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We hope to be on the Enchanted cruise that stops here May 2021.  Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions of what to do/see?

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Posted (edited)

Ephesus itself will not be your cruise port.  You will likely dock in Kusadasi or Izmir.  I would bet the majority of people who stop in either location for the first time go to the ancient Greek ruins at Ephesus (via bus) and this is why some cruise lines indicate Ephesus as the stop itself.  Ephesus is fascinating unless you just have zero interest in ruins.  If you visit, you will likely have a guide who will walk you down an ancient street while pointing out the various remnants of the city.   You will enter some of the buildings to see some things close up.  There aren't many (any?) original roofs left on anything.   It is very interesting.  As dogs4fun mentions above, you can optionally (for an additional fee) tour what is known as The Terrace Houses.   This is a large excavated area that has been enclosed by in a modern roof to protect it.  Inside, you navigate walkways and stairs to see a lot of what it was like to live in upscale Ephesus at the time.  I also encourage you to tour The Terrace Houses.  It's worth the money.  Ephesus tours can be arranged via your cruise line or via a third party tour company.

 

If you don't go to Ephesus, I suspect that #2 through #5 sites that people see while on a cruise stop are also ancient ruins.  The area has many to offer.

 

Otherwise, I suggest you look to see what else your cruise line offers.

Edited by MeHeartCruising

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Thank you both for the feedback.  dogs4fun, I checked into the Terrace Houses, but the Princess excursions that go there said they were strenuous.  I do not think I am ready for that much activity.  I think I will investigate another easier tour; I do not think this is a do it yourself place.

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5 hours ago, georgiacat said:

Thank you both for the feedback.  dogs4fun, I checked into the Terrace Houses, but the Princess excursions that go there said they were strenuous.  I do not think I am ready for that much activity.  I think I will investigate another easier tour; I do not think this is a do it yourself place.

 

I have been to Ephesus twice and did the Terrace Houses both times.  I don't know your physical condition, but I do not consider this excursion strenuous.  The first time was a rainy day, so the (marble) streets of Ephesus were slick – but we didn't see anyone fall.  The Terrace Houses, being enclosed by that huge roof, were dry.  The second time was a sunny day and it was just an easy stroll (the bus drops you at the top of the city and picks you up at the bottom, so you are constantly walking downhill except when you climb the steps inside the Terrace Houses).

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1 hour ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

 

I have been to Ephesus twice and did the Terrace Houses both times.  I don't know your physical condition, but I do not consider this excursion strenuous.  The first time was a rainy day, so the (marble) streets of Ephesus were slick – but we didn't see anyone fall.  The Terrace Houses, being enclosed by that huge roof, were dry.  The second time was a sunny day and it was just an easy stroll (the bus drops you at the top of the city and picks you up at the bottom, so you are constantly walking downhill except when you climb the steps inside the Terrace Houses).

Same here - we did not find the Terrace Houses strenuous at all. Perhaps the tour is listed as strenuous because it includes the ruins of Ephesus? We agree with your assessment - no problem with touring Ephesus & the Terrace Houses - definitely would not rate it as strenuous.

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Posted (edited)

We too have done the terrace houses twice and highly recommend them.  I think the best suggestion would be to go on a small private tour. That way you can personalize what you want to see and more importantly what you don’t.   The ship tours move only as fast as the slowest in A group of 50 and you spend a lot of time waiting or standing.

 

Last fall we had a phenomenal private tour with Levant  Solmaz.   We would highly recommend him.  He does Ephesus and also the ancient cities of Priene, Didyma and Miletus.   Priene is a strenuous uphill climb but the other two cities are very doable and we had a lovely local lunch.  We had no rug tours or leather Shops!   He has spent time in the US and has excellent English and is extremely knowledgeable.

639FDBAB-9781-4CE0-A689-0047149A5747.jpeg

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Edited by bennybear

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We used Dicle Gundem (@ gmail) with a group of six from our roll call.  We visited Ephesus (with the Terrace Houses), had lunch in Selçuk, and then went to the Ephesus Archeological Museum.  A wonderful day.  I highly recommend her.

 

More info in my blog of the trip here [scroll down to Tue 6/7 for Ephesus]

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Bennybear, so happy that you mentioned Levant.  We had him booked for a tour in May.  We now have re-booked him for October 2021.  

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On 6/26/2020 at 8:41 AM, georgiacat said:

Thank you both for the feedback.  dogs4fun, I checked into the Terrace Houses, but the Princess excursions that go there said they were strenuous.  I do not think I am ready for that much activity.  I think I will investigate another easier tour; I do not think this is a do it yourself place.

 

Here are a couple photos of the Terrace Houses area.  You can see the type of things you will be seeing, and if you look near the tops of the pictures, you can see the types of steps you will need to climb up and down.  You enter at the lower end structure and gradually climb up multiple sets of stairs as you walk around.  Then you exit the covered building at the top and walk back down a sloping walkway (it might be gravel) which is outside of the covered building.  It is only strenuous if you cannot handle 10-15 steps at a time.  There is enough time to rest between stair cases.  Unless you are resting too much to slow down your tour guide.  But I recall ample time to look at things and read signs, so they go at a pretty slow pace.

