Istanbul Cruise Port is large and it can be a confusing place. Our guide to Istanbul Cruise Port is carefully put together to help you breeze through this enormous terminal.
Istanbul Cruise Port is located in the Karaköy neighbourhood. It has two passenger terminals located on piers next to each other: The larger Salipazari and the smaller Galata. Major construction work is underway at the Galata pier and until further notice the Turkish authorities have said all cruise ships and passengers will use the Salipazari Passenger Terminal.
The Salipazari Passenger Terminal handles up to 10,000 tourists and hour. It comprises 3 passenger halls and can be a confusing place if you have never visited before. There is very little signage and the warehouse-like structures that make up the terminal buildings can appear daunting.
However, with a little inside knowledge your experience at Istanbul Port can be relatively simple and surprisingly swift.
Arrival at Istanbul Cruise Port
If you arrive at Salipazari Passenger Terminal by taxi or limousine your driver will drop you outside the main gate. Some limousine companies will take you past the main gate for payment of an additional fee, though in our experience this is not warranted. (Tour buses will most often pass through the main gate.)
Make sure you have your cruise ticket and passport handy as you will need to present these at various times as you move through the port, the first of which is to the officials at the main gate.
Istanbul Cruise Port map
Map of Istanbul Cruise Port – Salipazari Passenger Terminal
Entering the cruise port
Present your cruise ticket and passport at the main gate and once cleared, pass through with your luggage and proceed directly to the porters area located on the right approximately 25 meters (80 feet) away. Leave your luggage (minus any valuables or hand luggage you’d like to carry) with the porters, ensuring your stateroom luggage tags are affixed and clearly visible.
Finding the terminal
From the porters area proceed across the central port road to the 3 massive terminal halls. The buildings look more like warehouses a than a cruise terminal! The first hall is used most often. Upon entering the hall you will be asked to present your cruise ticket and passport as you move through immigration. You and your hand luggage will also be security screened (just like an airport).
Once these formalities are complete you will proceed out the other side of the terminal and onto the pier.
Finding your ship
Your ship will usually be tied up right outside the terminal hall. However, if your cruise ship is located some way down the pier buses may be available to transport you to the vessel. Cruise line staff will be on hand to guide you.
At Istanbul Cruise Port the issuing of stateroom cards usually takes place onboard, so you will also need to present your cruise ticket and passport when you first board the ship.
More information about visiting Istanbul can be found at Istanbul Trails.