634 Kusadasi Cruise Reviews

Kusadasi is a Turkish port. Cruisers usually take excursions to the ancient Roman ruins of Ephesus. These ruins are special because they are far more preserved than either Pompeii or Herculaneum. At the height of the Roman civilization ... Read More
Kusadasi is a Turkish port. Cruisers usually take excursions to the ancient Roman ruins of Ephesus. These ruins are special because they are far more preserved than either Pompeii or Herculaneum. At the height of the Roman civilization Ephesus was the second largest city in Rome. We had a private tour scheduled that failed to materialize so we booked an excursion through Royal Caribbean. This excursion was good but nowhere near as good as our previous excursions to Jerusalem or the Sea of Galilee. The reason this excursion was not as good comes from the fact that private excursions normally have at most 12 participants. This excursion had at least 50. There is no way a tour guide can be as personal with a group of 50 people as he or she can be with a small group. Additionally, one third of this tour was devoted to a carpet shopping sales pitch. It seemed a little tacky for me to pay to have someone try to sell me something I don't want. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We did the Ephesus tour. It was fantastic. Again a very good guide and we did cover a lot of ground in the time we has, again approx 2 hours. The drive there was interesting too. Before they dropped us off at Kusadasi, we were taken to a ... Read More
We did the Ephesus tour. It was fantastic. Again a very good guide and we did cover a lot of ground in the time we has, again approx 2 hours. The drive there was interesting too. Before they dropped us off at Kusadasi, we were taken to a Persian carpet showroom, given a lovely drink, your choice including wine and beer. We had an interesting demonstration of the weaving and were shown a huge range of carpets, styles and designs from different regions. It was very interesting and worth seeing. The carpet I liked best was $30,000.00US. They were hoping for a sale, but I don't think any were made from our group. We had free time to check out the bazaars very handy to the ship. I did not enjoy the bazaars. The shop keepers were very aggressive and even if you politely said "no thanks" and walked away, they continued to harass you, taxi drivers were the same. Consequently we turned around and walked out of the smaller bazaar ( on the right hand side s you leave the port). The main bazaar was not as bad though (straight ahead as you leave the port). Instead we walked across the causeway to the old fort . Nothing to do, but take photos outside there, the fort interior was locked. Worth the walk though and no harassment. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Esra provided us with a great tour of Ephesus and the terrace houses. We loved the Virgin Mary's home and also loved seeing the rug and leather demos. But not if you don't like to shop.
Esra provided us with a great tour of Ephesus and the terrace houses. We loved the Virgin Mary's home and also loved seeing the rug and leather demos. But not if you don't like to shop. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Definitely make it over to Ephesus cause not much unique in the port itself. Just souvenir shops selling the same old stuff. The beaches look pretty nice though.
Definitely make it over to Ephesus cause not much unique in the port itself. Just souvenir shops selling the same old stuff. The beaches look pretty nice though. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We loved Turkey. It was the favorite of most of the other passengers too. We went on a tour (not through the cruise ship) that took us to Ephesus. It was crazy-crowded there...when we finished there were about 40 tour busses lined up...but ... Read More
We loved Turkey. It was the favorite of most of the other passengers too. We went on a tour (not through the cruise ship) that took us to Ephesus. It was crazy-crowded there...when we finished there were about 40 tour busses lined up...but so worthwhile. The best part was touring the terrace houses. After that we went to a state-run place where young girls are taught to weave Turkish rugs (I don't think it's possible to avoid a rug gauntlet in Turkey, but this ended up being very interesting, because we got to watch them making the rugs). After that we enjoyed lunch in the garden where the rug place was, and it was very good. Then we visited St. John's Cathedral and the house of Mary Magdalen. A really fun day! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Highlight of my trip. The ultimate DIY. Walked to the local bus (dolmus) sort of a mini van, short 10 mins from pier. Just ask people for the dolmus to efes (Ephesus) 5 Turkish lira each way. About 20 min ride than a 5 min walk tom the ... Read More