2011-04 Kusadasi Day 2-132.jpg

2011-04 Kusadasi Day 2-145.jpg

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Thank you for all of the information.  It does look interesting.  I will check into the guides that you mention.

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We did private tours both times we were there and were very happy that we did.   Last time there were four of us.  My MIL wanted to take a side trip to a place called  Mary's House.  From our perspective it was a waste of time and money.  A tourist trap if we ever saw one.  We would definitely give it a miss.   Terrace Houses were amazing.

 

The great thing about a private tour vs the cruise tour is that we were finishing our tour just as the bus load of people were coming in.  We also got to miss the stops for rugs, leather goods, and  trinkets and trash which was a big plus from our perspective.

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I really enjoyed Mary’s house, so we are all different.  The key is to decide what you want to see and do so you don’t waste time at places  you are not interested in.

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If you did private/shared tours, do you remember who the guides were?  (and their contact info?)  Did you feel safe?  That is a big consideration for us taking a Princess tour, is the safety factor.  Otherwise, I favor shared tours.

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As mentioned above we used Levent  Solmaz who is extremely professional, very experienced and interesting.   His  email is info@leventsolmaz.com

highly recommended! 

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5 hours ago, georgiacat said:

If you did private/shared tours, do you remember who the guides were?  (and their contact info?)  Did you feel safe?  That is a big consideration for us taking a Princess tour, is the safety factor.  Otherwise, I favor shared tours.

 

I've been to Ephesus several times over the years -- not in the last three years however, since most cruise ships had removed Turkey from their itineraries during that period. I'm not sure anyone will have very recent experience for you...

 

I've done three private tours, one ship tour, and one tour that was part of a longer land-based tour. Except for the land-based tour, I found all of the guides to be good enough but not in that really top category of private guides that I have located for some places. All of them will give you a creditable tour of the site.  Personally I feel a lot of the agencies are connected in some way with the carpet shops/dealers as they will all insist on taking you to one of several 'tourist trap' spots (rug factory, leather factory, ceramics) unless you strenuously object.

 

As to safety, I have felt Ephesus to be very safe on previous visits. It is a town founded on tourism, and I'm sure they are anxious to see tourists return in full force. The site of Ephesus is only a scant 25-30 minutes from the port, so you should not need to worry about anything that would cause you to miss the ship.

 

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Our first time in Ephesus was on Crystal in 2014.  We took a ship's tour, but it was a deluxe version called "Ephesus with an Archaeological Expert" – our guide was an archeologist who worked on the Terrace Houses, and there were no stops for rugs or shopping!  Best ship's tour we have ever taken.  Every other ship's tour and group tour I have seen includes lots of mandatory shopping stops.

 

We felt quite safe in 2014 and 2016.  I wouldn't go to Turkey now, but Ephesus is still probably the safest part.

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Thank you all.  Ephesus and Istanbul are stops for the Enchanted Princess Mediterranean cruise in 2021.  I appreciate all of the information you have given me; I will check out Levent  Solmaz as a guide.  Let's hope the ships will be cruising by then.

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Posted (edited)

Georgia cat you are most welcome!  Hope you can see both, Istanbul is spectacular!  

 

@cruisemom42  we were fortunate to tour this past fall 2019.  This was our fourth trip. We were surprised to see Kusadasi on the itinerary and were prepared for it to be missed.  Sadly, the lack of tourism has impacted the guides in a huge way financially.  We were truly lucky to find such a great guide.  

Edited by bennybear

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13 minutes ago, bennybear said:

Georgia cat you are most welcome!  Hope you can see both, Istanbul is spectacular!  

 

@cruisemom42  we were fortunate to tour this past fall 2019.  This was our fourth trip. We were surprised to see Kusadasi on the itinerary and were prepared for it to be missed.  Sadly, the lack of tourism has impacted the guides in a huge way financially.  We were truly lucky to find such a great guide.  

 

I seem to recall that you and I talked about this before, as I was to be on an October cruise that returned to Ephesus. I spoke with Mr. Solmaz, but when I tried to discuss a more in-depth or off-the-beaten-track itinerary at Ephesus rather than his set tour that he outlined (not of interest to me as this would be my fourth or fifth visit there), he was not very interested in further discussion and took another tour group in the midst of our ongoing email exchange...

 

I'm glad that you enjoyed a good tour with him though, and for a first visit I'm sure that he does a great job.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

I seem to recall that you and I talked about this before, as I was to be on an October cruise that returned to Ephesus. I spoke with Mr. Solmaz, but when I tried to discuss a more in-depth or off-the-beaten-track itinerary at Ephesus rather than his set tour that he outlined (not of interest to me as this would be my fourth or fifth visit there), he was not very interested in further discussion and took another tour group in the midst of our ongoing email exchange...

 

I'm glad that you enjoyed a good tour with him though, and for a first visit I'm sure that he does a great job.

 

 

We used him to visit Priene, Didyma and Miletus this time as we too had seen Ephesus twice.  Our visit was in September,  but know you and I have chatted before.  I think you helped me with Pompeii and Oplontis.  That’s unfortunate and disappointing,  I think the guides are in a very difficult financial situation.  

Hope our paths cross sometime!  

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