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Cruises to Izmir

Izmir (Photo:muratart/Shutterstock)

About Izmir

Cradled between mountains and the Aegean Sea to the west, Turkey's third-largest city bears witness to thousands of years of turbulent history -- in the form of war, fire and earthquake. Izmir's been ruled by an Amazon queen, relocated and re-established following a dream by Alexander the Great, and thereafter razed, controlled, razed, controlled by Romans, Arabs, Selcuk Turks, Byzantines, Ottomans and modern Greeks before being reclaimed by the Turks, who expelled the Greco army in a bloody battle that left the city in ashes.

Little of the storied path of ancient Smyrna (Izmir's original name) is visible. Today, Izmir is one of Turkey's most populated (3.7 million) and most thoroughly modern cities, with the second biggest port after Istanbul. The container ships, cranes and concrete high-rises that populate the harbor are a drab sight, and, predictably, most cruise travelers bypass the city. Like Kusadasi to the south, Izmir's main virtue is its proximity to Ephesus, an incredibly well-preserved Roman city that lives up to its lofty reputation. Likewise, the ruins of Pergamum and Asclepion, an ancient Greek center of culture and health, are easily accessible and are included excursion options on all ships docking in Izmir.

The city itself is not without merit, and passengers looking to explore the sprawling cityscape in the relatively short time allotted ashore will have options. The sociable Konak Square, with its emblematic Ottoman Clock Tower, is Izmir's main gathering point for young Turks. The square leads into a long, winding Bazaar, a common site throughout Turkey (if you want to buy something, be prepared to haggle). The bayside cafes that line Birinci Kordon, a long main boulevard running parallel to the waterfront, offer the opportunity to relax, sip wine, enjoy appetizers (mezes) of local seafood and watch people wander by. The Agora, an enormous 2,000-year-old marketplace where Roman farmers and merchants once hawked cotton, olive oil and fruit, is one of the few places that has been spared from urbanization, and is a fascinating site.


Though Izmir's modern vibe may initially be off-putting, it's notable that building projects, such as the subway and high-rises buildings, have often yielded fantastic archeological finds such as roman statues and pottery, a reminder of how much history remains just below the surface.


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  • 14 Night
    Cruise to Izmir

    Leaving:
    Barcelona
    Visiting:
    Crete, Izmir ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Costa Cruises
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    Itinerary

    Cruise Itinerary

    14 Night Cruise to Izmir Route (Costa Cruises)
    • Day 1
      Barcelona
    • Day 2
      Cruising
    • Day 3
      Cruising
    • Day 4
      Crete (Heraklion)
    • Day 5
      Izmir
    • Day 6
      Istanbul
    • Day 7
      Istanbul
    • Day 8
      Cruising
    • Day 9
      Athens (Piraeus)
    • Day 10
      Cruising
    • Day 11
      Palermo (Sicily)
    • Day 12
      Naples
    • Day 13
      Genoa
    • Day 14
      Marseille
    • Day 15
      Barcelona
    Ship Details

    Costa Fortuna - Costa Cruises

    European experience with American comforts

    Elegant breakfast buffet in main dining room

    Multiple entertainment options in cozy lounges

    Reviews

    Costa Fortuna Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    4.0/5
    Cabins4.0
    Dining4.0
    Service3.0
    Value4.0

    If U.S.-based cruise lines are slowing down the rapid fleet expansion that occurred over the late ...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    Eastboundanddown
    Sail Date Jan 2020
    Surprisingly good all round
    Read More
    minorgan
    Sail Date Dec 2019
    Never again
    Read More
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  • 14 Night
    Cruise to Izmir

    Leaving:
    Marseille
    Visiting:
    Barcelona, Crete ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Costa Cruises
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    Itinerary

