Don't get off the ship or at least, don't go beyond the port gates. We didn't want to go on the long coach trip to Cairo because we had done this on a previous cruise. We decided to walk into Alexandria. Big mistake. We have never experienced such intimidating and scary taxi and horse and trap drivers all clamouring for our business even though we did not want it. No one gave up! And don't get me started on the filth and rubbish piled up the walls. And the state of the walk ways - we have walked on safer mountain paths! We were soon back on the ship and safety. Oh and we were there for 2 days, needless to say, we did not get off again.
We decided to do a tour because we had not been to Istanbul before. Tours are expensive and we were annoyed that a good 30-45 mins of it was spent at the carpet factory right after a lightning stop at the Blue Mosque. We escaped to the Grand Bazaar which was truly amazing. The rest of the tour was great and we loved this fantastic city and would love to return for a few days.
We know Kusadasi well and it is our shopping port. We always buy jewellery and watches and can usually get a good deal. Best tip, go with an idea of what you want, know how much it is back home and be prepared to barter hard.