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Istanbul City Tour Excursion Reviews

Istanbul City Tour cruise excursion
Overall Rating
A city tour provides a comprehensive overview of the city’s main highlights and points of interest, such as Hagia Sophia and the Grand Bazaar.
Member Image swissyrescue
1 review
Not Rated
Oct 2014

We took a city tour that we loved. Small tour (max 10 people -- 8 attended our tour) that took us into the back streets of Istanbul to experience the local areas and truly local food (no tourists present). It included a ride on the Bosphorus, a walk through the local fish market, true Turkish coffee experience, etc. Absolutely loved it.

Read swissyrescue's full Riviera cruise review
Provider: Oceania Cruises
Member Image HeinBloed
13 reviews
Not Rated
Jan 2014

Again we booked only a guide with Epehesus Deluxe. The first day we had also a car and driver but 2nd day we took the tram. First day was for Topkapi-Palace and Spice Market. Was nice but 2nd day with Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Cistern, Grand Bazaar and the visit on the top of the roofs around the Grand Bazaar like James Bond 007 Skyfall was unbeatable. The end of the tour took us by the new commuter train to the Asian side and back on the ferry with the sunset on Istanbul's skyline.

Read HeinBloed's full Norwegian Jade cruise review
Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
Member Image EQUALIZER555
3 reviews
Sep 2013

Got the bus at the gate of the port. 20 each, traffic was terrible the bus kept stopping every few feet.Eventually we arrived at a big square where we were told, not too nicely, that we had to change to another bus, that was at the far side of the square.This bus moved fairly quickly, I think he was making up time lost by the first bus.This bus went down the same street a few times, and we passed the same football ground three times.As bus tours go I have had better.

Read EQUALIZER555's full MSC Divina cruise review
Provider: MSC Cruises
Member Image Autumn72
6 reviews
Sep 2013

We did an excursion that included St. Sophia, the Blue Mosque, St. Irene's and the Topkapi palace. The guide was excellent and gave a lot of background information that was missing in our other tours. A ship endorsed carpet weaving demo is included and while the carpets are beautiful (and very expensive), the salesmen latch on to you like leeches and are hard to get rid of at the end. They were just the beginning - there is a lot of pressure to buy in Instanbul - the carpet sellers were just the first. As you walk down the street you are harassed by pashmina sellers, perfume sellers. bag sellers, even kids selling socks - all before you get into the grand bazaar. Be prepared to say no and keep walking. Do not engage in polite conversation or they will follow you for blocks. If you do want to buy something you must haggle over the price. If you are comfortable with that you can deal away. We did OK with the few things we bought.
The Hagia Sophia is beautiful but very dark inside and has (currently) lots of scaffolding making it hard to get good pictures. The tile work in the Blue Mosque and Topkapi palace is amazing.

Read Autumn72's full Royal Princess cruise review
Provider: Princess Cruises
Member Image prinsjh
2 reviews
Sep 2013

Just part of the tour as you made your way from the port to the major sights.

Read prinsjh's full Norwegian Spirit cruise review
Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
Member Image sailing mart
1 review
Aug 2013

As cruising with Royal Princess on the Great Mediterranean Tour, we decided to search a less-expensive, but still valuable day tour in Istanbul, and, thanks to the internet and to Trip Advisor, we were lucky to find Ada Vegas Travel agency, managed by a really professional and enthusiastic staff, led by Yuksel Tasdemir (http://www.adavegastravel.com/). They have set everything to be just perfect, at a more than convenient price for the four of us: a great comfortable Mercedes, a skilled driver and an exceptionally knowledgeable and nice guide, Erkal. We have seen the amazing Istanbul, heard its adventurous history, visited the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Hippodrome, the Topkapi Palace, the Topkap? Harem and all, the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar in a more than pleasant speed (so many to enjoy in just a couple of hours limited by the ship's departure!).

Everything we saw was just unforgettable, full of history and magnificence.
The last but not least experience was a visit to the "Matis-Carpets and Jewellery" demonstration shop where splendid carpets, made of silk, with a breathtaking art so old and so perfect, that made us think we were in heaven! Mr Yavuz Ozdemir a courteous host, made of the demonstration a great lesson of Turkish traditional art, a must see when visiting Istanbul, where West and East mingle in an harmonious way.

