Sail Date: January 2008
I am an ancient history buff and this port provided a feast for my passion. Ancient Ephesus and the ancient church of John the Evangelist (along with his tomb)were magnificent.
I am an ancient history buff and this port provided a feast for my passion. Ancient Ephesus and the ancient church of John the Evangelist (along with his tomb)were magnificent. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2008
Loved everything about this stop. The trip to Ephesus is 6 star. The port area and town is really nice. Nice shopping, nice people, nice food. Would go again.
Loved everything about this stop. The trip to Ephesus is 6 star. The port area and town is really nice. Nice shopping, nice people, nice food. Would go again. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2008
Our second day was in Kusadasi where we explored downtown for a few hours then met our private guide for an afternoon at Ephesus (ABSOLUTE MUST SEE TERRACE HOUSES -WORTH THE FEE), the Temple of Artemis (a single standing pillar in a field ... Read More
Our second day was in Kusadasi where we explored downtown for a few hours then met our private guide for an afternoon at Ephesus (ABSOLUTE MUST SEE TERRACE HOUSES -WORTH THE FEE), the Temple of Artemis (a single standing pillar in a field - don't bother) and a nice tour and high-pressure rug factory tour. They really were lovely rugs. My friends bought one. It's been a month and theirs still hasn't arrived. After seeing Ephesus, i have no reason to go back there. Nuf said. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2009
We had arranged a private guide for the two of us through kusadasi.bis. We were very lucky to have Gonca Kizilhan, a lovely young Turkish woman who had grown up in Kusadasi, knowing that she would be a tour guide for Ephesus. We were met ... Read More
We had arranged a private guide for the two of us through kusadasi.bis. We were very lucky to have Gonca Kizilhan, a lovely young Turkish woman who had grown up in Kusadasi, knowing that she would be a tour guide for Ephesus. We were met by Gonca (Rose) at 7:30 a.m. as arranged and walked a few blocks to meet her driver. We were in a newish van. We arrived at Ephesus before most of the tourists and walked around with little problem. The highlight is definitely the Terrace Houses, and as we were the only ones there when we entered and when we left (a lot of the tours do not take you there), it was even more incredible. The restoration is incredible and very enlightening. I would highly recommend Gonca and her company (gk_kusadasi@hotmail.com). Read Less
Sail Date: April 2009
Only visited this port last year for the first time, but it's splendid - very clean, wide roads and pedestrian areas, excellent shops and very friendly people. There is a small attempt to pressure sell - it's in the blood - but ... Read More
Only visited this port last year for the first time, but it's splendid - very clean, wide roads and pedestrian areas, excellent shops and very friendly people. There is a small attempt to pressure sell - it's in the blood - but in the real shops one can browse without hassle. Easy to walk back to the ship, and lots of pavement things to see. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2009
Kusadasi & Ephesus were awesome! We had booked a private tour in advance with Celsus Travel, and through CruiseCritic, got 2 other couples onboard ship to join our tour. Cost for the full-day tour for 6 folks was $70 US/pp. We were ... Read More
Kusadasi & Ephesus were awesome! We had booked a private tour in advance with Celsus Travel, and through CruiseCritic, got 2 other couples onboard ship to join our tour. Cost for the full-day tour for 6 folks was $70 US/pp. We were met at the dock at 8:15am by Tan, our guide, holding up a sign for our group. Our shuttle bus was waiting for us. We spent about 3.5 hours at Ephesus and specifically asked for the Terrace Houses to be included in our itinerary. That was the highlight of our tour. Totally amazing! Do NOT miss the Terrace Houses. It is worth the separate admission charge. You walk through the excavations on top of glass walkways to view the mosaic floors and painted frescoes that are the hallmarks of the "rich people's houses". This whole area has only been excavated since the 70's, prior to that it was totally buried. There are lots of friendly feral cats wandering around Ephesus. If you are a cat lover, bring a few treats for them. One cat heard the crinkle of cellophane from our trail mix and ran right over, and ate a peanut and a raisin! We visited a rug weaving school for girls. It was very interesting and the owner was very hospitable. We were offered apple tea, or Turkish coffee, and cheese sticks. They explained the different kinds of rugs and showed us how silk thread is spun from the silk cocoons. Although all 6 of us said we weren't in the market for getting a rug, 2 of the 3 couples ending up buying one (including us!). We