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43 Istanbul to Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

traveled as a single with another couple. The food was great, the tours were great, the size of the ship was great. The crew was friendly and efficient, My only issue was that as a single person who had paid double I had hoped to find ... Read More
traveled as a single with another couple. The food was great, the tours were great, the size of the ship was great. The crew was friendly and efficient, My only issue was that as a single person who had paid double I had hoped to find other single on the cruise but did not,as a result iI did feel awkward and I am sure that it did flavour my enjoyment of the trip. The included airfare was very difficult to manage as a single, I was initially booked with my friends on both flights to and from Europe but 2 weeks before the flight was to have left Vanguards airfare department put on different flights, we had to cancel those flights at a group rate and replace them with higher priced tickets in order to travel together. I supposed that had I been a seasoned traveler I might have decided to take a different trip. all in all it is a nice trip for a couple but not that comfortable for someone traveling solo, at least not for me as a widower. The educational presentations and tours I would recommend. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This was our first cruise and aside from a few minor complaints, it was amazing. We booked a transfer from the airport directly with Celebrity and it went very smoothly with the Celebrity representatives at the airport extremely easy to ... Read More
This was our first cruise and aside from a few minor complaints, it was amazing. We booked a transfer from the airport directly with Celebrity and it went very smoothly with the Celebrity representatives at the airport extremely easy to find. Embarkation took maybe 5 minutes at most and we were on the ship. The concierge class room we were in was a great size and the balcony with chairs and foot stools was perfect. The bathroom had all the amenities you'd need and the shower was especially nice. One of the perks with concierge is the afternoon snacks and we managed to get both a fruit and cheese plate every day which were nice touches. Our stateroom attendants did an excellent job making up and turning down our room and it was always spotless. The only real minor complaint we had was with some of the dining options. On the first day, we were hounded at every meal about drink packages but thankfully that stopped after the first day. The buffet was slightly inconsistent in that some days they had an amazing selection but then on other days it offered plain, bland and boring food. However, the dessert selection was always amazing and I'm surprised I didn't put on more weight than I did. We also tried the Tuscan Grill which was pretty good overall but they brought my steak out well done when I ordered it medium and service was a little on the slow side. The other issue we had is that we were billed at full price but were supposed to get 20% off which took a couple days to get corrected but it was corrected in the end. The dining wasn't terrible by any means but Celebrity is supposed to be known for having amazing food and we were just let down somewhat on a couple days. The entertainment was well done overall. We only ended up seeing two shows but both were excellent. Especially the Tenors of Rock. The hot glass show was also very interesting and I managed to win a bowl that they give away after every show. We didn't use the spa or fitness area but took a walk through and they looked nice. The pools were almost empty pretty much every day after 5 or 6 PM which was nice if you wanted to take a dip when it wasn't crowded. However, it was pretty chaotic after 9 or 10 AM on sea days. The ports were very good overall. Mykonos was beautiful and the ruins on Delos were very cool. Everything about Malta was gorgeous and I'd go back there in a heartbeat. We did the Taormina on your own Celebrity excursion and were slightly disappointed but that was mostly because we aren't big shoppers and that's almost exclusively what you do in that town. The Mt. Vesuvius hike and Pompeii tour was amazing and we were glad we did that. The only downside was the stop at the cameo factory which wasn't that interesting at all. I'd rather have the extra 30 mins at Pompeii than get stuck there. The only downside is that the guide we had during our Vesuvius and Pompeii excursion was somewhat lazy and didn't even count everyone all the time. I'm surprised we didn't leave anyone behind at one of the stops. Disembarkation was fairly smooth. There was just a slight wait after getting off the ship at Civitivecchia for the shuttle to the port entrance but overall we were very happy and would do it again in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Concerns about Turkey and Istanbul in particular before leaving the US. These concerns were quickly overcome by this 7-day cruise from Istanbul to Athens. Stayed at the Pera Palace for a couple of days prior to departure and toured the ... Read More
Concerns about Turkey and Istanbul in particular before leaving the US. These concerns were quickly overcome by this 7-day cruise from Istanbul to Athens. Stayed at the Pera Palace for a couple of days prior to departure and toured the city. Istanbul is a great mix of history and modern, the hotel spectacular! Embarkation was a breeze and the ship was in great shape following its recent dry dock. The itinerary started off with a day at sea and gave the 80 guests a chance to get to know one another, very easy on Wind Star as it is a small vessel. Enjoyed the time on the open bridge and even got some star identification training from the Watch Officer. The various ports of call were a great recap of history. The top was Ephesis and the private event at the Celsus Library. Windstar does this event right! From the minute you arrive you are taken back in time, no other visitors to be seen or heard, music playing in the library upon arrival, photographer at the ready and they don't charge you for the pictures. Dinner was served, dusk settled in, and then the lights illuminated the library, pathways, and colusium, very SPECIAL! The other stops were also well done though too many other cruise ships were with us in Santorini, you lost some of the intimacy that we experienced elsewhere. Athens was a huge let down, the Parthanon and museum were as expected. However, Athens as a city is a dump, don't bother spending any extra nights here. We got the news of the Istanbul bombing just as we got home and felt fortunate with our timing. Turkey was the unexpected highlight of our trip and would love to return when it settles down again. The Wind Star crew is top notch and looking forward to another Windstar trip soon. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Viking Ocean is by far the best ocean cruise line we have taken. We have cruised with NCL, Princess and Celebrity and the level of service provided by Viking is a cut above the rest. First of all, we like their itineraries. We took the ... Read More
Viking Ocean is by far the best ocean cruise line we have taken. We have cruised with NCL, Princess and Celebrity and the level of service provided by Viking is a cut above the rest. First of all, we like their itineraries. We took the “Empires of the Mediterranean” tour from Istanbul to Venice and went to some fascinating venues including Santorini and Dubrovnik. Since there had been recent terrorist attacks in Istanbul for safety reasons, Viking Ocean cut short that visit and substituted Troy instead. Luckily, we had a pre-cruise booked for Istanbul and we did find Troy interesting. Viking Ocean appeals to us because it does not have the Las Vegas strip look of other larger liners. Passengers on our ship the Viking Sea, numbered around 600 because of people cancelling due to fear about terrorism in Istanbul, but the ship only has a capacity of around 940 passengers. Amenities such as elevator service equals that of larger ships. The stateroom we had was DV5 level and had 270 square feet plus a verandah. It was quite roomy and elegant. In fact, elegance of understated Scandinavian style would describe the Viking Sea. Everywhere there are little surprise nooks to sit in and read and art pieces to admire. The tone of superior service was set upon our arrival when we were greeted with champagne and the strains of music played by a classical trio. Our favourite hang out was the 2 level Explorer's Lounge with 180 degree views of the ocean. Viking Ocean is considered more expensive than other cruise lines, however I like the fact that all the costs except gratuities are pre-paid and you are