We flew from London to Istanbul the day before the cruise, very excited to be going on our fist small ship or in this case yacht. Arrival in Istanbul was an event in itself as it coincided with a major thunderstorm. As we later discovered we were luckier than some who were diverted to an alternative airport. The weather made for a long taxi ride to the Karakoy Port hotel which we had chosen because of it's proximity to the port. We were delighted by the accommodation and service provided at this hotel and would recommend it to anyone who wants to experience a local boutique hotel within walking distance of the cruise terminal.
We had a great dinner at Gile, a highly recommended restaurant about a 15 minute taxi ride from the port. Think modern Turkish cuisine with Michelin star worthy presentation and quality with wonderful service and you pretty much have it. The morning of the cruise we hopped on the local tram, a short walk from the hotel to the Tophane stop and took in the sights of Istanbul, a truly memorable city which I'm delighted to say we have an overnight visit to on our next cruise on Celebrity Reflection.
After checking out, a 10 minute stroll took us to the cruise terminal, which to be honest has seen better days, but I believe the whole area is work in progress and major refurbishment planned. We checked in our luggage very easily and had to wait approx 20 mins for boarding to commence. We got our first view of the ship from the terminal and it brought home the size of the yacht as compared to one of the Costa behemoth moored behind it. Boarding commenced around 10 minutes late and luckily we were standing in the correct part of the departure lounge and through passport control within another 10 mins or so..... I believe the people behind us must have had a longer wait as it appeared that although there were 2 officers present, only one was processing passengers.
Deck 6 forward Standard size suite with large picture window, full bath with shower over. Comfortable sitting area.