Become a Cruise Insider
Tips, deals and more in your inbox.
Your Ultimate Cruise Guide

Istanbul Hagia Sofia Excursion Reviews

Istanbul Hagia Sofia cruise excursion
Overall Rating
Once a church, then a mosque, and now a museum, the Hagia Sophia features a gallery of mosaics and is one of the world's finest examples of Byzantine architecture.
Member Image JessMama
1 review
Jul 2015
This was amazing even though we were in Istanbul on a Friday. The line for Hagia Sofia was 90 minutes, but drinking in the sights and sounds of this amazing city was awesome in every sense of the word.
Read JessMama's full Norwegian Spirit cruise review
Provider: Shore Excursions
Member Image podo59
1 review
Jul 2015
Our tour guide, Yousef, met us at the dock. We were then picked up and taken to the Hippodrome where we began our tour which included the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque), the Basilica Cistern (fantastic), and the Hagia Sophia. Yousef spoke English very well and was informative, but was not the most enthusiastic tour guide I have ever had. We were satisfied with the experience, however, and would recommend this company.
Read podo59's full Celebrity Equinox cruise review
Provider: Effendi Travel
Member Image mgoudoras
1 review
Jun 2015
Huge massive building. Hard to fathom how it was built.
Read mgoudoras's full Norwegian Spirit cruise review
Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
Member Image Latina55
1 review
Jun 2015
such a beautiful Church, then become a Mosque now a Museum, don't miss it.
Read Latina55's full Norwegian Spirit cruise review
Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
Member Image Marcia Priske
1 review
Jun 2015
Due to first day of Ramadan the Blue Mosque was closed (not NCL's fault). We enjoyed this tour.
Read Marcia Priske's full Norwegian Spirit cruise review
Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
Member Image Tigs2015
1 review
Jun 2015
Worth visiting with a knowledgeable guide to point out how Chrisitian heritage was covered over when it was turned into a mosque. The blueprint for many churches and mosques.
Read Tigs2015's full Celebrity Reflection cruise review
Provider: nazli zobranli
Member Image hyker1
7 reviews
Jun 2015
Fabulous! However, the crowds are once again an issue. This was one site where I was thankful for the electronic guide transmitter, though. Our guide did a great job explaining the rich history of the Hagia Sophia.
Read hyker1's full Celebrity Reflection cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image history professor
1 review
Jun 2015
Enjoyed the visit
Read history professor's full Rhapsody of the Seas cruise review
Provider: Royal Caribbean International
Member Image hoopmd
1 review
May 2015
Incredibly a MUST SEE
Read hoopmd's full Norwegian Spirit cruise review
Provider: Daily Istanbul Tours
Member Image LCJones629
1 review
May 2015
This was just OK. I would anyone about going on tour that is going to take you to a Turkish Rug maker, so that you can avoid the high pressure sales pitch. Ugh!
Read LCJones629's full Celebrity Equinox cruise review
Provider: Travel Bound
Member Image seasoned60
1 review
May 2015
This is good because you view the historical sights and also see all the vendors with foods that are popular in the city. You can hear the call to prayer all over the city.
Read seasoned60's full Celebrity Reflection cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image Cruise-vacation2015
1 review
May 2015
The best part of the excursion! It is amazing inside! You will not be disappointed. There is a lot of really old artifacts inside and lots of history to it.
Read Cruise-vacation2015's full Norwegian Spirit cruise review
Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
Member Image cold atlantic
1 review
May 2015
Amazing structure with beautiful mosaics.Once a Christian church-then a mosque-all christian icons were plastered over.They were uncovered when it became a museum.
Read cold atlantic's full Norwegian Spirit cruise review
Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
Member Image JoeMama#1
1 review
Apr 2015
Beautiful! What can I say. A lovely experience. The tour guide gave us descriptions of history and the structure itself. She made the decision to adjust the time of our visit by the crowds. Experience helps when being a guide.
Read JoeMama#1's full Azamara Journey cruise review
Provider: Meander
Member Image matkin
1 review
Apr 2015
good tour, and guide, traffic very slow
Read matkin's full Norwegian Spirit cruise review
Provider: cms travel service
Member Image wherestheship
2 reviews
Apr 2015
This building has a sad soul. Such a beautiful structure built as a place a worship first for Christians then it became a mosque, now its a museum, but its so big and grand its real role is a place of worship. However lots of visitors here from all walks of life, together enjoying a beautiful gift of a building.
Read wherestheship's full MSC Magnifica cruise review
Provider: MSC Cruises
Member Image *angel*
2 reviews
Not Rated
Sep 2014

Hagia Sofia architecture is breath taking.