    Cruise Itinerary

    14 Night Cruise to Izmir Route (Costa Cruises)
    • Day 1
      Marseille
    • Day 2
      Barcelona
    • Day 3
      Cruising
    • Day 4
      Cruising
    • Day 5
      Crete (Heraklion)
    • Day 6
      Izmir
    • Day 7
      Istanbul
    • Day 8
      Istanbul
    • Day 9
      Cruising
    • Day 10
      Athens (Piraeus)
    • Day 11
      Cruising
    • Day 12
      Palermo (Sicily)
    • Day 13
      Naples
    • Day 14
      Genoa
    • Day 15
      Marseille
    Ship Details

    Costa Fortuna - Costa Cruises

    European experience with American comforts

    Elegant breakfast buffet in main dining room

    Multiple entertainment options in cozy lounges

    Reviews

    Costa Fortuna Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    4.0/5
    Cabins4.0
    Dining4.0
    Service3.0
    Value4.0

    If U.S.-based cruise lines are slowing down the rapid fleet expansion that occurred over the late ...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    NIKIM5758
    Sail Date Dec 2019
    Fortuna exceeded my expectations
    Read More
    A440CPS
    Sail Date Dec 2019
    booked 4 star, turned 3 star
    Read More
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  • 14 Night
    Cruise to Izmir

    Leaving:
    Genoa
    Visiting:
    Marseille, Barcelona ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Costa Cruises
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    Itinerary

    Cruise Itinerary

    14 Night Cruise to Izmir Route (Costa Cruises)
    • Day 1
      Genoa
    • Day 2
      Marseille
    • Day 3
      Barcelona
    • Day 4
      Cruising
    • Day 5
      Cruising
    • Day 6
      Crete (Heraklion)
    • Day 7
      Izmir
    • Day 8
      Istanbul
    • Day 9
      Istanbul
    • Day 10
      Cruising
    • Day 11
      Athens (Piraeus)
    • Day 12
      Cruising
    • Day 13
      Palermo (Sicily)
    • Day 14
      Naples
    • Day 15
      Genoa
    Ship Details

    Costa Fortuna - Costa Cruises

    European experience with American comforts

    Elegant breakfast buffet in main dining room

    Multiple entertainment options in cozy lounges

    Reviews

    Costa Fortuna Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    4.0/5
    Cabins4.0
    Dining4.0
    Service3.0
    Value4.0

    If U.S.-based cruise lines are slowing down the rapid fleet expansion that occurred over the late ...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    minorgan
    Sail Date Dec 2019
    Never again
    Read More
    TheCruiser101ty
    Sail Date Dec 2019
    DON'T DO IT.
    Read More
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    Call to plan your cruise 866-501-1694 866-501-1694
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  • 11 Night
    Cruise to Izmir

    Leaving:
    Athens
    Visiting:
    Syros, Bodrum ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Seabourn Cruise Line
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    Itinerary

    Cruise Itinerary

    11 Night Cruise to Izmir Route (Seabourn Cruise Line)
    • Day 1
      Athens (Piraeus)
    • Day 2
      Syros
    • Day 3
      Bodrum
    • Day 4
      Izmir
    • Day 5
      Canakkale
    • Day 6
      Istanbul
    • Day 7
      Istanbul
    • Day 8
      Cruising
    • Day 9
      Skopelos Island
    • Day 10
      Santorini
    • Day 11
      Spetsai
    • Day 12
      Athens (Piraeus)
    Ship Details

    Seabourn Encore - Seabourn Cruise Line

    Pros

    Beautifully designed ship with a great choice of restaurants and generous outside space

    Cons

    Could do with more shade around the pool and a bigger gym

    Bottom Line

    Gorgeous new ship with a rich, sophisticated look, superb food and an un-stuffy vibe

    Reviews

    Seabourn Encore Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    5.0/5
    Cabins5.0
    Dining5.0
    Service5.0
    Value5.0

    Seabourn Encore represents an evolution of Seabourn's popular Odyssey-class ships. It's bigger ...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    JollyJacqTar
    Sail Date Nov 2019
    Singapore to Bali
    Read More
    Mr.Bond
    Sail Date Nov 2019
    Encore 24 day cruise was a great success!
    Read More
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    Call to plan your cruise 866-501-1694 866-501-1694
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    Fare Includes

    What’s included in My Cruise Fare?

