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Live from Silver Cloud 1432 - Istanbul to Piraeus


jpalbny
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I have a few minutes before the Captain's Welcome Reception to get this started... We boarded yesterday (Wednesday) and it's been great so far!

 

I've started uploading pictures to my Picasa account; this will cover up until this morning. Not enough time right now to put in the full narrative but that will come later. https://picasaweb.google.com/101726535280673547516/EasternMedCruiseOct2014?authuser=0&feat=directlink will link to the pictures I've posted so far.

 

We arrived in Istanbul Saturday afternoon and had a pleasant evening. Sunday morning we wandered for a few hours before returning to the airport to fly to Cappadocia. We stayed 2 nights in a cave suite in Uchisar, driving around to numerous incredible sights. One more night in Kayseri to end it before flying back to Istanbul Wednesday (yesterday) morning.

 

We stayed on the ship Wednesday afternoon and rested up, enjoying the beautiful views rather than heading into the city for a short time. It's a bit of a pain to get back and forth from ship to city in Istanbul, and we were tired after running around in Cappadocia for 3 days. Sailaway at 6PM was gorgeous with the sunset and evening colors over the Old City.

 

Two major surprises: First, when we boarded yesterday, we found out that today's stop in Lesvos was canceled due to a bad weather forecast; the captain didn't think that tendering would be safe so he proactively changed the itinerary. We will instead have a sea day today. Instead of the scheduled sea day on Saturday, we'll have an extra stop in Marmaris (Turkey) on the way between Kusadasi and Alanya. So is it an even trade? We will see...

 

Second surprise - the ship is probably half full, at most. Wonder why? The dining room last night was a ghost town. The safety drill was quick and painless, without the usual crowding in the Panorama Lounge. The staff to guest ratio is probably 2:1. This will be a very interesting experience!

 

Off to the Welcome party now - more to follow as time allows!

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Hi JP,

 

Lovely pictures! Looks like a real adventure. I don't think the swap is too bad .....:)

 

If you fancy a lunch-time kebab in Marmaris, the Angel Restaurant and Bar sells good Adana and Beyti kebabs as well as the rest of the full kebabi range. You'd expect me to talk about kebabs wouldn't you! Not too fond of Kusadasi but one has to visit all these places.:)

 

Your pictures are much appreciated. Have a great evening and regards from the Coolies to Chris!

 

Jeff

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JP good day

Were just off the Cloud last week and found a new policy of closing the Pool Grill for one night a week to do a in-depth cleaning of the deck area. It was previously done late in the evening and guests below banded together and complained. So if you made reservations on line for the Grill you may get a cancelation notice in your room clip.

Have a nice time……

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JP and Chris, thanks so much for the live Cloud reports on your Eastern Med voyage.

Also, for sharing your outstanding pix (esp of Cappadocia). Grant does a wonderful job during the cooking demo's--is he going to do a ready, steady cook segment?

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Hi JP, thanks for the pics so far.

I loved your tour guide at Pigeon valley! And one thing's for sure, he didn't talk too much or expect a huge tip :D

 

Really looking forward to following your journey. I always enjoy your trip reports and pics.

 

Have a great cruise!

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So, back to the beginning - here we go!

 

Friday 10/17:

 

We took the day off from work to finish some things around the house, and drove down to JFK in a leisurely fashion - instead of trying to work a half-day and rushing. Had some time in the T4 DL Lounge, and enjoyed the rooftop patio. It's a year old lounge and pretty nice - last time we were here it was pouring rain so no chance to enjoy the open air. Here's a picture if you've never seen it:

 

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Flight to AMS was nice. Tasty food and decent wine selection. We didn't even bother taking our headphones out, and went right to sleep until breakfast was served.

 

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Saturday 10/18:

 

Landed in AMS early, but had to wait for a gate, so very little connection time, and only had a few minutes to spend in the KLM lounge. The flight to IST was smooth and customs was quick – but there was a long wait for the luggage, and then almost an hour drive to our hotel! Traffic in the old city made it very slow. Nice hotel - in Sultanahmet, Hotel Sultania, on a pedestrian street a few blocks away from Aya Sofia, etc. Our room:

 

2014_10a%2520Eastern%2520Med-003.jpg

 

Rainy and chilly today in Istanbul so after freshening up we wandered Gulhane Park which looked nice at night. Tree-lined paths, brightly lit, and occasional views of the Bosporus.

