DO NOT TAKE THE SHIP EXCURSION.
Archaeological site of Ephesus Rating:
OK so it didn't help that, in addition to Pacifica, there was Costs Serena (i think) AND a Pullmantur ship at the port. It was gridlock from the start so we were behind schedule all day. All the buses made the same potty-break stop at the same cafe/souvenir shop at the same time. There were 10-15 busses, with probably 25-40 people on each - all trying to use the same 10-stall bathroom. They said we had 15 minutes. Seriously? 500 people? It was ridiculous.
So we get to Ephesus and it's awash in people. Probably more than when the city was at it's height. The guide hustled us through in less than 90 minutes. Didn't even mention the Terrace houses. It didn't help that we had two couples trying to navigate with infants in strollers. What were they thinking? Before we even got to the ampitheater at the end, she gave us 10 minutes to look at the ampitheater, use the bathroom, get something to eat, and get back to the bus. One man blurted out "10 minutes?" incredulous. "Yes" she says "we're running late."
Late to what? The tour of Ephesus was over, it was 2 o'clock. We hadn't been given any time to eat anything and the ship doesn't leave until 6.
Of course the rude Spanish party kept everyone waiting on the bus for an extra 10 minutes. I didn't know who to be more annoyed at - the guide for rushing us through or the people that kept us all waiting.
So where were we late to? A "rug academy" of course. Out in the middle of nowhere. Not mentioned anywhere in the excursion description. Having been to Turkey twice before, we'd seen the whole rug schtick. We bolted as quickly as we could, only to have to pass through room after room of overpriced "fine jewelry" at "discount prices". After about 4 rooms of "fine jewelry" we started getting more standard souvenir faire - which was fine. I wanted to get some Turkish Delight and inexpensive "evil eye" beads for friends back home. But since we were the first to break free, the salespeople literally pounced on us while we were barely in the door. Finally we got outside. We were starving and we had seen what looked like a little cafe outside. Turns out they had chips, soda and ice cream. That was it.
By the time we were herded back on the bus, we had spent more time at the rip-off rug academy - that wasn't on the itinerary - than we had at Ephesus. I wouldn't have minded so much if we hadn't been rushed through Ephesus and not allowed any time for a bite to eat. Or if the rug demo had been somewhere where there were other options to shop or relax.
We should've demanded our money back, but we were so worn out and angry we just didn't want to deal with it.