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37 Istanbul to Greece Cruise Reviews

This cruise was part of a guided tour with a large international tour company. We started in Istanbul for a few days before joining the cruise when it arrived in Istanbul from Athens. As part of a larger group our on-shore excursions ... Read More
This cruise was part of a guided tour with a large international tour company. We started in Istanbul for a few days before joining the cruise when it arrived in Istanbul from Athens. As part of a larger group our on-shore excursions were organised by our tour director and we had no problems at all. I was pleasantly surprised by the size of our outside cabin with window. It was larger than I had expected and the bathroom was a decent size too. We had plenty of storage in the way of wardrobe and cupboards. The only issue we had was the the bed was too low to store our empty suitcases underneath. We were on deck 5 which has an outside walkway that goes around the entire ship so we did have people walking past our window from early in the morning but the windows are mirrored so the room is still very private with the curtains drawn. There were two choices for eating; the buffet or the dining room. The buffet food was decent and plentiful if you ate early though it was never hot only warm. The al a carte in the restaurant was tasty though there is a limited menu choice. You could have breakfast in either the buffet or restaurant. I didn't attend any of the shows but was told that they were entertaining though not very professional. There are plenty of bar areas to enjoy; around the pool, indoors or at the rear of the ship on deck 5. As a smoker I spent most of my time at the deck 5 bar as it was one of the few places I could drink and smoke. The staff were all absolutely wonderful and very helpful with any requests we had. Our room stewards kept our room clean and neat. As the crew come from all over the world there are many new friends to be made if you enjoy learning about other countries. Watching the ship dock in the early morning was one of my regular highlights and the other was the sunsets. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
My wife and I have sailed on about 40 cruises including some high end cruises on Crystal, Seaborn, Regent, and Azamura. This was our first cruise on Silversea and it compared nicely with the other luxury cruises we have been on. ... Read More
My wife and I have sailed on about 40 cruises including some high end cruises on Crystal, Seaborn, Regent, and Azamura. This was our first cruise on Silversea and it compared nicely with the other luxury cruises we have been on. Embarkation was quick and easy in Istanbul. The ship was docked several blocks from the cruise terminal and we didn't notice that Silversea had a shuttle until we arrived at the ship on foot! Oh well. We needed the exercise anyway. The ship was in very good condition and all the spaces were clean and tidy. The cruise we were on was only about 60% full, so the crew to passenger ratio was about 1:1. Even though we probably had the least expensive cabin (oceanview suite) on the ship, we found it to be spacious and comfortable. Our butler offered us a selection of toiletries including Bulgari and Ferrengamo products along with a hypoallergenic selection. My wife couldn't decide so he gave us both of the designer labels. That was actually convenient because the suite had a separate full size bath tub and a large glass walled shower, so we could place one set of products in each one. We were also offered a selection of pillow which we tried, but ended up liking the original pillows best. Our butler also delivered fruit in the evening, kept our refrigerator stocked with our favorite beverages, and on several occasions, delivered excellent in room breakfast. Our room steward kept our suite spotless and was never intrusive. Dining was very good at all times and in all venues. The only thing that seemed strange to me was the lack of steak on the menu. They had plenty of other excellent offerings, but for beef they seemed to favor angus hamburgers. Entertainment was good for a small ship. One South African duo was particularly good singing standards accompanied by Piano in the Stars restaurant. The other musical groups were good, but they were duos and trios and they tended to rely too much on synthesized rhythm and drums for my taste. To me, they sounded better when they just played their instruments with out the synthesizer. All in all, we really enjoyed out first cruise on Silversea. We're ready to go again! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We travel with a group of eight, both family, and friends. It was our third time on Riviera, and we requested our butler, Sonu, from the prior cruises. He met us as we boarded, and asked what we would be needing that first day. Great ... Read More
We travel with a group of eight, both family, and friends. It was our third time on Riviera, and we requested our butler, Sonu, from the prior cruises. He met us as we boarded, and asked what we would be needing that first day. Great service from the very start. The ship was pretty full, with groups from Maui Jims, and four university affiliated tour groups. The cruise was shorter than our usual selection, but was destination intensive, a different port or island each day, and ending in Athens. We bought the premium liquor package, as it is a value if you are even a modest consumer of wine, and spirits. Entertainment has been vastly improved by adding the entrainment troupes from their new Norweigen cruise line partner, and we always spent time in our favorite venue, Martini's, listening to the excellent piano player. The food, service, and selection of ports was excellent, and we dined with the Captain one night, and found him to be a delightful dinner companion. We had so much fun, that we booked two more cruises while on board. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Sailed with a group of 8 on this cruise. While there were issues with port time changes after final payment was made, Oceania's commitment to service and excellent food remains the same. I would have given a 5 star review if there ... Read More
Sailed with a group of 8 on this cruise. While there were issues with port time changes after final payment was made, Oceania's commitment to service and excellent food remains the same. I would have given a 5 star review if there were no port time changes. We embarked in Istanbul. As usual, Oceania's boarding process was smooth and efficient. On board, our room was ready immediately (we were in an Oceania Suite). The other rooms in our group were ready exactly at the times they stated upon embarking. Being the experienced Oceania cruiser, I took my group of 8 on a tour of the ship. They were appropriately impressed with the ship. We took a tour of the Canyon Ranch Spa too and were greeted immediately by a staff person who took us on an impromptu tour of the fitness and spa facility. She was very nice and helpful! They had a special if you booked a service on the day of sailing, so, for the first time, I signed up for a massage. WOW! It was excellent. I highly recommend doing this on the first day - it really got me in the vacation mode and took out all the kinks from flying in a cramped aircraft for many hours. The food was excellent in all of the venues, but I do have to say that Toscana has slipped a bit. Food was just OK and service took a long time. Food in the Grand Dining Room was excellent but the service took forever. Red Ginger has upped their game and the sea bass was out of this world. Polo Grill and Jacques were excellent as well. The Terrace Cafe was fine as was the Waves Grill. In summary, Oceania continues to be one of the best foodie cruises in the business. I can't say enough about the staff service in all respects. Whether it was embarking and disembarking at ports each day to the reception desk, to the wait staff and housekeeping, service was the best and the staff were helpful, friendly and easy to access. Our butler, Chandu, was awesome and our housekeeper, Jai, was equally awesome. The room was cleaned constantly and we never lacked for clean towels, a stocked refrigerator, and any assistance we may have needed. Oceania Suite room was incredible! 