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Shore Excursions in Istanbul & Ephesus


rs8424

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We used Nejat Incedogan and had a wonderful time. There are quite a few good private tour agencies available for Ephesus. They are all very reasonable too. Be sure to take a full day excursion, since there is just so many wonderful sights to see in the beautiful country of Turkey.

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We are thinking about booking a tour with Oceania .We are arriving 4 days ahead of the cruise.

Oceania offers a full day tour that includes,the Blue Mosque, then on to the Haghia Sodhia, then onto the Topaki Palace all in the morning. Then A lunch at a hotel and the afternoon at the Grand Bazaar.

Is this tour giving me enough to see in this time frame? Laso the tour operaters you mention ,can I arrenge them when I get to my hotel in Istanbul? We are staying at the Swissotel Bosphorus.

Thank you.

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Another vote for Ekol - used them for Ephesus and Istanbul, and had two great days!:)

 

I am interested in using a private guide in Epehsus but am somewhat apprehensive about booking in advance over the internet and giving a credit card nuimber. Has anyone had experience with this? We are fairly new to cruising and have not had any experiences like this. I am worried about safety. Is there a way to book and pay at the time of service? Thanks for your help.

Terri

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I am interested in using a private guide in Epehsus but am somewhat apprehensive about booking in advance over the internet and giving a credit card nuimber. Has anyone had experience with this? We are fairly new to cruising and have not had any experiences like this. I am worried about safety. Is there a way to book and pay at the time of service? Thanks for your help.

Terri

We have booked Meander Travel for turkey they just require a CC to hold booking you pay in cash at end of tour. they have been great returning e-mails and have positive reviews on these boards.

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We also used Nejat Incedogan and had a wonderful three days with him. He took our group for the two days we had in Istanbul, and he flew to Ephesus and met us there the next day as we sailed in.

 

We did not have to pay in advance.

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I am interested in using a private guide in Epehsus but am somewhat apprehensive about booking in advance over the internet and giving a credit card nuimber. Has anyone had experience with this? We are fairly new to cruising and have not had any experiences like this. I am worried about safety. Is there a way to book and pay at the time of service? Thanks for your help.

Terri

 

 

 

I've posted this in other threads in the past, so sorry to anyone not reading this story for the first time...:o

 

We were traveling with our two children, 4 and 8 last year. When we got back to the port after our tour in Ephesus, the van pulled into a very busy and chaotic parking lot, with buses, cabs, vans, etc. The kids jumped out, and in an effort to ensure their safety, I overlooked the fact that I had not put my travel folder back in my bag - on the trip back, our guide had kindly noted a couple of wines which she enjoyed, and had written them down for us on my notes.

 

That night, long after sailaway, as I was packing my bag for our day in Istanbul, I was dismayed to realize I didn't have my travel file. Now, this was especially bad, because not only did it contain all of my painstakingly gathered notes, contact info. for the guides, etc. it also contained copies of our passports and information (numbers, exp. dates, etc) on ALL of our credit cards (my thinking had been, in the event they were stolen, I would have a record of them for the CC companies). :eek:

 

Needless to say, I slept poorly that night, being really, really mad at myself for my stupidity. Right after meeting our guide in Istanbul the next morning, we relayed what had happened. He called the main office in Kusadasi. In less than an hour, he had a call back, saying that they had located the file and would mail it to our home. It arrived a week or so after we got home, completely intact, and we've never had any suspicious activity on any of our accounts. :D They didn't even charge us postage!

 

So, speaking from my own experience, I would not hesitate to share your CC info with a reputable company. If you are uncomfortable e-mailing it to them, you can fax it. We sent Ekol our CC info, then paid in cash the day in Ephesus - for both Ephesus and the next day in Istanbul, as a previous poster mentioned.

 

Whatever you decide to do - enjoy your cruise!:)

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I just want to make sure that I am looking at the correct website for the highly recommended tour group Ekol. Please confirm that it it www dot ekoltravel dot com. I noticed that some CCer's warned about websites with a name that is similiar to other popular tour guides and I want to make sure that I have the right group. TIA.

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We are thinking about booking a tour with Oceania .We are arriving 4 days ahead of the cruise.

Oceania offers a full day tour that includes,the Blue Mosque, then on to the Haghia Sodhia, then onto the Topaki Palace all in the morning. Then A lunch at a hotel and the afternoon at the Grand Bazaar.

Is this tour giving me enough to see in this time frame? Laso the tour operaters you mention ,can I arrenge them when I get to my hotel in Istanbul? We are staying at the Swissotel Bosphorus.

Thank you.

 

The Oceania excursion certainly crowds a lot into the morning portion of the tour -- assuming they go to the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia and Topkapi Palace during that time. It doesn't require a lot of time to see the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia - perhaps 45 minutes each - but Topkapi Palace is large and there were long line-ups to see the Treasury which is well worth the wait in line. The grounds and buildings are beautiful and take quite a while to wander through - the view across the Bosphorus to the Asian side of the city is spectacular.