not nickeled and dimed to death like on other ships. There are no continuous merchandise sales or photography sales pushed upon you. Amenities such as Internet, wine and beer with meals, and two hour free excursions are included in the price of the fare so there are no surprises when you get your bill. As we are not big drinkers we found that the wine veritably flowed! The food is excellent. The World Café serves buffet style and it included an ice cream and gelato bar, and a latte machine at no additional charge. Other lines charge for these items. Above all the regular coffee is very good. With other cruise lines the coffee was so awful I had to get a specialty coffee card. At night this buffet served excellent sushi, crab legs and other seafood. There is an outside grill plus wonderful specialty restaurants such as Manfredi's which serves Italian fare and the Captain's Table where you can do food sampling and wine pairings. They have a more traditional restaurant plus a buffet or grill when the specialty restaurants get booked. You are allowed 2 bookings of each specialty restaurant and unlike other cruise lines you are not charged extra for these. Another surprise was Mamsen's where you could pop in for a heart-shaped waffle for breakfast. Also, there was the Wintergarden where everyday they served tea time pastries, sandwiches and scones to the strains of the classical trio. Most of the time we took the more lengthy paid excursions instead of the 2 hour free ones however the level of the free ones that we took were good. There were fascinating enrichment lectures on naval warfare, art and music aboard ship. We attended sessions on naval battles that fit with the territory we passed including Gallipoli. These warfare talks were given by a Rear Admiral of the British Navy. The entertainment was with one exception of an outside singer, provided by the ship's singers and dancers. They were a small but a mighty talented troupe. We thoroughly enjoyed their performances particularly the way troupe members mingled jovially with passengers, Loads of fun! We especially enjoyed the trio of male singers who put on a tribute to the "Rat Pack" in the Torshaven Lounge. The house band was terrific too! Since this was the maiden voyage of the Viking Sea there was a glitch with our air conditioning that was resolved to our satisfaction. The gym is small and there are no classes but enough equipment to get the job done. We loved this voyage so much that we have booked another Viking Ocean trip called "Barcelona, the Baltic and Beyond" for 2017! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We wanted to see all that istanbul offered ,unfortunately because of the recent bombing in the tourist section, Viking opted to substitute seeing troy and the ruins in Canakkale. It was still really interesting. The food was outstanding ... Read More
We wanted to see all that istanbul offered ,unfortunately because of the recent bombing in the tourist section, Viking opted to substitute seeing troy and the ruins in Canakkale. It was still really interesting. The food was outstanding and so was the service. People on board just couldn't do enough for us. We ended up purchasing a beautiful Turkish rug and a gorgeaous blue diamond ring, both from stores that Viking guaranteed. The cabin, which was on the third floor Deluxe Veranda seamed to be smaller than the Viking River Cruise room. Maybe it was just the way it was layed out. We aren't in our room very much, so I guess it doesn't really mean too much. Most of the shore tours were right about the length of time. We were always given time to shop etc. after the tours. One of the best tours was an extra in Santorini to the ruins of Akrotiri, ruins of the volcanic eruption. We really felt special to be able to see these ruins. The tour guide was so knowledgable. The evening entertainment was for about an hour in length, which was just perfect, and extremely entertaining and knowledgeable. The ship is outstanding in every way. I've only been on two other ships but they are pale in conparison. The dining rooms vary to your likes and dislikes. We normally don't go to Gourmet Dinners, but the dinner at The Chief's Table was really delish!! Even my husband cleaned his plate of food he normally would not order. It was nice to escape to the Explorer's lounge when it was needed. I would give the total cruise a AA++! Our only dissappointment was that we didn't see any of Venice,Italy. We felt misled about the broucher because it included time in Venice and they swept us off directly to the airport at 9:45 A.M. and our flight wasn't till 2:45 P.M. If Viking would have scheduled us a little later, we could have seen at least 3 or 4 hours of Venice. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This is our second ocean cruise with Viking Oceans and one on their river cruises ( China riverboat adventure) . The first ocean cruise was on the Viking Star on July 11 2015, in which we did the Viking Homelands with the extension to ... Read More
This is our second ocean cruise with Viking Oceans and one on their river cruises ( China riverboat adventure) . The first ocean cruise was on the Viking Star on July 11 2015, in which we did the Viking Homelands with the extension to Iceland . That voyage was just beautiful and both the crew and ship out preformed our expectations . Our second Ocean Cruise was even better that our first, if that could be ! We did the Catalonia to Constantinople (Istanbul to Barcelona) cruise starting on April 3,2016 with a pre cruise stay in Istanbul. I must say, we had no issues with any of the Istanbul stay and Viking's pick of the Conrad Hotel, was spot on. Beautiful Hotel and wonderful service. We had contracted with a private tour company thru our travel agent . Our local guide made us feel at home and very safe ! . I do believe that Istandbul, the folks and city, are getting a very bad rap. Go and enjoy your time there, it's a beautiful and vibrant city . A special note - early April is their peak time for tulips and spring flowers and you shouldn't be missed . Small Note : The tulips and other bulbs had their start in Turkey,not in Holland, Back to tour cruise; we had a DV1 size cabin on deck 7 , it on the same level as the Explorers Lounge , Pools and World Cafe and I wouldn't have changed it a bit, Wonderful. No noise from people passing thru, almost your own private hallway . Our first Viking cruise was on deck 8 and and DV1 . That's was very good but deck 7 was much more convenient. The crew was very highly trained and made you feel at home for all of the 23 days aboard. The Viking group has worked very hard to improve the small areas of concern that others have expressed in their reviews (embarkation and shore excursions) . You can see and feel these improvements to their operating procedures - wonderful to see a smile on the crew even after a very long tour of duty . When we where in some of the ports on this last cruise, I looked out at these VERY LARGE CRUISE SHIPS with 4000 plus passengers and worried that word will get out that the Viking Experience IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN WHAT THEY ARE SUFFERING THRU. What can I say - Best Cruise Ever ! So much so, we signed up for their 141 day Around the World Adventure in 2017/18 and can't wait to leave. Read Less
Sail Date April 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
This was our fourth trip with Viking, and we had been a little apprehensive about taking an ocean cruise because we love the intimacy of the relatively small river cruise ships. Our fears were soon set aside. The ship was filled to ... Read More
This was our fourth trip with Viking, and we had been a little apprehensive about taking an ocean cruise because we love the intimacy of the relatively small river cruise ships. Our fears were soon set aside. The ship was filled to capacity but never felt that way at all. We never felt crowded or had to wait in lines. The choreography of moving people on and off the ship for in-port excursions was seamless. The decor of the Viking Star is absolutely beautiful, and we found the layout to be very functional. We used most areas of the ship, with the exception of the top deck. The weather was not quite warm enough for that. The service was outstanding, which is typical for Viking. We greatly enjoyed knowing our cabin steward, the servers in the dining room and the spa personnel. The dining experiences were quite enjoyable: the cuisine was varied and representative of the areas we visited. We were never rushed through a meal. We enjoyed the cultural lectures and really appreciated Vikings' efforts to keep us informed on current events in the Middle East and to put them into perspective by engaging a retireed State Department diplomat as a lecturer. Our one regret was that there were no exercise classes offered. We'd been told there would be yoga classes, but apparently the contract with the vendor who provided those classes was cancelled just before our trip. That said, we were never left with nothing to do. There were always many options from which to choose in the spa, entertainment venues, public areas and restaurants. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Husband and I have cruised at least 20 times on a variety of ocean liners as well as 3 Viking River Cruises. Viking has done an amazing job on their ocean liner. The ship has been divided into lovely, intimate, inviting spaces for reading, ... Read More
