4 Istanbul Expedition Cruise Reviews

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
Having travelled on "Discovery" several times before under the prvious management - Voyages of Discovery, we decided the itinerary to the Black sea was for us.However now the vessel is Chartered to CMV standards have dropped, it ... Read More
Having travelled on "Discovery" several times before under the prvious management - Voyages of Discovery, we decided the itinerary to the Black sea was for us.However now the vessel is Chartered to CMV standards have dropped, it is no longer the same happy crew or ship as previously. It started with our flight being put back by 12 hours, meaning we arrived on board in the early hours of the following morning,and therefore missed trips to Corinth/Athens, a lost day spent sitting in Piraeus.Likewise our return flight from Istanbul was put back 3 hours and notified to us by note under door, although some passengers had written notice prior to leaving Uk, consequently missed a dinner engagement and had to re arrange transport at short notice,In the main CMV personnel had very little idea of what was going on, and their reception staff were particularly unhelpful, and at times quite rude. Ships officers kept low profile, hardly saw Captain,none of the officers appeared in the Dining room, ships windows were filthy.Toilets out of action one morning due to ship running aground, no explanation or apology from ships personnel. Trips generally good with the exception of the panoramic tour of Istanbul, which consisted of sitting in traffic jams, bazaar closed, ended up in a water front hotel for tea which cost us £64.CMV must have known of the 4 day public holiday, and should have rearranged the stop over on our inward passage, consider taken for a ride quite literally! All in all would never take another trip on "Discovery" or deal with CMV again, as stated by many other passengers, it is sad that such a lovely ship should end its days this way. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Unable to resist the almost ridiculously low rates for this voyage and the availablity of very reasonably priced air from NY to Istanbul, my wife and I decided to return to the Mediterranean. Let me state - unequivocally - that this trip ... Read More
Unable to resist the almost ridiculously low rates for this voyage and the availablity of very reasonably priced air from NY to Istanbul, my wife and I decided to return to the Mediterranean. Let me state - unequivocally - that this trip met or exceeded all expectations. The ship, while obviously older (1998), was in very good shape. It does show some age with some of the design and furnishings, but this did not in any way deter our enjoyment. Our cabin - large outside - was absolutely perfect for the two of us. The only signs of wear were a few "dings" in the furniture, but everything else was absolutely fine. Sure....we missed the interactive flat screen TV's that we have experienced on newer ships, but this was a minor issue. Staff was unfailingly polite and attentive. Our cabin steward kept the stateroom in very good shape and the cleaning was meticulous. Dining in the main dining room (Aquarius) was very good - there was never a time that we could not find something to enjoy for dinner. While the food was definitely not "gourmet," it was as good as any main dining room food we have had. It is clear that the lines have cut back on the higher end choices - no lobster tails, no crab legs, generally lesser cuts of meat (filet mignon was available at a $14.95 upcharge), but again, absolutely adequate. We DID miss the optional dining experience we had on Royal Caribbean a couple of years ago, but we knew that it would not be available and it was not a major issue. Complaints? It was very apparent to us that in the past two years, RCCL has significantly raised the price of "extras." Wines were offered at 3 - 4 times retail. $10 bottles were routinely offered at $35 - $40. I would expect this at a NY restaurant, but not onboard. Glasses of wine ranged from $8.00 to more than $15.00 - really overpriced. Most mixed drinks were in the $8.50 - $10.50 range. Keep in mind that all of these were given a mandatory 15% service charge. Spa treatments were absurdly expensive - 50 min. massages for $150! I guess that the reality of the marketplace dictates that the cruises have to be deeply discounted but every attempt is made to recoup the lower margins by charging close to outlandish prices for onboard services and purchases. The thing that stands out most was a "special behind the scenes tour" of the ship for $150 a person. This is NOT a mistake - $150!!!!! In the past, these kinds of tours were routinely given for free. All in all, a wonderful cruise and a very nice ship. The only real negative was an outbreak of the Norovirus and a fairly large number of people (including my wife) getting sick onboard. To their credit, the ship made every effort to avoid the spread of the virus and care for those who had contracted it. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
My Darling Aunt had booked this cruise for us, as we both wanted to visit the Holy Land and it was a priority on my Bucket list. I also was keen on experiencing a Royal Caribbean Cruise myself as my Aunt had always told me how wonderful ... Read More
