Private van tour of Istanbul

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Apr 18th, 2007, 11:49 PM
  #1
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Private van tour of Istanbul

We are a group of 8 adults that will be taking a Mediterranean cruise in May (our second together). All are very active, almost 60's. We thought we might take a private van to tour Istanbul, but the cruise line has us on a waitlist. We're nervous about taking just any old tour. Any suggestions of tour companies you have had good experiences with? We'd like a full day tour.
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Apr 19th, 2007, 06:53 AM
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Hi Leburta

Here is the e-mail address to Jenny at Eko Travel.

They toured us around Turkey about 5 months ago and we were very pleased and saw all the major places.
Jenny / Ekol Travel Ltd.

[email protected]


Percy

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Apr 20th, 2007, 12:39 AM
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Thanks, Percy!

Seems like a lot of people on this forum like to wing it on their own when they hit a port. We will do that for some of the smaller cities, but for Istanbul we want to see as much as we can in a short time.

On our cruise to the Baltics we were quite pleased with the tours Princess cruises offered. They were not cheap, but all were excellent tours. Unlike tours I've been on elsewhere, we didn't fee like "cattle", and all the meals offered on tour were just great.

Thanks again for your suggestion!

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Apr 20th, 2007, 07:09 AM
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Your welcome

What are your other Ports of call.?

On the Baltic Crusie can you do many of the Ports on your own ,except for St.Petersburg of course.?

Are there tour guides and taxi's waiting for you (to hire them) as you disembark?

Percy
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Apr 20th, 2007, 10:47 PM
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On the upcoming cruise, we start in Barcelona and end in Athens. In between we see St. Tropez, Sorrento, Portofino, Civitivecchia (for Rome), Valleta (Malta), Santorini, and Istanbul.

The last cruise to the Baltics included Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallin, Berlin (can't remember the port city), Gdansk, and St. Petersburg. It was a summer cruise with more hours of sunshine than not because we were so far north. For those of us from Hawaii, it was just a thrill!
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Apr 30th, 2007, 07:05 PM
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Try this agency, I have toured twice with them in Turkey, although not in Istanbul but in Ephesus and Kusadasi. We were a group of 11, and the tours were great! Very reasonably priced too. Good luck.

http://www.seasong.com/english.htm
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May 1st, 2007, 01:07 PM
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I want to echo Percy's endorsement of Ekol Travel. We used them too when we were in Turkey in 9/06 on our cruise. They were great and Jenny is very professional to deal with via e-mail.

I would also like to recommend Dimitrius for a private van tour for Santorini. We took a full day tour with him and loved it. Went all over the island. You can e-mail him at [email protected]

Enjoy your cruise!
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May 6th, 2007, 10:37 AM
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I recommend getting your own guide for Instanbul. The first time I went there we took the cruise ship's tour. All the various ship's tours arrived at the main sites around the same time causing a huge wait/crowd. If you jump in your own van with your own guide you can minimize this and go from one place to another at your own pace
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May 6th, 2007, 10:38 AM
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I forgot to add that I'm returning to istanbul (1 day , on a cruise) this October and I have booked my own private guide/car.
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May 7th, 2007, 10:04 AM
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Just to clear up - Ekol Travel will do a private guide/driver - it doesn't have to be a group tour, although they offer those too.
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May 9th, 2007, 12:43 AM
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Do any of these guides have websites?
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May 9th, 2007, 09:48 AM
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Ekol Travel is www.ekoltravel.com
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May 19th, 2007, 04:46 AM
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I am not familiar with any of the above mentioned tour/travel companies but I do have a bit of advice. Absolutely, make arrangements with a licensed company prior to getting off the cruise ship in Istanbul. There will be tour operators for hire port side. We did hire one of these, as our prearranged private tour guide did not show up. The touring of the city was wonderful and very extensive, but the guide had an ulterior motive. His goal was to get us into a rug gallery to sell us overpriced rugs - then into a jewelry store to sell us overpriced jewelry and unauthenticated icons. He knew the owners extremely well - quite fishy! All of this was when we were ready to return to the ship. He insisted that no excursion into Istanbul was complete without seeing these premier retailers! Beware, there are rug merchants on every corner of Turkey! Of course, all of that can be avoided by taking the excursions that can be booked with your cruise line. In other words, we have done both with different cruise lines and it would depend on the city/port and our comfort with the local language as to which we would do.
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