Port of Istanbul
Photo courtesy Turkish Culture and Tourism Office

Istanbul, the world’s only city that straddles two continents, has become a crossroads of trade, culture, learning and art for over 3,000 years as well as the capital of three of the greatest empires the world has known. Those empires added their own artistic and architectural masterpieces to the city, making Istanbul one of the world’s great treasure houses. It is a city of fascinating contrasts, where antiquity is juxtaposed with the contemporary, the familiar with the exotic, offering incredible shopping, awe inspiring sights, excellent dining and entertainment. Above all, visitors everywhere are treated to the extraordinary warmth of the Turkish people.

 Cruise Terminal in Istanbul, Turkey

Most cruise ships visiting Istanbul dock at the Karaköy International Maritime Passenger Terminal - right in the heart of sprawling Istanbul where the Golden Horn meets the Bosphorus.

The cruise terminals are within easy reach, on foot or by taxi, of most of the main attractions in Istanbul, and Atatürk International Airport is only half an hour away by car or coach.

 Cruise Lines using the Istanbul Terminal as an Embarkation / Disembarking Port

Using the Port of Istanbul as their port of embarkation and disembarking for cruises in the Mediterranean and the Middle East are Azamara Club Cruises, Cruise West, Crystal Cruises, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Holland America ìLine, MSC Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn, SeaDream Yacht Club, Silversea Cruises, Windstar Cruises.

Must See Attractions in Istanbul, Turkey

Cruise passengers will find Istanbul’s compelling must see attractions are easily accessible from the Yolcu Salonu (Passenger Terminal) in Karakoy on the Bosphorus directly across from the Old City. You can easily walk there, take a taxi or try the convenient tram only a few hundred yards from the cruise terminal.

Ayasofya (St. Sophia Museum): The soaring central dome of the Basilica of Hagia Sophia has awed people since it was built in the 6th century. This was the largest church in the Christian world for a thousand years. The mosaics covering the walls are among the most important works of art that have survived of the Byzantine era. The Turkish Government turned it into a museum in 1935.
Sultanahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque): Built in the classic Turkish architectural style between 1609-1616 by the architect Mehmet, the building is more familiarly known as the Blue Mosque because of its magnificent interior paneling of more than 20,000 blue and white tiles. The inside is a single immense space into which the light pours from 260 windows.
Topkapi Palace: A complex of buildings, the Topkapi Palace served as the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire for over 400 years. It still provides a glimpse of the lifestyles of the Sultans who lived there including their imperial handmade costumes. On exhibition are fabulous collections of jewels, miniatures, clocks and religious artifacts. One of the largest diamonds in the world, the Spoonseller Diamond, is displayed in a special showcase. The rooms are exquisitely decorated and tiled.
Other major attractions are the Dolmabahçe Palace which stretches for 600 meters along the European shore of the Bosphorus and the Kariye Museum (The Chora Church) which has many fine Byzantine mosaics and frescoes. And no one can leave Istanbul without a search for bargains at the amazing Grand Bazaar.

 Cruise Ports

• Cape Town – South Africa
• Durban – South Africa
• Las Palmas – Canary Islands
• Mahé – Seychelles
• Port Louis, Mauritius
• Tenerife – Canary Islands


• Bangkok - Thailand

• Chongqing - China
• Hong Kong
• Mumbai - India
• Shanghai – China
• Singapore
• Yichang - China


• Brisbane - Australia
• Melbourne - Australia
• Sydney - Australia

• Quebec City – Quebec
• Montreal – Quebec
• Vancouver – BC
• Victoria – BC

• Barcelona - Spain
• Copenhagen – Denmark
• Lisbon - Portugal
• Nice - Villefranche - France
• Piraeus / Athens – Greece
• Rome (Civitavecchia) - Italy
• Venice – Italy

• Dubai - United Arab Emirates
• Istanbul - Turkey

• Tunis - Tunisia

• Auckland, New Zealand

• Dunedin, New Zealand

• Wellington, New Zealand

• Anchorage - Alaska
• Baltimore - Maryland
• Boston - Massachusetts
• Cape Canaveral - Florida
• Cape Liberty - New Jersey
• Fort Lauderdale - Florida
• Galveston - Texas
• Honolulu - Oahu - Hawaii
• Los Angeles - California
• Miami - Florida
• New Orleans - Louisiana
• New York - Brooklyn
• New York - Manhattan
• Norfolk - Virginia
• San Diego - California
• San Francisco - California
• Seattle - Washington
• Seward - Alaska
• Tampa - Florida
• Whittier - Alaska

These are just a few of the more than 70 ports and cruise terminals to be featured here on the port pages which are being updated daily with more port destinations

 in Istanbul

Istanbul offers hot and humid summers, with temperatures peaking at more than 30ºC. Winters unexpectedly for many cruise visitors can be extremely cold with temperatures close to freezing and heavy snowfalls.

 in Istanbul

The official unit of currency in Turkey is the Turkish Lira (YTL) divided into 100 kuruş. Coins are in amounts of 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 kuruş and 1 lira, and notes in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 lira.

 of Istanbul

The official language of Turkey is Turkish, but some Turkish residents speak Kurdish and/or Arabic. Most of the locals involved in the tourism industry and at tourist sites speak English.

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