Sailed with a group of 8 on this cruise. While there were issues with port time changes after final payment was made, Oceania's commitment to service and excellent food remains the same. I would have given a 5 star review if there were no port time changes.
We embarked in Istanbul. As usual, Oceania's boarding process was smooth and efficient. On board, our room was ready immediately (we were in an Oceania Suite). The other rooms in our group were ready exactly at the times they stated upon embarking. Being the experienced Oceania cruiser, I took my group of 8 on a tour of the ship. They were appropriately impressed with the ship. We took a tour of the Canyon Ranch Spa too and were greeted immediately by a staff person who took us on an impromptu tour of the fitness and spa facility. She was very nice and helpful! They had a special if you booked a service on the day of sailing, so, for the first time, I signed up for a massage. WOW! It was excellent. I highly recommend doing this on the first day - it really got me in the vacation mode and took out all the kinks from flying in a cramped aircraft for many hours.
The food was excellent in all of the venues, but I do have to say that Toscana has slipped a bit. Food was just OK and service took a long time. Food in the Grand Dining Room was excellent but the service took forever. Red Ginger has upped their game and the sea bass was out of this world. Polo Grill and Jacques were excellent as well. The Terrace Cafe was fine as was the Waves Grill. In summary, Oceania continues to be one of the best foodie cruises in the business.
Oceania Suite room was incredible! 1000 sf of pure luxury! The media room boasts every movie and song known to man. The bathroom was huge and included a large shower stall and whirlpool tub. The deck is almost 3 times the size of a penthouse suite deck and has a whirlpool tub too along with a lounge chair and deck chairs. The living room and dining room were spacious - enough room to have happy hour almost every night for 8 people. Highly recommend trying this room at least once. It was worth the upgrade! One small complaint (and I feel bad about even mentioning it), the door handles are made of heavy metal and have sharp edges. They stick out from the door and I kept bumping into them. I had bruises all over my arms from them. One night of rough seas, I fell into the door handle and bruised my chest. We had to wrap some of them in napkins to make them less painful. Really need to think about replacing them with something less obtrusive!
Istanbul is a must-see. Go to the Blue Mosque, Hajia Sofia and the Topkapi Palace. Port is in the City so it is easy to get around.
This port is easily explored on your own. Ship docks right next to beautiful walled city within walking distance. Great place to shop and try to stop at the Palace of the Masters at the top.
Archeological museum and Palace of Knossos are interesting to see. Crete is not as picturesque as other Greek ports. There is a hop on - hop off bus but be careful which bus you get on - some go on a loop in the town and to the palace and other buses go out farther to pick up people at hotels which took about an hour extra. Make sure you take the line that goes on the smaller loop.
We did a private excursion. Worked out very well. Make sure you go to see Oia (pronounced Eee-ya). It is the most scenic part of the island. This island is one of the most scenic in the Greek islands. Great shopping everywhere!
Took the ferry to Delos - used Delos Tours Inc.. A must-see for history buffs. An entire island of ruins. We payed extra for the guided tour and it was well worth it. Town of Mykonos is quaint, but the shops were overpriced and some of the shops were not Greek - Victoria's Secrets, Michael Kors etc...
Took a private excursion to Ephesus. This is another must-see for history buffs. A remarkably-preserved biblical city. Pay extra to see the Terrace Houses - it was well worth it. We stopped at a leather store and a turkish carpet store on the way back.