A quick visit in Istanbul

Trip Start Nov 10, 2013
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Trip End Dec 04, 2013


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Monday, November 11, 2013

Arrived in Istanbul about 5PM without any serious problems. Met our traveling companions, Stan and Cindy Jaskolski for dinner and compared travel stories. Then off to bed to try to get the bodies into the right time zone. The next morning Regent offered us a free shuttle to the famous Grand Bazaar for a few hours of sightseeing before we boarded the ship about 2PM.
The Grand Bazaar is something else. Over 4000(yes, 4000) stores. What is surprising is how many of the same type there are-jewelry, lamps, rugs, candy, more jewelry...wonder how anyone makes any money.

They did take us to the local carpet store. Oh boy, I thought here we go. Surprisingly it was a very well done demonstration of how these rugs are made, the differences in designs and what they mean, and what impacts the cost. Along with the talk was the usual offer of tea, which turned out to be excellent. We enjoyed the experience...and did NOT buy a rug!

Impressions of Istanbul: BIG, very big. 15-18 million people in a city that straddles the European and Asian continents. Cleaner and more modern than I expected. Lots of upscale hotels and shopping. Over 2000 mosques in the city. Locals complained about the traffic problems-long commutes. A city worthy of a longer visit.

Impressions of the ship, Seven Seas Voyager: their ship was docked along side a Celebrity and Norwegian ship and it looked tiny by comparison. 700 passengers versus 2000+. Our suite(they don't call them cabins) are the largest we have had on a ship. Bath has tub and separate shower, a big walk-in closet, a couch and 2 barrel chairs and very nice deck chairs on the balcony.

Everything else is scaled down. Casino has 1 blackjack table, I roulette table, and maybe a dozen slots. There is only one shop for purchasing things rather than a whole floor of shops that you find on most ships. On the plus side is the quality of the furniture by the pool and lounges: big, cushy chairs and couches. And the main positive has been the food. So far it has been outstanding. Selection and quality probably the best we have seen. Furthermore everything is included. No up charges for specialty restaurants, no charge for any drinks or wine, or specialty coffee/tea. They will even stock your room with your favorite beverages.

We have all commented we can't believe there are 700 people on board as we rarely run into more than a few people, except when going on tours. Oh, that is another difference. Regent does not charge anything for most of the tours they offer. It is included in the cruise price. Granted, their prices are higher than other companies but people we have talked to say they like not being "nickeled and dimed" to death.

Onward to the Greek island of Lesbos, our first stop....
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Comments

Annette Landvatter on

OMG, this is so exciting to follow along with you and Yvonne. The pictures are fabulous and the blogging the best. Can't wait until the next post.
Annette

Ron on

Hey Chuck this is cool. You have to show me how to do this.

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