bought a kilim rug (not a knotted rug), 4 x 6' for $300 which included shipping it home. It will be a nice reminder of our trip. We next drove to the village of Sirince for lunch. It is up in the hills amidst the grape vines and orchards. We had lunch at a nice outdoor restaurant and had some traditional dishes, including something like a chicken stew. Sirince is more Greek than Turkish, and there were nice shops for souvenirs, with a lot less pressure to buy than in Kusadasi. The village is known for its fruit wines. Our guide than made a special stop for some of our group who were shopping for gold jewelry, and dropped us off at the Turkish Delight factory. The prices for both items were cheaper in the Bazaar area of Kusadasi down near the dock. We thoroughly enjoyed our tour, which ended at about 3:30, so we had time for some shopping. I'd definitely recommend our tour guide, he was very accommodating and knowledgable, and the price was great. There are LOTS of shops in Kusadasi. Good deals on leather and jewelry. The shop owners can be very aggressive, but just smile and say "no thanks". We bought a lot of different flavors of Turkish delight for gifts back home. It is very tasty! The shops are easy walking distance from the cruise dock. We were back on board by 5:10 pm. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2009
Rated 4 because of Ephesus, magnificent. RCI arranged for a live entertainment of Gladiators for the guests, which was enjoyed by all. A very nice touch by RCI. Our guide was extremely good. The only down side to Ephesus were the Turkish ... Read More
Rated 4 because of Ephesus, magnificent. RCI arranged for a live entertainment of Gladiators for the guests, which was enjoyed by all. A very nice touch by RCI. Our guide was extremely good. The only down side to Ephesus were the Turkish men as we exited, they were really aggressive trying to get you to come in to their shops, not very pleasant, and somethng we could have done without.Kusadasi was just your average cosmopolitan town, losts of jewellry shops all trying to vi with each other to sell you something. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2009
Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey: Our group of six toured Ephesus with a guide that Denizhan (www.transbalkan.com) has arranged. We had the best tour with him than in any of the other ports. The guide took many pictures of us with stunning views ... Read More
Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey: Our group of six toured Ephesus with a guide that Denizhan (www.transbalkan.com) has arranged. We had the best tour with him than in any of the other ports. The guide took many pictures of us with stunning views as backgrounds. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2009
We booked an all day tour that took us to Ephesus, Miletus, Magnesia, and Didyma.  We were most nervous about going to Turkey due to some of the stories we've heard.  All of our preconceptions were blown out the window.  Turkey is ... Read More
We booked an all day tour that took us to Ephesus, Miletus, Magnesia, and Didyma.  We were most nervous about going to Turkey due to some of the stories we've heard.  All of our preconceptions were blown out the window.  Turkey is a very clean place.  The mountains were gorgeous and the environment was very lush.  Our tour guide was the best we had.  He was extremely knowledgeable and always asked our group if we were OK throughout the day.  Turkey was also the only port where we were given a survey to rate our experience.  It is obvious that they want to give their tourists a positive experience.Our tour ended in an upstairs room for a Turkish rug demonstration.  There were 2 salespeople to every one person after the demonstration.  Since a rug wasn't a souvenir we wanted, we managed to escape.  However, we had to take the elevator which landed us in the jewelry area of this shop.  I kept saying I wasn't in the market for anything: No Thank You, No Thank You but my husband finally caved as they kept lowering the price on a ring and bought it for me.  Our only assurance is that it is a Celebrity sponsored store so if the ring isn't appraised at a value that meets or exceed what we paid, Celebrity guarantees they'll take care of it.  The sales guy told me that when a customer says No, it means "Never give up" to him.  High pressure sales is a really turn off for me and folks should be allowed to leave the tour before the Turkish rug demonstration or stay if they want. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2009
Enjoyed the buzz of this port.  Window shopping impossible as the Turkish sellers are very keen.  Charming and engaging in their effort to sell and deal - always, always deal for everything.  Will accept anything that looks like ... Read More
