My husband and I had booked this cruise because it visited some different places. I particularly wanted to visit Volos because it offered a trip to the Meteora Monasteries in central Greece, which are otherwise hard to reach. So we were more than disappointed when told on boarding the ship that this stop was cancelled. Because of the problems with Superstorm Sandy, the ship was staying an extra night in Istanbul to wait for some US passengers having difficulty to catching the ship. As we had already spent 2 nights in Istanbul and it was our 3rd visit, this was of no benefit to us. Then, to add insult to injury, Oceania would not refund the full cost of the tour!!! We had taken out an Unlimited Collection pack which allows as many tours as you want - this was primarily because the tour to Meteora was $259 each. Oceania would only refund $198 each, as they apportioned a lower amount per day!! I am sure this is why Volos was cancelled instead of the other ports - it saved Oceania More
money - we met lots of other passengers doing the same tour as us! So far from offering compensation for our loss of this port, Oceania made money from us!!!!!!
3 days later we visited Rhodes and again Lindos was somewhere I had always wanted to visit. We had booked a trip to Ancient Lindos including the Acropolis there but, because of a strike, it was closed. So Oceania offered a trip to a village plus snacks (available on the ship for free!) and ouzo (which I wouldn't have as a gift!). We said we would like a refund but were told WE had cancelled the tour so would not receive any compensation!!!!!! Eventually, after lots of argument from us and others, they offered an alternate tour to Rhodes Town - not as good but at least something for our money! But what stress - we don't need it when on holiday.
Other comments about cruise: Cabin nice, good bed, good bathroom
Staff generally very friendly and helpful
Food very average. The menu was exactly the same as Regatta in both the main dining room and the speciality restaurants - exactly the same dishes in the same combinations - I assume this means that they circulate the same menus every two weeks, as it can't have been a coincidence!! Red Ginger was excellent - good interesting dishes - and nice extra touches. Jacques OK but no ambience and lots of tables next to serving areas and very loud because of wood floor. Toscana OK but not as good as on Regatta - the dover sole was covered in a kind of soggy flour mixture! Polo Grill good but not exceptional steaks.
Public areas not as good as Regatta - library and coffee areas both were on corridors - nowhere good to sit.
Nowhere on ship is there forward visibility so no chance of viewing ports as you arrived- never seen a worse designed ship from this point of view - the staff don't seem to think anyone looks over the side - never any information on when we were going to see nice entries into port eg Crete and Rhodes, you had to find out by accident! Also, we sailed in and out in darkness several times when they could have adjusted the timings slightly to see the views
For a supposed luxury line, no luxury eg no damp cloths or cool drinks when you get back on board (all the other ships we saw were doing this, even the lower cost ones). In fact, no little extras at all. On the last night, they removed the bathrobes to clean them. (As we use a robe when we put out our luggage, we weren't sure how we were supposed to do this!!!) When we insisted, they replaced the robe but it shouldn't be an issue - of the 6 cruise lines we have used, none of them do this!
Altogether, ship and offerings very average. We could not recommend Oceania to anyone, and their attitude when there are difficulties (like with the tours above) is not our problem - the small print allows to change what we like at your expense! Less
It is a long drive but Delphi is wonderful - great ruins in the most magical spectacular mountain setting. Our guide was useless - she talked incessantly and would not have allowed enough time to see it all if we hadn't left her and explored the site on our own. It is quite a hike up to the top but worth it for sensational views. The museum is also very good - not too big but great displays and well exhibited
We took a tour to the Lassithi Plateau in the mountains. Wonderful views of the mountains and coast and an interesting lokk into village life away from the tourist areas. The sail into Crete is really beautiful - we saied in at sunrise and it was magical - with the mountains spotlit by the rising sun. The port at Aghios Nikolaos is really cute - only big enough for one ship and you are right in the centre of town. All in all, highly recommended
Lots to see and do. Don't bother taking tours - you can do it easily on your own. The tram stops opposite the port and you can get to Galata Bridge or Sultanahmet (Blue Mosque, Topkapi, and Aya Sofia) or the Grand Bazaar in a few minutes - all are on the one tram line.
Best sights are those above, plus the Basilica Cistern - opposite Aya Sofia. Also, Suleymaniye is wonderful mosque with fabulous views from the grounds - well worth a visit and free!!
Bargaining in the Grand Bazaar is good if you want gifts etc - you should pay about half what they start with, in our experience - walk away if you want to know the best price as they will follow you!
Be prepared for long lines for Aya Sofia and Topkapi.
New part of city is not exciting - stick to old city
We took a trip including Ephesus, Miletus, and Didyma - all excellent sites to visit. Great to visit in November as Ephesus was not too busy (we went in July before and it was unbearably crowded). Wonderful ruins and lots to see. In Miletus there were hardly any tourists and it has a fabulous amphitheatre.
The tour we did included a trip to a monastery with great views over Rhodes countryside and coast - well worth doing. The a tour of Rhodes old town, including the Grand Master Palace. Great mosaics in many rooms and interesting history to listen to. Rhodes town you can do on your own - no need to do a tour, just walk around - it is quite small and the city walls make it clear where the town begins and ends. Port is close to the city and you get great views sailing in and out, and from the docked ship if no other boats in the way!!