June 2015 - 11 Night Aegean Sea Exploration (Istanbul Roundtrip) Cruise on Rhapsody of the Seas
We took this cruise so we could see the ancient sites available at each port in Turkey and Greece. There were 8 portcalls, and each one offered something exceptional. Most of the time we booked our excursions through the cruise line as we were unsure about communication and/or cultural issues. The cruise line made it easy to get through customs at each stop (we relinquished our passports and Turkish visas on the ship for the duration of the trip), ensured that transportation was comfortable (clean, air-conditioned, in good repair), and that our guides were fluent in English. The only less-than-desirable part of the excursions was being herded to shopping locations that we did NOT want, such as carpets, upscale leather shop, carpets, expensive (but nice) ceramics, carpets, markets with very aggressive salespeople, and, last but not least, carpets. These shopping stops took precious time from our free time to see museums, browse (NOT for carpets), or just sit and recoup and people watch.
The cruise itself was fine. Room in good repair and clean. Food was good but not great; there were not as many choices as on previous cruises on different lines. Service was great. Staff was friendly and helpful. We were too tired after lengthy, strenuous excursions, to take advantage of nighttime entertainment. Would have loved to be able to stay in our room, relax, and see a movie on the TV in the stateroom; I don't think that was offered as an option. Movie selections were very lmited anyway.