There is no need to go with any of the tours except perhaps Olympia. You will see everything better doing it yourselves.
What a coincidence. I think you might be sharing the cabin with Matthew and me! When you get an answer phone me and let me know. PS Cheque arrived this morning - thank you. x.
Dont bother with izmir its not so interesting and they tend to give you little time [15 mins] for shopping and you are harrassed non stop, but i have since learned that is what is expected, we hated it and couldn't wait to get back. your best bet for izmir is to get a taxi and go on your own with the taxi driver taking you on a tour to the town. the other ports will be great. look on the costa website for your ship and itinerary and you will have a better idea of the tours available.
Hi, just come back off this one myself! You can easily do Dubrovnik, Bari and Istanbul yourself. Unfortunately the forest fires were raging at Olympia so we didn't stop at Katakolon. Ephesus is well worth seeing if you haven't been before, but is a long tiring day, and it's very crowded so be warned. The English speaking excursions to Ephesus did sell out a couple of days before we got to Izmir. We felt the excursions in general were rather expensive, possibly due to the Euro exchange rate. There are relatively few English speaking passengers, so you may be lucky if you do book an excursion anywhere and get a very small group as we did. The guide and coach used was very good.