This back to back (12 + 7) days cruise was booked one year ago. Four weeks before departure we were informed by Oceania that our chosen stateroom 7004 was unavailable for "Maritime Technical" reasons. We chose this particular cabin because of the extended balcony. Phone call queries with both our Travel Agent and Oceania as to what this term meant proved fruitless. We eventually agreed with Oceania to reserve cabin 8042 for the duration of the back to back cruise. In addition we received a revised time for our Oceania arranged BA flight from Heathrow to Istanbul which knocked off three and a half hours from the transit time from Istanbul Airport to Istanbul Cruise Terminal but we were re-assured by the fact that this revised time had come through Oceania's flight arrangements department so it must be ok. - WRONG !!
After an internal flight to Heathrow on the 13th and spending a night at the Sofitel Heathrow we flew on the 14th September to Istanbul Airport where we arrived on time. There were no Oceania ground staff at the airport to greet/transfer us to the port. We spent considerable time both inside and outside the massive airport terminal trying to work our way through the plethora of agents with their named signs. Eventually we gave up and because of the huge queue for taxis we went to the taxi drop-off point and jumped a taxi who was willing to take us for 50 euros to the Port Terminal. We arrived at the Istanbul Port Terminal in time to watch the Oceania Riviera slowly glide from its berth and wave us goodbye.
Shock doesn't begin to describe the trauma.