My Darling Aunt had booked this cruise for us, as we both wanted to visit the Holy Land and it was a priority on my Bucket list. I also was keen on experiencing a Royal Caribbean Cruise myself as my Aunt had always told me how wonderful they are. Since I have been in hotel management for some time I always go by the motto 'one gets what one pays for', and when our agent sold us the cruise at a bargain price I wasn't too expecting. I am also fairly easy to please, give me sunshine a pool and a breakfast buffet that serves a descent coffee and french toast and I am Happy! We traveled to Istanbul 2 days before our embarkation and stayed at a Holiday Inn in Topkapi, which was conveniently enough located in front of the Tram line that takes you in minutes to Sultanahmet with the Grand Bazaar and the Blue Mosque etc. We embarked on Monday 26th of September and the Vision of the Seas set sail for Kusadasi on the 28th. The port in Istanbul is a mix of several old buildings and boarding is a simple and speedy procedure. Unlike ports like Barcelona, where most cruise lines have their designated pier, in Istanbul all cruise liners use the piers.We had booked an Inside cabin and we were allocated stateroom 2057, because I had pre requested a refrigerator this hrfad already been installed in our room and the beds were twinned.We had a most wondeul cabin steward named Marievic,who looked after us and pampered us with her genuine polite hospitality.On our walkabouts we found that the ship is clean and well maintained and all the public areas as well as the Masquerade Theater were very comfortable and spacious. The Windjammer Cafe on deck 9 is the casual dining option and the Aquarius dining room is the only restaurant on the ship, apart from a snack bar located in the solarium also on deck 9. We frequently ordered room service for our morning coffee which always came very punctual. Our dining time was set for 8.45 pm and we were allocated table 76 on the 4th floor of the Aquarius. Our waiters were Alejandro and Rafael who did their utmost best to satisfy needs, I can however not remember nor care to (I shall explain) the name of our 'Head Waiter'. As I mentioned earlier, I don't expect much for the low prices go for these days, so it came to no surprise to me that the food served in the Aquarius wasn't always as good as it could have been. This I believe had a lot to do with the execution and preparation of the dishes. The other guests on our table (as many of our neighbouring tables)who were seasoned cruisers did find the same faults as my Aunt and I did. For instance when one orders a steak (especially the filet Mignon which there is a surcharge of $14.95) Rare, then it shouldn't come to the table completely dry and done. I found no fault with the buffet Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner (the Aquarius serving many of the same dishes, with a few additions and of course the healthy options and the chef's recommendations). When my Aunt or one our fellow diners raised an issue (often they were severe issues) the aforementioned head waiter would appear with his walkie talkie in one hand and putting the other hand on the back of my Aunts chair, talking down to us and saying how sorry he was and that 'he will speak to the kitchen'. However never a word of apology nor even trying to rectify a problem. I found this most astonishing, if this were to happen in any other restaurant people would either just get up and leave or the Maitre'D would make sure the guests wee happy. It is of course also rather difficult since there are no alternative restaurants aboard this vessel. When it came to tipping on the last night, we all made it quite clear that we were unhappy, we tipped everyone the exact amount suggested, but Not the Head Waiter, as he did nothing. We very much enjoyed the entertainment there was one stand out show with Viva Voce who were brilliant, a Musical performance, a fantastic modern String quartet which really brought the house down a one woman show and several other shows all were extremely well received. We only had booked one tour with the excursions desk, a 9 1/2 hour tour from Haifa to the see of Galilee and Nazareth. I have to say that this was my worst ever tour and I am dealing with RCL at the moment with regards to this tour. From Ashdod I had organised a private tour for 6 people of Jerusalem and Bethlehem which was absolutely wonderful and the pinnacle of my religious travels.In Kusadasi,Rhodes and Mykonos we only went on land for a little walk as we were here before. I had also made use of the Spa services on one of the port days and booked myself a massage,which was a most delightful experience and I can totally recommend Richarda, who is a fantastic beautician and masseuse. The 2 pools and 6 jacuzzis on deck 9 were clean and I enjoyed using them every day, the entertainment there was also very nice if somewhat noisy, but pool2 located in the solarium is the quiet option. Would I cruise on this ship again or with RCL, I personally yes,but I would not even bother with the restaurant. My Aunt would most likely never again use RCL, as she is a far more experienced cruiser than I am. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010

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