The Black Sea ports of call - Trabzon, Sochi, Sevastopol, Yalta, Odessa, Constanta and Istanbul - were the main reasons for choosing the cruise. The transfers from the London flights were fine (except at the end), and the registration on board was efficient. The cabin was fine (but not as nice as the one on the Princess cruise last year), and the public areas were really dull. The staff were mostly excellent and very attentive.
Probably the real disappointment were the restaurants and the cuisine. We enjoyed the Compass Rose - good lighting, plenty of space, warm and inviting. La Veranda on the upper deck we found confusing: the entry by the kitchen door with staff crossing in front of passengers, clearing stations in the aisleways, small self-service buffet area, small outdoor seating area, same menu, no maiter d'hotel ever in evidence really let it down. We dined in Prime Seven with other passengers who were regulars on Regent. They sent their main courses back. My fillet steak was tough. We dined alone in Signatures and whilst the decor looked inviting, the evening time lighting was very poor and most un-romantic (more like a boardroom). The food was unappetising (my soup was over-salty) and the main course duck was insipid. The Maitresse d'hotel was most attentive and took my comments seriously. In-room dining had a fairly plain menu which was okay but not inspiring.
It would have been nice to have had refreshing towels when returning to the ship after the shore excursions. The shore excursions were well organised but a couple of the guides were really quite rude. The guest speaker did not really address his subject and did not tell us anything much we did not already know. We do not gamble so did not 'donate' any money to the company. We did not use the internet cafe as we heard the downloads were very slow.
We disembarked the ship at 08:30 in Istanbul and after a short city tour were taken with a number of other passengers to the airport for the flight to London. When it was our turn to check in, we were advised we were not on the British Airways lunchtime flight with everyone else, but on the evening flight and would therefore have to wait another four hours to check in (it was around 30C or 85F and airless in the terminal). We checked and there were seats available but we had to pay another U$150 to change each ticket. NB We met a couple from the UK who had only booked the cruise two weeks before it sailed and were on the lunchtime flight: we booked three months ahead with other passengers who were also on the lunchtime flight. I wrote to Regent who blamed the airline!
Some of the passengers we spoke with on board said that they had had better cruises and certainly other cruise companies were more enjoyable. The advantage of Regent is the inclusive excursions, inclusive tips and inclusive beverages (for those who like to drink). Overall this was not enough to compensate and make it a great trip.
Slightly smaller than was comfortable. Excellent bathroom (with bath) and full range of amenities. Serviced twice a day and all towels replaced (whether you hang them back up or not) a bit excessive we felt. A good closet for storage, but we needed more hangers. In cabin safety deposit box lettering had cracked so not easy to work out how to use it! Queen bed was very comfortable - lovely linen. The lock on the ranch slider to the verandah was broken so we could not lock it. The gaps in the planking on the verandah meant that the deck chairs sometimes wobbled! The cabin was not soundproof and we could hear snoring and talking from the cabins on either side!
An hours drive south, some hill climbing and ancient site viewing. The guide was quite forceful and did not like being asked questions. He was rude to some passengers. Overall the sites were interesting but the sweltering temperature was too much for some.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Having been to Istanbul twice before, we did not need to explore so much. The Spice Market is always great and the mosques give the city a real East meets West feel. It is always buzzing and exciting to visit!View All 52 City Tour Reviews