Enjoyed the buzz of this port.  Window shopping impossible as the Turkish sellers are very keen.  Charming and engaging in their effort to sell and deal - always, always deal for everything.  Will accept anything that looks like money!The RCCL trip to Ephesus was worth doing benefitting from a well informed guide.  Bottle of water supplied, you need it as it's very hot with little shade in the ruined ruins.Jewellry, carpets and leather shops aplenty.  Shop around if you can resist the charmers!  Lovely apple tea gratis compels you to stay in the shop!  No offence taken if you resist and leave but they never stop trying!Docked so convenient.  Visa not required for cruise passengers. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2009
Ephesus was neat. I recommend hiring a tour guide before you get there, you will need it. Also if it is in the summer, take a hat, plenty of water, and sunscreen. You are in the open for a long time seeing the ruins, and the sun gets very ... Read More
Ephesus was neat. I recommend hiring a tour guide before you get there, you will need it. Also if it is in the summer, take a hat, plenty of water, and sunscreen. You are in the open for a long time seeing the ruins, and the sun gets very hot. The ruins are a must see along with the House of the Virgin Mary, Temple or Artemis, and Cliff Homes. They homes were an extra cost, that helps the excavations. That is a must see!!! I was very impressed on how Turks have cared for the Mary's house. We did a private tour on this one, which I recommend. You can move faster through the crowds and see what you want. After that They dropped us off back in town and we walked through the Grand Bazaar and grabbed a bite to eat. My wife had some shrinp and fish kabobs, and I had...well I think one of everything. the food was amazing and I couldn't stop eating. There is an old Crusader Castle in the Port also that is an easy walk. I am a huge Military History buff, so I loved it. Not to mention there are two bars located right outside the main gate. Sitting on the steps of an old fortress and drinking turkish beer....life was grand!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2009
First two ports of the next week was Kusadasi Turkey and Bodrum, Turkey. Kusadasi was a beautiful as always and equally as crowded. We did want to return simply because we had neglected to visit the terrace houses when there the first time ... Read More
First two ports of the next week was Kusadasi Turkey and Bodrum, Turkey. Kusadasi was a beautiful as always and equally as crowded. We did want to return simply because we had neglected to visit the terrace houses when there the first time a few years ago. I highly recommend visiting this ancient site and the Terrace Houses are a MUST DO. We had booked a private guide for this port and was not disappointed. Remember to wear good shoes when going to Kusadasi and good head wear. It was rather warm and the crowds were a bit overpowering at times. There is a show they put on on the site that many seemed to enjoy but we were simply not interested as it seemed a bit tacky. Bodrum Turkey was fantastic. We opted to walk the mile or so from our ship to the fortress where the underwater archeology museum was. It was a lovely walk and passed beautiful beaches and shops just opening for the day. If you are able to walk it I recommend doing so. The fortress was beautiful and had a gorgeous view of the bay and the sea beyond. The museum was very interesting and well thought out but my friend thought seeing one recovered amphora after another a bit tiring. There were peacocks on the grounds to entertain and peak your interest when you heard them call. There is alot of climbing to do the tour and there is a long tour and short tour marked for the tourists. Although it is not always clearly marked. Can be strenuous if it is too hot I would imagine. However, we had beautiful weather that day. Had a lovely lunch looking at the bay on the way back to the ship.   Read Less
Sail Date: May 2009
Our tour was the Best of Ephesus with lunch. Although we didn't feel our guide was the best, we enjoyed the tour and the reinactment that was provided. Seeing Mary's home, now a chapel, and St. John's basilica ruins were
Our tour was the Best of Ephesus with lunch. Although we didn't feel our guide was the best, we enjoyed the tour and the reinactment that was provided. Seeing Mary's home, now a chapel, and St. John's basilica ruins were also good. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2009
I knew this was a place I was going to love so we booked a private tour through Ekol Tours. Our guide was great and I was 100% glad we did. We visited the Temple of Artemis, the House of the Virgin Mary, Ephesus, the Terrace Houses, St. ... Read More
