Izmir, Turkey - Mediterranean Cruises

Izmir, an ancient city once known as Smyrna on the Aegean coast, lies at the head of a long and narrow gulf. For a truly astonishing view, follow Izmir’s broad, palm-lined promenade by horse drawn carriage or ascend the 19th-century elevator after which the Asansor district is named.

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Excursions

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

  • Best of Ephesus with Luncheon

    Be mesmerised by so many iconic sites; House of The Virgin Mary, Ephesus, St John's Basilica, and the fascinating Terrace Houses.

    Visit the House of The Virgin Mary, where the Virgin is said to have lived the last years of her life. The building was rediscovered in the late 19th century by Lazartis from Smyrna based on the vision of a German nun. The site is officially declared a shrine of the Roman Catholic Church and was visited by Pope Paul VI in 1967, Pope John Paul II in 1979 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2006.

    Continue onto Ephesus, one of the most magnificent and best-preserved ancient sites in the world. Marvel at the Odeon, the Market Basilica, Celsus Library, Marble Street and the Great Theatre with a seating capacity of 25,000 people.

    Visit the impressive Terrace Houses, also referred to as ‘the houses of the rich’. The wealthy and important people of Ephesus resided in these houses, which is evident from the grand decorations of mosaics and frescoes.

    Afterwards stop at St John’s Basilica. Built by the Emperor Justinian over the tomb of St John the Apostle, the Basilica, now in ruins, once rivaled St Sophia in size.

    Travel to the resort town of Kusadasi, where you will partake in luncheon in a five star hotel with spectacular views of the sea whilst being entertained by a colourful folkloric show.

    Tour code

    IZM_002

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    • Meal included

      Meal Included

    Duration

    7½ hours

  • Discover Izmir

    Explore the city of Izmir; the third largest city in Turkey, bursting with history dating back to the third century BC.

    Drive through this fascinating city with so many traces of its ancient past, to reach the centre, where you’ll enjoy a visit to the remains of Agora.

    The Ancient Agora was built during Roman times in approximately 178 BC. The first floor is where a vast amount of trading took place, and the second floor was used primarily for Government meetings. Constructed during the rule of Alexander the Great, the Agora of today is mostly in ruins, but remains an interesting site to explore.

    Complete your tour with a visit to the Izmir Archaeological Museum, comprising of three galleries showcasing Roman mosaics, sculptures, bronze age artefacts, pottery and jewellery.

    Tour code

    IZM_004

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    Duration

    4 hours

  • Ancient Ephesus

    Explore the ruins of Ephesus featuring the Celsus Library and the Great Theatre, where it is believed St Paul preached to the Ephesians.

    From Izmir, travel south to Ephesus, passing the Byzantine fortress at Selcuk, the ruins of the Temple of Artemis and St John's Basilica.

    At Ephesus, experience the Great Theatre, dating back to the Hellenistic period. In the first century AD it was successfully reconstructed and expanded by the Romans until it reached a seating capacity of 25,000 and today it still used for performances.

    Proceed to the Celsus Library and Hadrian's Temple. The Temple was dedicated in 118 AD to Hadrian, Artemis, and the people of Ephesus but, reconstructed in the fourth century. According to the belief of Ephesians, the Medusa head on the porch, would protect the city from its enemies.

    Tour code

    IZM_003

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    Duration

    4 hours

  • Ephesus, St John's Basilica & Virgin Mary

    Explore the ruins of Ephesus on a walking tour; visit the Basilica of St John and the final resting place of the Virgin Mary.

    From Izmir, travel south for approximately one hour to Ephesus, passing the Byzantine fortress at Selcuk and the ruins of the Temple of Artemis. The drive to the House of the Virgin Mary is long and winding but offers stunning vistas of the valley to take in along the way. The Vatican has recognised this small house in the Solmissos Mountains as the final resting place of the Virgin Mary. A small shrine dedicated to St Mary was found when the ruins of the house were first discovered.

    Enter into Ephesus through the Magnesia Gate and begin a slow, downhill walk with your guide into the ruins of this Roman provincial capital. Your route takes you past the Odeon Theatre, Celsus Library, Temple of Hadrian and the Great Theatre. The theatre had seating for 25,000, and was the site where it is believed St Paul preached to the Ephesians, and is used today for a local spring festival.

    Built by the Emperor Justinian over the tomb of St John the Apostle, the Basilica of St John, now in ruins, once rivalled St Sophia in size. Discover the remaining graceful columns and mosaics of the Basilica as you take in the panorama of the rural Selcuk countryside and the ruins of the Temple of Artemis.

    Tour code

    IZM_001

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    Duration

    6 hours

  • Pergamum Highlights

    Explore this Roman provincial capital on a walking tour, marvel at its Acropolis, view the Red Basilica and visit Asclepion.

    Your scenic drive whisks you out of the city and northbound to the ancient city of Pergamum. Pergamum was first settled by the Aeolic Greeks in the 8th century BC and it came into prominence after the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC. Upon arrival at Pergamum you will travel by cable car to the Ancient Site to experience the Acropolis and the Library of Pergamum which was built by Eumenes II, and was 2nd only in stature to the library in Alexandria.

