4 Istanbul Fitness Cruise Reviews

We thoroughly enjoyed our first cruise experience, overall being excellent and we had a fantastic 25th Wedding anniversary. All the staff and crew were great and were always full of smiles and created a wonderful atmosphere and the ship ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed our first cruise experience, overall being excellent and we had a fantastic 25th Wedding anniversary. All the staff and crew were great and were always full of smiles and created a wonderful atmosphere and the ship was extremely well maintained and clean (even to my wife's ocd expectations on cleanliness and hygiene). The staff in Blu were exceptional, in particular of those who served us, Rey, Kayna and Victor who were outstanding - it was our 25th wedding anniversary and we were treated like royalty, nothing was ever too much trouble for them, there only wish was to please us. Our stateroom attendant Danisha was extremely attentive and performed well above expectations. As first time cruisers we took a lot of time in preparation, using the internet and the Cruise Critic roll call to gain information on the best type of cruise to suit us based on age range, dining, entertainment and destinations and value for money. In most areas this cruise met those needs, only failing in a few areas: Details of facilities in state room - only one Euro power point. No kettle in room. Very expensive to get clothes ironed after a long journey to ship. Limited channels and information on TV in Room Late night entertainment not based on age/taste of people that were attending - advertised as top 40 but was actually playing loud Latino music. As it was not well attended it would have been better in Quasar rather than the Sky lounge. Overall the dining/bar experience was exceptional but entertainment could be improved upon. It was disappointing that Istanbul was cancelled as point of embarkation but understandable given the safety concerns. The port change from La Spezia to Livorno was a great disappointment as we would have liked to have visited Cinque Terre. For anyone not too interested in port excursions (hard sell by Celebrity- best to book independently as we did) the facilities on port days were restricted - breakfast in Blu finished early rather than later - we would have liked a lie in after a late night. Too many luxury shops and not enough basics - the products offered on sale were poor value for money - what was the point of having an art auction every day? The Spa prices were ridiculously high - my wife booked an appointment, the time was not made clear and was charged $80 for 15 minutes of seriously bad hair styling (damaging her hair - hot hair dryer on dry hair with no products) - we did however receive a full refund after complaining to the manager. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
My wife and I retired in the summer of 2009, up to that point I had never taken a cruise. My main reason was that I didn’t want to be stuck on a ship with nothing to do. Well I must say, was I ever wrong. We have since taken eight ... Read More
My wife and I retired in the summer of 2009, up to that point I had never taken a cruise. My main reason was that I didn’t want to be stuck on a ship with nothing to do. Well I must say, was I ever wrong. We have since taken eight cruises to date, with more planned in the future. Our first experience with Viking was a City Lights River Cruise, from Paris to Prague. Needless to say it was an amazing trip. The views along the Rivers were spectacular as well as the ports we docked in. When it came time for our excursions, they were extremely well planned. I was impressed by the way the crew members who went on our excursions looked after us and made sure no one got lost. Back on board the food was great as well as the entertainment and sleeping accommodations. I have always wanted to explore the Mediterranean via a cruise ship and when we heard that Viking had just introduced the Viking Star, we booked our cruise a year and half ahead of time. When it came time for our cruise we were once again extremely impressed. Upon our arrival at the Istanbul airport, we were met by Viking representatives and escorted to our bus. From there we were driven to our ship and upon arrival at the terminal were quickly processed and boarded the ship “The Viking Sea”. The system they have for scanning our photographs and activating our room cards was completed in an instant. Once on the ship we were kept informed on all activities via scheduled talks in the theater or simply by utilizing our television in our cabin, were we were able to view events, movies, major network stations, planned excursions, recent presentations and even an up to date breakdown of our account. When it came to our scheduled excursions, once again it was a seamless process. We received cards for our excursions as well as a daily sheet with scheduled events. Once we showed up at our meeting place, we were escorted out within five minutes and taken to our assigned busses for our event. The listening devices that were issued were amazing, allowing us to hear everything from our guide while on our excursion. Speaking of excursions, there were numerous ones to choose from on every port we visited. I was most impressed upon our return to the ship where were greeted by the Viking