Husband and I have cruised at least 20 times on a variety of ocean liners as well as 3 Viking River Cruises. Viking has done an amazing job on their ocean liner. The ship has been divided into lovely, intimate, inviting spaces for reading, chatting with new friends, enjoying a hot or cold drink, and more. The fabrics, pillows, throw blankets, were chosen with care and each space laced with understated viking luxury. Cabins were nicely appointed and the beds so comfortable with luxury linens. The crew ALL were friendly, helpful and knowledgeable and kept the ship immaculate. The dining options were all great! The Chef's Table was a special treat as Chef Hugo created really unusual and fabulous meals-we tried all three menus thanks to Igor getting us reservations. Our best excursion was the Kitchen Table with Chef Frederick, Chef Hugo and Head of Food and Beverage, Marco. The trip to the market in Kotor, chat with coffee and then the best meal ever prepared with fun and expert flare. A day and evening we will not forget!! Fun in the evenings at Torshaven bar with expert bartender Jay ended almost every day for us. We enjoyed the smaller size of the ship as compared to very large ocean liners with way too many people. Yet there was always something interesting to do. I particularly enjoyed all the reading areas and my husband enjoyed the pools, the gym and the spa. We feel that Viking wants to get the ocean cruise experience right as they absolutely want input and work hard to make things right if there is a problem of any kind. As a result we have already booked our next cruise on the Viking Star. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
The interior designers of the ship deserve an A+ rating. They really gave great thought in details. Tastefully decorated decor, many secluded comfortable areas to relax and enjoy the surrounding, read a book or take a snooze. Never over ... Read More
The interior designers of the ship deserve an A+ rating. They really gave great thought in details. Tastefully decorated decor, many secluded comfortable areas to relax and enjoy the surrounding, read a book or take a snooze. Never over crowded. The ship had a smooth, steady sailing motion, even during fairly rough waters. However, the shipbuilders must have underestimated the negative affect of the huge "ducktail" added aft of the ship. Although it supposedly helps the efficiency of the ship, it developed a terrible "bouncing" vibration, possibly created by waves from the propelling force hitting underneath the ducktail. Especially annoying when dining on the Aquavit Terrace or World Cafe or trying to sleep at night. Why wasn't this design defect noticed and corrected during the trial runs? Noticeably in most areas, Viking is going through a learning curve to become a leader in ocean cruises. We felt many times that we were the Guinea pigs helping the crew improve their areas of responsibility. Viking should have offered an "introductory price" to their maiden voyage passengers to first learn and improve from their initial mishaps. Viking is known for serving regional specialties when arriving at a new port. Dubrovnik, known for oysters, or offering at dinner time Sangria and Papaya in Barcelona or even a shot of Uso or Raki in Greece and Turkey would have been the icing on the cake. Mentioning this suggestion to the restaurant director for future reference fell on deaf ears with no response given. Every visit to the Chef's Table was a delight and we were pleased being served by Michael who definitely belongs to the most knowledgeable servers there. In general, the "working crew" was more attentative to the passengers and gave their full attention to individual needs than most of their supervisors. I found some supervisors arrogant and non committal (NOT all of them). At busy dining moments when waiters were scrabbling taking new orders cleaning off tables and resetting the service, a helping hand from the stripped supervisors would have been useful instead of wondering around in circles looking tense! At one point only plastic wine glasses were available in the restaurant. Agreed, for outdoor use around the pools they are practical and necessary. However, during lunch and dinner we prefer to drink our wines from real glasses. We were assured the glasses would be replenished from their storage, but it never happened and the excuse was too many broke or got lost. The Viking catalogue description of land tours was often misleading. We normally booked all the "included" tours and just wanted to get a general overview of the ports of call listed on the cruise. Stopping at Athens we surely expected to get a close view of the pinnacle Acropolis. Instead the bus traveled through busy, narrow downtown streets (we could have also done in NYC!) pointing out a few attractions, but the view blocked by parking busses, until finally stopping at a parking lot 5-700 yards below the Acropolis. The guide gave us 30 minutes to walk up the hill, look around, take pictures and return if we wanted a closer view. I think a marathon runner would have had problems meeting that requirement. We come to Athens to SEE the Acropolis, but not through a telescope and trees blocking our view. Total disappointment and waste of time. The included tour of Naples was a disgrace of Italy. A dirty, rundown, graffiti ladened city. Had we been informed earlier about the city conditions (by Viking?), we would have definitely opted to visit Pompeii instead. The French Riviera offers so many other beautiful small towns, Nice, Antibes, St. Tropes, Cannes, but Viking opted to stop at Toulon, which didn't seem too appealing to most passengers. In Vikings defense the smaller Riviera towns may not allow or be capable of docking and handling cruise ships? The absolute joyful stops we made in our opinion were, ancient Ephesus, Santorini (more time would have been nice when visiting Oia), Kotor, Dubrovnic, Venice, Split, Corfu, Rom, Pisa (although many passengers assumed Florence was included too on the tour after reading the Viking catalogue), Monaco (absolutely spotless and beautiful and the tour perfectly organized) and Barcelona. The Barcelona Disembarking Instructions were delivered to the cabins 5-6 days in advance. Most passengers read the instruction details only a few days before disembarking then noticed a discrepancy in the departing date, resulting in confusion and discussions. To clarify the date I talked to one of the kind ladies at the Explorer desk who said they were fully aware of the mistake "that an old lady wrote!" The lady called her cabin supervisor to clarify the situation. His response to me was "don't you also make mistakes?" YES, everyone does, but why wasn't a correction memo sent out to everyone as soon as Viking discovered the mistake? The supervisor looked befuddled at me and shook his shoulders? Furthermore, passengers were to meet at terminal "10", however the busses were staged at terminal "C"! Terminal 10 is non-existent! In closing, I have always found Viking to be fair in their dealings. Therefore, I was hoping and waiting for Viking to come through with something special after saving a tremendous amount of fuel costs from initial booking date in 2013 vs. actual sailing date late 2015. During this time period gas prices dropped an easy $1.25/gal. I'm sure, had it been the opposite way, passengers would have been confronted with a fuel surcharge fee. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Celebrity Constellation Cruise – Turkey, Greece, Croatia – 12 days This cruise was awful. The room was not up-to-date very old décor, most likely just repainted. No entertainment for cruise days, food was the same breakfast, lunch ... Read More
