Six of us sailed with Regent from Venice to Istanbul, with stops in Croatia, Montenegro, and various ports in Greece and Turkey. We all enjoyed it very much, and thought Regent did its usual excellent job of taking care of us.
We embarked in Venice, where we'd spent a comfortable night at the Hotel Luna Baglioni. We took a water taxi to check in for the cruise (this is Venice, after all! Check-in was straightforward. Because of the Festival of the Redeemer, we checked in at the cruise ship terminal, but had to ride a bus to the ship, which was docked over on the mainland. That was easy, though. We had lunch on the ship, and before we were finished, our suites were ready. We then attended the mandatory lifeboat drill. (I really appreciate that Regent takes this part quite seriously. When in Vancouver, BC earlier this summer, I observed two other ships getting ready for departure, and supposedly having their drills = most passengers were out on the deck totally ignoring the drill. Regent takes safety very seriously.)
I won't go into detail about every port, except to say we enjoyed our excursions, and felt they were worthwhile. Also hugely worthwhile: the Enrichment Lectures given by Dr. Paula Smith. She gave four talks on board: Corfu, Athens, Ephesus, and Istanbul, and they were all informative and enjoyable.
We found servers and waiters to be professional, courteous, and possessed of good memory. They remembered things such as drink preferences after the very first order.
Food was outstanding. We had one dinner each in Signatures and Prime 7, and one of the Prime 7 waiters remembered us from our Baltic cruise in 2012! Other venues (Compass Rose, La Veranda, Sette Mari) were all excellent as well. And, when in port in Athens, the ship threw a big BBQ on the pool deck, which was great fun.
The shows on board were better than I expected - that doesn't sound very complimentary, and I don't mean to disparage the entertainment on my other cruises. I did think, however, that this cruise's company was even better. The orchestra, in particular, was fantastic.
We disembarked in Istanbul, after spending a night on board in port. Disembarkation was straightforward, and Regent had arranged for a city tour, which helped fill the couple of hours in between disembarkation and when our hotel would be ready. That was a very good tour, in that we visited a small mosque and our guide was able to spend time explaining things to us. The tour the day before to the Blue Mosque wasn't quite as nice because of the crowds, and the smell of dirty feet. :-( Anyway, when we reached the Hotel Ceylan InterContinental at about 11AM, they were ready for us, and Regent had prepared a brochure for us, outlining what else we could do in Istanbul, and how we'd get to the airport when we left two days later. In fact, even though we had to leave the hotel at 0600, Regent had a representative who went with us to the airport and helped us all the way to security. We were pleased at this unexpected level of service.
Bottom line: I won't sail with anyone but Regent. Their service, professionalism, friendliness, and the all-inclusive policy, just make it for me, and my family. We've already booked the next one: New England on the Navigator!