crew giving out champagne, towels, music, dancing etc. To date the staff of Viking are second to none! At the end of each excursion we were given sheets to rate our excursion, which I know are carefully scrutinized by staff to determine which ones to keep as well as which ones to discard. Our dining experience was pretty much the same as on other cruises however, the free unlimited wine as well as beer served with lunch and dinner made it more special. Our waitress “Maria” was phenomenal, which made our dining experience that much more special. Half way through our twenty-day cruise we were met by six other family members. We requested a table for eight as well as Maria and were granted both. We had such a good time at dinner with Maria that we cancelled some of our request for other restaurants The day our other family members were scheduled to board the ship I advised Mohamad our assigned housekeeping person of their pending arrival. He made of point of getting their cabins ready and they were able to utilize them much earlier than scheduled. We found Mohamed quite expedient in caring for our cabin and was always available to tend to our needs. When it came to doing laundry, we made of point of timing it and never had to wait for a machine to become available. What made it even nicer was the free detergent. The ship is much smaller than a regular cruise ships and when it came to entertainment, it was every bit as good as any larger ship. I was impressed by the digital stage backdrop that constantly changed as each event unfolded. The entertainment staff were extremely talented and after each show were available for greetings and questions. We found ourselves being entertained during lunch, tea time as well in the lobby. It seemed that there was always something going on. We discovered that the passengers were for the most part older with very few young couples. However, it was the right fit for us as it was a more relaxing and subdued. This also was to my advantage when it came time to utilizing the gym. Although there were usually persons there working out, I never had to wait for the equipment. We are looking forward to booking another cruise with Viking in the future. I know that with Vikings continuous strive towards perfection as well as the extremely friendly and professional staff we won’t be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Having done 44 cruises throughout the world, we deem ourselves as experienced cruisers though this was our first Oceania cruise experience. Our first port of call and embarkation was Istanbul - good thing the ship was in dock for two days ... Read More
Having done 44 cruises throughout the world, we deem ourselves as experienced cruisers though this was our first Oceania cruise experience. Our first port of call and embarkation was Istanbul - good thing the ship was in dock for two days - we checked in at 8:45 PM on the first day. Needless to say, by the time we checked in, we were exhausted after going thru three airports and the layovers. So not impressed with the air arrangements thru Oceania. There are four specialty restaurants, one grand dining room and the buffet. The specialty restaurants are free of charge but reservations are mandatory - which are difficult to obtain as there are so many passengers on the ship. One night, we showed up at the "Red Ginger", without a reservation, in hopes of a possible cancellation. We waited for 10 minutes before the Maitre'D decided to grace us with her attention and then we were rudely told that, "no reservation, no service". So not impressed with her stuffy attitude. Subsequently, we had our chance to dine in the Red Ginger Restaurant (Asian Fusion) - excellent cuisine. My French onion soup from the specialty French Restaurant was served lukewarm. The grease from the cheese sat like a film on top of the soup. This trip was port intensive therefore many times, we returned from our shore excursions well after 2 or 3 PM. After 2PM, the ONLY place one could have lunch would be in the Wave Grill - which is a burger/sandwich joint with a small variety of salads for the afternoon. One can only eat so many burgers with fries. We ended up dining in the buffet most of the evenings due to the unavailability of reservations in the specialty dining rooms. The buffet has an excellent choice of sushi (rolled to perfection), all-u-can eat lobsters, steak, prime rib, organic roast chicken and a large selection of appetizers, a chocolate fountain with assorted fresh fruits and beautiful desserts. We did notice that the entree selections lacked anything spicy so if you like curries or Sichuan, forget it. Their soups and pizzas were unpalatable - nursing home style. We love to dance and they had two excellent bands on board. We especially enjoyed the band called "Siglio" - they played ballroom music to tempo which pleased us no end. The shows were good - just don't expect the productions that you normally see on Princess or Carnival. We enjoyed the gym facilities and we liked being able to help ourselves to bottles of Vitamin water or Gatorade. The gal who taught the stretch classes was very personable, yet very professional and knowledgeable in her presentations.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