    • Cabin
      Room with bed and private bathroom
    • Port Taxes & Fees
    • Service Gratuities
    • Most Onboard Entertainment
    • Kids Club
    • Shore Excursions
    • Wi-Fi
    • Spa Services
    • Select Dining
      Main dining room and/or buffet
    • Specialty Alternative Dining
    • Room Service
    • Butler Service
    • Basic Drinks
      Still water, coffee, and tea
    • Soft Drinks
      Soda and Juice
    • Alcohol
      Beer, wine, and spirits
    • Specialty Coffee Drinks
      Including smoothies and blended drinks
    • Specialty Fitness Classes

    ** inclusions in your cruise fare are based on Cruise Critic’s editorial expertise and not provided by the individual cruise lines. When you book with one of our cruise partners, please be sure to check their site for a full disclosure of all applicable fees. Cruise Critic does not guarantee any specific rates, prices, or amenities included in the fare. Inclusion items in the fare may change at any time and fees may apply for additional items.

  • 18 Night
    Cruise to Izmir

    Leaving:
    Athens
    Visiting:
    Aghios Nikolaos, Patmos ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Seabourn Cruise Line
    View Deal
    View Cruise Info
    Hide Cruise Info
    • Itinerary
    • Ship Details
    • Reviews
    • Cabin Comparison
    • View All Prices
    • Fare Includes
    Itinerary

    Cruise Itinerary

    18 Night Cruise to Izmir Route (Seabourn Cruise Line)
    • Day 1
      Athens (Piraeus)
    • Day 2
      Aghios Nikolaos
    • Day 3
      Patmos
    • Day 4
      Kusadasi
    • Day 5
      Cesme
    • Day 6
      Mykonos
    • Day 7
      Skiathos
    • Day 8
      Athens (Piraeus)
    • Day 9
      Syros
    • Day 10
      Bodrum
    • Day 11
      Izmir
    • Day 12
      Canakkale
    • Day 13
      Istanbul
    • Day 14
      Istanbul
    • Day 15
      Cruising
    • Day 16
      Skopelos Island
    • Day 17
      Santorini
    • Day 18
      Spetsai
    • Day 19
      Athens (Piraeus)
    Ship Details

    Seabourn Encore - Seabourn Cruise Line

    Pros

    Beautifully designed ship with a great choice of restaurants and generous outside space

    Cons

    Could do with more shade around the pool and a bigger gym

    Bottom Line

    Gorgeous new ship with a rich, sophisticated look, superb food and an un-stuffy vibe

    Reviews

    Seabourn Encore Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    5.0/5
    Cabins5.0
    Dining5.0
    Service5.0
    Value5.0

    Seabourn Encore represents an evolution of Seabourn's popular Odyssey-class ships. It's bigger ...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    Chilver
    Sail Date Dec 2019
    Very good but could be better
    Read More
    Laurielew
    Sail Date Oct 2019
    The best food of all the small luxury cruise ships
    Read More
    Cabin Comparison

    Compare Cabin Prices

    No Results Found
    Loading...
    View All Prices

    Compare Prices

    Call to plan your cruise 866-501-1694 866-501-1694
    Loading...
    Fare Includes

    What’s included in My Cruise Fare?

    • Cabin
      Room with bed and private bathroom
    • Port Taxes & Fees
    • Service Gratuities
    • Most Onboard Entertainment
    • Kids Club
    • Shore Excursions
    • Wi-Fi
    • Spa Services
    • Select Dining
      Main dining room and/or buffet
    • Specialty Alternative Dining
    • Room Service
    • Butler Service
    • Basic Drinks
      Still water, coffee, and tea
    • Soft Drinks
      Soda and Juice
    • Alcohol
      Beer, wine, and spirits
    • Specialty Coffee Drinks
      Including smoothies and blended drinks
    • Specialty Fitness Classes

    ** inclusions in your cruise fare are based on Cruise Critic’s editorial expertise and not provided by the individual cruise lines. When you book with one of our cruise partners, please be sure to check their site for a full disclosure of all applicable fees. Cruise Critic does not guarantee any specific rates, prices, or amenities included in the fare. Inclusion items in the fare may change at any time and fees may apply for additional items.