1000 sf of pure luxury! The media room boasts every movie and song known to man. The bathroom was huge and included a large shower stall and whirlpool tub. The deck is almost 3 times the size of a penthouse suite deck and has a whirlpool tub too along with a lounge chair and deck chairs. The living room and dining room were spacious - enough room to have happy hour almost every night for 8 people. Highly recommend trying this room at least once. It was worth the upgrade! One small complaint (and I feel bad about even mentioning it), the door handles are made of heavy metal and have sharp edges. They stick out from the door and I kept bumping into them. I had bruises all over my arms from them. One night of rough seas, I fell into the door handle and bruised my chest. We had to wrap some of them in napkins to make them less painful. Really need to re-think them! Only used Oceania for one excursion in Volos. They did a great job with it and the ship waited for us when we were about a 1/2 hour late getting back. Overpriced though. For the first time, I took the artist loft classes. The artist, Graham Dennison, and his wife, Shuna, were so friendly and patient with me - a beginner. Graham was a Disney artist for 20 years. He is a very talented artist - he uses a pallette knife to paint and I can't believe the paintings he has created with that knife. He has the gift for teaching and by the end of his classes, I learned how to draw a disney character, use a pallette knife and he even helped me "try" to paint the Santorini dome church! I really enjoyed it. They also unveiled one of his paintings on board with a reception ceremony. It was a nice way to meet others on board and see Graham's latest painting. Would recommend dropping in the artist loft just to see what is going on. Attended one of the evening shows and the Pool Deck party. Both were OK but not great. This is one area Oceania could improve on. Though, I have to say, the Cruise Director, Ray Michaels, is on the friendliest and upbeat cruise directors I have ever met. He is an asset to Oceania Cruises! Kicking, screaming and crying, we disembarked in Athens. Process was smooth with no issues. As for port time changes.... This was the one issue I had with Oceania. They changed port times after final payment was made which made me scramble to rearrange private port excursions. The time changes resulted in us arriving in port later than usual - 10:00 am or Noon vs 8:00 am. Some people liked getting in later because they could sleep later but I like having the time in the afternoon more and found that I missed laying out by the pool in the later afternoon after a long day of walking. In any case, I feel that Oceania short-changed us a bit in this respect. We had at least 3 ports with time changes and I know, from the message boards, they are doing this more and more across the board. Because of this, I did not book another cruise while on board as I usually do. I will wait to see how they handle this going forward before committing to another cruise with them. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
My wife and I are ardent cruisers having sailed twenty plus times with the major providers. We have just returned from the 'Greek Islands & Turkish Delights' cruise. This was without doubt the finest cruise we have ever been ... Read More
My wife and I are ardent cruisers having sailed twenty plus times with the major providers. We have just returned from the 'Greek Islands & Turkish Delights' cruise. This was without doubt the finest cruise we have ever been on. I had read some of the reviews on this and other sites about the ships condition and decoration but have to say that most of the problems we observed were trivial and minor cosmetic flaws. What set this cruise far above other lines was the enthusiasm and friendliness of both the staff and crew. These were people who were happy and achieving a great deal of job satisfaction from from ensuring their customers were happy. Every detail of the cruise was exceptional. Variation of restaurant and cafeteria opening times sympathetically adjusted to daily activities, The open bridge policy and the variety of food on offer. The embarkation and disembarkation were again seamless operations with minimal waiting or fuss. As we had only one sea day entertainment was not high on the wanted list. There were no sea day activities but on this occasion it was accepted. Our Signature event was a Silver Service meal on the forecourt area of the Grand Library at Ephasus. This was well organised with adequate food and wine but again exceptional planning and service. The meal in the floodlight court after visitors had left for the day provided a rare experience. The evening deck Bar-B-Q was outside the harbour at Santorini. The roast Suckling Pig and Lobster were excellent and yet again the slick management and service provided for a seamless evening. We ate once in Candles and the remainder of the voyage in the Amphora restaurant. Both had high quality levels of dishes and service. The quality of the crew, the managerial organisation and the friendliness of the crew are something Windstar should be proud of. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Pluses: * EXCELLENT Service from: Stateroom Attendant: Daniel Tomagan Waiter: Robert Canlas Assistant Waiter: Archie Almari These men MADE OUR CRUISE! * Stateroom size and cleanliness * Ship cleanliness * Shore ... Read More
Pluses: * EXCELLENT Service from: Stateroom Attendant: Daniel Tomagan Waiter: Robert Canlas Assistant Waiter: Archie Almari These men MADE OUR CRUISE! * Stateroom size and cleanliness * Ship cleanliness * Shore excursions and guides were excellent! * Serenity room at the back of the ship was welcome * Steam and sauna open to all passengers Negatives: * Food both at buffet and dining was FAR below acceptable - boring, tasteless, small portions * Inconvenient hours of food services - buffet closed too early - leaving few choices for food on board * Entertainment was amateurish - some nights hardly anything - MUCH better shows and entertainment on even a week end cruise with Carnaval! * library was non-existent - just a small collection of books * internet service options were very over priced - should have had options for 1 or 2 hours * Incorrect information from guest services as to opening hours of shore museums, and de-boarding instructions. * Incorrect information from booking agent who advised that balconies adjacent to ours could be open to provide access to friends' cabins * LONG wait in line (over 30 mins) to get a fried egg at buffet breakfast - and when I complained, staff replied in snippy manner. * No high tea provided as on most cruise ships I have heard the complaint of poor food services on Royal Carribean from many others since my cruise which I shall certainly add my voice to. Comments: I was SO looking forward to this cruise with friends - we had planned it for several years and booked three superior staterooms with balcony. We chose Royal Caribbean because of the itinerary - my first time. I was NOT disappointed with the the itinerary, shore excursions, shore guides (EXCELLENT!), and on-board crew service, naming again, Stateroom Attendant: Daniel Tomagan, Waiter: Robert Canlas, Assistant Waiter: Archie Almario. these men gave us what pleasure we had on board - thank you to THEM! BUT, those things I look for in a cruise, e.g., food and shows, I was TOTALLY, SADLY DISAPPOINTED! Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
This cruise was from Istanbul Turkey to the Greek Islands and Athens and back to Istanbul. good itinerary (just what we wanted) and all in all the ship was good with a vary friendly staff. We chose MY TIME dinning as we thought we could ... Read More
This cruise was from Istanbul Turkey to the Greek Islands and Athens and back to Istanbul. good itinerary (just what we wanted) and all in all the ship was good with a vary friendly staff. We chose MY TIME dinning as we thought we could go down and eat when we were ready, however this option only allowed you to choose a half hour window to go to the dinning room. We did eat in the dinning room the first night but found the food only so-so there and they keep asking if you want to buy drinks. Coffee was not good!! My wife had a Pina Colada that was over priced (twice what we paid on other cruises $14.00 to $6.95 and she said it was too sweet. We ate at the Buffet the rest of the trip - selection was OK but the Asian (Chinese and Indian) seemed to have the same taste even though the description was different every day -- Port were fine and the stay time in port was longer the most normally 7am to 6pm. We did not take any of the excursions as we could do ourselves at much less cost although no guide, but also not too structured so we could spend as much time as needed at a location. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Not expecting this to be an outstanding cruise from the other reviews we were not disappointed! Fairly experienced cruisers, we have been on much better ships ,and sadly for the price paid we were not impressed with the quote ... Read More