Celebrity Constellation Cruise – Turkey, Greece, Croatia – 12 days This cruise was awful. The room was not up-to-date very old décor, most likely just repainted. No entertainment for cruise days, food was the same breakfast, lunch and dinner, tasteless. There was a 24-hour coffee but only one station opened and sometimes the coffee was cold or not made or no milk, cream and cups. Also the smoking area was very limited. There was no help when someone lost their luggage, always maybe the next day it will arrive. We had no luggage for the duration of the cruise and was offered 2 t-shirts and one toothbrush for 2 people. Every time you bent over you get charged for something. Nothing is free. This was our first and last on Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was a very lovely cruise with wonderful attentive staff. The entertainment was not great. It was Broadway reviews almost every night. It would have been nice to have comic or magic night thrown in one of the nights. We made use of the ... Read More
This was a very lovely cruise with wonderful attentive staff. The entertainment was not great. It was Broadway reviews almost every night. It would have been nice to have comic or magic night thrown in one of the nights. We made use of the gym which was very nice. There is a deck for running which is the best and the largest running/ walking deck for a cruise line I have seen. Food and cabin were perfect...except for the coffee. Cruise coffee is always bad. Shore excursion to Ephesus Turkey is a must. We choose the "Ephesus Ancient city/ Mother Mary's house." We enjoyed the lectures on board. There was a great library with movie rentals. Our only complaint was the disembark from the ship. We used the Crystal transportation company to the airport. It felt very rushed and disorganized. We arrived at airport with only 45 minutes to spare for boarding. There was a fight between passengers. Poor staff did know how to handle these rude people. We barely made it through two different security screening check points. We were told that if we had not made it Crystal would pay the cost. I never saw that in writing anywhere. Ship is a little dated but is very clean and beautiful flowers everywhere. The food is the best part and it 4.5 at the worst nights and 5 star on the best nights. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Ignore any moaners..we got back this Monday 17th Aug...that's if there are any !!! we had an amazing time...I have never seen so much food...if you dont wish to dress up you can try the buffet service....wish we did in the days ... Read More
Ignore any moaners..we got back this Monday 17th Aug...that's if there are any !!! we had an amazing time...I have never seen so much food...if you dont wish to dress up you can try the buffet service....wish we did in the days time then you can pile the food up as loads did..breakfast you can have either tea-coffee and cold drink...the main restaurant you have to pay tho for drinks..so breekie..elevens..lunch..afternoon tea..dinner...and even late night food... our room was a bit small but we only sleep there 90% we were out and about on the trips...we had room 365 and our cleaner was lovely ( Olga ) towels aplenty... as for our 2 waiters in the main restaurant Ted and Ludi what great blokes...4 course meal and a good choice of 4/5 dishes...gawd we were pigs lol...plenty to do when your sailing..reading room..library ( free ) cinema..3 pools although small ( kids took over ) some thing for every one JUST ASK at reception or go to the reps meeting...as for the shows..fabulous like a west end...the other room is live band an game shows...hair dressers which aint cheap but i had mine done twice...shop on board too which sell bits you might have forgotten..all the tours we did were amazing...just watch the cheeky people who again try to save sun beds with towel BUT the towels police are on the case now and if they see your stuff will be remove if you leave your more than a morning...drinks service every where..think that's if....but rem more than any thing its VERY hot..... oh forgot the small gym too. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
It's really all about what kind of traveler you are and what your expectations are for a good trip. In May we took a 7 night Western Med Cruise (our third with Princess) from Istanbul to Rome. Our ports of call were Mykonos, ... Read More
It's really all about what kind of traveler you are and what your expectations are for a good trip. In May we took a 7 night Western Med Cruise (our third with Princess) from Istanbul to Rome. Our ports of call were Mykonos, Valletta, Messina and Salerno. Embarkation: was a bit of a bummer. We got an email the day before saying that due to a lot of cruise ships in port and Turkey's lengthy immigration clearance procedures, they needed to stagger passengers and asked us not to come until 4PM. When we got there, we were the only passengers there! The terminal was empty except for us and the ship's reps! Pretty annoying to get on the ship that late and go straight to muster. Cabin: Our Penthouse, R412, on the Riviera Deck, was larger than our last PH on the Ruby Princess but standard other than the general wear and tear others have noted. I liked the spaciousness and the layout of the bathroom. But as others have noted here, we heard the scraping of deck chairs on the Lido deck early in the morning. Overall it was fine and didn't disturb us too much. A fun quirk was the Love Boat A Thon running on television. A bummer was the lack of slippers (our attendant said they didn't have any) and the cheap recycled bag (three years ago we got a nice canvas tote). Also, Princess eliminated free internet for PH suite passengers, replacing it instead with complimentary specialty dining on embarkation night. I preferred the free internet. And this is the second time we've used their complimentary dry cleaning service where a garment was damaged when it was returned. Dining: We had late seating in the Botticelli dining room and both our head waitress and her assistant were terrific, friendly and on the ball. The maitre d' was also lovely. Food overall on this cruise was better than what we experienced on the Island Princess during our Alaska Cruise or the Ruby Princess, which we sailed three years ago. That being said, beef of any kind in the main dining room is poor. Even when they recommend it -- don't do it! We had the toughest prime rib of our lives on the first night, after waitress' enthusiastic recommendation. They did serve both lobster and escargots on this cruise on our second formal night, and it was delicious. Really surprising how good the lobster was on a mainstream cruise line. I can't comment on desert other than the fresh fruit, which I always ordered -- cold and refreshing. As usual, coffee is weak and you must buy a coffee card if you want a decent brew or an espresso drink. Overall, the food and variety/options on the Emerald Princess were better than either of the past two trips I've taken on Princess. I always like the Sabatini breakfast, un-rushed, serene and cooked to order. On mornings we had super early excursions, we got takeaway from the international cafe: egg mcmuffin sandwiches! Horizon court had enough fresh fruits and simply cooked vegetables for me to enjoy healthy dinners when we opted out of main dining, but the entrees were always the weakest link (poor protein quality, lots of sauces and cheese) in the buffet. Crown Grill: I wish the filet mignon had been better, but they served us a huge plate of complimentary lobster tails, which were sensational. Still, both previous Crown Grill experiences on Princess were better in terms of the quality of the beef served. Information: The Princess Patter is very comprehensive. I didn't care for the morning show because, to be honest, I didn't care for the cruise director or her deputy and their banter. It's a matter of personal preference and I'm sure she was great at her job but I would have preferred a smarter morning show led by grown ups (and ship's officers in addition to the cruise directors). Activities: Dance lessons were a lot of fun. My partner and his daughter played bingo and had a ball. I think cruise ship activities are a hallmark of the cruise tradition and even when I don't participate, I love reading about them or hearing about others' experiences. I never go to the shows since I live in NY and see a lot of Broadway theater. My partner went to one comic's performance and reported that the poor guy was a nervous wreck. Service: Most people were friendly and helpful, particularly in dining venues. I did feel like the level of interaction with customers was on the cutesy and overly familiar side, but appreciated their general warmth. Customer service desk was uneven; the reps were either harried and inexperienced or cold and put out. The guy at the internet cafe was the coldest, most unhelpful guy on the ship. Good thing I'm pretty tech savvy and my dealings with him were a minimum! One more thing I noticed was the general lack of visibility of crew officers throughout the ship. Except for the welcome evening, I never saw the Commodore. Interestingly, he'd also