About a month ago, when the ship’s departure was first announced as being delayed (because, well, there was no ship), some of the Residents had already started traveling to arrive in Istanbul for the planned departure date of 1 Nov 2023, or a few days prior so they could see the city. Some had purchased noncancelable tickets. Others decided that they would just spend some extra time in Istanbul and board whenever the trip actually departed. At first, we all felt the delay would only be until mid-November although no firm revised date had been announced.
Later (too much later), a further delay was announced. The cruise company, Miray, “hoped” it would depart by 30 November, and would board from Antwerp, or Amsterdam, or someplace else that was not as yet specified, but most definitely would not be Istanbul. Chaos ensued, for sure among the Residents who were in various stages of having put their previous lives on hold and set up to leave life as they knew it for a new, albeit temporary, life wandering the planet with a bunch of other adventurous folks.
The Executive Team of Life At Sea Cruises was undoubtedly suffering its own version of “uncertainty hell” from not only having to deal with all of the justifiably irritated Residents, but also having to make hundreds of changes to schedules for refurbishment, port reservations, logistics in acquiring materials needed for the trip, and dealing with vendors all set up to deliver all kinds of stuff, plus ship crew who were planning to board/work, plus boxes and packages Residents had already sent ahead to be put on the ship, plus … lordy, how many other things would have been affected. (Answer: either “lots” or 42 depending on your fondness for towels and Douglas Adams).
Eventually, either because Miray was genuinely trying to provide for the displaced Residents from a sense of responsibility for the community they had already created through the LASC product, or because of legal liabilities, or because of any number of other reasons, or (most likely) a mix of all of those reasons—Miray provided lodging and meals to Residents that were in Istanbul, or reimbursed them.
However, the various opinions and comments on this situation are not the subject of this particular post. I may write about that later as a “human interest” piece. But, for now, the topic I’m finally getting around to is the first adventure of the cruise! NOT departing and making the best of it in Istanbul. Hence, this post is in the “Itinerary > The Destinations” section of this LifeAtSea.Blog website.
At least one of the Residents that are in Istanbul now (roughly 30 or so) has posted some photos and writeups of her experiences, there. Rather than repeat what she has to say, you are encouraged to follow the link below to see some great photos of Istanbul and reactions by the LASC Residents that are there, now. At the moment, I am only aware of one Resident blogger, but I welcome contact from others and I’m happy to link to your blogs on LifeAtSea.Blog, with credits. (Note: The LifeAtSea.Blog site is not monetized. Neither any Resident, nor I, will profit because of these links.)
There are some truly gorgeous photos on Basia’s blog site made while enjoying some of the tours provided by Miray. See https://basiak.blog/basilica-cistern/ and the posts before and after that one. Here are a couple of “teaser” photos from her website:
Basia writes a little bit almost every day about her experiences, and her blog is a great way to experience what it’s like to be in Istanbul with the other Residents: from getting laundry done, to experiences of living with the “Call to Prayer” six times a day, to police presence, and lots of other personal experiences to come, I’m sure.
Her blog is a good example of what I plan to introduce you to during the trip. There are other bloggers, and the combination of what they will offer will be vastly greater than what I could hope to give you by myself. I’ll include others as they come up and I hope they contact me if I don’t find them on my own.
When/if I am actually ON the cruise (hopefully in July or August of 2024) I will include photos and port information from my personal experience.
Meanwhile, thanks to Basia, enjoy the first of 382 planned ports of call, even if this first one is a “virtual” port since the boat hasn’t even been purchased, yet! All part of the adventure of the Life At Sea Cruise. I’m certain there will be more unexpected and unplanned adventures over the next three years.
 See “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams.