I was picked up right on time at my hotel. I was glad to see a few others coming along while making our way to the ship.
We arrived at the dock, just past the Galata Bridge, and boarded our vessel (sorry but I didn’t get the name). There were a few similar vessels Med moored to the seawall. Our group was one of the first to arrive. We all went to our assigned tables and the crew brought out our national flags for us.
I was surprised by how many different nationalities were represented on this cruise. Azerbaijan, Japan, Egypt, Morocco, South Africa, Lebanon, Tunisia, Canada, Netherlands, Norway, India, and more. Just at my table there were people from Kuwait, Pakistan, UK, Algeria, and US (me). And the boat wasn’t really all that crowded. 🙂
We got underway and got to know each other over our appetizer plate. I tried to figure out what everything was. I tasted a little bit of everything. Nothing was really familiar except for a slice of baloney, some cheese, slice of cucumber and tomato.
Between all of us at the table, we figured out that we also had hummus, carrot salad (not sure what else was in it but the carrots but it was good), potato salad, and dolmus (Greek word for stuffed grape leaves with spiced rice inside). There was also another salad with peas, carrots. And an orangy mystery. Nobody had any clue as to what it was. It was bland tasting, like maybe some sort of bean paste.
We had a choice of chicken, fish or spicy Turkish meatballs for our entree. I had the grilled chicken. It was nothing spectacular. It came with rice and a small salad.
While we were eating, the MC went around the room. Table by table he gave a little pep talk on each nationality, while the rest of us cheered him on. It was actually pretty entertaining. The guy was good. 😉
The show started with a Whirling Dervish. I liked his lighted costume. I wondered how he didn’t get dizzy spinning around like that. But I think that’s pretty much the point. They’re supposed to get dizzy. Remember how you used to spin around when you were a kid? Same thing. 😉
After the Dervish, we had various folk dances. The dancers were excellent. They were spinning and jumping around. The men did something similar to the famous cossack dances. They even did a knife throwing exhibition (only at a block of wood).
The belly dancers were the big hit of the night’s show. The main dancer went all around the room, teasing all the men and really hamming it up. I do wonder how people who have such traditions as belly dancers can also want to keep all women covered up with nothing but their eyes showing. I find it kind of funny to watch the ladies taking photos of each other when they’re all covered up like that. I mean, how can you even tell who’s who? I really just don’t understand the Muslims.
Last night was a great example of people from all over the world- different cultures, different languages, different histories, etc- just getting along being people together and having a good time.
The show ended and the DJs started playing some wild dance music. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a single song he played before, but I liked it. Most everyone else knew the songs by heart.
Everyone really got into it. All but a few were out on the dance floor. One woman was jumping around out there with her baby (who looked bewildered). The group of ladies from Lebanon started line dancing (a little differently than we do it in Texas). 😉
line dancing ladies from Lebanon
It was pretty chilly outside, but I had to go out to take pictures a few times. 😉
The waterway was beautiful at night. The bridges were all light up. We passed by some of the larger buildings close enough to get a good shot. The moon was just rising over the Asian side of the Bosphorus. I spent a few minutes out on deck smoking. I peeked in the wheelhouse (had to take a look). The Captain even let me take his picture.
All the crew members were very good and friendly. You could tell they liked their jobs. I’m sure they probably get asked the same questions constantly (I started out on passenger vessels), but they never let it show.
They dropped me off at my hotel around midnight. I had a great time. If you ever get to Istanbul, check out Orient Bosphorus.