    Continue onto the Temple of Trajan, built by Hadrian and the Zeus Altar, and created around 180 BC. Pass by Kizil Avlu (Red Basilica), the biggest structure in the town, a temple made of red brick dedicated to the gods of Egypt.

    A delicious buffet style luncheon, consisting of local Turkish dishes and accompanied by wine will be served at a local restaurant.

    Round off your tour at the ancient healing centre of Asclepion; the complex was built to honour the god of medicine, Asclepion.

    Tour code

    IZM_006

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    • Meal included

      Meal Included

    Duration

    7 hours

  • Ephesus Panorama

    Visit the House of the Virgin Mary and the beautiful courtyard at Isa Bey Mosque on this panoramic drive.

    Your scenic drive southwards will travel through countryside dotted with vineyards, olive orchards and cotton plantations, en route to Selcuk. Your route climbs into the hills to the the House of the Virgin Mary, where the Virgin Mary is said to have lived for the last years of her life. The building was rediscovered in the late 19th century by Lazartis from Smyrna based on the vision of a German nun.

    Your drive will pass the main gate of Ephesus, where, from a lookout point where you will see a large portion of Ancient Ephesus including the Odeon Theatre.

    Enjoy a panoramic drive through the town of Selcuk, before reaching the Isa Bey Mosque, where you’ll visit the beautiful courtyard. Constructed in 1374, the Isa Bey Mosque is one of the oldest and most impressive works of architectural art remaining from the Anatolian Beyliks.

    Located nearby are the ruins of the Artemis Temple, which are one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Ancient World’. Pause for photographs, before the journey back to the pier.

    Tour code

    IZM_005

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    Duration

    4½ hours

  • Terrace Houses & Ephesus

    Visit the magnificent site of ancient Ephesus and the newly excavated area; the Terrace Houses.

    Board your coach and travel south for approximately one hour, to the ancient site of Ephesus, passing the Byzantine fortress at Selcuk, the ruins of the Temple of Artemis and St John’s Basilica.

    During your guided walking tour of one of the most magnificent excavations in the world, you will see the Odeon Theatre, the Temple of Hadrian, the Fountain of Trajan and the Great Theatre. You will also see the impressive Celsus Library, adorned with columns and statues.

    The highlight of your tour will be a visit to the recently excavated Terrace Houses, also referred to as ‘the houses of the rich’. The wealthy and important people of Ephesus resided in these houses, which appeared very plain from the outside. However inside they were decorated with mosaic flooring and frescoes. Remarkably the houses also had modern conveniences such as hot and cold running water and advanced central heating systems. Excavations of the Terrace Houses started in 1960 and are still continuing today.

    Tour code

    IZM_008

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    Duration

    5 hours

  • A Day in Cesme

    Discover the popular coastal town of Çeşme and visit its famous castle.

    Enjoy a scenic drive to the pretty resort town of Çeşme. The town of Çeşme is considered to be one of Turkey's most prominent centres of international tourism, and was ranked 8th by the New York Times in ‘The 31 Places to Go in 2010’. The name Çeşme means ‘fountain’ which is said to stem from the many Ottoman fountains scattered across the city.

    Disembark your coach and begin a guided walking tour, following your guide as they lead you to Çeşme Castle. Built in 1508 by Bayezid II, the castle dominates the town with its six towers and moats on three sides. A statue of Cezayirli Gazi Hasan Pasha, one of the naval commanders of the Battle of Chesma, stands in front of the castle, and is depicted facing the town square and caressing his famous pet lion.

    After your visit of the castle, walk back to the town centre of Çeşme, pausing to view the Church of Agios Haralambos en route.

    Enjoy free time to stroll through the beautiful marina, stopping to admire the many yachts and sailing boats, or relax with a drink in one of the cafés situated along the seafront promenade.

    Tour code

    IZM_007

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    5 hours

  • Cesme Beach Resort Getaway

    An opportunity to relax and soak up the sun at the luxurious Sheraton Hotel in Çeşme.

    Embark on a scenic drive to the popular resort of Çeşme, where your destination will be the Sheraton Çeşme Hotel, Resort and Spa. Ideally situated on a stretch of the Ilica coast, the Sheraton Hotel is one of the most prestigious hotels in the area and a perfect location for a day of relaxation.

    This wonderful Five star hotel has fabulous services for that perfect day of luxury. Sit back and soak up the sun on the exclusive white sandy beach, take a dip in the crystal clear waters of the Aegean sea or relax by the hotel pool.

    You may also choose to indulge in a visit to the Botanica Thermal Spa, one of the best spas in Turkey. (Additional charges apply).

    A sun lounger, umbrella and towel will be provided at the pool and on the beach.

    Tour code

    IZM_009

    Features

    • Activity low

      Activity Level: Low

    Duration

    5 hours

Our Ships

Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth

Christened by her namesake, Her Majesty The Queen in October 2010, Queen Elizabeth is the newest Cunard ship and the third to bear the name. Modern and spacious, she has everything you’d wish for on board.

Queen Mary 2

Queen Mary 2

Since her launch in 2004, Queen Mary 2 has been creating a stir wherever she arrives. Her scale and elegance see to that and the array of space on board will add to the excitement of your cruise.

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria is exactly what a Cunard ship should be. She’s sleek and contemporary, with a traditional red and black exterior. Inside is all about warmth and luxury, privacy and comfort.