Highlight of my trip. The ultimate DIY. Walked to the local bus (dolmus) sort of a mini van, short 10 mins from pier. Just ask people for the dolmus to efes (Ephesus) 5 Turkish lira each way. About 20 min ride than a 5 min walk tom the bottom gate of Ephesus. We bee lined it to the top gate and took some pics along the way b/c the place was still empty. By the time we got to the upper gate where the buses let the herds off, the place was mobbed. I would recommend a guide for ephesus. We used the audio guide which was very good but i chose to join every guide I ran into. They were all great, you can just feel the pride and knowledge that they were sharing with their groups of about 20 people. There were groups of every imaginable language everywhere. I don't regret DIY however. We had a lot more time than anyone else. We managed to also walk to selcuk, 30 mins from efes and had a wonderful lunch, ok two lunches. Took a dolmus back to kusadasi and had two hrs left for shopping and snacking. The Turks are very hospitable. After their quick sales pitch and a polite no thank you. They were just engaging in conversation. I don't get people who get so upset by vendors. I witnessed multiple Americans and English passengers yelling at vendors. "I said NO to that guy already what don't u understand". C'mon people. 1st ur a guest. Second. They really weren't that pushy. Whatever happened to a friendly no thank you. Love Turkey. Can't wait to see more of it. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
This was my first time to Turkey and I was super excited about going there. This port in Turkey is the gateway to many ancient sites including Ephesus and the house of the Virgin Mary. There were several reasonably priced ship excursions ... Read More
This was my first time to Turkey and I was super excited about going there. This port in Turkey is the gateway to many ancient sites including Ephesus and the house of the Virgin Mary. There were several reasonably priced ship excursions and my brother took one of these. They loved the tour and thought the sites were amazing. I know many people booked their own excursions with local guides ahead of time. There is a great tourist information office just across the street as you leave the port with excellent maps and assistance. My mom and I just wandered around Kusadasi, shopping in the grand bazaar and bargaining with everyone. Yes, they are aggressive, but they are extremely hospitable and you just have to enjoy it and bargain if you want something. We were taken through the entire carpet weaving process and shared the traditional apple tea with the salesmen before seeing many beautiful rugs. When we told him we were not going to buy anything, he graciously thanked us and we said goodbye. We walked to Pigeon Island and wandered around that before stopping for our usual lunch and beer and doing a little more shopping. I bought a pashmina -– there are many different qualities and prices for these, ranging from 10 Euros for a thinner cashmere/silk blend to 25 Euros for a pure cashmere. I bought one that started at 80 Euros and ended at 25 Euros, but it is super thick cashmere and I absolutely love it! I also bought a moonstone pendant that started at 100 Euros and ended at a 20 euro note and a 20 dollar bill. I came across these camel bone (yes, dead camel bone) hand painted boxes that were extraordinary. They started at a total of 400+ Euros and ended at a one hundred dollar bill plus a 50 euro note. One other thing that was on my list to do was to go to a Turkish Bath. There was a hotel right along the main promenade that offered the entire experience for 10 Euros, but I ran out of time. We really enjoyed this port and the people were very nice. Don't get suckered into the Turkish ice cream / gelato. It was horrible! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Once off the ship, we met our tour guide and started a wonderful adventure in Turkey! This was one of our favorite stops...we loved visiting the home of the Virgin Mary and then ancient Ephesus...to think that St. Paul walked the same ... Read More
Once off the ship, we met our tour guide and started a wonderful adventure in Turkey! This was one of our favorite stops...we loved visiting the home of the Virgin Mary and then ancient Ephesus...to think that St. Paul walked the same paths we did! The ruins were fantastic and our tour guide was marvelous with all the history of the area! The trip back to Kusadasi was breath taking...lovely vistas along the way. We then stopped at a carpet presentation which was very interesting...and we shared beverages (ouzo) and mezes again. Hmmm, may have helped the business owner sell a few more carpets!!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We pre arranged a guide with Ephesus Shuttle, found on Trip Advisor. On time. Comfortable car. Driver/guide spoke American. Ephesus will take your breath away. Turkey is beautiful and deserves additional ports of call instead of Cyprus.... Read More
We pre arranged a guide with Ephesus Shuttle, found on Trip Advisor. On time. Comfortable car. Driver/guide spoke American. Ephesus will take your breath away. Turkey is beautiful and deserves additional ports of call instead of Cyprus. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Kusadasi is the Turkish port of call near Ephesus. First time visitors to this port must see Ephesus. During a trip that included weeks in Rome, visits to Pompeii, Rhodes, Mykonos, Santorini and Athens, Ephesus was 2nd only to Pompeii as ... Read More
