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10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This is our third time on the Aegean Odyssey. It will be our last time on the Aegean Odyssey. The ship suffered engine problems on the previous cruise and they were forced to issue a Full refund to all passengers. The company has ... Read More
This is our third time on the Aegean Odyssey. It will be our last time on the Aegean Odyssey. The ship suffered engine problems on the previous cruise and they were forced to issue a Full refund to all passengers. The company has confirmed that our ship suffered a similar fate and the company made a decision to put a priority on getting the ship to Athens. That meant dropping ports, abbreviating shore leave, and using bus transportation across the island of Crete… I.e. five hours round-trip. A cruise with three days at sea scheduled became a cruise of six days at sea. The company believes a $300 credit is satisfactory. Currently, the majority of the passengers are seeking restitution from the company as we believe they did not meet their contract with their customers and materially changed the nature of this cruise. Before booking with voyages, customers should inquire as to the state of the engines and request a copy of the survey and report that was conducted at the end of March. Buyer beware without confirmation that these engines have been repaired. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We boarded the ship in Piraeus after spending 2 nights in the King George Hotel in Athens, followed by a 2 night land tour to Delphi and Nauplia. This was a very popular cruise: we booked 6 months ahead and there were only 3 cabins left! ... Read More
We boarded the ship in Piraeus after spending 2 nights in the King George Hotel in Athens, followed by a 2 night land tour to Delphi and Nauplia. This was a very popular cruise: we booked 6 months ahead and there were only 3 cabins left! We had an outside cabin on Columbus deck, which was compact but had everything needed for a two week cruise. There are two restaurants on board: the Marco Polo which is open for lunch and dinner, and the Terrace Café, with an inside and outside seating area, which was open for all meals, plus afternoon tea and late night snacks. The food was good and we enjoyed sitting outside for meals when the weather permitted. We often used the Marco Polo restaurant in the evening. Service was professional but could be slow at busy times. The Head Waiter Danny deserves a special mention for keeping things running smoothly. Complimentary wine was served at dinner. We had the same Italian wine served to us every night though which became tedious. Some variety is needed! Most of the shore tours are included in the cost of the cruise, and these had good content and were generally interesting and well organised. We visited several Greek islands where tenders were needed, and this proved challenging for the less able passengers, some of whom chose to stay on board. There were two lecturers on this cruise. The archaeologist was interesting, but the other lecturer's presentation was monotonous, and he tended to overrun his time slots, which was frustrating. Entertainment was provided by the Odyssey Trio, a classical trio who were excellent, and the Cruise Director Richard Sykes, who is a very talented singer and pianist, and a real asset to the company. A jazz singer and pianist were also on board. There was a mix of nationalities on board, with British, Americans, Australians and we were informed that the average age was 72. We enjoyed the cruise apart from the chaos at the British Airways check-in at Athens airport on our return journey. A cruise rep. stationed here to assist passengers would have helped enormously. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Itinerary with expert speakers to give background was appealing. Dr Paul Roberts was particularly outstanding but Keats expert fascinating as was Mary Beard's husband! The Cruise Director Richard was wonderful - for his ... Read More
Itinerary with expert speakers to give background was appealing. Dr Paul Roberts was particularly outstanding but Keats expert fascinating as was Mary Beard's husband! The Cruise Director Richard was wonderful - for his entertaining cabarets and quizzes but also being the life and soul of the ship. Some of the places - such as Dubrovnik and Pompeii were very busy but the Shore team managed it well and transport back and fro to the ship was well managed. Paestum best for stunning temples and few people. Enjoyed eating outside and appreciated waiters carrying the trays. Very friendly crew in dining and cabin service. Range and quality of fresh food brilliant and pastry chef produced beautiful tarts,cakes and biscuits. I liked the Library and spent hours reading the travel books but also borrowed some good fiction. We all did the daily crossword. We booked through Mr Bridge so we had duplicate every evening organised by their great team. Captain was friendly and communicative - even attended our Bridge cocktall party as a courtesy. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We travelled with Road Scholar, about 20 of us. We had our own guides separate from the what was provided to the other passengers on the ship. Pros - Nice size ship, under 300. Easy on/off. Restaurants not modded. - Very nice ... Read More
We travelled with Road Scholar, about 20 of us. We had our own guides separate from the what was provided to the other passengers on the ship. Pros - Nice size ship, under 300. Easy on/off. Restaurants not modded. - Very nice crew - Lovely outside deck for meals (there was also a restaurant inside, see below) - Food quality good - Good value - Spa services good Cons - Ship needs renovation. Rooms looks like my dorm room from the 1970s -- without the posters. Desperate need of soundproofing: sitting in bed at night each night, I could hear two people in the next room recounting their day like they were in my room. Spa facilities a bit low end for the prices, though the practitioners were good - At least on my level, there was frequently a septic smell in the hallways - The staff is very friendly, but any special request is met with a blank face and sometimes panic. I don't know what the training is that they get, but it must be about discouraging special requests. There was also the battle to get a refill on a cup of coffee each morning. - The shore excursions were rushed. For Road Scholar shore excursions, we went on our own, but we pretty much tracked with the ship. I don't know if this was required. We moved so quickly through sites that there was no time to sit and appreciate what we were seeing -- or to stop by the museum shop to pick up a book. It's not because we were sailing. We'd often sit in port for hours after, meaning endless rows of souvenirs shops. - The food was dull and repetitive. You would never know we were in the Mediterranean. For some reason, there was an "Asian Buffet Night". I assume most clients of this line want familiar food and that's fine, but I wanted an English type menu, I'd have gone to England. - We went along with the ship on two of their excursions that were really disappointing. First, Murano Island, which was solely a buying trip. We were discouraged from exploring the island outside the factory that we were brought to. The guide said "there's nothing see" which I knew wasn't true because I'd been before on my own. The guide also discouraged us from checking other shops/studios on the island. When I exited the shop to just look at the scenery, I was encouraged by the guide to go back in and do more shopping. What a scam! Second, the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. We went at night. The site takes about 15 minutes to go through. The paintings are all copies. There was a reception for us, consisting of sparkling wine and little quiche cups things (we were ready for dinner by then). It took up the whole evening. Total waste of time given all the pleasures Venice has to offer. Groups of passengers started going back to the ship earlier than planned because there was so little to see at the site -- and the ship, which was going to have dinner for us, said we had to wait until 10p. This is when the mask of geniality dropped and instead out came hostility. There's no flexibility or improvisation, which is what really makes good service. In summary: Road Scholar elevated my experience on the tour, but the ship is run-down and I wouldn't take a trip with them again. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this cruise because we were faithful customers of the (much missed) Swan Hellenic ship Minerva...this seemed like the best match. In many ways it was just what we were looking for... - right size of ship- easy to get around and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we were faithful customers of the (much missed) Swan Hellenic ship Minerva...this seemed like the best match. In many ways it was just what we were looking for... - right size of ship- easy to get around and didn’t feel too busy or crowded - everything very clean and tidy - comfy bed - some interesting fellow passengers - efficiently run excursions - pleasant pool area - no dining restrictions -choose your time, place and dining companions - friendly waiting staff and charming room steward - really good on board lecturers- this was a highlight - all knowledgeable and entertaining However... - lacking the special touches which made Minerva great...no invitation to visit the bridge, no live music with afternoon tea, no opera ensemble, no special dinners at the start and end, no invitation to dine with the captain (who was virtually invisible), no towel sculptures by the pool(!), no crew demonstration (cooking/wine/flowers etc)m no on deck barbecues - overpriced spa - pointless ‘shopping’ trip to Murano - lectures out of synch with port visits..some took place after the trip! On one occasion, a scheduled lecture disappeared and then reappeared (after the visit) but wasn’t advertised so most of us missed it...given the very high quality of the lectures, this was disappointing - very limited library space and book stock - inadequate for the number of passengers - there were a number of ‘groups’ on board for whom activities were arranged - bridge players, single travellers, Australians/New Zealanders, Road Scholars, choir members...if, like us, you weren’t part of any of these groups, you could feel excluded - we did...and it made meeting people more difficult as these groups tended to stick together - the biggest negative was the evening entertainment which was hugely disappointing...we initially thought the quality of the musicians was not very good until we heard a jazz session by two of the musicians...the classical double bass player and the pop pianist -brilliant -so maybe they were all otherwise playing music they didn’t like! Unfortunately the majority of the entertainment (6 nights out of 10) was provided by the cruise director...he was a charming and helpful presence around the ship -always cheerful no matter what but...we went to his first performance (ABBA I think) and realised it wasn’t for us which meant lots of dull evenings. I can’t comment on his talent or otherwise as we didn’t return but, however good he might have been, this type of entertainment seems a strange fit on a cruise focusing on Greek and Roman sites with accompanying erudite lectures...opera, classical, more lectures would be good...I guess this may be a minority opinion but it’s strongly felt We’ll consider another Aegean Odyssey again next year (if the itineraries are right) but will also look around for other options - mainly because of the entertainment issues Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
I was part of Bernard Magee's bridge group. Both this and the fact that we arrived back into the UK rather than having to make another flight with all the airport hasssle involved persuaded me to take this voyage. The observation ... Read More
I was part of Bernard Magee's bridge group. Both this and the fact that we arrived back into the UK rather than having to make another flight with all the airport hasssle involved persuaded me to take this voyage. The observation lounge was a wonderful venue for the bridge, but it would have been even better if the air conditioning could have been controlled at a chosen level, rather than only on or off. I thought most of the excursions were good and appreciated that their cost was inclusive. Just one point regarding the Oporto port tasting and the vineyard visit from Bordeaux. At neither of these venues was there anywhere to sit whilst the guides gave their talks. I was unable to stand and often the quiet talk system didn't work and I had to find somewhere to sit and therefore missed the information. Yesterday I went with our U3A on a vineyard tour (Brightwell vineyard near Wallingford) and the owner guided us around the vines, imparting relevant information on the growing, pruning, watering and picking etc. en route, but the main part of the very informative talk took place inside the tasting area, where everyone was seated. Each wine and its production was explained as the tasting progressed. At the Bordeaux vineyard we were not even walked around the vines and all the talk took place without any seating. If at all possible I would suggest this way of conducting such tours would be appreciated far more if seating was available and in particular, if done in the way the Brightwell tour was. My cabin was very comfortable and my steward excellent. I enjoyed the food, mainly lunching on the promenade deck and dining in the Marco Polo and breakfasting on the Lido deck. The staff were delightful. I cannot comment on the lectures or entertainment, as I didn't attend any due to the amount of time I spent playing bridge. However I heard good reports about some of the lectures. I am not sure why the coaches were always a good step away from the ship, but thought this might have been due to security requirements. I found the ship's shop useful, especially as the weather from Bordeaux onwards was colder than many had anticipated. I note you don't give an option for comment on the disembarkation! I thought this was chaotic and Tilbury a nightmare of a port for the taxi to navigate. Read Less
47 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Having read numerous reviews regarding Voyages to Antiquity (VTA) and their ship, Aegean Odyssey, I was puzzled by the diverse reviews. Some appeared to love it, whilst others hated it. My conclusion, after a cruise in May and talking with ... Read More
Having read numerous reviews regarding Voyages to Antiquity (VTA) and their ship, Aegean Odyssey, I was puzzled by the diverse reviews. Some appeared to love it, whilst others hated it. My conclusion, after a cruise in May and talking with some fellow travellers, is that many have only been on this ship and learnt to love the quirks and forgive the shortcomings, as they have nothing with which to compare. Others have cruised before on other lines and thus have a base for comparison. We recently travelled on the Aegean Odyssey, from Seville to Rome, departing May 13. We booked Cabin 805, a Junior Suite with a balcony (category below the Owners suite). The cabin came at a price, but was the best cabin that we have ever had on any cruise ship with only a few minor complaints. We have previously cruised on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Azamara and Princess, on a range of ships sizes from 130kt to 30kt. At 12kt, this was the smallest (and oldest) ship on which we have sailed. There were quite a few positives with regard the Odyssey, which we really loved, but sadly far outweighed by the negatives, to the point that we would not consider cruising on this ship again (unless we had a guarantee that the negatives had all been addressed). I would like to note that apart from taking up specific issues with the Excursions Manager (which was a total waste of my time), I also completed the passenger survey form that was delivered to our cabin on the last night. I offered to expand on my negative comments, hoping to offer constructive criticism, before I posted anything on Cruise Critic. But after 6 weeks passing from cruise completion, and having heard nothing, I can only conclude the VTA either does not take the survey forms seriously, or doesn’t really bother to read them. Incidentally, this was the similar response that I received on board from the Tour Manager, when I tried to suggest some changes to the way in which some tours had been organised. Now for some details The Ship 3/5 Yes, the ship is old and a former car ferry, but is well maintained. I was particularly impressed how well it handled a few rough days, much better than I had anticipated for such a small ship. Not exactly a pretty ship, very small pool area, but easy to get around. Itinerary 3/5 We booked this cruise because of the interesting itinerary around Spain and Italy, included tours and some of the positive reviews. Most of the ports were interesting, perhaps too much emphasis on churches, but overall good. Cabin 4/5 Having booked a superior grade cabin, we loved it. Few issues apart from a ridiculously small TV, balcony door that leaked and air conditioning for which there was no individual adjustment in each cabin. But cabin was very spacious, well appointed, and probably