Hi everyone, I was wondering how people feel about seeing Istanbul on their own. My husband and I are taking the Emerald Princess out of Barcelone on August 9, 2007. We will visit Marseille, Rome, Livorno, Naples, Athens and also Istanbul. I have read and zeroxed Tom Oggs 2006 account of how to do your own excursions. I love the directions and pictures and am planning to do our own sightseeing in all of these ports. I am a little hesitant with Istanbul and would like your advice. Thanks, Sybille
It is not difficult to manage Istanbul on your own. Be prepared for lots of people. Istanbul's population is more than New York City and Los Angeles combined! If you travel far from the ship, make sure that you allow enough time to make it back.
Istanbul is a very easy city to do on your own. The major attractions, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia, Cistern, Topkapi and Grand Bazaar are all within a few blocks of each other - about a 45 minute walk from the ship. We have walked it and taken the tram which runs in front of the ship. If you want to take the tram take a right at the main street when you exit from the ship - you will see the tracks. The closest station is about 1 block to your right. It costs 1.3 YTL (about 1 euro) - I just stopped into a little grocery store on the opposite side of the street and bought a coke with euros and got YTL change from them for the tram. The Sultanahmet stop is the closest to Hagia Sofia. The tram maps are like all metro maps in Europe - if the front of the tram says Eminonu don't take that one, it stops there. People will help you figure out which tram you want. There are also lots of taxis right by the ship if you want to do that - remember bargaining is a Turkish way of life. We have cruised into Istanbul 3 times and visited a couple of times on our own - it's a great city.
Thank you for your responses. I really appreciate it. I have not been to Istanbul but have been to countries like Egypt and Morocco. Is Istanbul similar to Cairo? (hectic, difficult to negotiate, and lots of people on the streets even in the early morning)? I look forward to the cruise, especially Istanbul, but am still wondering if one sees more of the city if one takes a tour. Thanks
I am also going on the same cruise as you on August 9th as well. We are also planning to do Istanbul on our own. You mentioned Tom Oggs account of how to do your own excursions. Could you tell me where I might find this? I just found this website and am assuming it is own this site somewhere but did not find it when I did a search, Thank you Dora
We were there in July & as we were there for 4 days got YLTs but I took a cheat sheet from www.oanda.com for all the currencies we would be using, this is very useful if you make lg purchases, we found the Spice Bazaar easier to walk through & cheaper prices than the Grand Bazaar the tram system is very easy to use (purchase your ticket at the booth before you get on the tram)
Hi Dora, I am glad to hear someone else is going on that cruise. It will be great. I don't know the website offhand but I actually clicked on it reading one of these cruise or port reviews. On the weekend I talked to another couple who actually were in Istanbul and they also said no problem getting around on your own. Thank you again to the others who responded to my initial concern regarding Istanbul I am so excited. Sybille