been our Captain on our Ruby Princess cruise 3 years ago and on that voyage he was always on the gangway greeting guests as they came 'home.' Up-selling: I have to make a note of this here because all of the flyers for art auctions, gold by the yard, watches, Greek gods popping out of the gangway door imploring you to take a picture with them, bric a brac specials, spa specials, hard sell for wine tastings, etc, etc, is wearying. Moreover, it cheapens the experience. End of my rant on that topic... Port Excursions: All of the port excursions we booked through Princess were good except the Valletta excursion. A guide can make or break the visit and our guide in Malta simply wasn't up to par. Moreover, the meal included there was bottom of the barrel dreadful (as it was on our Amalfi Coast excursion, too). Disembarkation was smooth and painless. In summary, while I think the Princess experience is solid and we enjoyed ourselves, I think we want to try a more upscale line for our next cruise. Princess doesn't line up with how we otherwise live and travel and that is probably why I take issue with uneven or overly familiar service, boisterous cruise directors, and hordes of people milling around tables of watches and costume jewelry. While I have a certain level of comfort in knowing what to expect with a Princess cruise, there are too many variables from ship to ship, too much cost cutting and too much up-selling, and I'm ready to branch out and see what line(s) might be a better fit for us. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We enjoyed our recent cruise on the Azamara Journey. The staff is outstanding, very friendly and seem to actively anticipate our needs and wants. This is very different from a lot of the other cruises we have been on (14 in the last 4 ... Read More
We enjoyed our recent cruise on the Azamara Journey. The staff is outstanding, very friendly and seem to actively anticipate our needs and wants. This is very different from a lot of the other cruises we have been on (14 in the last 4 years). However, when we were last on an Azamara cruise two years ago, we raved about the food served in the Dining Room. We thought it was wonderful. Not so now. It seems rather run of the mill now. For example, while they served small lobster tails, they were overdone, the rib-eye steak was very thin and we had a portion of what seemed a cornstarch gravy on it; after the first few days the walnuts at breakfast were removed and were replaced by thinly sliced almonds, the seafood was not special, etc., etc. This diminishment in food quality is a disappointment, especially since the prices for Azamara’s cruises seem to be going up quite a bit. Azamara prices now reach into the ‘luxury’ cruise category, yet the food, the cabins, and the fact that you have to pay to dine in the specialty restaurant do not measure up to a ‘luxury’ cruise. Too bad. However we must admit that we did enjoy dining in the specialty restaurants. Alex deserves super kudos for his management and leadership in the specialty restaurants; so does his wait staff. We also thought that Azamara’s excursions are very expensive and were not the best quality. The Azamazing Evening was First Class! It was well organized and managed, the offerings were traditional and local, the transportation to and from the ship was flawless and the entertainment was just special. This event was a highlight of the cruise. We experienced recently, on a luxury cruise line, for nearly the same price, much better food, a suite, a butler, and being able to eat at no extra cost in all of their restaurants, including the specialty restaurants. Will we cruise with Azamara again? Most likely not at their current high pricing. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Having sailed with Celebrity since the inaugural on Mercury,and reached elite status over the years,this was an eye opener as to what one can expect nowadays This,our second cruise on this ship where standards have fallen sharply,and in ... Read More
Having sailed with Celebrity since the inaugural on Mercury,and reached elite status over the years,this was an eye opener as to what one can expect nowadays This,our second cruise on this ship where standards have fallen sharply,and in places the ship looked very tired.(stained carpets,chair seating,and not the usual amount of cleaning of the stairways.Quality of food in the MDR was a real shock. To get the choice and quality once standard in the MDR,you now have to pay extra and dine in one of the other Resturants,so it is not as though better quality food is not onboard,just that you have to pay extra to enjoy it,also you are able to dine at tables without other diners sat almost on your lap from adjoining tables. The MDR on this ship now functions like a works canteen,where the noise level means everyone raises their voice to be heard,although the waiters and their assistants do a grand job in what must be very difficult circumstances. Why on earth do they have to play music to which no one listens,and just adds to the overall noise level.!!! There are not many things now that the company does not require extra payment for. Your cruise fare no longer represents your largest expense as everything onboard can soon put that in the shade. We have revisited a line that we had not been with for some years,change 's are made in all walks of life,but our overall impression of this line is not to think of it as a Premium Product anymore,just another mass market operation.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We are not experienced cruisers but we loved our 12 nights aboard Insignia. Embarkation was a breeze. We turned up a little earlier than the appointed time of 12 noon and walked straight through the embarkation process within minutes. Our ... Read More
We are not experienced cruisers but we loved our 12 nights aboard Insignia. Embarkation was a breeze. We turned up a little earlier than the appointed time of 12 noon and walked straight through the embarkation process within minutes. Our only other embarkation experience had been on a Holland America ship and that we would not wanted to have repeated. We were greeted warmly once on board and informed that our cabins were not yet ready but that we may make our way to the Terrace cafe for lunch. This we did and had a very enjoyable experience and a glas of wine until an announcement was made that our cabins were ready. The cabins on deck 7 are not large. But they are comfortable and we were able to unpack all our things and get our suitcases away under the bed or in the closet. There is a comfortable sofa for two and a writing desk but no chair to sit at, just a stool which was next to useless. There were plently of clothes hangers in the large closet allowing us to unpack properly. This may be a small thing but to me it is a plus as so many hotels have an inadequate number of hangers in the room. Others have commented on the bathrooms. Overall within our expectations; not overly luxurious but acceptable. A small verandah has two chairs and a small table but the side boards separating your deck from the cabin on either side do not render any privacy. There is a small round table inside as well and it is decked out with a complementary bottle of chilled champagne (yes the real thing) for our enjoyment. We oblige!! The air conditioning is working well and the room is at a very comfortable temperature. (Outside the Turkish summer is a scorcher). Our evening dining experience is at Toscanas. We were delighted. The food was quite excellent and we especially enjoyed the thoughtful touch of the olive oil menu. We also enjoyed the company of our "shared" dinging companions who were excellent company throughout the meal. The whole experience that evening, being new to us, was perhaps one of the most memorable of the cruise. Later in the cruise we dined at Polo Grill (where i must say I ahd an excellent steak, perfectly cooked to my order and Cheryl had the lobster which was expertely de-shelled at the table by our waiter and served in true 5 star style. Our experience in the Grand Dining Room was that the place lived up to its name. The service and attention is really exceptional and the food is great. You can enjoy wine by the bottle and if you do not want to finish a whole bottle, it will be kept for you and be made available in any dining room on the ship at any time thereafter. So this leads me to offer some comments about drinks on board generally. In my opinion the drinks are not overly expensive and the drinks package does not relally represent any value as we did not deny ouselves anything, chose good wine for evening meals and ultimatley spent on drinks less that what the package would have cost the both of us. I would like to add some more detail about drinks pricing but may have to wai for another review. I agree with other reviewers that there is a feeling of a lack of crowd on the ship. We are able to wander around almost by ourselves. Many pepole seemed to gravitate to the pool deck but if that was a bit crowded that didnt bother us as we onle spent minimal time there. I was especially impressed with the well stocked and comfortable library. We choose a couple of recent best sellers for the duration and took thme down to our cabin. There are ample copies of each of a wide variety of titles. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
