the houses are holiday houses, not so upmarket as the islands of Santorini and Mykonos we were told.
Enjoyed Kusadasi, did the Ephesus tour which was good and then wandered around the town of Kusadasi. More relaxed and unhurried than Istanbul but similar items in shops, I felt more at ease browsing here than in istanbul, maybe because there were not so many people. Again, the locals seemed very friendly.
Lovely little island, had a ship's tour with a somewhat abrupt guide, maybe she does this too many times a week, but got a good overview of the island. Enjoyed the walk-about time at the end, poking about the little lanes and streets and in and out of the local shops. Locals very friendly. Tendered from ship, that was fun, very windy!
Santorini is one of those must-see places and we were lucky with good weather
for the spectacular views. Did a the ship tour of Ilias Profitis (sp?) and across the island to Oia. This was interesting because I hadn't realised how big the island was inland from the cliffs of the crater where the ship moored.
Interesting cross country drive looking at the houses and holiday homes (where do they get their water?) and Oia is of course everything that you have ever seen on every Greek holiday brochure. Very touristy, crammed with shops selling everything you can imagine but still with a captivating charm.
Great to be so close to this great city and have the ship to return to after a days sightseeing. Loved it.