First time Cunard impressions from Istanbul
Susan | November 22, 2014 | Cunard | Queen Victoria
Just back from our cruise from Istanbul to Marmaris, Crete and Athens on Queen Victoria. We quite liked the ship it felt quite spacious, but not the very obvious class system onboard, we enjoyed the food and the service but the ground arrangements were dreadful. Found the entertainment quite staid and fairly dull. Disappointingly we never tried afternoon tea as it was served too close to early sitting dinner for us to enjoy. Don’t believe all the hype and advice about dress codes either. We took far too many dressy clothes but found dress codes really no different to other cruise lines. The self service laundries were a bun fight though with only 3 washers and 3 dryers available in each laundrette in a very tight space. People queueing up waiting for them to open at 07.30.
We had a Cunard chartered BA flight and couldn’t buy duty free at Heathrow as the flight wasn’t recognised on the computerised till system and on the return flight our taxi driver who uses a flight app to meet our flight said our return flight was shown as cancelled. The planes seemed old and we were at least an hour late departing on both flights, on the outward flight because an engineer had to come aboard to fix broken seats before we could take off.
At the airport our luggage was being unloaded onto 3 separate carousels so we had to keep running up and down the arrivals hall to try and find our luggage. It took forever to unload. We were then loaded onto coaches with no couriers, no one even said welcome to Turkey, the drive to the ship will be 2 hours, nothing. We got checked in quite quickly at the cruise port by what appeared to be a bunch of Turkish students operating the check ins.
Onboard we had ongoing “system failures” involving incorrectly printed cruise cards which caused problems at Turkish immigration on day trips, we had to re register our credit cards as they failed to be registered at check in…there’s also a problem with the automated entry barriers from the terminal into Istanbul. Cunard were aware of the problem but as we experienced delays and rudeness from Turkish security men there was no Cunard representative around to assist us.
We took a few Cunard excursions, including a day in Istanbul. We saw the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sofia and Topkapi Palace BEFORE lunch then had a nice lunch in the Four Seasons. The afternoon was supposed to be a short visit to a carpet shop followed by free time at the Spice Market. In reality the carpet shop stop expanded to an hour and a half by which time a number of passengers including ourselves were getting angry. We finally told the guide to move us on. We ended up with less than half an hour at the spice market. Having been through the carpet experience before we didn’t want to waste our precious time in Istanbul enduring the hard sell, but Cunard doesn’t offer a tour to the key sites without it. We heard from passengers doing the trip the day before, Saturday, where the shopping time was scheduled at the Grand Bazaar that they were so long at the carpet shop that they didn’t even get to the bazaar. If you are spending $104 on a trip surely Cunard should offer at least one without the carpet shop option ? I wouldn’t say that I would never cruise with Cunard again , if there was a combination of an itinerary, departure date and price that suited us I probably would but based on this experience I would pack less dressy outfits, find alternative shore excursions that might suit us better and be wary of Cunard chartered flight services.
Be prepared to manage your expectations.
Like all adverts, P&O’s sales pitch should be taken with a rather large pinch of salt. I am not saying… Read more
Queen Mary Coronation cruise
Our first Queen Mary cruise and it didn’t disappoint. Celebrating the coronation from start to finish and with fireworks in… Read more
QM2 Coronation Cruise
The fastest cruise I have ever booked, and thank you to the Team at Bolsover who made it happen. The… Read more
QM2 Coronation cruise
A last minute advertised 6 day cruise, on sale Thursday lunch and sold out in about 2 hours. The idea… Read more
Cunard QM2 Booked through Bolsover Cruise Club
We have had a brilliant time onboard the QM2 for the Kings Coronation. Everything was to our liking and again… Read more