23 Istanbul Cruise Reviews

It poured most of the time in Istanbul so did not get to enjoy it much. There are so many wonderful sites to see I wish we could have enjoyed them
It poured most of the time in Istanbul so did not get to enjoy it much. There are so many wonderful sites to see I wish we could have enjoyed them Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We were in Istanbul during the last three days of the Hajj. Everything was extremely crowded. The trip, while checking the box, was just OK.
We were in Istanbul during the last three days of the Hajj. Everything was extremely crowded. The trip, while checking the box, was just OK. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Weather damp and dull therefore only went up to see the Blue Mosque etc. A very dirty unkempt busy port. Enormous queues to get in so decided not worth the wait when it was so miserable.
Weather damp and dull therefore only went up to see the Blue Mosque etc. A very dirty unkempt busy port. Enormous queues to get in so decided not worth the wait when it was so miserable. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We hired a taxi with another couple. The driver took as all over to the various sites for less than half the cost of the organised tours. Much better way to get around. There was a festival on the day we docked and hence most of the sites ... Read More
We hired a taxi with another couple. The driver took as all over to the various sites for less than half the cost of the organised tours. Much better way to get around. There was a festival on the day we docked and hence most of the sites were close apart from the Blue Mosque which was understandably packed. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We found the tours onboard expensive in port ignore the taxi drive and go on to the Main Street here we got s taxi for 4 of us for 80 euro about 4-5 hours done all we wanted to see and also the changing of the guard at the presidents place ... Read More
We found the tours onboard expensive in port ignore the taxi drive and go on to the Main Street here we got s taxi for 4 of us for 80 euro about 4-5 hours done all we wanted to see and also the changing of the guard at the presidents place and more Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
A bit crowded and touristy, everyone wants your money. Even the toilets are pay to go at the main places.
A bit crowded and touristy, everyone wants your money. Even the toilets are pay to go at the main places. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Liked the city but we were kind of railroaded into taking a local minibus hire by one of the guys outside the port. This ended up being driven to the 'main sites' but also to the shops of their 'friends' to ensure we ... Read More
Liked the city but we were kind of railroaded into taking a local minibus hire by one of the guys outside the port. This ended up being driven to the 'main sites' but also to the shops of their 'friends' to ensure we spent money with them. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Again in Istanbul you will get hassled to buy things but not as much as in Izmir. We decided again to do our own thing and we knew that Istanbul had it's own tram system which ran from the port to the Hagia Sophia which we wanted to ... Read More
Again in Istanbul you will get hassled to buy things but not as much as in Izmir. We decided again to do our own thing and we knew that Istanbul had it's own tram system which ran from the port to the Hagia Sophia which we wanted to see. As you come out of the boat keep walking straight away from the boat and you will come to the tram station in the centre of the road. You put 3 lira per person into the machine and get one token to get onto the tram, about £1.50. The signs are often in English so we knew where to get off. We went to the Hagia Sophia which you have to pay to get into and we also walked to Topaki Palace although we didn't pay to get in to that as we were very tired! We then walked back to the tram and went back to the boat. I would recommend getting a map of Istanbul if you are going to do it yourself as its not very well signposted and it can be easy to mistake one mosque for another from far away. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Istanbul port is on the European side, very close to all the important sites. The tram line runs outside the port. One has to go about 300 feet to the right to get to the tram station. Tram tickets are dispensed through machines and ... Read More
Istanbul port is on the European side, very close to all the important sites. The tram line runs outside the port. One has to go about 300 feet to the right to get to the tram station. Tram tickets are dispensed through machines and then put through a turnstile to get onto the platform. There are no currency exchange places near the airport so your best option is to use an ATM to get local money. Taxi drivers charge you exorbitant amounts and that too in Euros! It snowed on both days that we were in port but we still managed to visit all the important sites. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
It was very easy to reach the main square by tram. Being there during a national holiday following the end of Ramadan, most shops and monuments were closed. But the city was far from empty: Turkish families were enjoying their free day ... Read More
It was very easy to reach the main square by tram. Being there during a national holiday following the end of Ramadan, most shops and monuments were closed. But the city was far from empty: Turkish families were enjoying their free day strolling through the city and eating at food stalls. We followed suit and had pomegranate juice, sesame bread, pastries with honey on the street, too. Bosphorus cruises were literally packed and that was also interesting to see. On the way back to the ship we walked over the Galata bridge, took the funicular to Galata Tower (the view from there is impressive, so do not miss it) and from there walked thropugh small alleys to the port. We never felt unsafe and really had no problems getting around. On a side note, something that really well impressed me is that there are public toilets at every touristic site! Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Our tour included the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and the Grand Bazaar. The guide was very good. Hagia Sophia was amazing,and our guide pointed out the restoration of the Christian parts of the building. The Blue Mosque was very beautiful. ... Read More
Our tour included the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and the Grand Bazaar. The guide was very good. Hagia Sophia was amazing,and our guide pointed out the restoration of the Christian parts of the building. The Blue Mosque was very beautiful. You do have to take off your shoes to visit this site. Shoulders and knees also have to be covered. We were then taken to the Grand Bazaar. This included a carpet demonstration, but we skipped that. The Grand Bazaar was loud and filled with a lot of gold shops. We did not enjoy this and ended up taking a shuttle back to the ship. This was our least favorite port. I have no desire to go back to this city. However, I know others really enjoyed it so it is a matter of personal preference. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