The Spice Market - a great place to find not only the fantastic Turkish delights, but also hundreds of spices and species of tea, a paradise for our noses and tongues!
All sort of rare spices, very exquisite and expensive too, like the saffron,along with very well-known ones, make the joy of the cooks. In some shops we were served cold tea in a very courteous Turkish tradition.

The Grand Bazaar - a bit too crowded by so many tourists, it is interesting to walk inside. Good opportunities to find whatever one needs/wishes. If you want to bargain, you should be really good at negotiation techniques. Otherwise, don't be sure you have found the lowest price in the city!

Read sailing mart's full Royal Princess cruise review
Provider: Princess Cruises
Member Image Surfari1
1 review
Aug 2013

Very rushed and guide was not not very knowledgable. No time to get out of the bus to photograph the Hagia Sofia or Blue Mosque.

Read Surfari1's full Noordam cruise review
Provider: Holland America Line
Member Image AllawahPark
2 reviews
Jul 2013

Do not like being "ambushed" in a selling exercise. Not advised about the carpet selling.

Read AllawahPark's full MSC Divina cruise review
Provider: MSC Cruises
Member Image sparkx
1 review
Jun 2013

2 day tour across the city, well worth it

Read sparkx's full Celebrity Reflection cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image Bebbyanne
2 reviews
Jun 2013

We joined with a group from Cruise Critic and followed the instructions we had from a previous cruise critic member. This was to stop at the ATM's outside the port then catch the tram to the Hagia Sophia stop. We wandered around here then joined the queues and went inside for a while. After this we walked over to the Blue Mosque with our ticket that we had purchased online. Ours wouldn't work at the scanner along with several others so this meant a trip back to the ticket office to sort this out. We then joined the queue and thinking we were adequately dressed entered the mosque. I was wearing a longish dress but this was not enough and I was given a robe to hide the lower part of my legs. The Topkapi Palace was closed that day so we walked onto the Cistern which was well worth a visit. After this we walked to the spice market then went onto the Grand Bazaar. It was a hot day so we jumped on the tram back to the nearest stop to take us to the port. We ended up as a small group of 4 as we had lost the others along the way.

Read Bebbyanne's full Norwegian Spirit cruise review
Provider: Cruise Critic
Member Image Ronniegiants
3 reviews
May 2013

Good introduction to this fascinating city if you are going to spend time pre or post tour there.

