Istanbul, the Perfect Cruise Destination.

The Eastern Mediterranean serves up a delight of incredible destinations, none more spectacular than Istanbul.  At 3,000 years old the city boasts an amazing array of culture combined with cosmopolitan wonders to create an experience like no other.  Often known by many as where east meets west it is a regular port of call for many cruise operators, with passengers returning year after year to once again take in it’s beauty.  Most ships even spend the night to ensure that passengers get a real flavor for the Turkish city lifestyle.

The City connects two continents through the fascinating suspension bridge that welcomes ships upon their arrival.  Lit up by glistening light shows in the evening the views along the magical Bosphorus are breath taking.   

The archaeological highlights this city has to offer are endless and often require several days just to scratch the service of the history Istanbul possesses.  

Visit the Mesmerising Blue Mosque

This is by far one of the cities most famous and recognisable attractions.  Known as the Blue Mosque because of the blue iznik tiles that surround the interior design, this incredible landmark attracts thousands of tourists everyday.  

We would definitely advise approaching the Blue Mosque from the Hippodrome direction in order to gain the best vantage point of its spectacular stature.   

Passengers are advised that shoes will need to be removed before entering the Mosque itself, as this is still a very active mosque and only closed to non-worshippers for approximately half an hour during the five daily prayers.  A bag will be provided for tourists entering the mosque, free of charge, for your shoes to be placed in until you depart.   You will also be required to ensure that you take items of clothing that will cover both shoulder and knees before entering the mosque.

Most excursions aim to visit the Blue Mosque mid-morning to ensure you get the most from your visit, however, if visiting independently we also recommend planning your day for a similar time.  This allows for a visit to be enjoyed between the calls to prayer and a key factor for passengers is that the Blue Mosque is free of charge to enter, so go along and enjoy the wondrous experience this famous structure has to offer.

Shop Until You Drop at the Grand Bazaar

The largest covered market in the world, the Grand Bazaar features over 4,000 shops.  This magnificent shopping experience revolves around some of Turkeys finest exports, from jewellery to carpets, there is no stone left unturned when it comes to catering for individual desires.

Take the time to browse at your leisure, soak up the vibrant atmosphere and fine-tune those bargaining skills.   

Avenues will veer off left, right and center to fill the hearts desire, be it culinary demonstrations, cultural souvenirs or something special to take home to savor that special occasion.   

The sheer size of the Grand Bazaar can take up a lot of time to get through and believe us when we say you’ll want to experience every bit of it.  It’s important to plan your day around this to ensure you get the most from your visit and if your doing an excursion, most tour guides will include an optional carpet demonstration to really get a feel for the creativity that goes into producing such beautiful pieces.

Basque in the Culture of the Topkapi Palace

A visit to the Topkapi Palace is a once in a lifetime experience.  It is hard to believe such heritage and history can be captured so beautifully but somehow the Topkapi Palace manages to do so exquisitely.

Home to the Ottoman Sultans for 400 years this magnificent sight can be explored both through an excursion with your cruise operator or independently within comfortable reach of the port.

Freedom to roam allows tourists the opportunity to discover this great culture and absorb the true identity of the once royal residence.  

Often used as the setting for royal amusements and vital state occasions, the Palace is now home to some of the most stunningly decorated rooms in the city, showcasing a collection of Ottoman costumes and what many believe to be a key attraction; the Topkapi Dagger.

Excursion will provide an overview commentary from within the Palace gardens, giving a thorough insight into the history the Palace possesses.  The many rooms available for tourist to enter are often vast in size and prevent regular commentary from your tour guide, however, there are comprehensive descriptions into each artifact as you make your way around the rooms, capturing the essence of the prestigious history.

Away from the cultural highlights this magnificent city has to offer, it really is an extraordinary place to relax and soak up the atmosphere.

Local cuisine will have you raring for more and the views from the hilltop over the Bosphorus are simply stunning.

For a touch of luxury during an overnight stay in port, venture up the hill to one of the many outstanding restaurants and bars to get a real taste for this magical metropolis.  The Sunset Grill, for example, is one of the highest rated restaurants in the city and will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression.

Whatever your desire, let this wonderful port of call fill your mind with memories like never before, for it truly is like no other.

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