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traffic nightmare near Istanbul cruise port

We were in Istanbul in mid-November. The biggest problem we had was at the end of our private tour as we were returning to the ship at about 4:30. The traffic at the port stopped in a gridlock with no movement for about 15 minutes. Time was ticking as our ship's departure was at 5:30. Since no car, taxi, van or bus was moving, the 22 of us got off the bus in the middle of this traffic (no vehicle was moving), and fast walked to the ship. It was a struggle for several people with some physical limitations. We made it back on time.

I knew that the ship wouldn't leave without us as I met a group from the ship excursions, and they were leaving 15 minutes after our van. Of course, I wasn't familiar with Istanbul and didn't know if the buses had a magic carpet route back to the port, so wasn't 100% sure.

I wrote to the tour company, and they said the traffic that day was unusual and took no responsibility for all the problems we had. Also, one woman in our group was assaulted by three teens near Hagia Sophia who tried to knock her down and take her purse. She was stronger than they thought. I personally reported this to our guide (I was the personal who put this tour together), but the company said this was news to them.

My question is: what is the typical traffic like on the streets returning to the port?

Posted by
238 posts

This is a new cruise port. It's on a very busy road. Sounds like rush hour traffic.

Posted by
568 posts

I was in Istanbul in mid-October and the traffic getting from the airport to Old Town was NYC-level awful, on a Saturday afternoon, so I think this is just normal for the city. Once we were there, we took the metro, tram, or walked.

Posted by
1446 posts

Istanbul’s Cruise Port, is next to a road (“ Meclis- i Mebusan Caddesi”) along the waterfront which is an extremely busy boulevard that consistently sees very high traffic volume throughout the day. In the late afternoon (3:30pm and later) traffic crawls or doesn’t move at all and it’s basically gridlock time with frustrated drivers honking their horns as you approach where the cruise port is located.
I find the cruise line’s tour company’s claim that “ traffic that day was unusual” to be nonsense. In fact, if you Google up “Meclis- i Mebusan Caddesi” the very first entry is from the Foursquare website with a comment that says “ Come with plenty of patience and time— you’ll need it.” Moreover, anyone looking at a map can see it’s a very wide boulevard that is a major artery carrying—not just vehicular traffic— but city trams and several city bus lines as well. If they docked at Istanbul any time in the past the cruise line would surely know—as would the tour company—that in a city with a metropolitan population of more than 15 million people—this road would be a problem for their passengers making it back aboard the ship after 4pm and they should have forewarned everyone so they could be prepared.
A ten-foot Pinocchio nose goes on the cruise line’s tour company.