Kusadasi is the Turkish port of call near Ephesus. First time visitors to this port must see Ephesus. During a trip that included weeks in Rome, visits to Pompeii, Rhodes, Mykonos, Santorini and Athens, Ephesus was 2nd only to Pompeii as a fascinating archaeological site. In truth, it would have been 1st had we not spent so much pre-trip time studying Pompeii so that we could know what we were looking at. Otherwise, Ephesus is the most accessible and understandable archaeological site we visited. Buyer beware if you step into any situation that might involve a sales pitch. This includes stops at rug factories or strolls through the local market. The sales pitches are exceptionally high pressure. That can make the experience either good or bad depending on your disposition. It was highly entertaining if somewhat stressful in the moment. Of the 4 of us, nobody escaped without spending at least a few $100 on something they had no idea they needed until arriving in port. One of us spent nearly $1000 while another came close to pulling the trigger on fantastic, $2800 bargain. In the end, everyone is very satisfied with their purchases. If anything, I have some minor regret at not buying the 5'x9' oriental rug that we came within moments of saying yes before emphatically saying no and walking out. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Kusadasi (Ephesus) Turkey was a great excursion, full of history. While it is amazing that the original port of Ephesus is now 5+ miles inland, it was well worth visiting this ancient site. Ephesus was the second largest city in the Roman ... Read More
Kusadasi (Ephesus) Turkey was a great excursion, full of history. While it is amazing that the original port of Ephesus is now 5+ miles inland, it was well worth visiting this ancient site. Ephesus was the second largest city in the Roman Empire, next to Rome, with much of the ruins still remaining to be excavated. Be sure to get the side tour of the new excavations of the Terrace Houses that are being done by Austria. It was great to see the work that continues at this site. Kusadasi itself is a normal city, with prices on carpets and pottery that are better than Istanbul (or so we were told.) We bought some nice pottery, while our friends bought a beautiful Turkish carpet. BARGAIN HARD! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We joined a tour organized on Cruise Critic that went to Ephesus. It was run by a company called Ephesus Tours and the guide's name was Taner. There were 13 of us in a mini van,and it was a terrific tour which included a Turkish ... Read More
We joined a tour organized on Cruise Critic that went to Ephesus. It was run by a company called Ephesus Tours and the guide's name was Taner. There were 13 of us in a mini van,and it was a terrific tour which included a Turkish lunch. He really made Ephesus come alive! Highly recommended. We then got back to Kusadasi in time for some shopping. It's a great place to buy leather, and also little gifts for friends at home - eyeglass cases, pillow covers, boxes. You can also buy rugs but it is rather difficult to make an expensive purchase on the run. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Kusadasi, Turkey- Ephesus, Didyma & Miletus with Lunch - ****BEST PORT****Even with the sales pressure when you go into stores, this port was by far my favorite! You just have to keep moving, and just keep saying NO as you move through ... Read More
Kusadasi, Turkey- Ephesus, Didyma & Miletus with Lunch - ****BEST PORT****Even with the sales pressure when you go into stores, this port was by far my favorite! You just have to keep moving, and just keep saying NO as you move through the shops (exiting the port back to the ship is like a maze of shops!), unless you are just trying to walk away as a bargaining tactic. :) If you want to hone or test your bargaining skills, this is the place to do it!Ephesus feels like it still has a soul- and when you are there, you are sharing it with all of those who have lived there in the past. You see homes, store fronts, forums, and even bathrooms! They do a little cheesy show of Cleopatra and Mark Anthony too, but it doesn't take away from the place. We saw an amphitheater in Miletus that was also amazing.. and HUGE! I made friends with one of the local kitties there too. :) There's a stone chair smack in the middle of the upper deck, facing straight out the opening of the theater. Sitting there made me wonder, who sat here when this place first was built? Hmmm...The Temple of Apollo at Didyma blew our minds. It was like the temple was built for giants...and we were just little bugs visiting in comparison. The detail in the carvings, and the stories it all told... it was beyond words. It was better than the Acropolis, hands down. We had lunch near by, all good food again, and got some souvenirs before getting back on the bus to go back to port. I got a small onyx cat to remember the Turkish kitty I made friends with. :) Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We had already been to Kusadasi 2 years ago to visit Ephesus so this time around we stayed at the port , did some sightseeing , shopping and enjoyed the view
We had already been to Kusadasi 2 years ago to visit Ephesus so this time around we stayed at the port , did some sightseeing , shopping and enjoyed the view Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Toured to Ephesus by bus - wonderful ruins. Also at the end of the tour attended a Turkish Carpet demonstration - interesting but did not buy anything. Returning to the ship there was a few hours left for a wander around the lovely ... Read More