Not expecting this to be an outstanding cruise from the other reviews we were not disappointed! Fairly experienced cruisers, we have been on much better ships ,and sadly for the price paid we were not impressed with the quote "Beautiful Rhapsody of the seas"as we were reminded every day on the ships messaging announcement! The ship is generally older and all the less impressive for that with no wow factor at all,save for the new Centrum ,which doesn't work particularly well due to the tiny dance area and the lack of seats.We did not sit there once during our cruise ,lingering occasionally to listen to a catchy tune standing at the railing on one of the levels.We did attend the aerial show which was brief and not that enthralling to be honest,securing a seat on the side of the Centrum plagued by passive cigarette smoke travelling from the casino indoor smoking area.This was a major bugbear for us as it affected the coffee stand and the customer relations desk,the smell travelling and drifting to all levels .Needs to be discontinued immediately IMHO. Our cabin 2121 was a small interior ,we never bother with frills as you only sleep and shower there,clean but a little rickety and basic by today's standards.But fair enough the beds were comfortable and our annoying issues with the air conditioning and the door lock were addressed during our cruise with efficiency.The in- cabin announcement system did not work and there was only tennis ,news and cruise propaganda on the TV in English,which seems like a very penny pinching cut back.There was a cartoon channel for the kids,of no interest to us.Fair enough you do not go on holiday to watch TV ,but my husband had a couple days feeling ill mid cruise and something for him to watch would have been welcome whilst taking it easy in cabin.We had a quiet cabin with little passing footfall, and although we had engine noise it was constant and you soon filtered it out .In general a good cabin choice.Lack of a fridge meant constant trips for ice water to deck 9. Our cabin steward James was an absolute peach ,always helpful, polite and we thank him for his unfailing services and the towel animals.These guys are very underrated for the job they do and deserve recognition. Food was better than expected in the main dining room. Maricel our waitress very friendly, portions small but sufficient and generally well cooked.The buffet restaurant was a bit chaotic in its set up with people milling in all directions and we avoided it mostly .The food was not to our taste personally , but the big eaters could be seen at lunchtime with the "Haystack" plates .Quantity vs quality really .We used the cafe in the solarium where the menu was limited but a seat was always available at lunch .We are not big eaters so we preferred to do this. We used all the speciality restaurants during the cruise for a change of venue ,but again were of the opinion that they were not as good as those experienced on other ships. Alcohol and wine are expensive on this ship,and bottled water extortionate . Entertainment was pretty average ,but a couple of headliners could be described as very good .There was one evening mid cruise with only a movie in the theatre, and the last night only movie re-runs(which we had already seen).We never went on deck to watch a movie as times were the same as the shows ,and generally got the theatre practically to ourselves for the afternoon ones . The picture quality was very poor ,and they started repeating the films halfway though the cruise. Embarkation and disembarkation ran pretty smoothly ,but as said before we had problems with the cruise cards which was a nuisance and had to have our cabin lock fixed.One day we could not go ashore as we had been given back the cancelled cards,and we had to go up and get new ones (Yet again) All in all not a bad ship for first timers maybe ,but we had too many better ones to compare it with. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
I have travelled on other cruise liners in the past and always had positive experiences and recommended them. It is therefore with a great deal of disappointment that I write this review. The culture of the boat was one of up sell up ... Read More
I have travelled on other cruise liners in the past and always had positive experiences and recommended them. It is therefore with a great deal of disappointment that I write this review. The culture of the boat was one of up sell up sell from orange juice at breakfast to restaurants at night. There was no interesting cultural talks or discussions and the general attitude was "well you can watch the talk on TV". There were no buses supplied at ports to get to towns. Everything was an add on and not well explained or signposted. Confusion was not uncommon. Having had a bank ATM swallow my card, I then had to fight with the finance person on board to explain why my card could not be charged even though providing another. This fight went on over days despite numerous customer service visits and emails. I wrote a review on the ship and it was never acknowledged. Extremely dismissive customer satisfaction indeed. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
My wife and I just returned from the Windstar "Gems of the Aegean" voyage on the Star Pride and had a really excellent time. We stayed in Cabin 118 that is a S1 class cabin on the 4th deck (one floor above the main dining room). ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from the Windstar "Gems of the Aegean" voyage on the Star Pride and had a really excellent time. We stayed in Cabin 118 that is a S1 class cabin on the 4th deck (one floor above the main dining room). We had read the reviews on this board and were concerned based on the mixed nature and a recent very negative review. I am happy to report the Star Pride looks great, our room was wonderful and even the pool looks better. The S1 cabin's are just fine and have enough room that you do not feel cramped. The bathrooms are a good size and the walk in closet is perfect since my wife packed this trip to ensure she had a different outfit each day for pictures. We were told, but did not verify, that the balcony suites are actually smaller then the S1 suites so that they could make room for the balcony. This kind of makes sense and if true very happy we didn't spend the additional money as we spent little time in the room. At every shore stop we noticed that Windstar was performing cosmetic maintenance. On one day they painted the entire side of the ship which is no small accomplishment. The ship is definitely older but I will say, like in Master and Commander, she is bluff and has lovely lines and is still in the prime of her service. The crew are wonderful. They could not do enough to be helpful. Always polite and really worked at finding ways to help. Eddie and Michael, the Deck 8 Bartenders, ensured I had an unending stream of Vodka Sodas that I will now spend the next month working off. We used a 3rd party firm for shore excursions instead of Windstar and found the price / value to be better. Nothing wrong with the Windstar excursions, but they move at the pace of the slowest common denominator. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Everything about this cruise is mediocre. This is our 6th cruise and it just didnt do it for us. If not for our room butler Rey, this cruise was a let-down. To make matters worse, we ordered steaks three times and requested medium rare, ... Read More
Everything about this cruise is mediocre. This is our 6th cruise and it just didnt do it for us. If not for our room butler Rey, this cruise was a let-down. To make matters worse, we ordered steaks three times and requested medium rare, and all three times medium to medium well arrived. (I thought maybe it will improve!) On our last evening at Le Champagne, my friend's spouse and my wife ordered the lamb chops medium rare and , you guessed it, it came medium to medium-well. The chef came out and he said for him it was medium rare! There was no pink in the meat and he said it was medium rare...??? That cruise line is in trouble if they continue to have ignorant employees in their employ like the chef at Le Champagne restaurant. Never again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We started in Istanbul and ended there. The main focal point of the cruise was to see the ancient Greek ruins on the various islands and learn about their history. We were not disappointed. We had local guides on the various islands who ... Read More