I wanted to get off before I had even started my cruise. How depressing! My Superior Outside Stateroom consisted of single beds, 2 portholes and a closet for an ensuite. I have been on more luxurious car ferries! The food was terrible as ... Read More
I wanted to get off before I had even started my cruise. How depressing! My Superior Outside Stateroom consisted of single beds, 2 portholes and a closet for an ensuite. I have been on more luxurious car ferries! The food was terrible as was a lot of the service. 2 small pools, 1 restaurant, an inside bar and an outside bar by the pool....it was simply a budget cruise ship that had definitely had its day in the sun. By the end of the cruise the drinks staff did a 'go slow', so you didn't exceed your hefty priced drinks package. To get water at breakfast, lunch or dinner you had to bring your own or wait for ever. We mostly gave up on ordering drinks with our meals and waited until we had finished our meal and went into the bar to get a drink. Meal service was painful at times and the meals were not very nice. The buffet that was served outside was generally nicer than the a la carte. The only thing that was done well was the cleaning staff and the housekeeping. I would not recommend this old ship to anyone! Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
I will be a Windstar cruiser for life after our 2nd voyage with them. After a wonderful week on board the Windstar going from Istanbul to Athens with 5 stops in between it got even better. I had left my University of Florida Football ... Read More
I will be a Windstar cruiser for life after our 2nd voyage with them. After a wonderful week on board the Windstar going from Istanbul to Athens with 5 stops in between it got even better. I had left my University of Florida Football National Championship ring in our stateroom when it fell out of my backpack. Our wonderful steward, Cecep, found it and had it forwarded to our Athens hotel before I even knew I had lost it. I will be forever grateful to Cecep for his honesty and integrity. The week started well when several crew members remembered my wife and me from a cruise we took last year. By the 2nd day of the cruise every food and beverage service member would know all 140 of us by name. It's amazing how they do that on Windstar cruises. The food and service was excellent and the crew could not have been nicer. The Captain and I were discussing the Costa tragedy and without my asking he had a good magazine article sent to our room for me to enjoy. The refurbished ship was beautiful and the afternoon treats on deck never failed to cool us off. As did the ice wash cloths waiting for us when we returned from our tours every day. If you are looking for comfort and personal service, on a ship that makes you feel like you are really on a boat, Windstar is the cruise line for you. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
The cabin was as advertised and as expected. The bedding was luxurious. The bathroom was spacious by ship standards. The food was good, not great, which was disappointing, since we expected great. The cheese selection was outstanding. The ... Read More
The cabin was as advertised and as expected. The bedding was luxurious. The bathroom was spacious by ship standards. The food was good, not great, which was disappointing, since we expected great. The cheese selection was outstanding. The "included" red wines were not good; the included white wines were acceptable, but no better; there were a couple of sparkling wines that were very good, and one very good champagne---but they ran out of the latter before the cruise ended and didn't replenish, although we were in France at the time. (And the sommeliers didn't want you to order it anyway. They were, on the whole, not helpful. They pushed the wines which cost extra, and those wines were expensive.) If you were lucky and got a good maitre d', he steered you towards the better-prepared food choices. The specialty restaurants were good if you knew what to order (one night the Italian restaurant had linguini made with fresh clams from that day's port, and it was outstanding.)Room service was good.The shore excursions were outrageously overpriced. A $635 Grand Prix ticket (plus a mediocre boxed lunch, ear phones, a thin seat cushion and a guide per 20 people to walk you from the ship to the grandstand) cost $829. I agree that a mark-up is appropriate, but 30% is too much. We booked the cruise at the last minute, so had no choice but to purchase from Crystal. We were told that other shore excursions also had astronomical mark-ups.Crystal's representatives told us that wi-fi was free; it was not, which was very disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Air booked by Swan=Excellent:Phx-Istanbul--Rome-Phx & transfers to/from Minerva. Speakers=Excellent.Itinerary=Excellent.Staff=Excellent.Library=Excellent. Entertainment=Passable.Public Rooms=Excellent.Pool=Passable,not heated. ... Read More
Air booked by Swan=Excellent:Phx-Istanbul--Rome-Phx & transfers to/from Minerva. Speakers=Excellent.Itinerary=Excellent.Staff=Excellent.Library=Excellent. Entertainment=Passable.Public Rooms=Excellent.Pool=Passable,not heated. Needs Improvement: Stateroom-A70-inside behind Reception.Very noisy,constant heavy vibration.Felt like we were clacking on an old train track the entire time.Cleanness-Excellent.Size-Passable.Storage-Passable. Closet-not enough hanging space for two. Bed-Comfortable. ClimateControl-None.There's a Ceiling vent you open or close. Lighting-Passable. Bathroom-tiny but Passable. FOOD=Passable.Not high quality & very bland, usually barely warm.The same food served on veranda as dinning room. Food availability limited to dinning hours only-Breakfast & dinner 7-9,lunch 12-2,tea 4-5. Limited flexibility w/ menu foods. Coffee & hot water machine in veranda available 24/7.There should at least be crackers available 24/7:There's no vending machine & very limited items in ships store with very limited hours.If you require food, plan to keep some in your room. We probably will not sail Minerva again until/unless major repairs are done on this ship or they use another.Many passengers complained about the constant vibration & occasional loud "booming" noise coming from under ship which was observed in all areas of ship,not just rear lower decks where it was the worst. Passengers discussing the problem said they think there's a definite problem with the ship's propulsion. The seas were very calm;but Minerva struggled to sail on them. Having sailed over 50 cruises,some in storm-like conditions,I've never been concerned about the integrity of a ship;but,I definitely was very concerned about this one. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
I just returned from my first Crystal Cruise and am in what I'm calling the 'Crystal haze' --a surreal place where one is treated like royalty, wined and dined and pampered beyond belief. I booked my Crystal cruise expecting ... Read More