Read *angel*'s full MSC Divina cruise review
Provider: MSC Cruises
Member Image SOFIKO
1 review
Aug 2014

Top interesting monument of unique importance to visit

Read SOFIKO's full Queen Elizabeth cruise review
Provider: Cunard Line
Member Image RogerW
1 review
Not Rated
Jul 2014

Hagia Sophia is a former Greek Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later an imperial mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul. It was raining when we visited here, but our guide let us wait till the rain slowed, and then we went inside to look at the history in this building, design is something else. Hagia Sophia is famous for the light that reflects everywhere in the interior of the nave, giving the dome the appearance of hovering above this. This effect is achieved by inserting forty windows around the base of the original structure. The Loge of the Empress is located in the centre of the upper enclosure, or gallery, of the Hagia Sophia. From there the empress and the court ladies would watch the proceedings down below. A round, green stone marks the spot where the throne of the empress stood.
The Marble Door is located in the southern upper enclosure, or gallery. It was used by the participants in synods, they entered and left the meeting chamber through this .

Read RogerW's full Riviera cruise review
Provider: Cruiseexcursions.com
Member Image canuck1669
1 review
Apr 2014

Interesting to see how East meets West. Architecture, Fresco's etc.were amazing

Read canuck1669's full Norwegian Jade cruise review
Provider: Shore Excursions
Member Image CondorX2
1 review
Not Rated
Sep 2013

The visit of the Church (what was lft of it..) was really great, but sad to see what became of it, but we did like the tour very much.

Read CondorX2's full Royal Princess cruise review
Provider: Princess Cruises
Member Image bjrose
2 reviews
Sep 2013

This is a must-see in Istanbul but not something I would return to.

Read bjrose's full Royal Princess cruise review
Provider: Ephesus Shuttle
Member Image Mrs.JSparrow
1 review
Not Rated
Sep 2013

Beautiful architecture = long walk but worth the hike to see the interior that has rememnants of islam and christianity in 1 room. Be a little careful with bags in main square too many ppl around. excursion was very well organized

Read Mrs.JSparrow's full Celebrity Reflection cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image sueajp
4 reviews
Sep 2013

This was an amazing place. Our guide did a great job of describing the history and giving us time on our own.

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

Just FABULOUS!! Our tour guide took us there at the end of day so we were able to really admire and view the beautiful architecture and decor.

Read prinsjh's full Norwegian Spirit cruise review
Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
Member Image Surfari1
1 review
Aug 2013

Dilek our guide was extremely friendly, knowledgable and organised. She dealt with the blind member of our tour group and his guide dog very patiently.

Read Surfari1's full Noordam cruise review
Provider: Holland America Line
Member Image sea pup
2 reviews
Aug 2013

Disappointing because the interior was covered in scaffolding

Read sea pup's full Thomson Celebration cruise review
Provider: Thomson Cruises
Member Image rongoldner
1 review
May 2013

Beautiful. Facts were interesting.

Read rongoldner's full MSC Divina cruise review
Provider: MSC Cruises
Member Image JLU917
1 review
Mar 2013
Gorgeous! Great tour guide (Umit).
Read JLU917's full Norwegian Jade cruise review
Provider: cruisingexcursions.com
Member Image EIslander
1 review
Mar 2013
This is a must see in Istanbul. Incredible Mosque/Church and has amazing history.
Read EIslander's full MSC Divina cruise review
Provider: MSC Cruises
Member Image Pezzy
1 review
Feb 2013
Part of out 2 day tour. Breathtaking!
Read Pezzy's full Norwegian Jade cruise review
Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
Member Image barrymx5
1 review
Nov 2012

Amazing 1500 years old.

Read barrymx5's full Aurora cruise review
Provider: P&O Cruises
Member Image sadied
2 reviews
Not Rated
Oct 2012
Impossibly long lines and almost an hour wait no matter how you plan to see this. A great deal of walking!!! Guide needed to make what you are seeing meaningful but ship horribly overpriced and there are great guides on the internet...check trip advisor. Taxi drivers will rip you off up and down with every trick in the book. they are merciless. Do not get in a cab.
Read sadied's full Nieuw Amsterdam cruise review
Provider: Holland America Line
Member Image Kallisto
1 review
Oct 2012
Enormous church with both remains of christian and Islamic ornaments. A museum nowadays.
Read Kallisto's full Costa Favolosa cruise review
Provider: Costa Cruises
Member Image retired2012
1 review
Not Rated
Oct 2012
We did this on our own and it is an amazing city. The Grand Bazaar - Like the West Edmonton Mall of Canada - not fussy about it. Istanbul is easy enough to get around in on your own, all the books said this and it is true. We did it on our own with a taxi driver and it was great.
Read retired2012's full Norwegian Spirit cruise review
Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
Member Image JemIB66
5 reviews
Oct 2012
This is a very interesting building as it has been a christian church and then a mosque and finally a museum.
Read JemIB66's full MSC Divina cruise review
Provider: MSC Cruises
Member Image kangarooboy
6 reviews
Oct 2012
Hagia Sofia was beautiful. The bus took us on a short city tour first.Tour guide was very good.We walked from Hagia Sofia to the Blue Mosque.
Read kangarooboy's full Queen Elizabeth cruise review
Provider: Cunard Line
Member Image Annalise
8 reviews
Sep 2012

