– Avalon Myanmar – Myanmar River Cruise – April 2017
*Azamara Club Cruises – Azamara Journey – Singapore to Dubai (April 8, 2018)
* Azamara Quest – Southeast Asia and Japan (February 2015)
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? – Part I
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? Part II
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? Part III
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? Part IV
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? – Some Final Observations and Thoughts
– The Prologue to the Travelogue
– The Adventure Begins…With a Bump or Two
– Settling In Made Easy
– Luxury Touches Here, There and OK, Not, Everywhere…But There Are Lots of Them!
– Asian Flair Onboard and On Shore
– Private Tours, Israel and Conflicts in Perceptions and Perspective
Celebrity Equinox 2009 – Egypt…Impressive and Depressing
– Dining With the Captain and the Reidel Wine Seminar
– The Last Dinner (Tuscan Grille) and Disembarkation
– What Happens When A Class Act Meets Highly Discounted Cruise Fare
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part I
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part II
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part III
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part IV (Food & Wine!)
– Princess Cruises Doesn’t Treat You Like Royalty; Celebrity Cruises Does! Which is a Better Value for the Upscale Cruise Guest? Part I
– Celebrity Silhouette vs. -Royal Princess – Which Is A Better Value For The Upscale Cruise Guest? Part II: The Standard Veranda Staterooms
– Celebrity Silhouette vs. Royal Princess – Which Is A Better Value For The Upscale Cruise Guest? Part III: Treating You Right From The Start
– Celebrity Silhouette vs. Royal Princess – Which Is A Better Value For The Upscale Cruise Guest? Part IV: The Wine Lists Speak Volumes (As Do The Beverage Packages)
Regent Seven Seas Voyager – August 2017
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part I
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part II (Getting There, The Stateroom and First Impressions)
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part III (“You Can’t Teach Five Star Service” and Bonafacio, Corsica)
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part IV (Calvi, Monaco, Portofino, Porto Azzurro…and Stale Bread)
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part V (My Last Day…and How The Chef’s Team Makes It Happen)
Up early we disembarked the Seabourn Spirit for a few days in Istanbul.
We stayed at the Ceylon Intercontinental rather than our normal hotel, The Ciragan Palace. With the relative strength of the new Turkish Lira to the falling Pound and Euro, coupled with extraordinary hotel demand in Istanbul, The Ciragan Palace became just too expensive. We made the right decision. For the same price as a Bosporus view room at Ciragan we were able to book a large suite at the Ceylon. Combining that rate with our membership in Intercontinental Ambassador’s program which provides for a complimentary upgrade…and then using the annual, one weekend night free, coupon…we were upgraded to the Galata Suite (a two room suite complete with a whirlpool tub with a glass walled view of Istanbul from Topkapi Palace to Ortakoy and the bridge to Asia.)
We took a lovely, if not long, walk from Taksim Square to the Galata Bridge, over to the Spice Bazaar and then to the Grand Bazaar, then walking back to the Golden Horn…where we decided it was time to grab a taxi. After a power nap it was off to a wonderful dinner at Bice with our “family” in Istanbul.
The next day started out absolutely beautiful, so we decided to skip the hamam (Turkish baths) and take the ferry over to Buyukada, the largest of the Princess Islands. It was a short walk to the ferry and for about $1.50 we were off on a 1 1/2 hour ferry ride to the Asian side of Istanbul and to 4 of the Princess Islands. Sounds great, right? Well about 30 minutes in the wind and rain started and then the seas got rough.
We eventually arrived in Buyukada in the rain. We found a lovely local place for a truly delicious lunch of grilled fish, Iskender kebab, cicik, ekmek and salads and then decided discretion was the better part of valor and we headed back to take an earlier ferry home since the weather wasn’t cooperating. But this is where it got interesting for me.
The highlight of my day was watching all of the different cultures on the ferry. How the rudest people were a small group comprised of two Arab men and four women in burkhas. How the tough older Turkish men would not give up their seats for anyone…until two elderly Caucasian women came by and they quickly did so. How everyone was so tolerant of the Turkish children…who were always treated like treasures. How I noticed more woman with Muslim head-coverings than I had in my previous visits.
However, my ultimate ferry ride highlight, was the salesman. A large, bald, loud, voice-strained, man in a crooked tie who was selling sets of kitchen knives – flashing them about like an angry sultan! He was good…very good. And all the while I am thinking of those that improperly consider Istanbul such a dangerous place and here was a man literally supplying huge knives to the entire ferry as if it was nothing. (Imagine that on the Staten Island Ferry going to New York City!). I did not understand a word of what he was saying, but I kept thinking “Damn, he’s good!” And when the knives were sold out, he sold those little lemon juicer gizmos and then pens. It was a great day…and an example of ya’ never know.
That evening we were guests at one of the hottest restaurants in Istanbul: 360. Very trendy. If you didn’t know where it was, you would never know it was there. The views are worth finding the place…which late in the night becomes a “see and be seen” club. It is nice to have family in Istanbul!
One last walk around Istanbul in the morning before heading to the airport. And what a memorable ride that was. There was horrible traffic on the expressway, so our taxi driver used the shoulder, entrance ramps…even construction zones…to weave his way to the airport. You had to be there to appreciate the terror!
But we made it…and so ended our absolutely fantastic Seabourn Food & Wine Cruise 2008.
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