We had always wanted to visit Turkey, Greece and the Dalmatian coast, and this Viking cruise from Istanbul to Venice gave us that and more. The brand-new Viking Star is an extraordinarily beautiful and comfortable ship. The courteous, friendly and cheerful staff gave us five star service every moment of every day.
We had been a bit nervous about being among 900 passengers, worrying that we might experience lines and crowds, or feel herded. We need not have worried. The Viking team made getting on and off the ship, going in to dine, and all shore excursions totally convenient and seamless. We never waited or felt rushed or herded, and excursion groups numbered only about 35 people, similar to river cruises we have taken.
The educational programs and entertainment were top notch. And the FOOD! We tried all of the half dozen or so venues and loved them all, from the casual World Cafe and Mamsen's to the table service Restaurant, to gourmet Italian cuisine at Manfredi's and nouvelle cuisine at Chef's Table. We did not dare to get on a scale when we got home.
Of course, the cruise itinerary is what attracted us in the first place. We felt like we had traveled back in time in our visits to ancient Troy, Ephesus, Athens, and Santorini, and when we walked around the medieval walls of Kotor, Montenegro, and Dubrovnik and Pula, Croatia. It is a beautiful part of the world, and we feel fortunate to have been able to visit it in such a luxurious way.