We started in Istanbul and ended there. The main focal point of the cruise was to see the ancient Greek ruins on the various islands and learn about their history. We were not disappointed. We had local guides on the various islands who had excellent knowledge of the history and culture of each place. For our tours, we were supplied with "QuietVox" headsets which enabled us to hear the guides even if we were at a distance, and the guides also had an easier time talking since they didn't have to shout. That feature was a big plus to me. The daily tours were pretty evenly spaced so some days we had tours in the afternoon and on other days they were in the morning, but never terribly early, and some days were, of course, all day tours, so it was pretty relaxing. The tours were very well coordinated and there was not a lot of waiting around or lag time. It was all very efficiently done with the tour buses so we didn't get backed up, which is probably no easy feat with 350 passengers. If you're looking for a party cruise with gambling and nightclub atmosphere, this is probably not for you. The entertainment here consists of lectures on the places that you're about to see and a trio of musicians in the lounge. That was perfect for us. Also there were no children on board (also a plus for us). The ship is fairly small (350 pax) but feels spacious and very comfortable. We had one night of rough seas (gale force winds) but the rest of the time you couldn't even feel the ship moving. So the ship seems real stable. The food was excellent as was the service. We don't eat meat but we do eat fish and there was always a new and exciting seafood dish available during lunch and dinner. The chef is truly creative with the dishes so the food is not boring and wine is freely and graciously poured during dinner. The waiters and waitresses all have great attitudes and are always laughing and smiling. Everything went smoothly and we have no complaints. We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and would love to go on another one with this company if the itinerary suits us. We had an outside room with a window on deck 7. We would recommend and would book a room with a balcony in the future. It's worth the extra bucks to be able to open the balcony doors to get fresh air. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was our first cruise with Azamara. We wanted the smaller ship experience and have to admit we liked it. We chose this cruise for the itinerary and a special price - double upgrade to a verandah cabin. The ship was nice, clean and ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Azamara. We wanted the smaller ship experience and have to admit we liked it. We chose this cruise for the itinerary and a special price - double upgrade to a verandah cabin. The ship was nice, clean and fortunately well functioning. (We had heard stories of plumbing problems.) The staff was generally friendly and the food was good. The food and service were excellent in the specialty dining restaurants but you pay extra for that. The promo on this line is that the fare includes gratuities and complimentary alcoholic beverages. There is a catch. You are still overwhelmed with opportunites to tip more and the complimentary drinks includes only 3 selections of beer and they limit the wine to just one white and one red each day. You know they have the larger selection available - so why can't you get a Chardonnay when I don't like Reisling? With a smaller ship you have to expect less choices in some things but you know the wine is there - they are just going to limit you, so they can sell you another glass for $10 each. The upcharges and extra fees are obnoxious. I'll go to a real all inclusive resort next time. We do have to say the Azamara rep at the airport was fantastic. He handled a late luggage issue and sent us on to the ship, while he waited for our luggage on the next flight from Paris. Within 4 hours we had our bags in our stateroom - and that was a HUGE relief. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was our first cruise - we had read a lot of reviews of Agean Odyssey before hand - most of them very positive. We were extremely pleased with the ship staff, food and yours. The hotels in Istanbul and Athens were definitely 5 star. ... Read More
This was our first cruise - we had read a lot of reviews of Agean Odyssey before hand - most of them very positive. We were extremely pleased with the ship staff, food and yours. The hotels in Istanbul and Athens were definitely 5 star. Overall the excursions were well organized and staffed by knowledgeable local tour guides. We took advantage of all included tours and all optional tours. They are very long busy days - but we knew that based on the information that we read before booking. We booked a smaller balcony cabin on the belvidere deck. Lovely room with spacious bathroom, cabinet for storing/hanging clothes. We ate the majority of our meals on the back outside patio and enjoyed the variety of foods. Never once did desserts duplicate lunch or dinner with 5 or 6 selections. There was always lots of choices at all meal times. I am shocked at some of the negative reviews- when we felt this was a very memorable trip. While we did have one rough day at sea it is to be expected in the Agean - the captain kept every one extremely informed through out the day while on board of sea conditions and there is a doctor on board to provide assistance for those who require it. We highly recommend Agean Odyssey - it is definitely geared towards those interested in ancient civilizations. Although we were definitely a lot younger than the average passenger age is 60 plus but we didn't feel this. The wait/bar staff are very friendly and remembered our names after the second day onboard. Busy interesting full days- great food, staff - would definitely boom again and highly recommend Agean Odyssey to anyone with a love of history! Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This was our first experience with Holland America, having cruised before on Royal Caribbean.  What can I say....we LOVED this amazing, beautiful ship and her exceptional crew. Embarkation was very smooth, with our cases delivered ... Read More
This was our first experience with Holland America, having cruised before on Royal Caribbean.  What can I say....we LOVED this amazing, beautiful ship and her exceptional crew. Embarkation was very smooth, with our cases delivered promptly. One thing that really stood out to us was the feeling of space on this ship - there were never crowds or queues anywhere!! I think the explanation is that there are so many different areas to go on the ship - it took us our whole cruise to find all the different places you could sit/lounge!! Ryndam is such an elegant ship - beautifully kept and maintained. However, the really special feature of the ship is it's AMAZING crew. So friendly - nothing is a bother and they can't do enough to make your holiday feel so special. The entertainment was also much better than we had expected. Loved that there were different bands, musicians and shows you could visit .... and you could just 'drop in' to them - no tedious booking required. Our fellow passengers - much to our relief- were a good mix of ages, though I have to say that we were shocked at how incredibly rude a small minority of them were to the crew (the crew took it all with a smile, but really, no-one goes to work to be spoken to in that manner). Only 2 things we weren't so keen on - formal night was much less "formal" than on Royal Caribbean and I felt a little out of place in my floor length dress which had fitted in perfectly with Royal Caribbean's formal evenings. Come on folks - its fun to get dressed up once in a while...isn't it?! :) Secondly, we had a trip to the spa and there was an extremely hard sell with one of the therapists (the other one was fine) which made me feel quite uncomfortable. The food was fab - a real step up from Royal Caribbean. I would say that HAL are less "in your face" and less "glitz and glamour" than Royal Caribbean, but we adored the chilled out, relaxed feel on Ryndam. Massive thank you to all the crew who made this trip our best ever holiday!!! We will definitely cruise HAL in the future. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
I booked a 14 day classical Greek tour with a 6 day cruise of the Greek Islands with Istanbul and Kusadasi. While the tour was excellant, the Louise Cruise line was horrible. I upgraded my cabin from a standard inside to a standard ... Read More