the quietest cabin on any ship. The balcony was tiny and almost unusable. Public Rooms 4/5 A small ship which allows light from both sides into public rooms, and thus creates a lovely atmosphere. Could always find a seat in all lounges. The nicest room was the Observation Lounge on the top deck, but rarely ever used and such a waste. Overall, lounges were modern and no complaints. Food 3/5 Unfortunately, this is an area for improvement. Serving sizes were often quite small in the main restaurant (not necessarily bad), but after having fish and steak on a few occasions, I gave up on these dishes. The fish dishes were always overcooked. Steaks were always requested rare, hoping to at least get medium rare, but alas, they were always served medium/well, overcooked for my liking. Some of the dishes in the main restaurant were excellent, others okay, but generally not up to the standard of other cruise lines. The other buffet restaurant also receives mixed reviews. Some dishes excellent, others ordinary to bad. Lunch-times often saw a themed lunch, eg Indonesian, Indian etc and we tended to like this variety, and food was generally good and interesting. Service Again, mixed reviews depending on the staff involved and the restaurant. One annoying feature of the buffet restaurant is that the doors which open onto the really lovely outdoor terrace area, are not automatic, heavy and dangerous if you had to carry a tray full of food through them. This was recognised as a real safety issue and their solution is to have wait staff carry your tray for you to all points of the restaurant, both inside and out. This sounds a great idea, but is labour intensive which often detracts from the service – clearing tables, filling up water glasses, offering drinks etc. A far better solution would be to install automatic doors, as on almost all other ships and even with an old ship, it must surely not be too difficult. This would free up quite a few wait staff to greatly improve the patchy service. On one day early in the cruise, we sat in a section of the indoor restaurant where service was poor. To his credit, one of the wait staff with initiative, from another area, observed our plight and suggested we sit in his section, which we did for rest of the cruise. He was excellent, looked after us and provided great service and we rewarded him with an extra tip at the end of the cruise (even though tipping was an inclusion). On one of the few nights when we chose to eat in the buffet restaurant, the service was again poor. Drinks at dinner were included in the fare, and on sitting down, I asked for a quick beer to quench my thirst (as we had just returned from a tour) and requested a wine to follow. The wine came, but not the beer, so I went up to the bar and requested my beer. I was told that there was table service only, apologies given and the beer was delivered to my table. When I requested a second glass of wine, same problem, it never arrived. So again, back to the bar, same apology, same result. I have never had to do this once, let alone twice on any other cruise ship. We noted that a new Maitre d’ (Peter) joined the ship after about 4 days and some discipline was then observed and things improved quite a bit, with education and training of some of the wait staff. He did an excellent job and lead by example, and we cannot compliment him too highly and told him so. Entertainment Being a small cruise ship, we did not expect grand productions as we have experienced on larger cruise ships. But we were not prepared for the lack of variety in the entertainment. We don’t get bored easily and normally find enough to entertain ourselves on sea days, but thankfully on this cruise, we had few sea days (more on that later!). We thought that a fair comparison may have been to compare with the previously smallest ships on which we had sailed (Azamara Journey and Quest), both with roughly twice the number of passengers. But Azamara was light years ahead, with a 5 piece show band, and 4 singers/dancers, guest entertainers, many more activities during the day. The Odyssey had an extremely talented cruise director (Richard) and he was the sole entertainer each night in the main lounge, supported by a classical duo and trio, playing at other times in lounges. All a bit too repetitive. Without Richard (who carried out more of an entertainer’s role, rather than one of a cruise director) and his talent, this ship would be even more lacking in entertainment. But the standard just does not compare at all with the offerings from Azamara, with just double the number of passengers. The highlight during the sea days was the quiz, again hosted by Richard, but lasting just 15-20 minutes. Lectures VTA advertises as a strength, its on-board lecture program. This consisted of 2 lecturers, one on art and one on archaeology. The art lecturer was very dry and thus I only attended one of his sessions, whereas the archeology/history lecturer was excellent, passionate and always interesting and I really enjoyed all of his presentations. But I must say that neither was overworked during their 2 week on-board stints Activities As covered above, there was little to do on sea days, little more to add. Tours This is the most disappointing aspect of the cruise, touted as a strength for VTA, with its included tours, but which were often very poorly organised. The Tour Manager was seriously lacking in personal skills, personality and organisational skills and was backed up by some friendly but inexperienced support staff. My issues, as well as those experienced by many other passengers on this cruise, are too numerous to detail. The inability to often manage an orderly disembarkation for tours was very annoying. As Junior Suite passengers, we were supposed to have priority disembarkation for tours, but the tour manager could not adequately organise this. With other cruise ships, passengers are requested to sit in a specific lounge in groups, and such groups are called one by one to disembark. Not the case on the Odyssey, where passengers tended to mass outside of the lounges and not follow any firm instructions to allow any form of orderly disembarkation. Instead of calling small groups to fill buses one by one, they would call large groups at once, often filling 6 or more buses at the one time, hence unnecessarily delaying departures. When I complained to the Tour Manager, she became quite defensive and said that she cannot control the behaviour of passengers, or she would get complaints from them. It seemed that my complaint did not count. She also advised that she had been doing it this way for 10 years, which I pointed out did not necessarily make it correct. I advised her that her system could not and would not work on larger cruise ships, but alas, this all fell on deaf ears. We actually missed the port of Cartegena totally, due to some “internal ticketing issue” (as we were advised) with organisation of one of the optional tours in the previous port and were told that this tour was regarded as a highlight of the cruise, and that a “private, after hours” tour had been arranged. This meant a late departure and thus to make up for this delay, we had to miss the next port. In my passenger survey, as previously mentioned, I requested a more detailed explanation of why we had to miss a port, but no reply received to date. Conclusion The ship had been tied up in Greece for approx. 5 months from Nov 2016, until April 2017, and it is understood that many of the crew were new and perhaps inexperienced, so perhaps this contributed to the lack of organisation and detail. The ship was in good shape. Overall, the cruise and itinerary had great potential but sadly did not live up to expectations, and not even close to Azamara in value for money, service and food quality. We have now been advised that after one cruise, we have joined the “Odyssey Club”, which entitles us to a range of freebies on our next cruise, such as free internet etc, but it would take a lot more than a few throw-ins to ever entice us onto this ship again. Read Less
27 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
This was our third cruise on Aegean Odyssey having cruised the Eastern Med and the Black Sea in 2012 and 2014. We have always loved this ship for its small size, focus on historical learning, and unique somewhat old fashioned ambiance. It ... Read More