I’ve read the three preceding reviews of the Black Sea cruise we just completed, and while I don’t doubt the veracity of those reports or the feelings that prompted them, I’m compelled to present a very different report. In short, we ... Read More
I’ve read the three preceding reviews of the Black Sea cruise we just completed, and while I don’t doubt the veracity of those reports or the feelings that prompted them, I’m compelled to present a very different report. In short, we had an excellent experience. Although the delayed boarding was unfortunate, given that Celebrity was doing its best to cleanse the ship of the Norovirus, our reaction was “take all the time you need.” In fact, we appreciated all of the safety measures taken, and we assume that’s why the number of cases on our cruise was vastly reduced from the previous group. That said, we were among the first to board and had the Oceanview Café to ourselves for about 20 minutes while the staff doted on us (this was the result of chance, not any personal connections or star status on our part). Our room was very nice and the service provided by Gwen (our “butler”—still loving that, although I would have preferred that he change his name to “Jeeves”) and Suhas (our steward) were unceasingly attentive and immediately responsive to the few requests we made. I can’t imagine any better service than what they provided. In that regard, we were really impressed with the friendliness and service level of every staff member we encountered. A special shout out goes to Natalia in the Gelateria. After Day Two, she would call us out by name (kind of like “Norm!” on Cheers, I suppose) and was fun to talk to while she dished up our latest calorie bombs. I’d regard the food service overall as very good, even though it started off questionably. We were assigned to dine by ourselves at a location that was hilariously awful: the first table against the wall as one enters the Main Dining Room, and next to the kitchen entrance as well as the Maître D’s stand. At that table, one can dine while heavy laden waiters brush past, expectant diners hover nearby, and an overworked headwaiter deals with the usual issues. While we were waiting for our appetizers, bemoaning our outcast state, I got up and approached the Maître D, and began gently with, “You know, I don’t think this table is going to work for us…”, but before I could finish my entreaty the guy shook his head and said, “That’s terrible. Come with me….” He cancelled our order and took us up to the dining room’s higher level and told the head guy there that he was changing us to Anytime Dining and we should be given the best table available. Never another problem after that. Over the ensuing eleven nights, we dined multiple times in each of the main dining room, Tuscan Grill (loved the Ravioli Ripieni con Carne Brasata di Manzo and the chocolate and pistachio crème brulee—can’t remember the exact name as by the dessert course I was in a food coma), Ocean Liners, Blu and The Bistro on Five, and enjoyed all of them. The food in the main dining room was only good- to very good, but fine considering the volume they have to meet. And recognizing that after 40 years of marital bliss the conversation can sometimes lag a bit between us, we usually requested dining companions and we were always given two or more really interesting people to dine with. We ended up eating multiple times with a few couples and it was a highlight of the trip. As a form of repentance, we used the fitness center and track often. The center has a good selection of resistance and cardio machines and a fair selection of free weights. Most users were careful to wipe down after use, and we saw the staff wiping down everything frequently. The track is decent, but best utilized before 8 am or so. The evening’s entertainment was always good if not particularly great, although the violinist was exceptionally talented and the Man from Mars and his amazingly limber wife (“Okay, I’ll stop staring, honey…”) were very entertaining. One beef: I hate it when Emcees call out things like “Are you having a good time????” and similarly banal inquiries obviously intended to evoke a big round of applause. Hey, if I like the show, I’ll clap enthusiastically. I’d like to organize a group response along the lines of “WELL, IT WAS JUST OK…” but that’ll have to wait for another cruise. We really enjoyed the shore excursions, all but one of which we arranged privately. By doing so we got to know several couples in advance and developed friendships with several that will endure well beyond the trip. And if anyone doubted that ship-based excursions include a hefty surcharge, consider that for the Odessa Ballet we attended, the ship’s charge would have been around $120 each and seats would have been in the middle or back of the theater (great opera house, btw). Planning ahead, we purchased Row 3 seats for $30. True, my purchase didn't include bus transportation to and from the theater, but we saved 2 x $90 by walking to and from the ship, an enjoyable stroll down Primorsky Boulevard and the Potemkin Steps, much less than a mile. It was an outstanding itinerary we’ll recommend to anyone interested. And despite a couple of hiccups, which were immediately resolved, we thought Celebrity did an excellent job under difficult conditions. We’ll be back.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013

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