We selected this cruise for the itinerary and it did not disappoint. Embarkation in Piraeus not great; port is hard to get to and ship's transfer is probably worth the money here. We have cruised Princess and Norwegian previously; this was our first cruise on RC. Vision was slightly smaller, but public rooms generally well kept up. Stateroom was small and in average repair, but we were comfortable.
Biggest negative was the dining. We expected second sitting to be at 815; it was moved back to 845, and the dining room opened 5-10 minutes late most nights. This is our first experience with fixed seating; we really enjoyed our table and the waiters were friendly and enthusiastic. Unfortunately they were also VERY SLOW, and didn't refill water regularly. Service took at least 2 hours all told, and we rarely even had our entrees before 10 p.m. For a port intensive itinerary, this is really unacceptable. We skipped a couple nights, because we just didn't have the energy for a two hour sit down, plus time after to digest. Food was a notch below Princess and Norwegian, but was adequate and occasionally quite good; Windjammer buffet was average. RC is trying to roll out "my time" dining. Suggestion: Don't do it on ships not built for it. Maitre d' would not move us to early seating and there was no availability for my time. Dining room appears to be short staffed and the my time arrangement is diverting energy from the fixed seating.
Because of the port intensive itinerary, we didn't do too much of the on board activities. (We did go to the Cruise Critic event!) They had some excellent headliners, but the production shows and destination lectures were so-so. Passenger service desk was not great; they would not split our on-board credit among the stateroom, didn't deliver luggage tags for disembarkation, and there was confusion about passport collection and return. Stateroom service was also so-so; we did not get our Cruise Compass a couple days, no shampoo in dispenser, torn sheets put on bed. We took one ship excursion, which went well, otherwise went independently (see port reviews below). Other than passport delays, disembarkation went smoothly.
Overall we enjoyed the trip because of the ports. The price was right, so we feel we got a good value for the money despite some of the shortcomings. We would probably take RC again only if we wanted a specific itinerary.
We took the ship's "Walk the Line" tour into northern Cyprus, which we enjoyed. Crossing the "Green Line" into the north was quite an experience. This is a port where it pays to take an organized tour.
We booked our own private driver with two couples we met on Cruise Critic. This ended up being cheaper than the ship's tours and a much better experience. This was our first trip so we hit the highlights on a similar itinerary to what the ship's tours did. Sites in Israel tend to be fairly crowded as it is and it is easier to go with a smaller group. We felt quite safe throughout, even on the West Bank in Bethlehem. We used Alon Israel tours and were very satisfied with our guide. We did two one-day tours rather than stay overnight in Jerusalem; one could probably see more with the overnight but it does add to the expense.
We found Egypt fascinating, but a guide is a must. We used DeCastro Tours and had our own driver and guide. Would highly recommend. We went from Port Said to Cairo, overnight in Cairo (this is a must, it is a long drive) and then back to Alexandria. We skipped the Nile cruise, but did take the Cairo subway (surprisingly clean and orderly compared to the rest of the city). Don't stint on Alexandria; it is quite different from Cairo and worth seeing in its own right, particularly the catacombs which were one of the more interesting things we saw on the trip.
We just walked around the old city on our own. Everything is quite close.
We took Ekol Tours to Ephesus. Not really any cheaper than the ship's tour, but we had our own guide and driver and got to see what we wanted. They took us to the ceramics and carpet demonstrations, which were (relatively speaking) more laid back than the bazaar atmosphere; if we were going to get a carpet we probably would have gotten one there.
Istanbul is quite interesting. Unfortunately we hit some terribly cold and rainy weather. It is fairly easy to get around on the tram, but once off the main streets there is insufficient signage and what there is is hard to read. We had better luck walking around in Cairo! The Grand Bazaar is not as intimidating as you might think. This is a port you can do on your own, although with luggage you will want a taxi.