 

There is lots to see (and buy) at the Grand Bazaar -- although the Spice Bazaar is more interesting IMHO.

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We are thinking about booking a tour with Oceania .We are arriving 4 days ahead of the cruise.

Oceania offers a full day tour that includes,the Blue Mosque, then on to the Haghia Sodhia, then onto the Topaki Palace all in the morning. Then A lunch at a hotel and the afternoon at the Grand Bazaar.

Is this tour giving me enough to see in this time frame? Laso the tour operaters you mention ,can I arrenge them when I get to my hotel in Istanbul? We are staying at the Swissotel Bosphorus.

Thank you.

 

I agree with the other poster that you probably won't have enough time to do Topkapi properly. And all afternoon in the Grand Bazaar may be pretty tiring, depending on your stamina. How big are these tours? You could most of these sights on your own, or with the help of a cab or two.

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I just want to make sure that I am looking at the correct website for the highly recommended tour group Ekol. Please confirm that it it www dot ekoltravel dot com. I noticed that some CCer's warned about websites with a name that is similiar to other popular tour guides and I want to make sure that I have the right group. TIA.

 

correct

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I agree with the other poster that you probably won't have enough time to do Topkapi properly. And all afternoon in the Grand Bazaar may be pretty tiring, depending on your stamina. How big are these tours? You could most of these sights on your own, or with the help of a cab or two.

 

I don't think the tour is that crowded since we are taking it on Saturday on our pre cruise. The ship dosn't arrive into Istanbul till Monday.

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Just book it on the ship, there will be plenty of buses, price is reasonable, it's well organized and you will have a good guide, once you're there, you will feel in heaven, the walk through Main Street in Ephesus, is fabulous, it will bring you back a couple of thousand years.Don't bother with a visit to to mary's house, that's a tourist trap, according to a German study mary never lived there...

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our tour is in july, and we have had lots of interaction thru

e-mail and they have been great and very accomodating

I think it will be a great excursion they have had good reviews on these boards

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We used TUR &TOUR Travel Services Inc. http://www.tur-tour.com in Oct. 2007 and had a terrific full day private tour. It only cost us $45 per person, plus separate admission to the ancient ruins at Ephesus. There were 7 of us sharing the van. We had a driver and a guide. The guide did the full commentary inside the ruins and was excellent.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I also returned from a cruise this month (also on the Jade), and highly recommend our guide, Levent Solmaz. I'm not certain how this was arranged because another traveller on cruisecritic made the arrangements (actually managed to get a group of 24 together from cruisecritic for an incredible, and incredibly inexpensive, tour). Everyone thought Levent was amazing, and he provided guide services both on the drive (he has a separate driver) and at Ephesus and the museum. Don't miss the terrace houses at Ephesus! I don't think the ship excursions included these on their tours. It's just an extra half-hour at the most once you are at Ephesus. There is a separate admission price for the terrace houses, although Levent included all admissions in the price of our tour, so we did not have to worry about it. Only reason to miss this site is if you have trouble with stairs, as they are numerous.

I understand the concern about credit card information, but I would not hesitate to trust Levent with my information.

Whatever tour you choose- have a great time and enjoy the beautiful scenery!

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Here is a fabulous tour guide we used for 2 days in Istanbul and one day in Ephesus. We used Kagan Kosagan in late November. He speaks excellent English, has a great sense of humor and is certainly knowledgeable about Istanbul and Turkey. He does not require any deposit or cc guarantee. I had 15 people sign up on our thread on CC and they loved their 3 days in Turkey. I selected Kagan based upon the high recommendations from everyone that used his services. His wife is also a licensed tour guide and he has several other guides he uses also.

 

http://www.tourguidesinturkey.com/index.html

You will find his email address on his website.

 

Mary

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I also returned from a cruise this month (also on the Jade), and highly recommend our guide, Levent Solmaz. I'm not certain how this was arranged because another traveller on cruisecritic made the arrangements (actually managed to get a group of 24 together from cruisecritic for an incredible, and incredibly inexpensive, tour). Everyone thought Levent was amazing, and he provided guide services both on the drive (he has a separate driver) and at Ephesus and the museum. Don't miss the terrace houses at Ephesus! I don't think the ship excursions included these on their tours. It's just an extra half-hour at the most once you are at Ephesus. There is a separate admission price for the terrace houses, although Levent included all admissions in the price of our tour, so we did not have to worry about it. Only reason to miss this site is if you have trouble with stairs, as they are numerous.

I understand the concern about credit card information, but I would not hesitate to trust Levent with my information.

Whatever tour you choose- have a great time and enjoy the beautiful scenery!

We saw the terrace houses on a Seabourn cruise:cool:

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