Toured to Ephesus by bus - wonderful ruins. Also at the end of the tour attended a Turkish Carpet demonstration - interesting but did not buy anything. Returning to the ship there was a few hours left for a wander around the lovely port of Kusadasi. Waterfront promenade with cafes and shops and an area of marketplace stalls and shops. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Here I booked a private tour. Fantastic. Personal guide and private car. First stop was Mary's House. It was shady and calm and no throngs of people. (10am) Then we went to Ephesus. This was a far more meaningful experience than ... Read More
Here I booked a private tour. Fantastic. Personal guide and private car. First stop was Mary's House. It was shady and calm and no throngs of people. (10am) Then we went to Ephesus. This was a far more meaningful experience than Athens. We did it at our own pace. There was no need to hurry or keep up with anybody, or worry about an ear piece falling out!!!! The guide was very knowledgeable and what he didn't know about Ephesus, would fit on a cent coin. I would encourage everybody to take the private tours, so much better than the organised bus tours. I used Ekol travel. There was the opportunity to go to a carpet factory and a leather factory. One carpet factory is the same as the next, just a hard sell. At the terminal building, I found the same set-up, with the girl knotting on a small loom. I didn't put myself under any further pressure by going to the leather factory. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We had already visited Ephesus 20 years ago and if a full day tour had been available we might have gone back but the half day tour included a trip to "Mary's House" which we had also seen and would have left virtually no ... Read More
We had already visited Ephesus 20 years ago and if a full day tour had been available we might have gone back but the half day tour included a trip to "Mary's House" which we had also seen and would have left virtually no free time in Ephesus to see what had changed. (This was later confirmed by those who did the trip) We considered DIY but in the end spotted another trip to the much less well known Miletus (also visited by St Paul, and famous as a seat of learning in antiquity, especially for geometry and trigonometry) and the Temple of Apollo at Didyma. There were only 12 of us in a very comfortable mini-bus. The guide was awful. He started by trying to give us his email address to buy a property in Kusadasi, he then took us to a café owned by a family friend. At Miletus we got a cursory and not too informative tour (although we were the only tour group there so no pressure) and eventually 10 minutes free time before meeting at a café where he "encouraged" us to have pancakes and coffee. As a result we got an overview but didn't get up close to more than about 10% of the site, which was a shame because what we could see looked very interesting as the guide book I bought, and read later, confirmed. The trip to the Temple of Apollo was slightly better although he appeared to be listening to the guide in front of us and merely repeating what she had said(in German) to us in English! (Maybe they all follow the same official script?) We were then again encouraged to have a coffee at another friend's café. On the way back we got a lecture on Turkish politics and the evils of the Kurdish "International Communist Terrorists" on their border. Finally, we were press ganged into visiting the Fabergé carpet and Jewellery shop where were were presented with carpets well beyond the means of the typical Thomson cruiser (a bargain at £10,000! or a 2x1 foot patch for £250) and fabulous jewellery at equally unrealistic prices (a beautiful diamond and topaz ring at £5000). Thankfully they didn't push when they saw nobody was interested in buying, but it just seemed such a waste of everyone's time! A potentially good trip spoiled by a bad guide! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We booked a tour with some Cruise Critic rollcallers and it was a hit. We used Hello Ephesus for it. Our guide was Serdar, and he was fun. We had 7 of us in our van and we went to the House of the Virgin Mary, Ephesus (including the ... Read More
We booked a tour with some Cruise Critic rollcallers and it was a hit. We used Hello Ephesus for it. Our guide was Serdar, and he was fun. We had 7 of us in our van and we went to the House of the Virgin Mary, Ephesus (including the Terrace Houses), St. John's Basilica, the Temple of Artemis, and had lunch for $65. It did include a carpet weaving demo, but I didn't feel that it was high pressure. I found it interesting, actually. I would recommend this tour group for the price. Lunch was delicious!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We went on the Ephesus & The Terrace Houses tour. Our guide was extremely knowledgable...great tour despite the rain! the only thing that was odd was that were taken to a rug dealer where we supposed to see weaving...we didn't ... Read More
We went on the Ephesus & The Terrace Houses tour. Our guide was extremely knowledgable...great tour despite the rain! the only thing that was odd was that were taken to a rug dealer where we supposed to see weaving...we didn't see weaving just lots of expensive rugs they wanted us to buy. our guide suggested a great place for lunch... fun port, good shopping Read Less
Sail Date September 2011

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