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Cruises to Bodrum

Bodrum (Photo:monticello/Shutterstock)
Bodrum (Photo:monticello/Shutterstock)

About Bodrum

Passengers sailing into the Turkish port of Bodrum first see the Castle of St. Peter, a dominating 15th-century crusader outpost that sits between a yacht marina and a bay. Gullets, the traditional Turkish wooden sailing yachts, bob on the South Aegean's salty, blue water, and buzzing outdoor cafes and "beach" clubs that jut out on wooden piers line the shore.



The port city is awash in Greco-style buildings: sparkling white cubes covered with purple bougainvillea. You might actually think for an instant that you're on another Greek island -- Kos is, indeed, easily visible in the distance -- until you hear the sound of the muezzin and glance up at the handful of minarets poking through the sea of square structures. Make no mistake: This is very much a Turkish city, brimming with locally built boats, bustling bazaars and plenty of regional cuisine and character.



Known in antiquity as Halicarnassus, after the famed king who left an awe-inspiring mausoleum (though only the barest remains of the place are still visible), the Bodrum of today is a popular leisure holiday spot for wealthy European jet-setters, who come, often via motor-yacht, wearing sun tans and designer shades. Shoppers will surely come away with bags in hand, as the area is known for its fine leather goods (especially sandals) and carpets, and there is no shortage of impressive Prada and Gucci knock-offs on offer. However, the city is also a refuge for artists and intellectuals, drawn here by Cevat Sakir Kabaagacli, the famous political writer-dissident who fell in love with Bodrum during his forced exile. (His loving novel, "Blue Voyage," is credited with bringing international attention to what was previously a lazy fishing outpost.)



Bodrum most regularly hosts ships from luxury lines like Seabourn Cruise Line, Azamara Club Cruises and Windstar Cruises, usually as part of Eastern Mediterranean cruises to the Greek Isles. The occasional bigger ships -- from Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line or U.K.-based Thomson Cruises and Fred. Olsen -- may also be on the schedule.



One geographic note: Bodrum proper is actually situated on the Bodrum Peninsula, which, in addition to the city, encompasses numerous other resort towns like Gumbet, Turgutreis and Gumusluk, many set on semi-circular bays carved out of the rocky land. For beach bums in particular, one or more of these may be worth visiting.

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DAY 1: Haifa

12 Night
Cruise to Bodrum

Leaving:
Haifa
Visiting:
Jerusalem, Port au Prince ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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DAY 1: Istanbul

12 Night
Cruise to Bodrum

Leaving:
Istanbul
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Nessebur, Constanta ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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DAY 1: Istanbul

24 Night
Cruise to Bodrum

Leaving:
Istanbul
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Nessebur, Constanta ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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DAY 1: Istanbul

7 Night
Cruise to Bodrum

Leaving:
Istanbul
Visiting:
Lemnos, Cesme ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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10 Night
Cruise to Bodrum

Leaving:
Istanbul
Visiting:
Nessebur, Constanta ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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Cruise Critic Favorite

14 Night
Cruise to Bodrum

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Naples, Taormina ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking Ocean Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to Bodrum

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Mykonos, Santorini ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Bodrum

Leaving:
Haifa
Visiting:
Jerusalem, Rhodes ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Bodrum

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Patmos, Bodrum ...
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Cruise Line:
Silversea Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Bodrum

Leaving:
Istanbul
Visiting:
Lemnos, Cesme ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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10 Night
Cruise to Bodrum

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Santorini, Rhodes ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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14 Night
Cruise to Bodrum

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Samos, Rhodes ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Bodrum

Leaving:
Athens
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Samos, Rhodes ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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21 Night
Cruise to Bodrum

Leaving:
Venice
Visiting:
Sibenik, Kotor ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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21 Night
Cruise to Bodrum

Leaving:
Venice
Visiting:
Sibenik, Kotor ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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14 Night
Cruise to Bodrum

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Patmos, Aghios Nikolaos ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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21 Night
Cruise to Bodrum

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Mykonos, Symi ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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21 Night
Cruise to Bodrum

Leaving:
Venice
Visiting:
Sibenik, Kotor ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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21 Night
Cruise to Bodrum

Leaving:
Haifa
Visiting:
Jerusalem, Rhodes ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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21 Night
Cruise to Bodrum

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Patmos, Aghios Nikolaos ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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10 Night
Cruise to Bodrum

Leaving:
Rhodes
Visiting:
Kusadasi, Bodrum ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
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9 Night
Cruise to Bodrum

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Bodrum, Santorini ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
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21 Night
Cruise to Bodrum

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Aghios Nikolaos, Patmos ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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Cruise Critic Favorite

11 Night
Cruise to Bodrum

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Syros, Bodrum ...
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Cruise Line:
Seabourn Cruise Line
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8 Night
Cruise to Bodrum

Leaving:
Rhodes
Visiting:
Kusadasi, Bodrum ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal Cruises
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Why go to Bodrum?