A tale of 2 cities - old and new. Istanbul is impressive from an architectural viewpoint as well as a historical one. The underground cistern system was fascinating and a visit to a 'typical' palace, OK. A boat trip up the ... Read More
A tale of 2 cities - old and new. Istanbul is impressive from an architectural viewpoint as well as a historical one. The underground cistern system was fascinating and a visit to a 'typical' palace, OK. A boat trip up the Bospherus was also entertaining. We were given lunch at a Turkish restaurant which was actually tasty. The awkward thing about these affairs though is who you end up sitting next to. Language differences can be emphasised when you sit so closely together, unsure whether to get started on the presented food or not! What really ruins the Turkish experience for me is the consistent pestering in the street by vendors and peddlars of usually cheap and nasty goods. The MSC clearly have an 'understanding' with Matis - a carpet and jewellery house in Istanbul to which you are taken and also told that you can re-appear at for Apple tea and use of conveniences during your day("without obligation to buy"). Frankly, I felt uncomfortable once inside as the sales pitches for the carpets (granted, they are stunning)were strong and you felt guilty walking away. Our tour guide fancied himself as a bit of a comedian (no!!)and seemed to have an issue with women. So, unlike the rest of our excursions, this guide left us cold. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
It is a beautiful sight if you are coming up the Bosphorus and on the Port side of the ship. You get lovely vies of the plentiful Mosques and old palace. We got greeted by a Turkish musical group in traditional dress as we disembarked with ... Read More
It is a beautiful sight if you are coming up the Bosphorus and on the Port side of the ship. You get lovely vies of the plentiful Mosques and old palace. We got greeted by a Turkish musical group in traditional dress as we disembarked with created a lovely effect. Taxis are a good way to go to something other than the excursions advertised, such as a Turkish bath, or to the trendy restaurant, night club, shopping area (ask the staff on the ship). The Blue Mosque is interesting, Topaki palace was ok, the Grand and Spice Bazaar worth a visit even if you don't want to shop. Forget the Bosphorus Cruise ( with the unadvertised yet added on Jewellery shop visit) waste of time and money. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Istanbul is a large and busy port. We did a half day trip to the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar. Some people did say you could do this easily yourself but we had an excellant guide who made the day even more enjoyable. ... Read More
Istanbul is a large and busy port. We did a half day trip to the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar. Some people did say you could do this easily yourself but we had an excellant guide who made the day even more enjoyable. the blue mosque is worth a visit and so is the Grand Bazaar. You cant come to Istanbul without seeing either of those, But I think you need longer at Topkapi Palace to do it justice. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Booked a private tour to avoid the crowded herd. Great idea as we could hear our guide and went in reverse of many tours so missed major crowding. Saw the usual: Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome area and Grand Bazaar. Feel we had ... Read More
Booked a private tour to avoid the crowded herd. Great idea as we could hear our guide and went in reverse of many tours so missed major crowding. Saw the usual: Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome area and Grand Bazaar. Feel we had plenty of time for questions plus got more in-depth knowledge from our archaeologist guide. Enjoyed Turkish folkloric dancers on ship the first night in port. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
It was a good experience to see the city where Europe meets Asia. The Grand Bizarre was a bit much for us. MUCH TOO PUSHY for us. Couldn't 'shop' when constantly hounded by everyone to see their things. We avoided any carpet ... Read More
It was a good experience to see the city where Europe meets Asia. The Grand Bizarre was a bit much for us. MUCH TOO PUSHY for us. Couldn't 'shop' when constantly hounded by everyone to see their things. We avoided any carpet demos. We saw all the traditional Mosques and Churches and the Cisterns. We enjoyed the city except for the pushy vendors. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Istanbul is a really interesting port, we hired EKOL Travel and I am sorry to say was very dissappointed. Our guide was not the right choice for our group and offended several of us with his comments and gestures. Istanbul can easily be ... Read More
Istanbul is a really interesting port, we hired EKOL Travel and I am sorry to say was very dissappointed. Our guide was not the right choice for our group and offended several of us with his comments and gestures. Istanbul can easily be done on your own or with a group. All the sites are within walking distance of each other. The Grand Bazaar was ",wow", what a maze of shops and if you are shopper, heaven on earth, you could get lost in there for days. Great bargains (within reason) can be found there and the experience is something to remember. Wear sunglasses, if the merchants see you looking at their stores they will be right there to bargain with you. If you are looking for a carpet, you are in the right place. Don't be afraid to go to a carpet or leather show, again it is quite an experience and if you are in the market...a great opportunity to get a beautiful turkish carpet that comes with a story to tell.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
Alot of hassle from Turks. Welcoming dance was charming, they are friendly people, but just very pushy when it comes to sales. All the shops sell more or less the same thing "rugs.. lamps.. fake bags, watches, shoes, leather jackets.. ... Read More
Alot of hassle from Turks. Welcoming dance was charming, they are friendly people, but just very pushy when it comes to sales. All the shops sell more or less the same thing "rugs.. lamps.. fake bags, watches, shoes, leather jackets.. candles.. jewlerry.. plates... spices" etc. HAGGLE THE PRICES! We got a £850 bag down to £150. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
Interesting but noisy and hectic.  Did not like the Grand Bazaar- enjoyed the Spice Market more.  Lots of traffic.Too much pressure to attend carpet demonstrations!!  That should be optional!!  We took organized shopping Tour and Tour ... Read More
Interesting but noisy and hectic.  Did not like the Grand Bazaar- enjoyed the Spice Market more.  Lots of traffic.Too much pressure to attend carpet demonstrations!!  That should be optional!!  We took organized shopping Tour and Tour of Blue Mosque and Palace. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009

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