I knew this was a place I was going to love so we booked a private tour through Ekol Tours. Our guide was great and I was 100% glad we did. We visited the Temple of Artemis, the House of the Virgin Mary, Ephesus, the Terrace Houses, St. John's Basilica and the Museum. Do not miss the Terrace Houses, they were amazing. Our guide even took us to a wonderful restaurant for some local cuisine which was delicious. Even with the additional cost of the Terrace Houses the cost per person was cheaper than the ship's tour and we saw more. After our long day we shopped in Kusadasi which was another experience. Do not enter a store unless you really want to buy because you will find it hard to leave. If you are in the market for a Tawula board (Backgammon)  this is the city to buy in. Do not wait for Athens as the selection here is much better and cheaper. Be sure to bargain, bargain, bargain! Our ship was docked quite late so we walked around the town at night and enjoyed some beer along the water at sunset. Again, we felt incredibly safe here so don't feel like you need to scurry back to the ship.  Read Less
Sail Date: May 2009
Nice port with area to walk around.  We took the Turkish Towns and Villages tour.  Sirince was amazing and there should be more time there instead of Tire.  The tour included a lovely stop for lunch at a delightful restaurant with ... Read More
Nice port with area to walk around.  We took the Turkish Towns and Villages tour.  Sirince was amazing and there should be more time there instead of Tire.  The tour included a lovely stop for lunch at a delightful restaurant with atmosphere in a garden setting.  However, another hour stop for a carpet demonstration on the way back- too much of it!! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2009
We did a private tour with a company called OTTI Travel. Our tour guide was BANU. It was awesome, probably one of the best tours we have been on. It was a full day tour and we went to Ephesus, Kusadasi, the house of the Virgin Mary, The ... Read More
We did a private tour with a company called OTTI Travel. Our tour guide was BANU. It was awesome, probably one of the best tours we have been on. It was a full day tour and we went to Ephesus, Kusadasi, the house of the Virgin Mary, The church of St. John the Baptist, the temple of Artemis and many places in between. We arrived in Kusadasi Turkey at 0900 and met our guide Banu at the gangway. She was a cute, vivacious young girl in her twenties, who spoke very good English with a Turkish accent. She took us around in a large van even though there were only 4 of us, a driver and Banu. We weren't cramped and we each had a window. We liked Banu immediately. Banu had a great sense of humor and her knowledge about her country was phenomenal. She guided us to the van and then explained that our first stop was Ephesus. It took about 35 minutes to get to the ruins in Ephesus, and during that time, Banu explained to us all about the history and culture of Kusadasi including why the Muslim women that lived there were more modern and had more freedom than the Muslims in other countries. I think that we now know more about Turkey than we do our own country. When we got to Ephesus, it was very crowded but BANU was a master at knowing when and where to stop to avoid the crowds. Each time we stopped, she explained that particular part of Ephesus. Ephesus was awesome. We liked it even better than Pompeii. There was an amphitheater completely intact that seated over 25,000 people. As a private tour, we were shown historical sites within Ephesus that tour guide with 40+ people could not do. Next we went to the House of the Virgin Mary. The history about the house was fascinating. This place is visited and considered holy by not only Christians but also by Muslims All People that believed in the god-like qualities of the Virgin Mary come here and drink the water that they believe to be sacred. Our next few stops were the church of St. John the Baptist, the Temple of Artemis, a pottery factory and a leather factory. I think the tour would have gone on all night if we hadn't been getting tired. The nice thing about booking with this company and Having BANU as our guide is that even though we went to all the major attractions, she took us to local sites that we wouldn't have seen with the group tours. We even modified the tour while we were on it. As an example, My husband mentioned that he was looking for a leather jacket, so she took us to a leather factory, where they put on a private fashion show just for us. Their leather jackets were excellent quality at very reasonable prices. She also took us to one of the local places to eat rather than where all the tour buses go. The food was great and the people were very friendly. She really went out of her way to make sure that we saw everything we wanted to. I would definitely recommend seeing Ephesus and everything that goes with it and if you do do a private tour, I would recommend OTTI Travel and ask for Banu as your guide. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2009
This was our favorite port on this cruise. We traveled into the mountains to see how Turks lived in their local villages. Beautiful countryside and extremely friendly people. The western side of Turkey is very agricultural.