Onto Hagia Sophia monastery which was also nice, but not as nice as Blue Mosque.

Read Annalise's full Ruby Princess cruise review
Provider: Princess Cruises
Member Image Boston Traveler 24
1 review
Member Image klitz
1 review
Sep 2012
Breathtaking!
Read klitz's full Celebrity Equinox cruise review
Provider: Ekol Travel
Member Image Princessa22
1 review
Sep 2012
Another excellent private tour with Semih Kazak (guidesemih@hotmail.com) through Istanbul city, blue mosque, lunch at the pudding shop which was great, and grand bazaar. Don't spend too much time in the bazaar as it can be overwhelming. Spend the most time in the mosques and walking the city. It is beautiful. Don't miss the Turkish rug demonstrations.
Read Princessa22's full Ruby Princess cruise review
Provider: shoretrips
Member Image cloverfields
1 review
Aug 2012
Enjoyed walking around here and the guide made it very interesting - able to hear well on the headsets. I would have enjoyed this more had I not been so hot, having said that well worth a visit. If you go the 1st landing I would imagine some great photographs. If you were prepared to walk from the ship it would only take about 40 mins to reach on foot. Other passengers took the tram which was very cheap.
Read cloverfields's full Thomson Celebration cruise review
Provider: Thomson Cruises
Member Image Crui$erCT
2 reviews
Jul 2012
Read Crui$erCT's full MSC Divina cruise review
Provider: ephesustours.biz
Member Image wismergirl
4 reviews
Jul 2012
Hagia Sophia was built in 532 AD which, IMO, was more elegant and well-decorated than Blue Mosque. It used to be a Christian Church but now it's a museum with Muslim calligraphy.
Read wismergirl's full Celebrity Equinox cruise review
Provider: Ephesus Shuttle
Member Image World Gallery
12 reviews
Jun 2012
Very impressive but this was our kids' least favorite stop in Istanbul. Amazing history. I would recommend a good guide for this place. Also, having a private guide allows you to skip the very long lines to get in. This is my review from above: Istanbul - We all loved it! We did a Context Tour and this time, the guide was excellent. She met us at the ship and we took the tram into Old Town. I am glad we had her because it was not as straight forward finding the tram from the ship. It wasn't difficult but we would have wasted time without her getting us there. We did have Lira with us that we ordered from our local bank. So glad we did this. We need it for the tram and all entrances, but the Turkish Bath House took or credit card. Here, we did Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Underground Cistern, lunch at an art school/handicraft center called Caferaga Medresesi (great!), Grand Bazaar and my girls and I did a bath at the oldest Turkish Bath House called Cemberlitas Hamami, built in the 1500's. You can get the shortest option, which takes about 1 1/2 hours but you need to tell them you are on a cruise and have limited time. This was an experience we will always remember. It was recommended to us in a "port talk" that was given before each port of call on the Spirit.
Read World Gallery's full Norwegian Spirit cruise review
Provider: Norwegian Cruise Line
Member Image Artteacher
2 reviews
Jun 2012
Photo op. Interesting lighting inside, very typical of the historic Mosques in the area.
Read Artteacher's full Celebrity Equinox cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image Artteacher
2 reviews
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. St. Sophia is a great example of Mosque architecture and Islamic culture - very photogenic.
Read Artteacher's full Celebrity Equinox cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises
Member Image baillie
1 review
May 2012
Plain simple church...but lovely to see
Read baillie's full Crown Princess cruise review
Provider: Princess Cruises
Member Image Twinmum
3 reviews
May 2012
This is also a beautiful place and with the right guide is very interesting as well.
Read Twinmum's full Crown Princess cruise review
Provider: Princess Cruises
Member Image msupovitz
1 review
Not Rated
May 2012

a

Read msupovitz's full Celebrity Equinox cruise review
Provider: Celebrity Cruises

Sponsored links

Thank You For Signing Up!

Please Note: To ensure delivery of your free e-letters, please add news@cruisecritic.com to your address book.
We're committed to protecting your privacy and will not rent or sell your e-mail address. By proceeding, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.