4 Istanbul Gourmet Food 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
First cruise. Fantastic Ship, all staff were wonderful except Guest Services people. They were just OK. Our small room was great. Did not need much more. Good size bed. The bathroom was a nice size as well as the shower. Our room had a ... Read More
First cruise. Fantastic Ship, all staff were wonderful except Guest Services people. They were just OK. Our small room was great. Did not need much more. Good size bed. The bathroom was a nice size as well as the shower. Our room had a nice TV, desk, coffee table and chairs as well as a out side veranda. A lot of different places to eat. All were very good. The restaurants where you made reservations were fantastic. The main dinning Hall had different stuff everyday as well as some of the same favorites each day. The Excursions were mostly very nice. Some of the guides were hard to understand but over all very good. The ship was beautiful and had so much for you to do. Or it was also a great setting to do nothing at all. Pools, Spa, Bars, and entertainment were all very nice. I never thought I would enjoy a cruise as much as we did. Both me and my wife thought 9 nights were going to be a little long. We now believe we good go on one that was 15 nights. Yes we would go again and probably will. Soon Read Less
Sail Date April 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
We went on a Viking three week river cruise in 2014 and found it excellent so we, myself, husband and eldest daughter, booked on a Viking Ocean Cruise for 50 days departing Istanbul on 3rd April 2016 After we had booked, we found out that ... Read More
We went on a Viking three week river cruise in 2014 and found it excellent so we, myself, husband and eldest daughter, booked on a Viking Ocean Cruise for 50 days departing Istanbul on 3rd April 2016 After we had booked, we found out that this would be the Viking Sea's maiden voyage and were a little apprehensive but decided that we would trust the Viking company and made our plans to have a few days in Istanbul and then board the vessel on 3rd April, 2016 We had booked a Junior Penthouse Suite and our daughter had Deluxe Verandah right next door on Deck 7. We chose the Penthouse Suite because of the large area of 405sq.ft and it was close to lifts, swimming, dining and the winter garden area. We were welcomed aboard at 11.00am. our boarding time without any problems of hold up. Our luggage was taken onto the boat and the thing that impressed us on boarding and indeed on the whole of the 50 day trip, was the smiling welcome and greeting that everyone from the Captain, the officers, all the staff and crew gave you every day. It was so welcoming and you immediately felt like 'family' aboard and with every single member of the ship smiling and asking how was your day, etc. you responded with an equal smile and answer. Viking are to be praised for training all their employees in this manner. Our cabin was perfect, the bed and down pillows comfortable. We had two television sets, a refrigerator stocked with drinks and goodies, our own coffee pod machine and plenty of drawers and wardrobe space. The cosmetic and jewellery drawer that lit up with LED lights when opened so you could put your make up in the mirror in its lid. It was so good I drew out the design and measurements hoping to have something similar constructed in our own home when we got back. The bathroom/ensuite was another thing. Heated floor, two basins, huge heated towel rails and a big acrylic shower recess which was huge. Love the tap where you could just adjust the temperature and flow of the water and it was always hot whenever you wished to shower day or night. Toiletries were provided and were of a high standard as were the huge white soft towels changed as often as you wished. The restaurants, bars and grills where you could always find somewhere available to eat and the food was just out of this world. We tried all the restaurants and each was really special in its own way. We did use the World Cafe mostly for breakfast and lunches as it was on our deck level. The food variety was fantastic and you could have as much or as little as you wished. Never in the whole 50 days of our cruise did we have to queue up with no more than two or three people at the counter. The Chefs Table was a five course degustation menu with complimentary wines with each course. Bookings were essential but there was never a problem getting in. The Restaurant was delightful and a really comprehensive menu as was Manfredis with an Italian menu. The Pool Grill and Mamsens were also incredible as was the High Tea served every afternoon at 4.00pm in the Wintergarden. The entertainment provided was world class bringing in international artists on the piano, violin, singing and dancing which was augmented by the permanent entertainers, four male and four female giving many evenings of opera, music, dancing which kept us enthralled. There were several other musicians, pianists, a three piece band, a three piece classical group, and a guitarist which played in various sections of the ship daily and there was always the resident vocalist and Viking Band setting the scene with toe tapping numbers to take you to the dance floor every evening till midnight. There were so many information talks with specialist experts on board enlightening us with information on the geology, history, ships and their development from little rafts to the great ships of today, We learnt all about the European Union, and I could go on and on about all the interesting facts and talks that were available if you wish to attend. The Port Talks availing you of everything about the next port you would be visiting and all the amazing excursions provided with competent guides and drivers with their big comfortable buses. Viking Sea Cruises are advertised as an enrichment cruise about the history and culture of the many places and countries you visit. In our case of 50 days it was 18 countries and 38 ports. The cruise is definitely more for the mature 50 plus traveller and there are no children on board under 18 as there are no facilities for them. Being retired and not as agile as earlier years this was the perfect cruise for my husband and self and our daughter who is 57. Once on board everything is covered with your initial fare. Wine and beer was supplied at lunch and dinner and there were numerous VIP cocktail parties where plentiful drinks were supplied. Gratuities were included in your fare and as one cruiser said, he had been on board for three weeks and hadn't spent a penny. Of course a visit to the hairdresser, beauty salon, massage etc. incurred a fee as did the items in the jewellery shop and Viking shop, but to spend there was purely a choice. They did have another shop where you could purchase necessities like toothpaste, some medications for colds or sore throats and any other little things you might have forgotten to bring or had used up. I should mention here that Viking are incredibly particular about cleanliness and hygiene. There were many little hand spray machines scattered all over the ship where you could sanitise your hands and definitely before entering any of the dining rooms. They always had a lovely smiling crew member welcoming you to wherever you were going to eat and they would remind you so politely to disinfect your hands before eating. There was a doctor on board but we managed to go the 50 days without any problems with health or catching any colds or tummy upsets. To my knowledge the ship was pretty free of any nasties for the whole cruise. Our cabin stewards cleaned every vertical and horizontal surface in our cabin daily, Mirrors, walls, balcony, ensuite, nothing was missed and it was vacuumed daily, sometimes even twice a day. Towels and sheets were changed on a daily basis and all in all we were treated like I think the Kings and Czars and their families were looked after in the magnificient palaces we visited on our excursions. All I can say, for people who want to have a really interesting cruise without gambling, big water adventure equipment and other enticements, Vijking have got it right. With a passenger maximum of 930 people, nothing was ever crowded and there was always plenty of room wherever you wanted to be. I can only recommend them as a exciting and marvellous cruise operation and especially as I commenced this review, the smiling and welcome and great to assist you attitude of all their officers, staff and crew really makes your day such a pleasant and happy time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016

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