I booked a 14 day classical Greek tour with a 6 day cruise of the Greek Islands with Istanbul and Kusadasi. While the tour was excellant, the Louise Cruise line was horrible. I upgraded my cabin from a standard inside to a standard outside. I'm a Scuba Diver and slept on metal decks of boats on overnight trips so I figured I was battle hardy. Besides this was listed as a destination ship, but then so was the "African Queen" We were on deck 2 which we shared with the crew. As I was unpacking, I saw a old boat come so close I thought we were going to hit. Wish I could post pictures here because I got a shot of the tire bumpers against the port hole. Then for breakfast the next morning I had cereal because I'm not big on slimy eggs and undercooked bacon. About half way through, I said to my sister, it looks like there are bugs in the cereal. My sister didn't believe me so grabbed the bowl and then said, "Yep, there are antenna." She called the waiter over and he innformed someone else and next we had the head of the kitchen making apologies and saying they would make it up to us. He drew my sister a picture so I guess that was it. Dinner wasn't much better with tough steak and soup that was just gross. The unlimited drink package consisted of watery cokes. I began asking for cans and was told they ran out of coke by the 3rd day. You have to go through a waiter who gives you a receipt and that takes forever. Try to bring your own bottles aboard and skip the package. Trouble is there is no ice. By the second day, we had water coming out of the bathroom floor. Black, moldy, water. A report to the desk was met with, the ship is going into dry dock next month. Repeated complaints finally got us moved up a deck but the A/C wasn't working. Multiple reports to the desk were met with "the engineer is busy writing reports and can't help." I guess so. Judging by my experience and some other people we talked to on deck 2, the ship was leaking. Thank God, we only had 6 days to get through. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Our trip started with independent flights from JFk-Istanbul via Rome on Alitalia. Unfortunately, our flight from JFK was late and we were going to miss our connection. Alitalia placed us on a Turkish Air non-stop to Istanbul but it left 8 ... Read More
Our trip started with independent flights from JFk-Istanbul via Rome on Alitalia. Unfortunately, our flight from JFK was late and we were going to miss our connection. Alitalia placed us on a Turkish Air non-stop to Istanbul but it left 8 hours after our originally scheduled departure. The flight was pleasant enough in Business class. We spent one night at the Inter-Continental which was quite nice with a view of the Bosphorus. Access to the tram and metro were excellent and the surrounding streets offered adequate restaurants and shops. Breakfast at the inter-Continental was a lavish affair offering cooked to order eggs and omelets as well as other standard items. We took a taxi to the pier at 2PM. There was some confusion as it seems the usual pier used for check-in was under renovation. There was a Windstar employee waiting there, however, who directed our cab driver to the proper location just a few minutes away. It would have been nice if we had received notification beforehand, however, it really had no bearing on our embarkation. The luggage drop off was a bit confusing. After a security check-point, we brought our luggage to a building about 75 yards from the ship and then walked back to a second pier opposite the ship. There doesn’t seem to have been a reason for us to travel from one building to the next and then return. After the usual security check point, we embarked the Star Pride and were directed to check in one deck above, in the lounge. Check in took just minutes and afterwards, Larry, the Verandah/Candles Maître-De was stationed at a table taking reservations for the cruise as well as placing people on a wait list for additional seatings. Apparently, we were entitled to at least one Candles seating during the cruise. Larry, however, made it clear, that it was worth getting on the waiting list for other nights. He was not wrong. On our 9 night cruise, we ended up eating there 3 times and were never disappointed. We found the meals equal, if not superior, to most US steakhouses, and the service, as in other areas of the ship, was excellent. Larry learned our names by the first day and always ensured we were always tended to every time we ate at the Verandah. One afternoon, we arrived from Santorini after closing time but he kept the restaurant open until we leisurely completed our lunch. A much appreciated touch. After checking in, we made our way to suite 207, located on deck #5. The numbering system is curious since it doesn’t correspond to deck number but on this yacht, it really doesn’t matter. It certainly does not take long to learn your way around. Our suite was a “balcony suite”. It was extremely spacious and well laid out and despite what some previous reviews have indicated, looked entirely fresh. The wood built-ins, which have not been replaced, did appear to be freshly sanded and cleaned. Perhaps the only area of the suite which looked tired was the tub/shower. The marble in many areas was stained and old looking. This never, however, impacted out trip in any way. The suite contained an LCD TV which played various satellite new channels and some In-house TV stations. Certainly the ship could benefit from more channels. It would have been nice to have ESPN. We did borrow nightly from the extensive DVD library. A word about the “balcony”. It was certainly nice to be able to open the “door” and check the weather in the morning. I would say that at the premium Windstar charges, it is probably not worth it for most. Where the Star Pride excelled was in overall service by the wonderful crew, and the quality of the food. We were fortunate to have a wonderful cabin steward named Wayan. He quickly learned our routines and always had out suite ready for us. In addition, he tended to our daily laundry. For one price, the ship performed unlimited laundry/suite. This allows traveling very light and after the first day, laundry given to Wayan by 9AM was back in time for dinner. Truly worth the price. Although all seating was “open”, all dining stewards quickly learned our names and routines and as a veteran of over 50 cruises, I cannot recall having service of a higher caliber than on the Star Pride. Even the beverage stewards were always producing our Diet Cokes, before we even asked for them. Breakfast in AmphoreA or the Verandah was buffet style with egg stations always available. Lunch in the Verandah was never crowded, despite it being too cold most afternoons to be seated outside. As previously stated, we ate dinner in Candles three times with our beef fillet being cooked to perfection. Out dinners in AmphoreA were also excellent, with great service despite having different dining stewards each time. This was a port intensive itinerary. Due to rough seas, one port was substituted after a schedule change. This was handled well with new excursions being made available. Considering the situation, I believe the result was as good as possible. We did tender in two ports. This was performed efficiently and we never waited more than a few minutes for a tender. Disembarkation in Athens was as easy as could be expected for a ship of this size. Basically, we left after breakfast, grabbed a taxi, and went to the airport. In conclusion, I would not hesitate to cruise on this ship again. I agree with many that the pool area needs work. As the weather on our trip was colder than hoped, we never did get the opportunity to even try to use it. It was constantly being painted and in fact, did not look inviting. We did, however, use the hot tubs without difficulty. The remainder of the Star Pride experience, from food /hotel services, to shore excursions was deluxe all the way. We truly felt we were on a yacht which was clearly the effect Windstar was looking to provide. Those looking for entertainment, however, would be best served on a larger ship.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Bugs in the ceral on the first day. Moldy water coming up through broken grout in the bathroom. Toliets burping sewer gas that made you gag. Watery soda in the drink package and they ran out of Coke on the 3rd day Breakfast-aside from ... Read More