Read Ronniegiants's full Noordam cruise review
Provider: Holland America Line
Member Image Griffter88
1 review
Oct 2012
Istanbul is thriving, busy and very very hectic. We visited the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and the Grand Bazaar. The Blue Mosque is very impressive and although not very blue in my own opinion it is worth a visit. Hagia Sophia is an old mosque/church which is now a museum, this is very good! and again very historical and informative. Grand Bazaar was very busy but well worth a visit and if your any good at haggling then its a great place to get some bargains. Be careful though as there are a lot of people trying to sell you things on the streets, just be polite if not interested and if your area then haggle.
Read Griffter88's full MSC Divina cruise review
Provider: MSC Cruises
Member Image Kallisto
1 review
Oct 2012
We had been in Istanbul before, but not yet visited Hagia Sofia and Blue Mosque because of long lines. This tour was a nice complement of our earlier visit.
Read Kallisto's full Costa Favolosa cruise review
Provider: Costa Cruises
Member Image Darshan1
10 reviews
Oct 2012
While the tour (guide Aref with Tura Tourism) had a few hitches - trouble hearing the guide with faulty radios, trouble keeping up with him, it was still fantastic, and I would highly recommend tiring yourself out by doing a "complete Istanbul" tour if your ship stays overnight. The Blue Mosque is incredible from the outside, the Topkapi Museum has one room of mosaics that is stunning, the Grand Bazaar is a little more like a fancy shopping mall than I expected, but if you step off the main hall, it's fascinating and you won't get lost if you tell the shopkeepers "Gate One" because they can point out the way to the exit. The Hagia Sophia was nice as was the Spice Market. The Underground Cistern was skippable in my opinion, but the true highlight was the Bosporus Cruise. Incredible. Friends we met said the less famous Sulemaniye Mosque is incredibly beautiful on the inside, and seeing that mosque (from the ship) lit up by a perfect crescent moon was incredible.
Read Darshan1's full Celebrity Equinox cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image hillside
1 review
Oct 2012
We booked a private tour for the 4 of us with Daily Istanbul Tours. Our guide, Emaneme, met us at the port and with a driver we visited the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Cistern, Spice Market, City Walls, Pierre Loti Lookout, and the special high point for us the Chora Museum. The Chora had been a church, a mosque and now was a museum. The mosaics were spectacular. We also had lunch at a really nice restaurant next door to the Chora, the Asitane. We enjoyed our entire day and we were happy to have our excellent guide.
Read hillside's full Norwegian Spirit cruise review
Provider: daily istanbul tours
Member Image jabbathehutte
1 review
Sep 2012
Wonderful day despite raining most of the time, over 7 hours of walking during the tour. Many older pax unhappy at that.
Read jabbathehutte's full Queen Elizabeth cruise review
Provider: Cunard Line
Member Image klitz
1 review
Sep 2012
Istanbul is a magnificent stop. Lots of exotic mix of eastern and western cultures. The Hagia Sophia is breathtaking. The Blue Mosque is OK, but was built 1,000 years after the Hagia Sophia and does not have nearly the history and engineering feats of the 6th century Hagia. We booked an all day tour with Ekol Travel (based in Kusadasi) and Aylin was superb. We did eat a very nice lunch at a courtyard cafe; the food was excellent but VERY expensive for lunch. For an added adventure, take the ferry over to Kadikoy; the evenings are bustling with cafes (try Ciya Sofrasi) and hordes of locals (always a good sign). Be sure to check the return ferry schedule before you depart.
Read klitz's full Celebrity Equinox cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image 3Pointers
1 review
Jul 2012
Having been to Istanbul twice before, we did not need to explore so much. The Spice Market is always great and the mosques give the city a real East meets West feel. It is always buzzing and exciting to visit!
Read 3Pointers's full Seven Seas Mariner cruise review
Provider: Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Member Image surelyso
2 reviews
Jul 2012
The tour was 1 day and 1/2 day. "Complete Istanbul" We were told over and over to be sure to have knees and shoulders covered for entrance in the blue mosque. However the tour description led us to believe that the mosque would be done on day 1. So we dressed with that in mind on day 1 and found out later that the mosque would not be until day 2. That was my only complaint. They had blue fabric wraps at the entrance. Many people tied one around the waist so that knees were covered and one around shoulders. Enjoyed all the sites. Day one was exhausting, but I am glad we got to see so many things: Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Spice Market, Carpet Demonstration, Underground Cistern, Grand Bazaar. Would have loved more time at the spice market. Found many of the same type shops as found in the Grand Bazaar. The shop owners were not as pushy as I expected. They wanted to engage you in conversation. My favorite pick-up line was,"I need your money." Never pay full asking price. Start by offering about half and bargain from there. When you reach your lowest offer and they don't counter offer, say no thanks and walk away. If they don't come down to your price, then you know they have reached as low as they will go. Note: If you want pashminas and little souvenirs, you can find the same things at Kusadasi (Ephesus) They have their own grand bazaar and they were cheaper. The currency is Turkish Lira. They will take dollars but give change back in Lira. I tried to always pay exact. When buying Turkish Delight, they charged $19.00. I had them bag up $1.00 worth of cashews rather than have Lira. Note: The Turkish Delight is available everywhere in Istanbul. I enjoyed trying several varieties and then having them create a box of assorted flavors I liked. He said it would stay fresh 6 months. Then after it was boxed, they vacuum sealed the box. We bought some pre-boxed flavors, too. When I got home, I found that the pre-boxed flavors don't have as many pieces as you would expect and a lot of the powder coating. They weren't quite as fresh tasting as the ones we had boxed ourselves.
Read surelyso's full Celebrity Equinox cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image fabnfortysomething
7 reviews
Jul 2012
Booked same company as with Izmir but shows what a difference a tour guide can make.Lale was full of info and we saw a lot but were irritated by her pushing us towards her friends cafes and stalls where we expected to spend money-Window shopping is a foreign concept
Read fabnfortysomething's full Norwegian Spirit cruise review
Provider: KSG
Member Image wismergirl
4 reviews
Jul 2012
I booked Tour #4 (1.5 days Private Istanbul Tour) for 10 people with Ephesus Shuttle. Each paid US$116. I communicated with Fevzi from Ephesus Shuttle and his responses were always prompt and helpful. I highly recommended Ephesus Shuttle for private tours in Istanbul and Ephesus. The pace of the tour was good in general with a few exceptions. We were not happy with the driver for not showing up to take us to lunch on the 1st day. We ended up walking uphill to the restaurant and that took us over 15 minutes.
Read wismergirl's full Celebrity Equinox cruise review
Provider: Ephesus Shuttle
Member Image Happy1211
1 review
Jun 2012
Akif (the ladies call me George Clooney) was a fabulous guide who made use of every minuet to provide helpful information and histoical perspective during an 8.5 hour tour of the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia , Topkapi Palace (excellent multi-course lunch) and the Grand Bazaar. The destinations spoke for themselves but Akif added a lot.
Read Happy1211's full Norwegian Spirit cruise review
Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
Member Image Artteacher
2 reviews
Not Rated
Jun 2012
By chance, or perhaps by design; we were paired with a superb guide for a two-day excursion. She had been a tour guide in Turkey for over twenty five years and spoke English with ease. She gave us a thumbnail of the tour agenda at the beginning of each day and remained with us throughout the times spent at each venue. All the locations typically attended by visitors were included on this tour for one price.
Read Artteacher's full Celebrity Equinox cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image Neapolitan99
1 review
Jun 2012
After visiting Athens solo, I decided to play it safe. Tour had about 30 people. We were able to spend enough time at the Blue Mosque and Topkapi palace, although its museums were more crowded than any I have ever seen. We had time for lunch and an hour in the Grand Bazaar on our own. It was enough. I would have been totally lost if I had tried to go on my own so I am satisfied with the excursion.
Read Neapolitan99's full Norwegian Spirit cruise review
Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
Member Image Still Dreaming
2 reviews
May 2012
Great guide for all the sites. Dropped us off at the grand bazaar,For about an hour and a half. We are not shoppers and that time could have been used seeing Other sites. Went to a carpet factory to see how carpet is made but all we saw was different carpets not how they were made.
Read Still Dreaming's full Norwegian Spirit cruise review
Provider: Ephesus shuttle
Member Image DCAggie97
1 review
May 2012
Again, great tour guide and we visited all the historical sites and ended the day in the great Bizarre shopping
Read DCAggie97's full Costa Favolosa cruise review
Provider: Samyeli Travel
Member Image msupovitz
1 review
Not Rated
May 2012

