Arrived in Istanbul late afternoon the day before boarding the Vision. We got a taxi to Hotel Maywood, which cost around 35 lira. Did a bit of the tourist thing Monday morning and then headed off to the ship by taxi...costing about 15 lira. Check in was a matter of about 10 minutes and then we wandered a bit until our room was ready. We had a junior suite, which gave us that wonderfully huge balcony. The room decor (orange colored chairs and couch) was a bit dated, but overall things were in a good condition.
The staff on this ship overall were great! We had an issue with the room steward not getting her job done, but that was rectified once we complained. The waiter and asst. waiter were probably the best ones we have ever had on a cruise.
The food was okay, but it is not what it used to be about 8 years ago. The desserts in the dining room were decent, but the Windjammer desserts are horrible! It seems like everything has this gelatin type base...ugh!
We stopped in Kusadasi, Rhodes, Haifa, Mykonos, and two days in Ashdod. We went with all ship excursions and were not disappointed. We were on buses for each of the excursions, but they seemed to cap the number of people allowed on the tour. The tours didn't seem to be as crazy as other RCCL tours I have previously done in Europe. I especially enjoyed Masada and the Dead Sea, but was very happy with all the places we visited.
We got back in to Istanbul on time and the disembarkation was very quick and orderly. One big negative...taxis! The taxis inside the port area were quoting outrageous prices to get to a hotel. I'm sure some people didn't realize what they were paying, but it was absurd amounts of money. We had to walk out of the port to get to taxis with more reasonable rates. People need to be aware of the exchange rate and average fares before dealing with an Istanbul taxi driver!
We stayed one more night in Istanbul and did some more of the tourist spots before heading home the next day.