 

2014_10a%2520Eastern%2520Med-004.jpg

 

After we got wet enough we headed back to the hotel for dinner. Very enjoyable – A window seat at Olive restaurant, at the adjoining hotel, with a view of the Bosporus. Turkish meze for an appetizer, then Sultan kebabs (beef and meatballs over potatoes and yogurt-mint sauce, topped with tomato sauce). Chris got shrimp with pomegranate and lemon zest.

 

2014_10a%2520Eastern%2520Med-005.jpg2014_10a%2520Eastern%2520Med-006.jpg

 

Dessert was baklava. Some nice Turkish wine to go with it... Then we were long overdue for some sleep!

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Sunday 10/19: Istanbul to Kayseri

 

Leisurely morning as our flight to Kayseri isn't until 12:25. We were up surprisingly early and had finished breakfast by 7:30, so we decided to walk around a little. We walked up by the Aya Sofia and Blue Mosque which were both nice to see without huge masses of tourists – though a few groups were lined up already...

 

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We walked in the area of the Hippodrome, and saw the German Fountain:

 

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As well as a few obelisks - that of Theodosius, and the "walled coumn":

 

2014_10a%2520Eastern%2520Med-009.jpg2014_10a%2520Eastern%2520Med-011.jpg

 

We went down the other side of Sultanahmet to the Little Aya Sofia which was closed for entry, but we got some nice views from the back.

 

2014_10a%2520Eastern%2520Med-013.jpg

 

Then we climbed back up the hill to Constantine's Column

 

2014_10a%2520Eastern%2520Med-014.jpg

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Istanbul, continued:

 

Since we were making such good time we visited Sulemayne's Mosque. On the way, we saw a rare sight - the Grand Bazaar is closed on Sunday, so it was quiet here - much different from the hectic activity we saw last time!

 

2014_10a%2520Eastern%2520Med-015.jpg

 

Nice views of the mosque on this sunny morning.

 

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Much nicer weather than yesterday!

 

2014_10a%2520Eastern%2520Med-018.jpg

 

The city was fairly quiet this morning, so we made it back to the hotel with time to spare, packed up, and checked out.

 

Much quicker transfer to the airport today. The domestic terminal at IST is a little less fancy – you have to go through security with all of your luggage when you enter, and then go through security again to get to the gates, which are crowded and chaotic. Luckily we'd brought Priority Pass cards, so we could access a lounge, which was nice, and not at all crowded.

 

Next stop - Cappadocia! We have wanted to visit here for years, so hoping we can get to as many things as possible.

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Great photos! Amazing that the ship is so empty. Do you think it's due to the political upheaval or fear of Ebola, or some other reason?

Enjoy your time aboard.

 

Thanks!

 

I could not get an answer from the CD about this when we asked him last night. I know that they were promoting this cruise heavily in the past few months before we left. So at least some of this, I think, is because it didn't sell out. It must be an unusual / lesser-known itinerary. That's why we booked it, though...

 

Don't know if there were a lot of recent cancellations due to politics and/or Ebola worries. Final count, announced at the Captain's Welcome Party, is 146 guests. The staff significantly outnumber us. It's very strange indeed!

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Silver Spectre - thank you, and we will try to enjoy the shows if we can stay up that late. Busy port days planned ahead...

 

UKCruiseJeff - we are OK with the swap. We brought a guidebook and we have arranged a rental car already (thankful for the unlimited internet). We're plugging a few destinations into my GPS now....

 

carefreecruise - we shall see! Supposed to have reservations tonight, made them online. Have not received confirmation, though the Chronicles say it's open tonight.

 

WesW - it was a fun demo. Biljana (head sommelier) was his assistant. Don't know his future plans for this cruise yet.

 

Nigella - the tour guide was a sweetheart. Unfortunately, she attracted a few other dogs and a fight ensued. Luckily we didn't get caught in the crossfire! It was a little scary for a minute...

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Unlimited internet??? Is this something new?

 

Was on the Cloud two weeks ago and they switched mid voyage from selecting from minutes to days. I had to buy more internet and all I remember is you can now select from one day to ten days and so on. I asked about it and many guests like it better because they don't have to remember to log off.

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What are the daily rates for the new Internet packages please

 

Here you go - screen shot of the pricing plan in effect now: in a nutshell if you buy it for the duration of the cruise, it's $16/day. My screen capture shows that package for only 4 days because we only have 4 days left... :( But we used $144 of OBC for 9 days of unlimited access. Speed has been OK; maybe because the ship is half full? We are careful to log out when we finish...

