Ali's Taxi Service was the best service we received of all the ports on our cruise! My mother, sister, and I were scheduled to take Norwegian's Holy Lands cruise in Dec. of 2013. Norwegian cancelled this cruise, probably due to strife in Egypt, and we ended up on a Norwegian Italy, Greece, Turkey cruise instead. And we had the best time ever anyway! Due to my mother's inability to walk very far, I had to arrange for a private tour at every port on our cruise (Rome/Katakalon/Izmir/Istanbul/Naples.) While every single driver/tour guide was very good to us, Ali stood out in every way. While others waited for us with a sign outside the dock, Ali was magically right there as we were walking out, and had already taken responsibility for handling my mother's wheelchair before we got to the taxi stand! Our ship docked in Izmir, not Kusadasi (his home town,) so he'd made a special arrangement with a local driver to drive, while he was our tour guide and wheelchair handler, at no extra cost to us. Ali's taxi service was also the only taxi service where lunch was included in the price. Ali knew the most efficient way to tackle our itinerary - House of the Virgin Mary first, Ephesus second and then the rest. We highly recommend good walking shoes for Ephesus, as well as touring it from the top down - since it lies on a slope - even if it means walking with the crowds. It's uncomfortable to enjoy what you're seeing if you're doing it uphill and against the throng of people walking downhill. My mother could not manage to see Ephesus due to her limited ability to walk, so Ali drove her to the exit point in Ephesus (if you're doing it from the top down,) treated her to some Turkish tea, and kept her company. We felt comfortable and safe leaving her in his capable hands while my sister and I walked around Ephesus. Ali also helped us by letting us know which items to avoid buying as they would not be made by local artisans. That was extremely helpful since we wanted to buy local handmade Turkish artwork/souvenirs only. Most of the local street vendors were very polite, even when we declined to see their goods, with the one rare exception. I would say they acknowledged our 'no's' much better than we've seen in other countries. We stopped at a local ceramics studio and shop and a carpet cooperative that makes and sells handmade carpets. You will get a demonstration of their excellent art at both places. The handmade carpets are tempting (and expensive) as they are nicer than the Turkish carpets I've seen in the US. The ceramic shop and carpet cooperative both offered to mail our purchased items home which is extremely helpful. Ali gave us tidbits of information on Turkey all through our day, as well as historical information on the sights we visited. It is helpful though, to read up on the historical sights ahead of time, so that you can appreciate what you're seeing, while you're there. Ali got us to the cruise ship on time in the evening, even forewarning us that we'd be tackling vendors on the way to the cruise ship. He is an extremely personable man and we felt we had made a friend in Turkey whom we'd like to visit again. Ali exuded warmth, energy, and fun, from the very first email to the last goodbyes. We were talking about him even at the next port when we met our new taxi driver, who had a tough act to follow after Ali's very personal service. Like other reviewers for his service, we would also not hesitate to recommend Ali for your visit to Kusadasi, Izmir, or wherever else he agrees to drive you. His email address is email@example.com. Thanks for reading and Happy Travels to all!
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