I just returned from my first Crystal Cruise and am in what I'm calling the 'Crystal haze' --a surreal place where one is treated like royalty, wined and dined and pampered beyond belief. I booked my Crystal cruise expecting to receive the level of excellence they tout, but had no idea that they would meet and exceed me expectations in all categories. We sailed the Serenity on the Roman Empire Exploration from Istanbul to Barcelona. Ours was a port-intensive voyage, calling in many wonderful ports. And with three days at-sea, there was time to relax and enjoy the ship's offerings as well. My stateroom (PH) lacked nothing. With a walk-in closet complete with plenty of drawers, jacuzzi tub and glass shower, vanity, writing desk, sofa/table, ample balcony and VERY comfy queen bed, I enjoyed the time spent there. My friendly, professional and most anxious -to -please butler provided pressing/shoe shine services and brought canapes and champagne nightly at my request. Breakfast on my balcony was delivered in minutes after requesting...and always with a smile and kind word or two. It is obvious that Crystal selects their crew because of their love of people. And it is the crew and their stellar service that separates Crystal from all other cruise lines. Our stewardesses, waiters, servers, spa employees, concierge and front desk staff and even the librarian could not do enough for us --they greeted us with smiles and warm welcomes at every meeting. The artistically presented five star cuisine also differentiates Crystal as well. I can honestly say that nearly every morsel I ate in our 12 days aboard was excellent. From fresh squeezed juices every morning at breakfast to the bananas foster our head waiter Augusto made for us table side by request after dinner, the meals were memorable. I particularly appreciated the use of fresh ingredients, prime meats, not overly salty sauces, the most perfectly prepared risotto I've had anywhere, amazing soups, fresh made pastas and desserts that were as beautiful as they were delicious. Sommeliers in all dining venues were knowledgeable, upbeat and added greatly to the overall dining experiences. Specialty restaurants Prego and Nobu's Silk Road served up meals among the best I've eaten anywhere in my life. I could write an entire review about the Prego cuisine, presentation, ambiance and service!! We attended both optional formal nights in the Crystal dining room and found them to be a delightful change of pace. Another thing Crystal excels at is offering choices. From the pillow menu from which one chooses their preferred pillows, to the multiple dining options at each meal my every desire was met...and then some! The lime and ginger salt rub I experienced in the spa was one of the singular happiest hours of my life. It was so amazing in fact that I booked the same treatment later that day for a friend with whom I was traveling, and he agreed it was one of the very best experiences of his life as well. For those contemplating cruising.....I would very highly suggest Crystal. Contrary to most things I've experienced in life, with Crystal Cruises, you really can 'believe the hype.' I cannot wait to return to sea with them. Though this was my first Crystal voyage, most all passengers I met were on their 2nd, 10th or 15th Crystal Cruise. Now I 'get it.' Someone asked me last week if I could change one thing about our voyage or Crystal Cruises what would it be.......I'm still thinking. The only thing that comes to mind is that one or two of the chocolate desserts was too sweet for my taste. If that's the worst thing I can say about 12 days in heaven, that's pretty darn good. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
I read a lot of member reviews in CruiseCritic to the extent that I think I can write my review even before the cruise started. Luckily, I can restrain myself and of course this review is written AFTER the cruise. Ha ha ha .... First, ... Read More
I read a lot of member reviews in CruiseCritic to the extent that I think I can write my review even before the cruise started. Luckily, I can restrain myself and of course this review is written AFTER the cruise. Ha ha ha .... First, the background. Both DW and myself are around our early 60 yo, from Indonesia, speaking very little English, vegetarian, no alcohol, no smoking. This is our first major cruise (a few local cruises of 2 or 3 nights are nothing, I suppose), and we did enjoy every moment of it. What I've read about Crystal Cruises proved to be true. The staff are (mostly) friendly and (all) courteous. A select few crews are extra special in winning our hearts. Embarkation : We pre-order a taxi via internet so the transfer from Istanbul airport to the port is easy. The boys took over our baggages, and I'm so confident those be will delivered to our cabin promptly we even gave them our carryon as well (of course I keep the important ones with me). It was already 2pm by the time we arrived so there was no line at all at the security check. Checking in was done in less than a minute (thanks, PCPC). The welcome onboard picture takes longer time than the check in, hahaha.... The Trident Grill served us veggie burger, and then the cabin was ready, with all our luggages inside. We started unpacking, and within 5 minutes Sheetal our stewardess knocked on the door. After a brief exchange of greetings I gave her my note (pre-printed, thanks CCers) of things we like to have in our fridge. She hesitated about cans of V-8 but said she would try (and she did find us enough cans for the length of the cruise!). Cabin : Clean and beautiful. Enough storage space. Of course I deliberately leave the closet all for DW, except for my three dress shirts and two suits. All my other things go into the drawers in the seating area. The extra hangers we brought proved to be unnecessary excess. Once emptied, we put our carryon inside our luggages, and everything disappear under the bed. Magic! So this is going to be our home for 12 nights ... not bad, eh? I only find the tiny sofa uneasy to sit on (and I am Asian size!). Perhaps they can make it little bit more "normal" size (hopeful mode "on"). Balcony : We enjoy using this space very much. Some times it is too windy, but Crystal so thoughtfully provided the mohair blankets which very pleasantly helped us to stay warm. Once we left a plate of cakes for a few minutes on the balcony and suddenly a seagull already perched on the railing! We shooh the bird away and flew he did but only after posing for my camera... Dining : Well, all vegetarians should not go hungry onboard Symphony. Plenty of choice, and choice, and choice! We took Perfect Dining by Reservation, and very happy as most of the time they sat us by the window, table for two. One evening my wife is not feeling so well we have to order room service from the CDR menu, and it is delivered promptly. We also enjoy one breakfast on the balcony as on that day we have an early excursion. We don't want to have more room service than necessary as we feel pity for Sheetal , who has to carry so heavy dishes to the room. Specialty restaurant: I highlight this item in separate heading as what I write might be controversial. Contrary to those wonderful reviews, we find there is nothing so 'special' about Nobu's Silk Road. It is even less than what we used to have in our country, or in Japan. Initially I thought our view may be biased as we are vegetarians, but I met some fellow passengers from Malaysia, and they also think that for those who are used to taking Japanese food in Asia, the food in Silk Road is under the expectation. However, we must admit that the mushroom soup and mushroom salad are nice (but not great!). On another night we tried our luck and sit at the Sushi Bar. They can't even serve simple "inari" which we can find on some days during buffet at Lido Cafe. There is less vegetarian option in the Sushi Bar, which we understood, but whatever vegetarian selection on offer is lacking "creativity". While one of the Japanese chef at the bar is quite friendly, one of the other chef looked as if he is disturbed by our being there. Prego is ok but again not great. I found the non-alcoholic wine they served there tastes "funny", unlike the ones I have at the CDR, which is nice. Drinks : We enjoy the non-alcoholic version of everything possible : NA beer, NA wine, NA cocktail... hmmm... Mozart tea : Hmm... Again, it is pathetic to see the crew in worn costumes. Crystal should have prepared better. Don't get me wrong. Mozart is my favorite composer, and I really enjoy the string quartet. It would of course be very fitting if the crew dress in the period costumes as well, but unfortunately I found their costumes have shown wear and tear. Please, please, please buy new costumes, please. Entertainment: With all due respect to the Crystal Singers and Dancers, who have entertained the guests with their wonderful talents, I must say that listening to "Evita" three times (albeit in three different versions) in a week is just too much. Somebody has to coordinate the repertoire, I think. Michel Bel deserves the standiong ovation. Naki Attaman is great with "Around the world" but in my humble opinion, the credit of that night should go to David Price with his superb percussion. And the winner of the best show in all goes to... the Sorrento Musical! Spa and fitness : I enjoy having sauna and steam in the spa, and more often than not take my shower there rather than in our cabin bathroom. Shore excursion : On our own. Crystal provided free shuttle so very easy to find our way around. We did participate in Crystla sponsored We Care You Care program in Athens, helping the Sea-Turtle Rehabilitation Project, and we did enjoy it very much. Best of the best : Hot chocolate at the Bistro, and the energetic smile of the Lido crews. Special thanks goes to Scott the CD and his team. In a short notice they enable us to have a Vesak Day celebration with our fellow Buddhists on board. Disembarkation : Smooth and easy. We disembark at our own timing as we stayed for two more nights in Barcelona. Well, funny that at first I thought I can easily write a cruise review. Now I must admit that writing a cruise review is not as easy as it seems. It takes me more than one month to finish this! :-) Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Sorry about the length of this but we have a lot to say! It was clear from the start that the ship has medical problems - and not brought on in Istanbul by the current passengers as was suggested. Gel being dispensed everywhere, all food ... Read More
