We had not been on Cunard Line before, so were a litle apprehensive. The passenger demographic was not as elderly as we had expected, which was good! Although there weren't too many under 40s, and as it was term time, only about 5 children that we spotted - but as we are late 40s, we didn't feel out of place! The feel of the ship is quite sedate, but we found that very relaxing. The biggest difference that we noticed was that the public spaces never seemed crowded - there were always seats in the buffet, and at any of the bars and seating areas any time of day or night, even though the ship was full.
We embarked at Istanbul after a great charter BA flight and a long bus journey. Embarkation was quick and painless, and our bags arrived within an hour or two. The ship was beautifully kept and spotlessly clean.
Service was unobtrusive and mostly excellent, if not effusively friendly on passing. Entertainment was varied, something for all. We enjoyed the theatre offerings, didn't bother with the ballroom dancing. We took part in some quizzes and fencing lessons, and enjoyed the gym. We tried the nightclub once, but there were couples in there basically ballroom dancing (well, jiving etc), so it wasn't for us, so that was a disappointment. However all of the bars were lovely, and the live music very good, so we enjoyed just sitting and chatting.
The food in the Britannia dining room was very good - nothing amazing, but very nice, portion sizes just perfect. The Lido was good also, although a slightly limited choice. Very nice that it is open all of the time.
We enjoyed all of the ports of call, we did our own thing, no excursions. Disembarkation was organised chaos, but we made it to the airport in very good time and a good flight home. All in all, not long enough!
Our cabin was very nice, kept beautifully clean. We took a hanging shoe holder, which was perfect for the bathroom things, as there is no storage in the bathroom. Plenty of closet space.
We took the HOHO bus which stops right outside the port, though the tram would have been just as easy and cheaper! In a day we managed to do the blue mosque, Aya Sofia (we took a guide there, which enabled us to skip the lines, and gave us some good information) and Topkapi Palace. Would love to go back
We took the local bus to Knossos, very easy, it stops right outside the port, and they have people there to help. Knossos was amazing, we had a local guide who knew everything and gave us a wonderful tour. Then we got the bus back to town, had lunch and went to the archaeological museum. Then a short walk back to the ship
We were planning on taking the non stop bus, but went for the HOHO instead. Getting out of the port was the problem, not very easy to find your way out - just walk straight ahead, up the ramp. The HOHO was good, though lots of traffic, but the commentary wasn't great. We went first to the Acropolis, which was a mistake, as every cruise ship tour was there. We had a guide, so avoided most of the lines, but it was very busy. Went to the museum - marvellous -and had a lovely and quick lunch there. we then did the HOHO round trip and walked through the Plaka, ending up back at the Acropolis where we visited the 2 theatres. It looked much quieter up there, so we wished we had done it after lunch instead of in the morning! However, very special to be at the birthplace of modern civilisation.