This was our third cruise on Aegean Odyssey having cruised the Eastern Med and the Black Sea in 2012 and 2014. We have always loved this ship for its small size, focus on historical learning, and unique somewhat old fashioned ambiance. It is not for those who like a lot of luxury, glitz, climbing walls and water sports, though it's comfort, service, food and organization have always been top notch. It thus appeals to an older crowd who are curious life long learners. You will find most shipmates have had careers in the academic and professional world from the USA, Canada, Australia, and Britain. The ship is beautifully maintained and they have resolved previous minor problems such as soot from the stacks on the terrace deck with a permanent awning and we saw no sign of brown water coming from the faucets on this cruise. She merely showed signs of much use as she really has been almost everywhere in the eastern hemisphere over the last six years. Thus she is going in for renovation this winter. The excursions were beautifully organized by Zoey(cruise director) and her staff including for us great hotels in Rome (Parco dei Principi) next to Villa Borghese,(Sofitel Palais) in Marrakech, and the Gran Melia Colon in Seville. We also had a fantastic lunch overlooking Grenada and dinner in the Souks of Marrakech.The buses(tours) to the various locations were well staggered with each having a great tour guide. There was room and time to wander. Daily shore excursion meetings were extremely detailed and informative warning of walk distance and difficulty. Alll talks were very detailed with maps. Due to the ships small size we were able to go up the Quadalquivir River to Seville where we were towed in stern first to disembark at the river cruise dock in Seville. Wow! Good Show Aegean Odyssey for a fabulous cruise of a lifetime to places we thought we would never experience! Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
Let me begin by saying this was our 5th cruise with Voyages to Antiquity, so obviously we like the cruise line. What do we like in general? We like the size of the ship (approx 350 passengers), we like the friendliness of both passengers ... Read More
Let me begin by saying this was our 5th cruise with Voyages to Antiquity, so obviously we like the cruise line. What do we like in general? We like the size of the ship (approx 350 passengers), we like the friendliness of both passengers and crew, we like the option of dining al fresco on the back deck, we like wine and beer included with dinner, we like the quality of the excursions and that they are included, we like the insight from guest lecturers, we like free wifi and free laundry (1 bag) as a perk for return passengers, we like the clear descriptions of what to expect on all excursions. we like the possibility of bumping into folks we have met on previous cruises, and we like the fact that this ship offers some different ports of call due to her smaller size. Overall, we love this small ship cruising experience! On our particular cruise we appreciated the great talent of Richard, the cruise director, the shift from visiting the Alhambra in the heat and the crowds of the day to an evening visit, the captain's efforts to make minor adjustments in departure and arrival times to keep us out of high winds and resulting rough seas, the shuttle buses which were arranged when our docking positions were not the most favorable, the excursion team's efforts to look after passengers when we were away from the ship (they went above and beyond), the mix of passengers (primarily from Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, the U.S., and Canada), and the lovely lunches at nice restaurants that were included when our excursions had us away from the ship at lunchtime. Was it perfect? No, nothing ever is. The ship's decor is showing wear (I understand a refitting is planned), some tours required too much walking and stair climbing for some passengers (though that is clearly explained in shore briefings) with no alternative offerings, and it is difficult on the back deck to find a table large enough for 4 or 6 people to dine together and tables for 6 are nonexistent inside at the Terrace Grill. None of those are major, and we are even now looking at the Voyages to Antiquity brochure to decide where we will go next! For us it was definitely a 5 star experience! Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
I've been on several other cruises with this company and have enjoyed each one. The staff are very friendly and courteous. They remember you when you return and I see other passengers that have sailed with this company many times. ... Read More
I've been on several other cruises with this company and have enjoyed each one. The staff are very friendly and courteous. They remember you when you return and I see other passengers that have sailed with this company many times. The excursions and lectures are informative and academic. This last cruise we had an engine fire on the first night! We had our 2nd muster drill that evening but the 2nd one was very real! Because of that we had to put in to a port that wasn't on the itinerary. The excursion staff hustled to make some of the excursions happen and to come up with others while the ship was being repaired and certified to sail. We missed some of the highlights of the trip though such as visiting the chateaus. We also didn't have hot water for a day. We are still waiting to hear about a promised compensation...... This was really something that should have been decided and announced to everyone before we disembarked. Now everyone thinks that if we really do receive compensation it will be inequitable. But we did get an open bar several nights! Then, just as has happened on other cruises, we missed another port of call as the seas were very choppy and caused the small ship to change course. This is something people need to be aware of on this small ship. You don't always get to visit all the ports of call. Instead you get a choppy day at sea as they move on to the next port of call. Now they are moving to the North Sea for 2017 which is notorious for choppy waters! This ship really rocks. One day we were confined to our cabins because it was to dangerous to be out and about. We were told the ship was going to go into dock for 6 months after this season ends in November. I hope they refurbish the cabins. The carpets are stained and worn. The bed skirt was filthy as were the walls. The towels were stained. That being said, the attitude of the crew/staff and fellow passengers makes this a friendly travel experience. You can get into to port at cities the large cruise liners can't and the excursions are designed to be educational. The food is better than the standard cruise liners. The passengers are older and I've only seen 1-2 teenagers. There is a tiny workout room but no regular activities. This is probably due to the fact that most passengers are in the 60-80 year old range. The excursions are usually a half day which allows free time in the port city. I hope this cruise line can get it together as they really have a good thing going and a devoted, but dwindling following. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
This was a wonderful cruise. The ship is small which meant we got to know many other passengers quite well and we plan to keep in touvh with some of them.. The service on this ship was second to none. The largely Asian staff were so ... Read More
This was a wonderful cruise. The ship is small which meant we got to know many other passengers quite well and we plan to keep in touvh with some of them.. The service on this ship was second to none. The largely Asian staff were so attentive and cheerful. The food was also excellent, fresh with lots of choice. The wine also flowed freely at dinner. We chose this ship largely for the destinations it was visiting and we were not disappointed. There was no "glitzy" entertainment but this is not what you go on this ship for. The cruise director, Richard, was so talented and we loved dancing to his music or just listening to the trio whilst we had a pre-dinner cocktail. My only suggestion for this company would be to, on days when you have all day tours planned, offer half day tours to those of us who are not getting any younger. The tours to Rome and Florence were quite exhausting. I have been on many cruises and I will certainly be returning to this ship! Thank you to all the staff at Voyages of Antiquity for making this such a wonderful experience. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