Bugs in the ceral on the first day. Moldy water coming up through broken grout in the bathroom. Toliets burping sewer gas that made you gag. Watery soda in the drink package and they ran out of Coke on the 3rd day Breakfast-aside from cereal bugs had undercooked bacon, runny eggs, waffles with Sunday toppings. Dinner was lousy with tough steak, soup that was horrible. Complaints got us the following reply-The ship will be in dry dock next month. They gave us extra towels to put on the floor for the moldy water. Mid-week we got another cabin where the A/C didn't work. It was 90 degrees and the answer was the engineer was too busy with his logs to fix it. Only my tour guide was able to fix these problems. Thank God it was only 6 days of a 14 day vacation   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We were on the Azamara Quest sailing from Istanbul on Sept. 8th. Prior to that, we spent 5 enjoyable days in Istanbul staying at the White House Hotel in Sultanamet, which we highly recommend. It was easy walking distance to the major ... Read More
We were on the Azamara Quest sailing from Istanbul on Sept. 8th. Prior to that, we spent 5 enjoyable days in Istanbul staying at the White House Hotel in Sultanamet, which we highly recommend. It was easy walking distance to the major viewing sites and the tram. We booked our cruise in February and were traveling with two other couples. Booking with Azamara was somewhat disconcerting in that we never received anything in hard copy by mail. It was all by telephone or internet even having to print the 40 page booklet with excursion trip descriptions. Further, we found the Azamara website to be awkward particularly after we booked as it was too sales oriented. We booked our air travel independently as we found the Azamara site not user friendly. In fact we never received notification as to which dock in Istanbul that the ship was sailing. Fortunately, the hotel desk clerk saw the ship on her way to work and told our taxi driver where it was. This was our first cruise and we chose Azamara due to the smaller ship size and its informal, casual nature of the cruise. We had always joked about the cruise crowd on their excursions with 25 people following a loud guide with an umbrella. We were pleased that we did not encounter long waits to go ashore or for dinner. The food was good, we thought the breakfasts were great and when we returned to the ship in the afternoon had a burger by the pool and then ate a light dinner after cocktails. We usually stopped for a snack and a drink on shore and to take advantage of free internet (ship wi-fi was pricey). We only ate in the formal dining room once and not at all in the exclusive rooms. The ship staff was very friendly, helpful whenever we asked and the service was excellent. The staff at the bar on the pool deck was the only exception. The ship was very good about offering hand cleaner, cold towels at boarding and before entering the dining areas. We like to travel independently and set up our own personal tours—Ephesus, Rhoades, Athens. We did participate in two ship sponsored excursions—the evening concert at Ephesus, which was a highlight of the trip; and the winery trip to Aia on Santorini. The Aia trip was a bit of a bust as the winery turned out to be wine tasting, fortunately there was not a hard sell as we did not care for the wine. The view was wonderful. The “whisper” device the guide was using did not work so most of the explanation was on the bus. Santorini was crowded with tourists, shops, etc. This is a pretty place but not one to go to relax and get away from it all. With all the unemployment in Greece you would think they could employ some people to pick up the trash. On Mykonos we hired a taxi who took us to a less crowded, protected beach where we spent a good part of the day. Mykonos was a very pretty place even with all the tourists. The departure in Athens was well organized, except for a long wait for taxis for those of us not taking the Azamara tours. We did spend two more days in Athens on our own which we enjoyed. All in all, we had a good time on our first cruise and will repeat, but only on smaller ships.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
I should write about my wonderful experience onboard Louis Cristal last week. From the moment we checked in to the moment we left the ship it was the most memorable hospitality I have ever encountered. I have taken many, many cruises but ... Read More
I should write about my wonderful experience onboard Louis Cristal last week. From the moment we checked in to the moment we left the ship it was the most memorable hospitality I have ever encountered. I have taken many, many cruises but like Louis Cristal's hospitality never !! Food could have been a little better and a little more elaborate and more variety but we found plenty to eat. Some things were good, some were plain bad but it happens everywhere. The entertainment on board was incredible. Dancers from Cuba were amazing. Every night a different show and every night they surprised us with a great one !!!The singers were incredible. They should be famous !! We had some people that made our trip a memorable one. Zunamy and Eduardo(our dear Pancho) (Bar attendants were God sent. Wonderful people. Our cook Enrique from Cuba specially made foo for us when we wanted something special. Our hot and sexy photographer from Ukraine was so friendly !! From cabin attendants, to pursers, to waiters and deck hands, it was a memorable experience and we will definitely come back. Everything was spotless clean !!! We fell in love with the cruise Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This is a very thorough review because part of taking on a destination Cruise involves all the little details you may not think to prepare for especially when traveling to a foreign country. I spent months researching and preparing for ... Read More
This is a very thorough review because part of taking on a destination Cruise involves all the little details you may not think to prepare for especially when traveling to a foreign country. I spent months researching and preparing for this cruise. Our travel agent had wanted to save us on the length of time we would be flying by having us on a flight that landed in Istanbul Turkey at 5pm because the boat departed at 8pm. We decided to change the flight to landing at 1pm instead. This ended up working out because he ship wanted everyone on board by 6pm. A few days before departure, she e-mailed me she would set up transportation from the airport to the ship. The night before our departure, we realize she has not done this. I find out the port our ship will sail out of and contact info. For the ship. One of the issues preparing for a trip like this is figuring what to pack, what the weather will be. Then your friends and family are e-mailing you and you are trying to work, take care of your daily routine, do research, it can be harrowing. My travel agent had booked the cruise and arranged for transportation at the end of the cruise. She had also provided me with the address of the port, I just did not realize Istanbul had 15 million people living there!! We had e-mailed a few days before departure about doing an excursion before getting on the ship, I declined and said just arrange transportation from the Airport to the ship. Well, the night before we left, I had not heard anything. I e-mailed and then and right before we left for the airport. Nothing, I asked her to text us as we would be flying all night, still nothing. She was on a cruise at the time herself and simply arranged for the transport, however, what she and I were about to find out as we got to the Airport, that our flight to New Jersey was cancelled due to thunderstorms in the area. No problem as the agent proceeded to rebook us. We ended up flying to Reagan International where midflight, the pilot started talking about the thunderstorms in that area and that we might have to land in Richmond Va. due to low fuel because he could not fly in a holding pattern, we ended up landing at Reagan, claiming our luggage, catching a cab to Dulles airport, 30 miles away in Friday afternoon rush hour traffic. We made our Lufthansa flight about one hour before takeoff. We bordered the flight, taxied down the tarmac and had to wait and sit for two hours because the thunderstorms were over New York! We landed in Frankfort and our now earlier flight to Istanbul on Turkish Air took off and landed on time. In the meantime, my travel agent booked the transfer from the airport to the ship, but, she did not text us and our flight had landed two hours earlier. So here we were in a very little English speaking country, hailing a cab with a non-speaking English cab driver with only the name of the port, the ship was going out of. It was a 40 minute wild ride, but, we made it to the port! The real enemy here was the weather and my lack of knowledge about a city and a country. I have never fought so much to fly and get on a ship. Consider yourself warned and make sure you yourself are prepared. The ship: we get on board, it is lovely, and we shower and prepare for dinner. Everything is top notch! We go to bed, wake up at 10am, all is well, they have a ship drill at 10:30am, we shower and then the sanding starts. We are in a port, the wind is blowing, I look out and our balcony is covered!! With the sand! Our chairs, the table, the floor. I wipe it off as best I can and we order room service because none of the restaurants are open. I am furious, why are they sanding with the wind blowing. I order a tuna salad pita, my husband orders the Salmon. His food is great, mine is inedible. I go down to book an excursion, they do not have record of my $300.00 onboard credit. I have had it!! Nelson and the receptionist save the day. They will make sure the onboard credit is corrected and take care of the balcony. They invite us to the bridge to view the departure for later that day. We go back to our stateroom which is perfect and watch as a man is thoroughly washing down the balcony and cleaning the windows. We then go to the lunch buffet and sit on the stern eating a delicious lunch overlooking the beautiful harbor of Canakkale, Turkey. The ship holds 90 passengers and is very clean and attentive to passengers. We are walking around up top and are offered tours of the ship and made to feel welcome, safe and secure. I would not embark from Turkey tho. I did not feel safe nor do I feel they welcome Americans. Keep in mind there is an 8 hour time difference and that needs to be part of the plan. We go to the bridge for our departure from Canakkale. We served nonalcoholic cocktails, a storm gathers and as we glide off, a torrential downpour, lightning and hail!!!!! At 5pm, we go to the Piano Bar for cocktails and soft piano music. The canapés come out, piped blue cheese over cucumbers, salmon, delightful. Vishal is the bar manager in charge and it feels like you are on your own private ship. The Tere Moana is starting to intrigue me, we head to our room with a wine to go and they deliver it for me! Where are the other 70 plus guests on this ship? There are plenty of cubbyholes for everyone. I am starting to think this must be the ship for me. We are invited to dine with the Chief Engineer with another amazing dinner and I had the lamb this time. Kusadasi: We are off to our excursion to Ephesus and the house of the Virgin Mary in her final days. The tour is expertly guided and we get the pushy carpet demonstration as well as the scarves. Price your jewelry and jackets before you get here. We just want to get back to our ship where we order room service with Salmon, salad, club sandwiches and dine on our balcony overlooking the beautiful waters of Kusadasi. Tomorrow is SYMI and tonight another fine dinner. We decide to have breakfast delivered to our room where we enjoy our balcony and our approach to Symi. Quaint charming Symi with its colorful houses. Hilly, but, with a flat main street with plenty of shops. I do not feel sorry for those w/o balconies for breakfast is enjoyed on the stern of the ship and they see what we see too. We spot a large yacht leaving the marina, so, this is what you do with your millions. I feel like I am on my own big yacht too. There is no need for sweaters because 75 degrees here feels like a pleasant 85. This ship is perfect for your Greek Cruise. It is small, a one to one and ½ ratio for crew member to guest. No long hallways to travel, no casinos or Broadway shows. They have a wonderful piano player and a small dance floor. You can find your own nook, watch movies in your room, your room has plenty of storage, the room is great with lots of toiletries, fresh towels, the food is great, yes, we have chosen wisely or our travel agent has!! The dining room is open for lunch 1 to 3pm and dinner is served7:30 pm to 9pm, freestyle. We can pull right up to the dock too, just like the ferries, not so with the large cruise ships who have to tender. The ship always have refreshing towels and bottled water. The restaurants looked good, yet we knew we had a great Greek Buffet on board. They were also offering a tender to a beach at 3pm. Tony was in charge of our beach excursion and one of our servers at the BBQ tonight, he was fantastic! The BBQ had beef, chicken, lamb, Bananas Foster and homemade Baklava. I am in tears at the thought of leaving my ship. Beach: the water is about 50 degrees and it is June. It is very still and very clear and a gorgeous blue. The sand can be black and very hot underneath. Since there are rocks in the water, you should wear shoes and bring a hat. An umbrella and a chair will set you back 10 Euros, but, it is a must. The air is perfect in June, much hotter in July and August, but, the water is warmer. I see the Greeks go to the beach in the morning or afternoon as the sand just gets so hot. Breakfast on the balcony at 7:30 is perfect as it starts getting too hot around 8:30. Breakfast can be an omelet, fresh fruit, tea, and a good variety. Our next island to visit was Rhodes, took a taxi to the beach, he gave us 2 hours, picked us back up, took us on a tour of the historical sites, dropped us off for lunch at a Greek restaurant and I even fed a starving cat on the street. He came back when the restaurant called and took us back to the ship. The crew did a show for us that night after dinner which was quite entertaining. Some of them have really fabulous voices and could probably do Broadway. Tony sang a song and presented me and another lady A “ROSE”. I was just thrilled. I just love the crew and in fact would try to do excursions they led because I felt safe with them. I have had such a good time on this ship, I haven’t even checked my e-mail! Santorini: is next and since my wine excursion got canceled, I turn to Isabel our shore excursion expert for her help. She comes thru with several wineries to visit because this island is the Napa Valley of Greece. We wisely have breakfast on our balcony as it is so beautiful. We tender off the ship and wait in the queue for the Cable car. We were warned about the Donkeys, “Ride the Donkey, smell like the Donkey”. Some who did ride them reported they slipped as they went up. We arrived at the top and witnessed not only a very long line to get back on the cable car, but, 3 men walk up and cut in line! Well, all of a sudden in 6 different languages, we heard “You can’t do that”! We walked thru a busy touristy part of town and got to the main street around 12:30pm. We hailed a cab to go to ART Space winery in Exo Gonia. Established in 1861, the winery and the tasting is perfect! We purchase a few bottles ask them to call us a cab and head to Sigalas Winery next in OIA. The cab also picks up another lovely couple from the UK on their way to our winery so we share a wonderful wine tasting and a Greek lunch. We try the eggplant, the grape leaves, the Santorini tomato Greek salads… It is outdoor seating amidst the grapevines and it is perfect. At 3:30, we call our cab and head back for the Cable Car and the tender. DELOS/Mykonos: we decide to have our usual breakfast on our balcony and forgo the morning excursion to the ruins of Delos. We had read from other reviews that it was a lot of walking, tedious and long winded. The ones who went also confirmed this. At noon, we travel to Mykonos after enjoying another fabulous lunch on the ship. Everyone is talking about how much Jackie Onassis loved this island. We decide to disembark and walk thru the winding quaint streets where you can easily get lost to the windmills where we are in search of a path to the public beach. It takes us 30 minutes to get to the beach. It is very beautiful, but, the water is cold so we walk back admiring the scenery along the way. If you want to go sit at one of the many open restaurants or walk along a path with flowers, this is the island for you. They have many high end shops and some good restaurants, but, the ship is hosting another fabulous dinner with some Greek Musicians. So, even tho we are in port until 10:30pm, we elect to forgo dining in Mykonos where we might have an even harder time finding our way back in the dark. In the morning we disembark by 9:00am, we are almost in tears as our lovely crew bids us goodbye. I am slightly handicapped, so, Tony, our favorite, carries my bags to where our luggage has been dropped off. We hug Tony goodbye, I think of our wonderful piano player who would play my favorite songs upon request. We were served, spoiled and made to feel like Kings and Queens. We climb into our taxi who takes us to our Athens hotel for the night. They check our luggage, we walk to the Acropolis, the Museum and have gyros at my favorite restaurant I found 5 years ago. IOAKH BBQ Café not to be confused with the full restaurant IOAKH. My café grills the Gyros for an extra touch! Our hotel is The Athens Gate with a rooftop bar/restaurant that is outstanding. In the morning we head for the Airport and our 12 hours of flying ahead of us. My only regret on this trip so far is I did not bring a hat and I did not anticipate the lack of humidity, so, keep water handy. You will make friends and you will relax. The stars shine brightly at night and the sea is a deep blue, clear and there is no pollution. No wonder everyone loves the Greek Isles.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