This was our favorite port on this cruise. We traveled into the mountains to see how Turks lived in their local villages. Beautiful countryside and extremely friendly people. The western side of Turkey is very agricultural. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2009
We went on Hello Ephesus, which was a newly authorized tour company. We had a snafu with the company in communication because my father-in-law had a medical emergency before our trip. They thought we canceled....we thought we confirmed. ... Read More
We went on Hello Ephesus, which was a newly authorized tour company. We had a snafu with the company in communication because my father-in-law had a medical emergency before our trip. They thought we canceled....we thought we confirmed. Lucky for us, their other tour guide at the ship arranged with his two confirmed guests and added the 6 of us on his tour. It was for a 7 hour tour compared to our expected 4 hour Ephesus only tour, but it was totally worth it. Can't explain it all, but we did not think we would love the House of the Virgin Mary. We were so wrong and so moved by being there. Great addition to our trip. Ephesus was absolutely worth the trip as well. Our guide was a younger Ephesian and knew a lot about the area and history in general. His English was strong and it was fun to ask questions and easily understand his answers and local thoughts about the history and local events. We did go to a rug factory....it was very interesting to learn about the process. Unfortunately a little out of our price range to purchase the rug of our dreams. If you have the money to spend.....do it at the right local rug making venue. The port of Kusadasi was clean, friendly and the beach was nice for a quick swim. We returned to the ship port with tired kids and parents, so we quickly dropped them off and ventured back out for a little over an hour. We shopped and had a quick moment to share at a taverna near the port overlooking the ship and the local scenery on the dock. Not that we are big drinkers, but a local trip to a taverna seems appropriate when visiting a new country. It was relaxing and fun to people watch. Lovely day in refreshing Kusadasi and Ephesus. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2009
Ephesus, Turkey: Turkey was so different from what I imagined. Our bus trip to Ephesus was very interesting. The ruins at Ephesus our unbelievable. This trip was one of the best parts of our cruise. The only thing wrong was that after the ... Read More
Ephesus, Turkey: Turkey was so different from what I imagined. Our bus trip to Ephesus was very interesting. The ruins at Ephesus our unbelievable. This trip was one of the best parts of our cruise. The only thing wrong was that after the tour they dropped us off at a Carpet Store and the sales pressure was terrible. Also, as you walked through the streets of Kusadasi, the shop owners would come out of their stores and hassle you to buy something from them. We found this rather irritating. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2009
We were docked at this port. We took a private tour from Ekol Travel. There were nine in our group. Obviously, Ephesus was an amazing city. We had an opportunity to visit a carpet cooperative and a leather jacket concern on our tour. ... Read More
We were docked at this port. We took a private tour from Ekol Travel. There were nine in our group. Obviously, Ephesus was an amazing city. We had an opportunity to visit a carpet cooperative and a leather jacket concern on our tour. Everybody should be so lucky. A lot of history in Ephesus that I was not really aware of before planning for this trip. We really enjoyed the bazaar in Kusadasi as well. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2009
You really have no choice but to take a shore excursion here...Ephesus is worth seeing and too far away to do on your own. Get a tour that includes a visit to the Virgin Mary's last home...it was moving, and they give you a free clay ... Read More
You really have no choice but to take a shore excursion here...Ephesus is worth seeing and too far away to do on your own. Get a tour that includes a visit to the Virgin Mary's last home...it was moving, and they give you a free clay jar to collect holy water as a souvenir. RC makes all its tours end up in a rug place where they will gently to strongly suggest you buy a carpet...again, shameful on the part of RC...they rape you on price for these excursions, and then waste part of your time dumping you into a "time-share type of sales pitch" for a Turkish carpet...don't be shy about walking out. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2009
We chose to do "Ephesus/St. John's Basicilica" tour. We were a little apprehensive about this port, but it turned out to be a very good experience. Ty, our tour guide was wonderful! I did feel a little uneasy when we were ... Read More
We chose to do "Ephesus/St. John's Basicilica" tour. We were a little apprehensive about this port, but it turned out to be a very good experience. Ty, our tour guide was wonderful! I did feel a little uneasy when we were led upstairs for a carpet demonstration. We felt like we were throw into a used car lot with salesmen who worked on commision. Read Less

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