I chose this cruise because of the included Brandenburg Sing-at -sea choral experience, which was very enjoyable. I hope it will be repeated. The two days in Athens, the departure city! got us off to an excellent start being ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the included Brandenburg Sing-at -sea choral experience, which was very enjoyable. I hope it will be repeated. The two days in Athens, the departure city! got us off to an excellent start being interesting and educational. From first boarding the the ship to disembarkation in Venice at the end, I l enjoyed it greatly. I have nothing but praise for the dining and its superb cuisine, the service, the helpfulness and friendliness of the crew and the excellent maintain and of the cabin accommodation and public areas. In general, I found the air conditioning colder than comfortable however and, along with others, reported it. It was often colder than outdoors and jackets were needed. The excursions were well chosen and carried out though the local guides overwhelmed us with continuous talk. There's only so much information one can absorb. I will certainly repeat the experience and will most certainly book with Voyages to Antiquity again in the future. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2013
Booked Through: AHI Pearls of Southeast Asia: Hong Kong to Bali - Jan 12, 2013 to Jan 29, 2013 'Cruise Ship': Aegean Odyssey Voyages to Antiquity There were two parts to our "trip" -- starting with ~2 days ... Read More
Booked Through: AHI Pearls of Southeast Asia: Hong Kong to Bali - Jan 12, 2013 to Jan 29, 2013 'Cruise Ship': Aegean Odyssey Voyages to Antiquity There were two parts to our "trip" -- starting with ~2 days in Hong Kong, ending with ~2 days in Bali and the 10 day "cruise" part in the middle. The land based parts of the trip were quite good, organized by AHI and generally up to the expectations we have experienced in the past for AHI Trips endorsed by UW Alumni Travel. However, the 10 days "cruise" between Hong Kong and Bali was extremely disappointing and definitely NOT up to AHI promotions or similar endorsement from Wisconsin Alumni Association travel. Background: On this cruise portion of the trip, there were 5 "excursion" stops (Manila, Philippines; Borneo, Malaysia; Pare Pare, Lombok and Bali, Indonesia) and 5 days "at sea". At this time of the year darkness starts around 6:00 PM. However, 3 of the 5 excursions had port arrival times at 1:00 or 2:00 PM -- which strategically makes the time for excursion kind of tight (i.e.: delay arriving into port or delay getting onto the buses, cuts into time for excursion). Overall comments on the Aegean Odyssey part of the trip: - This ship is promoted as having recently been refitted for "small ship cruising" in the Mediterranean and Southeast Asia. I would instead think of this ship as "lipstick on a pig", the cosmetics of the ship have been redone attractively, but the inner workings are still those of a Black Sea/Aegean overnight ferry. o This was the FIRST venture of the Aegean Odyssey into Southeast Asia and the crew seemed to be feeling their way along with slow entries into ports and long delays with local customs clearance. o The ships engines seemed out of balance and caused a continuous "shudder" throughout the ship when running at full 14.5 kts. o The engines belched black smoke and black particulates all over the "Terrace Cafe" white canvas seats. Black stripes on the seats and on the passengers rears could be seen throughout. NOTE: all the canvas seats were washed the last evening before arrival into Bali for the next group of passengers. o The Air conditioning was obviously ill equipped to handle the humidity and temperatures of SE Asia. After leaving Manila, the AC FAILED, leaving the passengers to the mercy of 85-90 F heat and similar levels of humidity. Yes 8 days of NO AC on the cruise -- the closed cabins were, in some cases, unbearable with passengers seeking sleep on the decks or lounge areas. The Observation lounge on the top deck was like the 4th level of hell. The Ambassador lounge (lecture hall and general meeting area) was similarly uncomfortable, which detracted from the lecture series (AHI and V to A lectures). Worse yet: the Greek Captain made daily announcements that the engineers are working on the AC and will have it operating shortly (delusional). Also, announcements that parts have been flown into the next port (but they were the wrong ones) and that when we returned from excursion, it would be "frigid". o Comparably minor inconveniences: the Wi-Fi service on board was non-existent or spotty except for the last couple days -- fixed long distance via the UK home base; there was no TV signal for the entire cruise and the daily movies were "hits" from the 60's (e.g.: Around the World in 80 Days -- David Niven version, Bridge over the River Kwai etc.). - Unbelievably, this Greek Captain arrived in every port (YES every port) at least 1 hour late. This late arrival, in addition to the "amateurish and sometimes snotty" actions of the Shore Excursion director and her novice team led to the excursions being rushed or cut short (sites eliminated from the itinerary). On the last evening aboard, the Captain announced that we would leave Lombok for Bali at 23:00 and that the AC would be running again by 22:00, with arrival into Bali (only 4 hours away) at 05:00. Pathetically, there was no AC and the ship arrived into Bali at 06:15 with disembarkation started at 09:30 instead of the scheduled 08:00. - ON THE GOOD SIDE: The British Hotel Manager and the staff of cabin stewards and the dining room servers were outstanding despite the trying conditions. Many of the passengers sympathized with the wait staff and tipped generously before leaving. The food was generally quite palatable and of consistently good quality. The lectures were interesting, but the closed-in lecture hall was very uncomfortable with NO AC. Free drinks were started after the AC failed. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2013
The Voyage to Antiquity cruise/tour was a 31 day, 22 night cruise trip of a lifetime. The ports of call included Hong Kong - 3 nights, Manila Philippines, Sandakan Borneo, Pare Pare Indonesia, Ujung Indonesia, Lombok Indonesia and Bali ... Read More
The Voyage to Antiquity cruise/tour was a 31 day, 22 night cruise trip of a lifetime. The ports of call included Hong Kong - 3 nights, Manila Philippines, Sandakan Borneo, Pare Pare Indonesia, Ujung Indonesia, Lombok Indonesia and Bali Indonesia. Some of the passengers left at Bali and a new group came on board for the trip to Bangkok. The next port of call was Semerang Indonesia, Singapore, overnight at Ho chi Minh Vietnam, Sihanoukville Cambodia - Koh Samui Thailand was substituted because of the Cambodian King's funeral, and finally Bangkok. The trip included 2 nights in Bangkok, an overnight trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia, one more overnight in Bangkok and then back home. This was our first experience on a small cruise ship and we were extremely satisfied with a smaller group of passengers. The ship can accommodate 370 passengers, however, I believe that the first leg had about 340 and the second about 320. There always were deck chairs available, seating in the dining rooms was never an issue as well as attending the lectures etc. - always adequate space. The small ship had the ability to sail into ports of call that is not available to larger ships. The line up of guest speakers was varied and entertaining, many topics pertinent to the upcoming tours. The lectures provided us with insight into these island countries, their development with the spice trade, the strategic development of the towns and cities as well as the cultures and religions that were brought to these parts of the world by these traders - India, China, Britain, Holland, Portugal and the United States all played an important part in the development of these islands. There were 13 ports of call featured in this trip including Hong Kong, Bangkok and Siem Reap. These were beautiful and diverse places with stunning temples and palaces, fascinating local markets, fishing villages, local cultures, drive to the volcano with its diverse landscape and the modern city of Singapore. The ship's entertainment included the "Fantasy Trio", a Romanian orchestra group playing the piano, violin and bass. These guys were excellent in their selection of music and formats - formal concerts, classical, jazz etc. Nicki was a soloist pianist/singer, who had a terrific range of music that would please any age. She lined up with the Fantasy Trio on many occasions making for a memorable after dinning evening. Our Belvedere outside cabin was excellent - it exceeded our expectations. We had a wardrobe, two night stands and a dresser with a mini bar fridge. This allowed us to store our clothes in a manageable fashion. The bathroom was spacious, good shower, hair dryer etc. The Marco Polo lounge was the more formal dining area; however, you could order the Marco Polo menu a la carte in the Terrace Cafe dining room. The Terrace Dining room had more choices and a more relaxed atmosphere, so it became out dining