There are many things which make Istanbul unique, and the most obvious can be seen with just a brief glance at a map. It is split not just between two sides of the Bosphorus but between two continents, straddling Europe and Asia. It is one of the biggest cities in the world, ranked fifth by population, and boasts both incredible history and architecture and a modern skyline of skyscrapers. Visitors can stare in awe at the Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern and Sultanahmet Mosques, take in a game of football, gorge on delicious Turkish food, stroll the waterfront or shop up a storm at the modern shopping malls or traditional bazaars. Don't forget to pick up some Turkish delight!
With a busy waterway running through its very heart, one can safely say that Istanbul is centered around the ocean. It sits between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea, not far from the Mediterranean, an important port that has been full of vessels coming and going since the 7th century BC. Cruising away from Istanbul at the beginning of your own nautical adventure is the perfect way to carry on a noble tradition.
Istanbul cruise lines and destinations
Most of the lines which cruise from Istanbul are at the premium or luxury end of the scale, so you'll have to embrace the high life - it shouldn't be too hard! Celebrity offers a number of Istanbul cruise departures, most of which are fantastic 10-12 night voyages. Small-ship all inclusive lines Seabourn and Azamara Club also sail from the city on the regular.
Unsurprisingly, Mediterranean cruises from Istanbul are common on the roster of all these lines, with plenty of ships sailing through the Dardanelles to visit the Greek Isles, Athens, Dubrovnik, Venice, Barcelona and other unforgettable seaside cities. Locations around the Sea of Marmara also feature heavily on Istanbul cruise itineraries, as well as the occasional foray into the Black Sea. Cruise Sale Finder has all the bases covered for Mediterranean cruises in 2015, 2016, 2017 and beyond whether you are after a cruise with P&O cruises, Princess, Carnival or any of the other cruise lines on offer.
Istanbul cruise port
Cruise ships in Istanbul dock to the northeast of the central city, along a series of quays on the Bosphorus. A large new cruise terminal facility is under construction, and will include upgraded facilities as well as shops and hotels.
The tram line runs beside the cruise quays and into the city centre, making it simple to get around and explore or get to the port under your own steam. The nearby Kabatas ferry docks can get you across to the Asian side of the city. Yellow taxis are also available, but make sure that the driver turns on the meter and charges the correct fare! It's possible to arrange a private transfer from the airport to the cruise terminal and this is perhaps the easiest and most reliable way to get there if you are flying in and sailing out in the same day.