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More about Izmir

Why go to Izmir?

Pros: Take an excursion to nearby Ephesus, a well-preserved ancient city.

Cons: Sellers in the Kemeralti Bazaar can be quite aggressive.

Bottom Line: Izmir itself is worth a visit, but incredible adventures await on day trips to nearby historical sites.

Where You’re Docked

You'll end up at Alcansak, a rather industrial-looking pier area, which is a five-minute walk from the shops and restaurants in the neighborhood of the same name and 20 minutes along the waterfront to Konak Square in the center of town. Shore excursion buses are a short walk away, but if you're lucky, the port authority may let buses in to pick you up right at the ship when there's only one ship in port.

Izmir Cruise Port Facilities

Duty-free shops, cafes, a post box, stamps for sale and other facilities are located inside the cruise terminal, and the chamber of commerce provides free maps of the city and surrounding area. An Internet cafe is close to the terminal on the way into town. The terminal is pretty dreary, but future passengers can expect to see big changes because of plans to redevelop the port, with new berths and infrastructure (no starting or completion date has been confirmed). When the upgrades are complete, the port will have the capacity to handle two million passengers per year.

Good to Know

In Kemeralti Bazaar prepare for a large number of "salesmen." This is certainly not as bad as some places (like Cairo), but you'll face an incessant wave of requests to buy jeans and designer knockoffs. It also gets quite crowded, so be aware of your wallet.

Getting Around

On Foot: While initial impressions are not exactly picturesque, and Izmir is not a compact and walkable city like Odessa, Ukraine, passengers can stroll to some of the main tourist areas such as Konak Square, which is also the main entry spot into the Kemeralti Bazaar.

By Taxi: Most cruise travelers will be taking full-day tours to either Ephesus or Pergamum. Those wishing to get around on their own, either to the bazaar or other city monuments like the Agora ancient marketplace, will find yellow metered taxis outside the cruise terminal. A word of advice: Taxi drivers will repeatedly offer tours during the short drive en route to your intended destination. Firmly stating "no" a few times should do the trick. If you do decide to embark on a sightseeing tour by taxi, the cost should be clearly negotiated before setting off. Few drivers will speak fluent English and will be unable to provide a commentary.

By Public Transport: Buses are of limited use to non-Turkish speaking visitors. However, local buses run from the port exit to the bus terminal at Konak. A better bet for cruise passengers is the hop-on, hop-off sightseeing bus tour, which leaves from the port and takes in 17 stops around the city including Konak, the Agora and Archaeology and Ethnography Museums. The full tour takes one hour, with a headphone commentary in five languages. The open-top buses run from the port every half hour from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

The currency is the Turkish Lira and ATM's abound. For current currency-conversion figures, visit www.oanda.com or www.xe.com. Some shops and restaurants will also accept euros and U.S. dollars, and all major credit cards are accepted.

Language

Turkish, but you'll have little trouble with basic English communication.


Izmir Cruise Reviews

Celestyal Nefeli
ronnycop
Sail Date: May 2017
Turkish town with great shopping opportunities. More like city shopping....Read More
Carnival Vista
lstarli1
Sail Date: May 2016
Beautiful location, but were nearly harassed into buying things....Read More
Carnival Vista
Oasiscaz
Sail Date: Oct 2016
Was replaced by a sea day which I was very happy about had a fantastic day sailing instead...Read More
Carnival Vista
usermom
Sail Date: Oct 2016
This port was cancelled prior to sail due to instability in Turkey...Read More
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