Editor’s Note: As were others, I was saddened by the suicide bomber attack in Istanbul that occurred on January 12. Since the attack, a handful of cruise lines have canceled calls to Istanbul (and some for all of Turkey) for the upcoming season. Having traveled extensively throughout Turkey this past fall, I wish for Turkey’s speedy return to cruise itineraries. I can’t think of a more hospitable nation — or one that is more culturally rich than Turkey and its star city, Istanbul.
First, there is the traffic. The streets and highways are clogged, at all times of day. Getting between the airport and the cruise ship — or between the cruise ship and the major attractions — takes a vigilant, patient driver, and that’s best left in the hands of someone else, especially when there is so much to see that you would be craning your neck if you were in the driver’s seat. Not that you’d be renting a car here, would you? If you did, you would have to deal with parking. I’m not sure how our driver managed to park during the three days we were touring Istanbul, but somehow he did, rarely, however, in places that were designated for parking. Learn more about shore excursions from Istanbul.