Pros:

Take a gullet cruise to awe-inspiring Aegean coves and swim in the crystal-clear sea

Cons:

Sellers in the crowded bazaars can be overzealous

Bottom Line:

Bodrum has the feel of a Greek island, with archeological treasures galore

Bodrum Cruise Port Facilities?

The modestly outfitted terminal building houses customs offices, a duty-free area, car rental office, restaurant and cafeteria. There isn't much to do in the immediate vicinity, which is underdeveloped, so most visitors will immediately head for town.

Good to Know?

In the crowded bazaars, take precautions with your valuables. Also, shop owners have been known to hound tourists, but you should be able to get the message across with a smile and a firm "no thanks."

Getting Around?

It takes 20 minutes to walk from the pier to the Castle of St. Peter, which is near the center (older) portion of town. If a day in town spent shopping and dining is all you're after, Bodrum is easily walkable.



Many operators, like luxury outfit Seabourn Cruise Line, will set up a complimentary shuttle service to take passengers from the pier to the center of town. The port also typically organizes a shuttle boat service that takes passengers from the pier to a spot next to the castle. The standard schedule has the boat departing the pier on the hour and returning from the castle on the half hour, but times may vary. The trip costs one euro each way (two euros roundtrip).



Passengers looking to go farther afield will want to take a taxi (should be about 15 euros to get to Bitez, 12 euros to Gumbet and 40 euros to Gumusluk) or dolmus (which means "stuffed"), one of the green public mini-buses that connect Bodrum to other towns on the peninsula. The bus station is located on Cevat Sakir, about five minutes by foot from the castle.



Another option for those looking to branch out from Bodrum proper is renting a car. Hertz has a somewhat inconveniently located office -- a bit of a trek to get to for day-trippers, anyway -- but there are numerous Turkish rental agencies located near the marina. They include XL Onelli Car Hire and Set Car Hire. Proper Car Rental, which is located near the Hertz office, is another popular Turkish option. Travelers who pre-reserve their cars may be able to arrange for a more suitable pickup and drop-off point. (Check with the agency.)

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The currency is the Turkish Lira (TL). ATM's are available throughout the port, with an especially high concentration located near the castle. Visit www.xe.com for up-to-the-minute exchange rates. Because the economy is partly reliant on European, U.K. and American tourists, shops and restaurants may also accept euros, pounds sterling and dollars (as well as credit cards).

Language?

It's Turkish, but you'll have little trouble with English communication if you stay close to the harbor or are visiting the staple tourist sites. Many taxi drivers, however, have limited English language skills.

Where You're Docked?

Cruise ships visiting Bodrum dock at the Bodrum Cruise Port. The port is located on the edge of town, about a mile from the castle.


Bodrum Cruise Reviews

Celebrity Reflection
Kamika
Sail Date: Sep 2016
Loved Bodrum. Lovely Fishing Port. Very busy with lots of Tourists. Very clean. People there were very friendly. Had a great Bazar for shopping. Had lunch in a little cafe. We were treated like Royalty.. This was... Read More
Celebrity Reflection
921AGP
Sail Date: Aug 2016
Had not visited this area before. Went of water taxi to Bodrum had a lovely day there. Quite upmarket. So suited us well.... Read More
Celebrity Reflection
Ginger Eric
Sail Date: May 2016
Bodrum is a pretty place and a pleasant place to visit for half a day... Read More
Celebrity Reflection
southampton observer
Sail Date: Apr 2016
Bodrum Pretty port. Pleasant walk to Castle 30TL to get in. No Euros accepted. Well worth a good look. Great views, interesting exhibits but be aware that they close some of the exhibits for Lunch. Inexpensive... Read More
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