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24 hrs in Istanbul

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HI,
Looking for help with short visit to Istanbul.
On May 29 we will have 24 hrs layover in Istanbul, arriving at 5 pm. It is very short time to see anything. What is the best area to stay? Sultanahmet or may be Eminonu? I wonder if is it a good idea to take short Bosphorus ferry trip or just round trip ferry through the Bosphorus strait in the first evening after arrival (I mean ferry,not expensive Bosphous cruise)? Which ferry route is better? Do they accept credit cards? Can we pay cash in dollars or Euros?
What is best the strategy for a half of day next day? Our flight to Rome depart around 5 pm. Some sites, I have heard , will be closed, because it is Monday. Also, I would like to avoid taxis, when it is possible (read some reviews), but I am not sure how and where to buy tickets for trams, buses and etc.

Thanks in advance
Alex

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