I booked with No Frills Ephesus Tours (Sea Spirit Travel) based on the reviews here. They lived up to and exceeded every expectation, comment, etc! First of all, booking was easy. Christine was very helpful, spelled it all out and emailed promptly. We booked the all day private tour and it was slightly less expensive than the tour offered by the cruise line, but this is a private tour, and you are not subject to the many time constraints of the tour bus! I was a bit apprehensive when we exited our ship and wondered if they would really be there waiting for us, but I should not have worried! They were there waiting and smiling! Our tour guide was Taner and he was fantastic! He speaks perfect English and was so knowledgeable! We were escorted to a small van. Super comfortable and air conditioned! Especially nice on the HOT July day that we were there! We went to the Virgin Mary's house first as the cruises usually do that later on, so we could avoid as much of the crowd as possible. I was traveling with my 79 year old mom, who is really a trooper, but the heat did get to her a few times. Taner was so helpful in finding us a place to sit and have a cold drink before we ventured on to Ephesus. We then went to a great lunch that was Turkish cuisine. Really good and so much food!! We loved it! We did some shopping and also visited a Persian rug maker where we got to see them making the rugs. One word of caution: There is a jewelry store right next to this rug maker. Do NOT buy anything from these people. They sold me a Zultanite ring. It was supposed to be natural Zultanite, which is a stone that only comes from Turkey. Very large and reputable company, so you would think they would not rip you off. WRONG! The stone is a synthetic, man made stone. Luckily, there was a Zultanite expert on our cruise and I found out right away that this happened. The store has agreed to refund my money through my credit card company. ( Has not happened yet, so we will see. ) Moral of the story: Do not buy Zultanite in Turkey! Any Zultanite sold in Turkey is FAKE!!! They cannot sell it there!!
Anyway, back to the tour: We also toured the Museum and finished up at the Temple of Artemis. The entire day was exceptional. The driver could not have been nicer, our guide, Taner, was fabulous and Mehmet even came and had lunch with us. He took some pictures of me and my mom as she was such a trooper! He also brought us some gifts, which was such a nice surprise!
I would highly recommed this company! They are fabulous, and worth every penny. Be advised though: Tips to the guide and driver are extra. This will add to the cost of your excursion, but still well worth it! Lunch and all your tickets to the attractions are included. Just don't buy any jewelry! Ha!
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