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Read msupovitz's full Celebrity Equinox cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image lexmiller
10 reviews
Aug 2011
In Istanbul, we booked the IB95 Complete Istanbul shore excursion. The ship docked overnight in Istanbul, and this allowed us to tour the city both days, in a very all inclusive way. We loved the tour (except for the included lunch, read on) and were not too annoyed with the mandatory carpet demonstration where it is hoped that we will spend big money on rugs. It was in fact interesting, and the salespeople were not pushy. We saw all of the first-time-in-Istanbul must see sites, at a measured unhurried pace, such as the Blue Mosque, the Hippodrome, the Spice Market, the AMAZING and not to be missed Grand Bazaar, Hagia Sophia, Underground Cisterns, Topkapi Palace, even a Bosphorus River Cruise, etc. Our only complaint was the lunch. The lunch on the Athens shore excursion PR06 was so extremely wonderful that perhaps we were spoiled. The lunch included in this Istanbul excursion was something out of a 'bad movie' about a bunch of tourists on a bus on a shore excursion in an exotic city, where they are herded into a below par restaurant in which locals would never be caught dead. It was at the Best Western Citadel restaurant - uh, yup, that's right, it was at a restaurant in a Best Western, holy cow........the people that worked there were super lovely to our daughter, but other than that, the food itself was below par, and the banquet room where we were crammed in as if with a shoehorn along with several other tour groups, had weird decor, just not good overall.
Read lexmiller's full Celebrity Equinox cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises

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