My friend and I recently traveled on the 7 day cruise from Istanbul to Athens on the Louis Cristal. I was a bit concerned after reading a previous review. We had a great experience! I do need to say that the ship is very basic. It was ... Read More
My friend and I recently traveled on the 7 day cruise from Istanbul to Athens on the Louis Cristal. I was a bit concerned after reading a previous review. We had a great experience! I do need to say that the ship is very basic. It was clean and well kept, but did show her age a bit. The staff was always helpful and courteous. The food is good, but not to die for and, of course, there was plenty of it with a variety. If someone wants the top-end cruise experience, they may be disappointed. To me, it was like a Holiday Inn while the bigger ship would be a Hilton or Ritz (but with the high end, you get more people...) There were seven ports of call so we got to see many more islands than what other ships' itineraries offer.  It held about 1000 people or so. Having that small a ship made it easy to get from one part of the ship to another, get through buffet lines, get on and off the ship quickly, and get into small ports of call such as Symi and Chios. Also, some of the islands we stopped at were quite crowded even without big ships in port.  I could not image how awful visiting Ia on Santorini would be if there were thousands of people from a large cruise ship on the island!  To me, it was more about the destination, not the journey. By the way, I would highly recommend a cabin with a window!  It was a bit more, but it was worth the extra money to watch the islands go by or look out while getting dressed or relaxing after sight seeing all day.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
The stateroom we were in was not large, but was comfortable for 2 people. There was a tiny bit of vibration in our room which was on the 6th deck forward but it was only noticeable if you listened closely. The room was quiet as there were ... Read More
The stateroom we were in was not large, but was comfortable for 2 people. There was a tiny bit of vibration in our room which was on the 6th deck forward but it was only noticeable if you listened closely. The room was quiet as there were no noises or voices from adjoining rooms or hallway. The crew was very good. They all have excellent attitudes and every one of them speaks at least 2 languages. Your choices of 4 entrees in the dining room are tasty and well served from the optional wine to the dessert course. We both enjoyed the evening live entertainment performances in the Muse Lounge. Anything the performers lacked in experience, they made up for in energy and enthusiasm. Listening to the master of ceremonies do introductions in rapid fire English, German, French, Spanish, and Turkish is almost a show in itself. We used Gate I Travel in booking our trip. Their shore excursions were coordinated, got us off the ship, to our destinations, and back to the ship like clockwork. Disembarkation went smoothly and our luggage was waiting for our tour group on the dock when we left the ship. Most passengers are in the 50 plus age group. Dining and shore expeditions give you an opportunity to learn about people from many other parts of the world. We heard Portuguese, Spanish, German, French and Turkish, but almost everyone was able to converse in English. Our only complaint is the outdated television system in the staterooms. Three channels are of the view from the bridge. The only 2 English language channels are BBC News and BBC stocks. More than half of the passengers are from the US, England, Australia, and New Zealand, so I would have expected at least one entertainment channel in English or an English channel carrying DVD movies. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
This was my first cruise with Regent May 2014. The Mariner was very well maintained, our suite was very nicely updated and very clean (We were told that the ship just had the rooms renovated - it showed). The bathroom was all tile and ... Read More
This was my first cruise with Regent May 2014. The Mariner was very well maintained, our suite was very nicely updated and very clean (We were told that the ship just had the rooms renovated - it showed). The bathroom was all tile and marble - we did not have a tub but a full shower with a marble bench which was very roomy for a ship. The service was very fine and understated - we really liked the butler service. The food on the ship for the most part was good. I thought the Italian restaurant was actually the best restaurant but, by and large, they were all decent with a lot of variety and consistant decent quality. None of the meals were memorable one way or another but they were all served very professionally. The wines offered were all enjoyable and plentiful. The shore excursions were poor considering the quality of the rest of the experience. I would think that people who pay for the Regent experience would want something different that what they would get on a low end cruise. More bespoke and well thought out than what was offered and certainly not a tour that ends up in a Turkish Rug store with a high pressure sales pitch (evryine on board was talking about how tacky that was). I would cruise with Regent again. The small ship never seemed crowded, food was fine, service was good and the employees genuinely seemed happy. While the excursions were crappy its not a deal killer. I'll just arrange my own next time.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
National Geographic charters the magnificent Sea Cloud 100 days a year. We sailed coastal Turkey and The Aegean up to Athens in May, 2014. Everything about this trip was amazing. The boat is an astonishment and the experience of being ... Read More
National Geographic charters the magnificent Sea Cloud 100 days a year. We sailed coastal Turkey and The Aegean up to Athens in May, 2014. Everything about this trip was amazing. The boat is an astonishment and the experience of being under sail on a 4 masted square rigger is something very special. With only 58 people on board, you get to know everyone and there's a casual friendliness that no other cruise experience could provide. You feel as though you're a guest on a private yacht since that's what The Sea Cloud was built to be in 1931 for Marjorie Merriweather Post and E.F. Hutton. We got to live like E.F. Hutton lived on his private yacht because we had his suite. Yes, it was expensive but well worth it. With it's paneled walls, coffered ceiling, huge marble bathroom and walk in closet, this was no normal cabin on a cruise ship! It was huge, grand and furnished with antiques. We got it on a cancellation when trying to book the trip because we made them put us on a waiting list. I'm sure this cabin was booked early since the best ones always are but when they asked if we wanted it I said yes, even though it was twice the price of a standard cabin. Do it if you can. This was our first National Geo trip, our second will be this coming winter to Antarctica, and they are so impressive. They alter the itinerary based on wind, since the object is to be under sail, and to avoid being anywhere when a big cruise ship is there. Because of those decisions on their part, we had Santorini, Delos and Amorgos all to ourselves and we got in 70 hours of sailing...meaning no motor...in the 8 days. The spectacle of the setting and taking down of the sails by 18 able bodied sailors is something to watch. The food is amazing, served either in the gorgeous dining room or, better yet, out on The Lido Deck. We had the enormous treat of being in one of the 2 owner's suites and it was wonderful. With an underwater archaeologist and photographer on board and fabulous Greek and Turkish guides who knew EVERYTHING about the history and architecture we were seeing, we learned so much and loved every minute of it. I so recommend this amazing experience on a one of a kind vessel. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014

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