CYBER MONDAY DEALS! Get discounts on top-rated cruises. View Deals
  • Newsletter
  • Write a Review
  • Boards
  • Deals
  • Find a Cruise
  • Reviews
  • News
  • Cruise Tips

Cruises to Istanbul

1 Award
Istanbul (Photo:muratart/Shutterstock)

About Istanbul

A geographic and metaphoric melding of East and West, Istanbul is the world's only city covering two continents. The Bosporus runs through the center; Europe lies to the west, Asia to the east.

For nearly 2,000 years, the ideally situated metropolis has been the keystone of some of the world's great empires, serving as capital city for the Romans (under the name Constantinople, as noted by the informative "They Might Be Giants" tune), Byzantines and Ottomans.

Inside the sprawling city, the secular and the sacred mingle -- minarets with nightclubs and dusty prayer rugs with designer digs. The idea of Istanbul as collision between East and West reveals itself immediately, with monumental churches cum mosques (the Hagia Sophia), Roman ruins (the Hippodrome, where horse and chariot races were held in Roman times) and unadulterated symbols of consumerism (the Grand Bazaar with its thousands of shops).

Even if the these iconic attractions are what draw many of its tourists to this vast (second only in size to Shanghai) city of 17 million inhabitants, visitors, dutifully plodding through them, may easily miss what makes this city one of the world's most vibrant right now.

Increasingly prosperous, Istanbul has exciting neighborhoods, upscale shops (not just the usual international brands like Prada but also fashion designs by Turkish clothiers) and a thriving restaurant scene that ranges from classic fare to newer, Mediterranean-infused interpretations of local standards. Its Museum of Modern Art -- handily located pierside, where ships dock -- is new and offers both rotating internationally-minded exhibitions and works from Turkish artists.

Istanbul is increasingly popular as a port of embarkation (or disembarkation) for a range of itineraries, from the Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean Greek Isles trips to the migration, twice a year, of ships between Europe and Asia. You can find as many as six ships a day docking there. This noisy place, in which the magical call to prayer several times a day manages to overcome the sound of honking cars, is a great place to add a pre- or post-cruise stay.

  • More about Istanbul

  • Why go to Istanbul?

  • Istanbul Cruise Port Facilities?

Loading...
Loading...

We found you 437 cruises

Loading...
Loading...
Cruise Critic Favorite
Riviera
Riviera

18 Night
Mediterranean CruiseDetails

713 Reviews
Leaving:Istanbul
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Nov 24, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Price Tracker
  • Fare Insight
  • View All Deals
  • Cruise Tips
Nautica
Nautica

9 Night
Europe - Northern CruiseDetails

360 Reviews
Leaving:Istanbul
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Sep 16, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Price Tracker
  • Fare Insight
  • View All Deals
  • Cruise Tips
Oosterdam
Oosterdam

12 Night
Ancient EmpiresDetails

1,036 Reviews
Leaving:Athens
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Oct 20, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Price Tracker
  • Fare Insight
  • View All Deals
  • Cruise Tips
Seven Seas Mariner
Seven Seas Mariner (Photo: Regent)

10 Night
Mediterranean CruiseDetails

375 Reviews
Leaving:Rome
Cruise Line:Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Jun 11, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Price Tracker
  • Fare Insight
  • View All Deals
  • Cruise Tips

9 Night
Europe - Greek Isles & Eastern MedDetails

Leaving:Venice
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Price Tracker
  • Fare Insight
  • View All Deals
  • Cruise Tips

11 Night
Mediterranean CruiseDetails

329 Reviews
Leaving:Athens
Cruise Line:Silversea Cruises
Sep 30, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Price Tracker
  • Fare Insight
  • View All Deals
  • Cruise Tips

9 Night
Europe - Greek Isles & Eastern MedDetails

1,970 Reviews
Leaving:Athens
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Price Tracker
  • Fare Insight
  • View All Deals
  • Cruise Tips

10 Night
Mediterranean - Eastern CruiseDetails

713 Reviews
Leaving:Barcelona
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Price Tracker
  • Fare Insight
  • View All Deals
  • Cruise Tips
Cruise Critic Favorite

128 Night
128-day Grand World VoyageDetails

1,006 Reviews
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Jan 3, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Price Tracker
  • Fare Insight
  • View All Deals
  • Cruise Tips

10 Night
Europe - Med Egypt & Greek IslesDetails

2,515 Reviews
Leaving:Istanbul
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Nov 1, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Price Tracker
  • Fare Insight
  • View All Deals
  • Cruise Tips

11 Night
Europe - Med Egypt & Greek IslesDetails

2,515 Reviews
Leaving:Rome
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Oct 1, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Price Tracker
  • Fare Insight
  • View All Deals
  • Cruise Tips

9 Night
Europe - Greek Isles & Eastern MedDetails

1,970 Reviews
Leaving:Athens
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Mar 12, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Price Tracker
  • Fare Insight
  • View All Deals
  • Cruise Tips

10 Night
Mediterranean CruiseDetails

243 Reviews
Leaving:Istanbul
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Oct 24, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Price Tracker
  • Fare Insight
  • View All Deals
  • Cruise Tips

14 Night
Turkey & Greek IslesDetails

197 Reviews
Leaving:Athens
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Oct 15, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Price Tracker
  • Fare Insight
  • View All Deals
  • Cruise Tips

10 Night
Mediterranean - Eastern CruiseDetails

713 Reviews
Leaving:Trieste
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Oct 30, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
  • Itinerary
  • Ship
  • Reviews
  • Price Tracker
  • Fare Insight
  • View All Deals
  • Cruise Tips

More about Istanbul

Why go to Istanbul?