Sorry about the length of this but we have a lot to say! It was clear from the start that the ship has medical problems - and not brought on in Istanbul by the current passengers as was suggested. Gel being dispensed everywhere, all food and drink being served, continual hand washing instructions,no library books, cushions glasses ice buckets info folder all gradually disappearing from the cabins, etc. In spite of this many passengers and crew came down with the virus throughout the cruise - people did throw up pretty much everywhere - pool, busses, dining room, lifts, but the crew worked very hard continually cleaning and clearing up so the ship did stay clean.I did wonder about the instructions that if you got it you had to make your way through the whole ship to the medical centre on deck 1 - surely they should have stayed in their cabins and been visited by the doctor? We didn't get it (noro) but it felt like the sword of Damocles was hanging over us all the time. A couple of points - The hard working but "brassy" CD Sue Denning gave a daily briefing, but it was really the same every day, "Thank you and keep washing your hands". She continually said that she would tell us the truth, but the one thing wouldn't tell us was how many people were affected. We understood that it was 400 - 500 people. Also I wonder how much the crew are involved in spreading problems. I saw one of the panini servers wearing plastic gloves pick up a handful of crisps, put them in his mouth and then go on serving, cutting and spreading the bread. I immediately reported this to a manager but don't know what action was taken. To be fair I also saw an idiot passenger use the restroom and then go out without washing his hands! Ok, on to the rest. If you take trips in Israel my advice is to arrange your own. If you take ship tours it may say "shopping time" but you won't get it at the many interesting little shops you will walking by, no, you'll get it at the end in a very large isolated store where the tour guide gets 35% of everything you buy (and it's not cheap!)- get the picture? This happened on all 3 trips for us and we didn't like it - so no tip for the guide, they get quite enough!! Finally the best for us was the variety and quality of the music / entertainment. This was the best we have ever experienced on a cruise. There was music happening all over the ship including - The ships Song and Dance company - It was the last 2 weeks of their service and they were great. The shows were fantastic. Ship's Orchestra - they were excellent performing and backing other acts. Jefferson Ang - Guitar and singing in the coffee bar. 545 Express - acapella group and very good. Arabesque Trio - 2 violins and piano. Lovely classical music in one of the lounges. Great Ideas Party Band - fantastic atmosphere every night. To see the boy and girl singer both perform footloose (?) was really amazing. Pity they didn't have a CD to sell - I would have bought it! Perry Grant - singing and piano. Very entertaining, but I couldn't face seeing the same performance and comedy every night although quite a few did! The visiting entertainers - were all good but the absolute highlight for us was SAMANTHA JAY. What a talented lady this girl is. She plays the oboe, violin, saxophone and piano in a wonderful fast moving show with popular and classical music. She also seems a genuine and modest person - a real star! If you get the chance go and see her. So we did enjoy the cruise in spite of everything and hope that the deep clean (again)in Barcelona where they made everyone leave the ship (including back to back passengers)will do the trick. I think they are worried about not being allowed to dock in USA. I somehow doubt it will be enough though. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
SEABOURN ODYSSEY CRUISE 31.10.11 TO 07.11.11 This was our third Seabourn Cruise this year, having sailed on Sojourn and Quest earlier in the year. We flew to Istanbul the day before embarkation and stayed in ... Read More
SEABOURN ODYSSEY CRUISE 31.10.11 TO 07.11.11 This was our third Seabourn Cruise this year, having sailed on Sojourn and Quest earlier in the year. We flew to Istanbul the day before embarkation and stayed in the Senator Best Western, this hotel was recommended by British Airways. We were met by a prearranged courier service who took us to the hotel, a very efficient service. The hotel was very clean and comfortable; our only problem was that it was situated right next to a Mosque, so we were awakened very early by the Call to Prayer from the speakers. We were then taken to the ship by the same taxi service we had had the night before, again on time and very efficient. Our arrival at the dock at 2pm was greeted by a very long queue for check in, I must say that Seabourn must take note, fortunately for us the weather was dry but rather windy, but if it had been raining then passengers would get very wet, there was no shelter until you got inside the actual check in area. Even though there were more than four people in the area checking passengers passports only one was working, and even he was too busy talking to so that passengers had a very long wait. Once through this check we were soon onboard with the normal service you would expect from Seabourn. We were escorted straight to our suite, and when the lift doors opened we were greeted by name from the Maitre'D from our cruise on Quest, a gentleman by the name of Nicolas. We then found out that he had recently been promoted to Head of Training. I cannot believe that the staff remember people's names like this, they must see thousands of passengers over the weeks they are onboard. Our suite was as normal, everything in place including the onboard bar stocked to our requests. We were then introduced to our Stewardess, Ana, again nothing seemed too much trouble for her, requests made were soon fulfilled. Our sail away from Istanbul was magical, it had started to go dark and all the lights were on and we were greeted by the Cruise Director, Mr. John Barron and his deputy Mr. Garry Timms, both of these gentlemen proved over the cruise how likable they are. I can see why passengers have such good words to say about these two as each day progressed they became more like lost friends. We were even invited to a hosted table in the MDR by the two. The ship in general was clean and tidy, and the staff could not do enough for you, many times we were greeted by name, and asked if everything was to our liking, you only had to ask and they went out of their way to accommodate you. Little things on the Odyssey were slightly different than her two younger sisters, main one for us was the spa area. On both Sojourn and Quest they have done away with the free Ladies and Gents steam room, but on the Odyssey they had both steam room and sauna in the ladies and gents changing area. We think we can see why this is, and it must be the money. On Sojourn and Quest they charged to use the stream room and at 30 dollars a day was in our opinion is rather a lot. Many of the passengers commented on this and felt that they should have kept the design the same for all three ships. Food again was good to excellent throughout, the only problem we found, was that they ran out of "Berries" We talked to the Chef and he said that due to the recent strikes in Piraeus (Greece) some of the containers had not been able to get through. We also had an evening in Ephesus which was well attended, but due to the time of year it did get very cold towards the end of the evening. As usual when we returned to Odyssey we had the traditional "Welcome Home" where the staff comes out to greet you "Home" along with the usual hot toddies. Our Itinerary was as follows:- ISTANBUL LESBOS KUSADASI MYKONOS RHODES PATMOS MILOS ATHENS Soon it was all too soon to disembark Odyssey and hope that it will be not too long to board yet another of Seabourn Yachts. Thanks must go to John Barron, Cruise Director, Garry Timms, Deputy Cruise Director, Our waiters Tony and Vaughan, and Angela in the Colonnade our Stewardess Ana and the whole of the crew, including bar tenders, entertainers etc etc. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011

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