room of choice. It also allowed us to mingle with other passengers in a more relaxed setting. The food selections and variety were excellent throughout the complete journey. The Philippine/Indonesian crew were outstanding - they were always smiling, friendly, efficient, professional and willing to take the time to talk about their lives and families. They continued to smile even in the 5 days of adverse conditions with no air conditioning - the cooks continued to make outstanding meals in what appeared to be unbearable conditions. Were there problems - yes, the first 2 days out to sea were rough and with a smaller ship, many passengers, crew and staff suffered from sea sickness. The weather was relatively cool in the first couple of days (we had the A/C shut-off in our cabin ) and with the air conditioning working, the cabins were home to many of the passengers. Then the A/C failed as the temperatures and humidity climbed to the mid 30 C and 100% humidity. It rained almost every night in the first week or so, making the day time weather very humid. It appeared that the ship's Chief Engineer and his crew were unable to diagnose the problem and obtain the needed parts. Once in Bali. they were finally able to bring in the parts and the experienced manpower to solve the problem. The ship has a steam boiler which requires nightly soot blows (not allowed when in port) to minimize any soot during the day. However, depending on wind direction, soot did accumulate on deck chairs and the Terrace Cafe outside dinning chairs. A wipe with the towel ensured that you did not encounter the soot on your cloths or body. The water on board was considered drinkable however; each time we turned on the cabin tap, the first flow of water had a brown colour - we resorted to bottled water for drinking which we had to purchase. The new passengers who embarked in Bali brought along a virus that quickly spread amongst the passengers and crew. The Doctor on board was outstanding in dealing with this onslaught of clientele. Our biggest disappointment was the continuous late arrival at the various ports of call. This became a significant issue when the tour was a half day tour - usually limited to 4 hours because of daylight, so with an hour or more of tardiness, these tours became a rushed encounter barely allowing time for photographs and absorption of the surroundings. This needs to be addressed so that more time is available for these tours. The smaller number of passengers allowed large tour groups a controlling interest in the overall ability to function on the ship. They had their own private sessions, lectures, functions, tours and bridge playing that would occupy the lounges on the ship. They also would have a larger say in the scheduled activities. The A/C failure showed the arrogant side of many of the passengers. These passengers were typically from an educated professional background and their screaming and display of poor behaviour toward the the staff was an embarrassment. In summary we have booked two more future cruises on the Aegean Odyssey, the small cruise ship, its crew, the food selections, atmosphere, lectures etc. far outweigh the issues that were encountered on this trip. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2011
We have cruised 13 times on both mainstream and upscale ships. Good: Lectures (good to very good); the value of the extra two-day program in Istanbul (accommodation in Ritz Carlton); no casino; efficient steward; polite crew; frequent ... Read More
We have cruised 13 times on both mainstream and upscale ships. Good: Lectures (good to very good); the value of the extra two-day program in Istanbul (accommodation in Ritz Carlton); no casino; efficient steward; polite crew; frequent dining al fresco. Problems: - FOOD! The (Polish) purchase manager did a great job but the chef (Italian) didn't. The food was depressing; after a few fatal misses in the Marco Polo restaurant we moved to the buffet that was a notch better but still below even the Carnival or Royal Caribbean standards. - Tendering: Despite the rotation schedule among various groups, the waiting time was substantial, up to two hours in Monemvasia (the tour there and in some other places there was effectively shortened by half). Tenders broke a few times (!), and the crew was clearly very inexperienced with handling the problems. This was the first time that we didn't feel safe in the tenders; - Cabin: very small - but with such an intensive excursion program, size was not a problem. Noise was: both the very clumsy air condition and the ship's machinery made the good night sleep quite difficult. Adequate but not great: the excursion program. Many guides were mediocre, and there were several logistical problems. The worst: crowding in visited places caused by our own ship due to the fact that all excursions followed the same itinerary. In a few cases it was very easy to de-congest, e.g., on Crete, all excursions went in the morning to Khania and in the afternoon to Heraklion. Overall, a slight disappointment comparing with the brochure. Negligible nuisances: ashes from the chimneys (we got reimbursed for dirty clothes), old decor, rather uncomfortable lecture hall. The bottom line: unless the food improves, we will consider other ships before we try Aegean Odyssey again. It is a relatively better option on itineraries with little tendering. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2011
I was a little hesitant to book this cruise since there had been no Cruise Critic reviews on the ship since November 2010 and they weren't all that positive. However, since Sicily is one of my favorite places in all of the world (and ... Read More
I was a little hesitant to book this cruise since there had been no Cruise Critic reviews on the ship since November 2010 and they weren't all that positive. However, since Sicily is one of my favorite places in all of the world (and I have seen a good part of it!) and the ship spent almost a week in Sicily in the various ports, I decided to throw caution to the wind and book it anyway. Am I glad that I did!! I flew into Athens and spent my pre-cruise night at an inexpensive hotel in Piraeus. The only good thing that I can say about the hotel that I booked was that it offered a free shuttle service to the port. Hotel check-out time was 12 noon so I got to the cruise ship pier about 1215PM. The information that I had gotten from Voyages to Antiquity said that embarkation did not begin until 2PM and boy, were they spot on. Most cruise lines say embarkation begins at a certain time but they always let people on early. Not this ship! At exactly 2PM they opened the check-in desks and there was no line so I was checked-in and on the ship in about 5 minutes. I was handed a red rose (for which there was a bud vase in my cabin), escorted to my obstructed view cabin by a smiling Filipino steward and my luggage arrived shortly after that. I headed down to the Terrace Cafe for a buffet lunch and then explored the ship. The Aegean Odyssey is a very small (11,563 tons) "boutique style" 40-year old ship. If the ship is full it holds 350 people. There were only about 200 passengers on our sailing so there were never any lines and the service was top drawer. It has 6 passenger decks and 2 dining venues - the main dining room called the Marco Polo Restaurant, down in the bowels of the ship on the lowest passenger desk as is the norm with many older ships, and the Terrace Cafe, a delightful buffet restaurant on the Promenade Deck where I took most of my meals. Breakfast is always a buffet served at the Terrace Cafe. Generally one can have lunch and dinner served in the Marco Polo Restaurant or at the buffet at the Terrace Cafe. There were a few times when the Marco Polo was closed for lunch and a buffet lunch was the only option. There is no room service. There are no set dinner times at the Marco Polo and there never seemed to be a wait for a table when one wanted to eat dinner there. The food was excellent. Very fresh and well made with, for such a small ship, plenty of options. Fresh food (such as tangerines, swordfish and yellow fin tuna) was brought on at Palermo and they never seemed to run out of anything. The service in the Marco Polo was generally pretty good and it was absolutely excellent in the Terrace Cafe. Your tray was always carried from the buffet to your table of choice and you could eat inside or outside. The servers and stewards in the Terrace Cafe were SO fun and friendly and learned many of the passengers' names within a couple of days. There was always a chef cooking something on the indoor grill (such as bacon, fish, hamburgers, hot dogs or steak) and a separate table with tasty desserts. The