Cruising Turkey and Greece – travelling to Istanbul

Day 1 of a 2-week trip featuring a 9 day Silversea cruise, 2 nights in Istanbul and 2 nights in Athens. We booked business class airfare with Silversea since they had a very good business class airfare promotion. Outbound was on KLM, Vancouver to Istanbul via Amsterdam. It was booked with just an hour connecting time in Amsterdam, which we knew would be tight. As it turned out, the flight was delayed by about 45 minutes leaving Vancouver. Good flight, great service and very comfortable reclining seats, but we found out on arrival in Amsterdam, that we were rebooked on a flight departing 8 hours later.
If you could consider it a saving grace, one of the true benefits of flying business class is access to the lounges, in this case the KLM Crown Lounge, which makes waiting for an extended period in an airport somewhat more bearable. The customer service agent in the lounge also called the hotel for us, to advise them of our much later arrival details – 45 minutes past midnight.
Waiting so long in the Amsterdam airport was painful, but made much less so by being able to relax in the KLM Crown Lounge. They do have a quiet room for sleeping but we, probably unwisely, decided against that as we wanted to get a good sleep once we arrived in Istanbul. One observation about the Crown lounge is that while they had a good selection of white wines form Italy and France, they only had one red wine, in copious quantities, and it was from Thailand of all places and must have been very cheap, since after a sip or two that was more than enough.
Our flight to Istanbul departed about 30 minutes late, but thankfully tail winds resulted in us arriving about 5-10 minutes early. Business class on this flight was disappointing. Seats were 3 and 3, same as in the economy section, except that they left the middle seats open. There was also no entertainment system at all. Food and service, however, were very good. We arrived at 1245 AM, and about the only advantage I can think of for arriving at that hour is that we sped through the visa and customs process in minutes, vs. what I have heard can be an hour or longer wait. Visas are required for Turkey and can be purchased at the visa counter before going through customs. Cost for Canadians is $60 USD, whereas for some inexplicable reason, it is only $20 USD for U.S. Citizens.
We booked the Kybele Hotel in Istanbul and arranged with the hotel to transfer us from the airport at a cost of 30 Euro. When we arrived, very tired and bedraggled, and made our way to the exits, we expected to see someone holding a sign with our names, but there was none. We talked to someone who was waiting for other passengers and he kindly made a call to our hotel for us and we learned our driver was on his way. A few minutes later he came running towards us and we were on our way.