Thursday, May 29, 2014

Istanbul 2014 - Cruising on Bosphorus Straits

Date of cruise: 7th April 2014

In love with the cloudy sky

It was a rather cold day for cruise, but we were determined to withstand the weather and proceed with our plans. No turning back as there will be no return trip in future. But the walk to get on to the boat at the dock of Eminonu was very far. However, we really enjoy the cloudy weather that day walking along the old streets of Istanbul city taking photos during the walk, eases away our negative thoughts.

The dock at Eminonu and the boat that we rode that day #ignored wrong date on the photo
Ottoman's water front house

Cruising along the Bosphorus is a fantastic way to check out some of Istanbul’s attractions, like glorious monuments and mansions, all from the luxurious comfort of a boat. There are many different options for a Bosphorus Cruise depending on what you would like to see, how you would like to see it, and most importantly how much are you willing to pay. The cruise operators have many to offer, from small, private tours to busier ferries.

Zeyrek Mosque

Dolmabahce Mosque

The Bosphorus Strait is an iconic, separating the Asian and European sides of Istanbul and connecting the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea.  It is the narrowest strait used for international navigation in the world, and an important trading route.

Lower deck of the boat was not as cold as upper deck

A complete view of Dolmabahce Palace

What we chose and paid that day was a 2 hour non-stop Bosphorus Cruise leaves the dock located in Eminonu, near the Galata Bridge for Euro15 per person. It was arranged by our hotel where the representative came to pick us up at Yazar Hotel to the meeting point infront of Hagia Sophia. The full cruise travels the length of the Bosphorus without any stops at any point but offering views on both sides of the city, European and Asian.

Beneath Sultan Fatih Mehmed's bridge

There are public cruises stopping in at numerous destinations where the passengers can get off at any stop, though most wait until the final port at the village of Anadolu Kavagi. The fare is very nominal and affordable, Turkish Lira (TL) 10. With some nearby beaches and the hilltop Yoros Castle, Anadolu Kavagi is a great place to spend the necessary three hours waiting for the return ferry.

Rumelian Castle/Fortress 1452

Another option is the modern and comfortable private cruise, which is operated by a collective of private boat owners. The cruise operates from Eminonu and drops its passengers at the Galata Bridge.

The Maiden's Tower once a customs post, was used as a set for the James Bond movie "From Russia With Love". 

Galata Bridge & Galata Tower seen from Eminonu on Bosphorus Straits

There is no commentary drinks or foods on either the private or traditional public ferries. Be warned that only limited outdoor seating are available. Vendors move around the boat often, selling tea, coffee, soft drinks, juices and small snacks at reasonable prices.

Memory of Greece recalled when seen those big cruise ship

Last photo for the day!

Private tours are also available, and touts will often approach tourists and offer these 3 hour tours for around 25-30TL per person.  They travel to Rumeli Fortress for lunch, before turning back towards Eminonu. Although these tours are more expensive and don’t travel as far as the other ferries, they are more exclusive, meaning fewer people on board (60-100) and decks to sunbathe on.  Some offer a historical commentary in English, but be a little bit cautious as the quality can vary hugely, so be sure to do a little research before hopping on board.  Boats leave only when they’re full. You may view the website "bosphorus cruise" for better options that are made available here, depending on your available time and money.

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