Aegean Odyssey has the most amazing ice cream. It tasted like it was just made on the ship but it actually comes from Italy and they have 14 rotating flavors. There was plenty of salads and fresh sliced, cut up and whole fruit. You won't go hungry! English tea time was daily at 4PM and VERY well attended. The ship is all non-smoking except for an outside area on Deck 5 aft. On our sailing the passenger mix was about half Americans, a lot of British and some Australians and other English-speaking nationalities. Everybody was very congenial and friendly. Some of the passengers had sailed on Aegean Odyssey previously and said the food and service had improved since last season. I would guess that the average age was 65. My cabin was very comfortable (except for the horrible foam rubber pillows). Plenty of hangers and a good size bureau, as well as more drawers and a nice-size safe in the closet. My cabin steward was excellent and took wonderful care of me. I had 2 windows with life boats in front of both of them. Not a problem. At least I could see if it was sunny or not outside! I had one of the 16 single cabins with a bed big enough for me (somewhere between a normal single and double bed mattress). The Standard and Premium cabins all seem to have 2 tiny twin beds (smaller than normal size twin beds) that do not go together. There were some large people on the ship and I don't know how they were able to sleep in those small beds without falling out! Some of the Deluxe cabins have very nice queen beds. The Standard and Premium cabins have no-name toiletries and the Deluxe cabins have Moulton Brown toiletries. Being an old ship, the air conditioning in the cabins is rather unusual and tempremental. There is no thermostat on the wall. There is a dial on the vent on the cabin ceiling that you turn to supposedly open or close the damper to change the room temperature. Well, sometimes that worked and sometimes it didn't. The air conditioning vent could also be very noisy. I was told by a couple who were in a cabin on the top passenger deck (Lido Deck) who sailed on the ship last year that the air conditioning did not work hardly at all and the staff brought them a fan to try to cool the room down. My cabin shower was small but larger than some other ships (such as the old Renaissance Cruise Line ships that now sail for Azamara, Princess and Oceania). The Deluxe cabins have larger showers or tub/shower combos. There was an occasional lack of really hot water when many people were showering at the same time but I did not find that to be a problem. Entertainment on the Aegean Odyssey was very limited. There was a fantastic piano player (Stacy) and a classical trio (the Cafe Concerto trio) that alternated musical sets in one of the lounges. There were lectures most days or evenings from the historians/lecturers onboard and one game of "Name that Tune". There was no trivia, dance classes, art auctions or any of the usual shipboard activities. We were so busy with the shore excursions on this port-intensive itinerary cruise that there really wasn't too much time for any activities anyway. There was a well stocked library onboard and I read a number of books. With this older passenger group I think that most people went to bed quite early. I know I did! The shore excursions were mostly included and amazing!!!! I never walked so much in my life nor saw so many temple ruins or cathedrals. Thank goodness the weather was in the 70s most of the trip! If it was any hotter it could have been a problem (at least for me) since much of what we saw was outside with little or no shade and few places to sit down. The passengers were all divided into colored groups (red, yellow, green, blue, orange and purple) and these were the groups that we toured with the entire time. The colors were also rotated so that each color group got to go on a tour first at least once. The big tour buses were all very comfortable and air conditioned and held maybe 30 or so people. We had a shore excursions staff member with us on almost all of the tours and those kids were wonderful. Knowledgeable, friendly, personable, fit and helpful. They kept track of the group and would help the slower members of the tour group (the people with canes or walking difficulties of which there seemed to be quiet a few) keep up. They also carried a huge tote bag with filled with first aid kit, bottles of water, extra Quietvoxes (the amazing listening devices that allowed us to hear our guide even when we were wandering off taking photos or whatnot) and who knows what else in their magic tote bags.I was very fortunate that all of my tour guides were excellent. I heard a couple of comments from other passengers who were in different tour groups that their guides in Palermo were not the best, but that was very unusual. Just about everybody seemed to be very happy with all of their tour guides. There was a LOT of walking on all of the tours. Truthfully I don't know how some of the passengers did it. Much walking on cobblestones and other uneven surfaces, stairs (oh, MANY stairs!) and hills. I never walked so much in my life! But I was very proud of myself (I am not in the best physical shape and would be the first to admit it!) that I was able to do all of the tours and keep up. Be warned - you will get A LOT of exercise on this cruise!! We had to tender in 4 of the smaller ports which held things up a bit, but with only 200 passengers tendering generally was quick and efficient. In closing, this was one of the best cruises I have ever taken. It was certainly a completely different experience than most cruise lines offer. The ports of call, shore excursions, passengers, crew, staff and food were excelllent and I would definitely recommend it to anybody who is interested in the history and culture of the classical world. Certainly the price is higher than many other cruises, but the value received (including selected shore excursions, in-depth lecture program, nice small ship with no lines, wine with dinner, gratuities and bottled water) makes it well worth the money. I am looking forward to my next cruise on the Aegean Odyssey. Hope to see you there! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2011
My husband and i traveled with a friend and her sister on the May 7 2011 cruise to Greece and turkey. We had cruised once previously to Alaska on a large Princess ship. Although we enjoyed Alaska, we were not fans of the huge glitzy cruise ... Read More
My husband and i traveled with a friend and her sister on the May 7 2011 cruise to Greece and turkey. We had cruised once previously to Alaska on a large Princess ship. Although we enjoyed Alaska, we were not fans of the huge glitzy cruise ship with the lines and waiting. I discovered Voyages to Antiquity searching the internet and noted there were some uneven evaluations. But the concept of the small cruise ship fascinated us and, although our professions are in mechanical engineering and nursing, my husband and I are both amateur historians. May is a fabulous time to cruise the Mediterranean! It was warm yet not hot and the wild flowers were in bloom. It was not yet peak season, although the shore excursion sites were already busy. Our cruise started with two nights in a hotel in Athens. There are two hotels used. We booked an inexpensive inside room on the ship and were placed in the less expensive hotel-I believe the name was the "Intercontinental Hotel." Persons booked in the suites on board ship stay at a more expensive hotel. We were pleasantly surprised by how nice the hotel was. We had a large room with a king sized bed and a sitting area with a sofa and chair. It was very clean and had a fabulous morning breakfast buffet included. Voyages to Antiquity staffed a desk in the lobby for 12 hours a day where very pleasant staff offered maps and advice on how to plan for meals and excursions on our own. They sent us to a delightful and inexpensive taverna just a short walk from the hotel. (The hotel meals were very expensive.) Included was a tour to the Acropolis and the forum. Try to visit some of the smaller museums in Athens on your own-they were fabulous. Boarding the ship was efficient and well organized-like all of our experiences with this cruise line! We had booked a less expensive inside cabin which we were thoroughly satisfied with. The beds cannot be pushed together to form one large bed and they are smaller than a twin. But they were comfortable. There was air conditioning in the ceiling which I ran because I am hot all the time. It worked well but it was May and not that hot out anyway. The bathroom was adequately sized and clean. The pleasant cabin steward was always available and made sure we had everything