Pros:

Famous landmarks, like Hagia Sophia, can be seen from a variety of vantage points around the city

Cons:

Some sellers in the Old City and Grand Bazaar can come across as too pushy

Bottom Line:

Istanbul is rich in history and culture, thanks to its location between Europe and Asia

Istanbul Cruise Port Facilities?

There are no facilities inside the port, but just outside there's a collection of cafes, though these are generally oriented to young people enjoying the Turkish tradition of Narjile (which my guide described as "hubble bubble" -- hookah in other countries). Better yet, head over to the cafe and bar at the Museum of Modern Art, which is also within easy walking distance.

Good to Know?

In Istanbul's bazaars and many tourist shops, sellers can be quite brazenly and annoyingly persistent. When shopping for rugs, know that it's customary for the seller to offer shoppers cups of tea. It's considered good manners to accept, particularly if you are genuinely shopping (as opposed to browsing casually).

Also, in deference to Istanbul's beautiful mosques, churches and synagogues, it's advisable to wear respectful attire -- long pants or long skirts if you want to enter these historic sites.

Gratuities are expected, even at restaurants that levy surcharges. (Locals tell us to plan to tip 10 percent of the check and to pay in cash; otherwise the waiters don't get the money.) In taxis, just round up.

Getting Around?

By Cab: Metered taxis are plentiful, and they line up right at the pier; credit cards are generally not accepted. Be wary of any taxi driver who doesn't operate on the meter system.

By Tram: There's also a convenient tram, located a few hundred yards from the pier.

On Foot: If you have strong legs, it's possible to walk up one of Istanbul's infamously steep hills to the Beyoglu, the heart of the city's shopping district. Walking between the major sites, including the Bazaar, Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia, is also quite doable.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

Currency is the Turkish lira. For the latest currency conversion figures, visit www.xe.com. ATMs are readily accessible.

Language?

Turkish is spoken there. English is generally spoken at major tourist sites and hotels, but not necessarily otherwise.

Where You're Docked?

Cruise ships dock at the Yolcu Salonu ("Passenger Terminal") in Karakoy, which is centrally located.


Istanbul Cruise Reviews
We love Istanbul and spent a week in Cappadocia then Istanbul before the cruise. There is just so much to see in Istanbul... even if you lived there I don't think you would ever run out of interesting things to see aRead More
User Avatar
k0k0
The port in Istanbul was dirty and chaotic. Read More
User Avatar
Troylet
In Istanbul you will dock in the new galataport which is semi underground (a bit of a walk to the exit) you will then emerge into a very hip and trendy area with loads of bars,restaurants and shops. (it did Seem tRead More
User Avatar
theoneandonlymrb58
Always wanted to go -it was worth seeing. However VERY crowded and difficult to get around without a guide.Read More
User Avatar
TravellerSC

Related Cruises

Cruises to Newport

Cruises to Newport

250 Reviews
Cruises to Tampa

Cruises to Tampa

659 Reviews
Cruises to Villefranche

Cruises to Villefranche

368 Reviews
Cruises to Riga

Cruises to Riga

84 Reviews
Cruises to Vigo

Cruises to Vigo

463 Reviews
Cruises to Hanoi

Cruises to Hanoi

76 Reviews
Cruises to Pago Pago

Cruises to Pago Pago

63 Reviews
Cruises to Cairo (Port Said)

Cruises to Cairo (Port Said)

44 Reviews
Cruises to Ponta Delgada

Cruises to Ponta Delgada

235 Reviews
Cruises to Vienna

Cruises to Vienna

404 Reviews
Cruises to Manila

Cruises to Manila

85 Reviews
Cruises to Suva

Cruises to Suva

122 Reviews
Cruises to Apia, Samoa (formerly Western Samoa)

Cruises to Apia, Samoa (formerly Western Samoa)

Cruises to Hvar

Cruises to Hvar

36 Reviews
Cruises to Iles des Saintes

Cruises to Iles des Saintes

13 Reviews
Cruises to Nha Trang

Cruises to Nha Trang

106 Reviews
Cruises to Olden

Cruises to Olden

190 Reviews
Cruises to Port Elizabeth

Cruises to Port Elizabeth

36 Reviews
Cruises to Puerto Quetzal (Antigua)

Cruises to Puerto Quetzal (Antigua)

379 Reviews
Cruises to Arles

Cruises to Arles

113 Reviews
Want to cruise smarter?
Get expert advice, insider tips and more.
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy and Cookies Statement and Terms of Use.
About UsCruise DestinationsFirst Time CruisersFind A Cruise

Share your feedback

International Sites

© 1995—2022, The Independent Traveler, Inc.

  • Privacy and Cookies Statement

  • Terms of Use

  • Site Map

  • Cookie Consent