Embarked at Marmaris, after unaccompanied journey from Dalaman Airport. Nobody was checked on to bus- driver set off when he thought bus was full! Staff at cruise check in couldn't find our documents, then discovered we were listed as "no show". Kept envelope with exact wording as a souvenir. Refurbished cabin very well finished and laid out. A word of warning- if the occupant of the next cabin tiptoes across the carpeted floor on bare feet, you will hear it. Every word, cough, snore, is a shared one. Noise cancelling headphones an absolute must.
Lido restaurant a big improvement on Destiny, which was open to the elements. Very well laid out, and food generally good. Meridian Restaurant nicely laid out, and service and food both good. Didn't use the speciality restaurant so can't comment. We got All Inclusive for £44 each, and it includes branded spirits and some cocktails so was excellent value. We thought the entertainment in the show lounge was very poor- dancers trying to be singers too. Destiny won hands down on that one. The British singer/guitarist in the lounge bar was excellent, are were the duo who sang and played in the panoramic lounge. Plenty of space aft on pool decks- our favourite is always the promenade deck, and this was a good one.
There was a constant thump from the main engines, hardly unexpected given the age of the ship, but we were surprised that the mains were run constantly for electrical power when in port, so there was never any respite from the vibration.
The bridge announcements were very informative, and the standard of cleaning and maintenance was impressive. We had booked 2 excursions online, and the tickets couldn't be located on board. There was only 1 other party with our surname on board, and the tickets had been offered to them- never mind booking ref., address or anything else. They were honest enough to decline them, so we had our trips. By an amazing coincidence, a waiter gave us back the wrong card after a drinks order, and the name on the card was of the lady who had been offered our excursion tickets. I went over to thank her for her honesty, and was stunned to discover that she had been charged £146 for the tickets we had paid for! Something seems to be far wrong on the admin side. At the end of the cruise we were going to Olu Deniz for a week in the excellent Hotel Belcekiz Beach. A Thomson's rep came on to the bus and rattled off a prepared script. The journey would take 3 hours and there would be a comfort stop. Then she was gone. In the event there was no stop, but the journey only took a little over 2 hours. So the person who prepared the written script hadn't a clue either.
We booked this cruise because we hadn't been to Istanbul, and weren't disappointed. It was a mixed experience though. The cabin noise was awful, although there was very little engine vibration in the forward areas. The level of service was good, but there were some long faces and drooping shoulders among the waiting staff. It's been suggested that the increase in all inclusive bookings has affected their tips and they were worried about the amount they were able to send home.