Greek Isle Cruise and Istanbul Help

Old Jun 19th, 2022, 04:52 PM
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Greek Isle Cruise and Istanbul Help

Hi fellow cruisers,

My friend and I are taking a Greek isle cruise in late August, we have a few questions about our Istanbul stop. We are wondering if we should take a shore excursions with our ship or can we do this on our own?

Our main focus for the day in Istanbul will be visiting the Grand Bazaar, spice market and Hagia Sophie mosque. Is it safe to disembark and visit these sites on our own? We are two women traveling alone. If so, can anyone recommend how we get from the port to these sites? Is there anything else we should not miss while we have our day in Istanbul?

Also, one of our stops will be on the island of Volos and Makrinitsa. Has anyone visited this island and can you share any thoughts on what to see and do? There is a shore excursion offered, or is this a place we should go on our own.

Appreciate any and all help!

Last edited by zanyzak; Jun 19th, 2022 at 05:01 PM.
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Old Jun 19th, 2022, 06:47 PM
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You might also want to post o the Europe Forum -- there are several members who know a lot about Turkey and Greece (BTW - Volos / Makrinitsa is on the Greek mainland, not on an island)
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Old Jun 19th, 2022, 08:22 PM
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Personally, I would feel totally safe in Istanbul being on my own. Be prepared though to be besieged by salespeople following you around trying to entice you into their shops. Do not talk with them or you will be caught in conversation from which it may be difficult to extract yourself.

You do want to have transportation pinned down and times well planned because, though it is in the city, the port is not close to sights you want to see. We took the easy way out and took a taxi to the port from the airport and to the our hotel from the port.

Book tickets to everything ahead and expect longish lines.

I do not like tours, but with only one day, I would strongly consider a tour, not with the ship, but perhaps something like Viator.

Join and then the roll call for your cruise. See if there are small groups you could join for a tour. Also get advice from people who have done the port before.
Look on FaceBook for your cruise’s group and you will likely find great advice and small groups to join for tours.
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Old Jun 20th, 2022, 04:29 AM
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Istanbul has an excellent public transport system. I have used a taxi a couple of times, and both times the driver tried to rip me off.

This site has info on how to get from the cruise port to the main sights:

This site has information on the public transport system as a whole: https://istanbul-tourist-information...t-in-istanbul/

I would not hesitate to ride public transport in Istanbul. I have taken it in from the airport, and if I arrived by ship I would do the same.

There are a great many excellent sites in Istanbul, personally I would not put the bazaars at the top, but I am not a shopper. One of my favorites is the Blue Mosque, which is just across from Hagia Sofia, but I believe it is closed for renovation. However, there is no shortage of other mosques, plus Topkapi Palace and museums. If you had more time I would recommend taking a ferry ride, but perhaps you only have a few hours.
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Old Jun 20th, 2022, 10:40 AM
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Thank you, great idea!
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Old Jun 20th, 2022, 10:42 AM
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Fabulous info, thank you so much for taking time to reply with all your helpful info. I am on cruisecritic as well, great idea on that too, many thanks!
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Old Jun 23rd, 2022, 05:42 AM
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Do include the Blue Mosque.And be sure to try some fresh squeezed pomegranate juice.
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Old Jul 1st, 2022, 05:54 AM
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Thank you all for your great comments. My friend and I decided to hire a private guide for the whole day, this way we can see everything and tickets will be prepaid for skip the line entrances.

Thank you Happy Trvlr, we will definitely get some fresh squeezed pom juice!

Many thanks!
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Old Jul 1st, 2022, 11:21 AM
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Zanyzak, there are some interesting places to eat near A. Sophia Mosque. Some are located in former 'historic' buildings with a lot of atmosphere that gives added value. Worth investigating.
Thursday, we too once had a Stamboul taxi driver try to rip us off. It was on our very first trip together, and he chose the wrong tourists on the wrong day. Reamed him a new one in front of hotel management, then paid him far less than what he was attempting to extort from us. An unpleasant experience, but there are times when travelers must stand up for themselves.

Hope all goes well on your cruise. Btw, seems they're now trying for the name 'Turkiye' to be used by visiting foreigners.
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