 

Venetian Society Party tonight! We've had some great, busy port days and have seen enough Roman ruins to make our heads spin. Daylight Savings time is over in Europe (as of yesterday) so getting dark at 5:15 or so, which cuts into our touring time! Hope to have time to post more pictures in the next few days.

 

Fullscreen%2520capture%252010272014%2520112154%2520AM.jpg

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Here you go - screen shot of the pricing plan in effect now: in a nutshell if you buy it for the duration of the cruise, it's $16/day. My screen capture shows that package for only 4 days because we only have 4 days left... :( But we used $144 of OBC for 9 days of unlimited access. Speed has been OK; maybe because the ship is half full? We are careful to log out when we finish...

 

Appreciate so much these details on the new Internet pricing option. In getting ready for a Jan. 25-Feb. 20, 2015, Amazon River-Caribbean combo back-to-back sailing over 26 days on the Silversea Silver Cloud, this potential raises interesting questions.

 

Which is best for our needs? For the first part with 17 days of sailing, Barbados to Barbados, that total cost would add up to $272 in cost with this daily option. About equal to buying a 1000 minute package or 58 minutes of use each day. Is it your understanding that this is now the standard that is available and will be offered on all Silversea cruises for 2015?

 

Any special insights on the Silver Cloud, its condition, staff spirits/experience, food quality/variety, etc.?? Or, added info/background on the relatively low number traveling on this cruise?

 

THANKS for your great reporting and pictures on Istanbul, etc.! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

For details and visuals, etc., from our July 1-16, 2010, Norway Coast/Fjords/Arctic Circle cruise experience from Copenhagen on the Silver Cloud, check out this posting. This posting is now at 161,671 views. Nice to be hitting this high of a level for viewership. Appreciate the interest and follow-up questions/comments!!

http://www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1227923

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The new internet plan was begun on the Shadow on the Tokyo to Seward cruise this past May. I did not use it because I was already on a minutes plan from the previous segment. It has been on the Shadow and Cloud as the "test" cases. Last month on the Whisper the IT officer told me that the new system would go to all the other ships, but the introduction would be gradual and he was not aware of any schedule.

 

Does anyone know whether a schedule for the Spirit, Whisper, and Wind internet changes has been established?

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Appreciate so much these details on the new Internet pricing option. In getting ready for a Jan. 25-Feb. 20, 2015, Amazon River-Caribbean combo back-to-back sailing over 26 days on the Silversea Silver Cloud, this potential raises interesting questions.

 

Which is best for our needs? For the first part with 17 days of sailing, Barbados to Barbados, that total cost would add up to $272 in cost with this daily option. About equal to buying a 1000 minute package or 58 minutes of use each day. Is it your understanding that this is now the standard that is available and will be offered on all Silversea cruises for 2015?

 

Any special insights on the Silver Cloud, its condition, staff spirits/experience, food quality/variety, etc.?? Or, added info/background on the relatively low number traveling on this cruise?

 

THANKS for your great reporting and pictures on Istanbul, etc.! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

 

Hi Terry, the internet pricing (for us) is a good way to use up OBC because we almost never take excursions through the cruise line. If you have to shell out hard currency for it, it may be a bit pricey for what you get. Speed is generally tolerable, though at times it can be quite fast. I downsize my pictures to 1024x768 for upload, for example, and they actually post pretty quickly. Chris has been able to post 20-30 at a time to Facebook in just a minute or two. So it's adequate for what we need to do.

 

For another example, a few days ago in Antalya our rental car was not waiting for us in port as we expected. So we walked back to the ship, stood next to it on the pier, signed on to the Wi-Fi on my cell phone, and used Skype (voice only) to call the agency. Very clear connection, and incredibly handy to have that option available to us.

 

This has been the pricing on Silver Cloud for the past two voyages for us - August, and now. Hope they keep it, as it's great for us...

 

Staff have been incredible. The dining venues are almost empty so they are extremely attentive, but without being overbearing. Food variety is quite nice; lots of different themes with a different one each night, and the themes have reflected the different areas we've visited which is nice as well. We've had an Arabian menu, a Turkish menu, a Greek menu as well as some more traditional Venetian offerings, etc.

 

Wines are OK but not spectacular - though they found us a dry rose from Turkey the other day which tastes awesome! And they have been stocking our fridge with Marlborough Sauvignon blanc, which hasn't been too prevalent on prior cruises.

 

No more info on the low turnout. The ship remains wonderful, as always, and it would be extremely difficult to find something to complain about. Having a fantastic time!

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