we needed. Laudry service was available and a bit expensive. For example a shirt was $3 and slacks $4 each. We had brought soap and did undies and t shirts in the bathroom sink. The food was great-fresh and well prepared. Much better than what we had on our Princess ship. The Marco Polo dining room was more formal and required a jacket for men (although I noted the dress code became less formal as the cruise went on.) We had most meals in the Terrace buffet which had inside and outdoor seating and was informal. Most meals had three main choices to choose from. there was lots of well prepared and fresh fish. Every meal also had a pasta dish and delicious pizzas. There were piles of fruit and salads. All of us were very pleased with the food. Wine and beer are included (free) at dinner. My husband's only suggestion was that they should increase their choice of beers-all they had was Becks, Corona and Bud Light. (Be sure and try the Mythos beer in Greece!) Shore excursions were spectacular! Voyages to Antiquity contracts with excursion providers in each port. When the call was made to depart for the days excursions, the buses would be lined up and waiting for us. Each group had a tour leader/guide. In general they were good except I had difficulty understanding many of the Greek guides because of their accents and the fact they tend to talk fast The ship gives you an audiovox system to hear the guides with and it was helpful but not perfect. Our particular tour visited fascinating and beautiful destinations. Monemvasia in Greece was beautiful as was our optional trip to the medieval Byzantine town of Mystas. The island of Delos was fascinating with the May flowers blooming amidst the Greek and Roman ruins of the city. The medieval town area in Rhodes was great also. In Turkey we visited Ephesus and Aprodisias. walking the streets of a these Greek/Roman cities was an unforgettable experience. And to our surprise we loved Istanbul! We are not usually "city people" but this was a fascinating and truly exotic place. We thought this trip was an excellent value. When you first look at the price it seems high-but when you factor in the comfort of small ship cruising, the excellent service, the organization (no lines!), outstanding food and the fact that almost all the shore excursions were included in the price, and the high quality pre-cruise hotel you realize it really is a great value. There are a few things I would like to see improved. As mentioned, my husband thought the beer selection was fair at best. Also, many excursions were too short-we would be brought to a fascinating place and would be back on the bus in 2-3 hours. I would rather have spent more time in every place we visited. But the cruise line seems to book 1/2 day shore excursions and bus travel time eats into what is available. Also, there is no time to shop. Please note I am NOT a big shopper-but everyone needs to pick up T shirts foe the kids etc. There was very little time allowed. We would be hurried past vendors to get to the buses while I would have loved 20 minutes to peruse their wares. We asked to be brought to the famous Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. The bus dropped us off and we were told 30 minutes! Hardly time to experience what it is like. One other issue we noted is that the service in the Terrace Grill buffet dining area could be uneven. Sometimes you would be approached quickly and offered beer or wine and others times you would not be noticed very quickly. Some times they would bring around pizza slices to offer and other days they never reached you. The wait staff was pleasant but service was just a bit uneven. One thing to keep in mind is that this cruise line attracts an older clientele. My husband and I are in our late 50s. I would guess the average age is between 65 and 70. There were a few young couples and a smattering of teens and 20 somethings that were cruising in a family group. But this is an older and sedate crowd. If you like to spend evenings reading, listening to 45 minute lectures on history presented by college professors, chatting with new friends, listening to a string trio playing in the lounge or a pianist crooning out the top sounds of the 1950s and show tunes etc, you will love this ship. If you want to drink hard and party at the disco-this cruise line is not for you! But, we absolutely loved our cruise. We have already ordered the 2012 brochure and are picking out a cruise for next year. I think that is the best indicator of how much we enjoyed this cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2010
For someone very picky, I rather enjoyed myself on this cruise. Stateroom with balcony was spacious and well-thought-out. Our guy, Rodolfo, was charming and always available. Staff at the desk were patient and helpful (why can't the ... Read More
For someone very picky, I rather enjoyed myself on this cruise. Stateroom with balcony was spacious and well-thought-out. Our guy, Rodolfo, was charming and always available. Staff at the desk were patient and helpful (why can't the space be redesigned so they don't have to stand all day?). For the most part, the waiters in Marco Polo dining room were super-sweet and accommodating. Wine poured freely and even the champagne was delicious. The tours were exciting, if often trying. Really, the pace set in Cairo and Luxor was a Litmus test to see if one we up to snuff. I have to say that I was surprised by some of the passengers that signed up for this cruise: obese, sedentary, with serious physical disabilities (one woman had such swollen legs that she barely could shuffle along). Voyages to Antijquity were more than generous and some of their decisions were surprisingly commendable. Leaving the ship in Athens was orchestrated to the point of being coddled: we were escorted through, luggage organized with a porter, a taxi waiting to whisk us to our hotel. However, there are a few areas that could be improved. The lecturers were boring, monotoned and worst of all simplistic. For the most part, a subject was covered after, not before we visited a site. I thought that I would learn something but didn't. Doesn't queen Zenobia deserve her own half-hour talk, rather than the topic being dumbed down to include a slew of women? The lecturer on St. Catherine's Monastery had never been there and knew as much or as little as everyone else. Since the televisions barely worked -- lots of excuses about satellite reception in port or out of port -- it would have been nice to reprint the lead news stories of the day for the Library instead of useless and frustrating headlines only. Also the daily bulletin could have been used better to dispense real information. Or even better, more details could be included in the packet before the cruise. Such as the need to bring scads of little monies,especially dollars for tips everywhere. Also such need-to-know things as not to throw toilet paper down into most of these country's fragile waste systems. And maybe a local currency converter. The only tour that I wasn't pleased with was Palmyra. Hotel Dedeman was difficult. Everywhere else put water on our tables -- they tried to charge half the people. Wakeup calls ordered for all at 6:30 were ridiculous for an 8:30 departure, as there was no packing to speak of. Also, the site didn't open until 9, so we were told to sit on the bus -- and had a 4-hour morning trek in the desert without any water. Why have all six buses follow the same route? Wouldn't it be a better experience to rotate the timetable, so that one would start at the Temple of Baal while another would visit a different ruin? Also, I wish that the route to Baalbek had taken us through the center of Beirut so we could have seen it. I understand that next season remedies that with an overnight in Beirut and a trip along the coast to Byblos. Another wish would be to spend more time in the local museums, such as in Aleppo. The one in Palmyra luckily stayed open for us, as we arrived late. And we went alone to the fantastic one in Antalya, thank goodness, as we understood that the group who signed up for the optional tour including a stop at that museum found it to be too rushed. One really thoughtful gesture on the V2A part was the availability of shuttle buses with lively local guides, especially one named Huzur who informed us that the museum only accepted Turkish lira and changed a Euro note for us out of his own pocket. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2010
This was our first cruise of this duration, and our first visit to the Eastern Mediterranean area. We were very pleased with all aspects of the cruise - the ship was as nice as it looked online, the food and service were excellent, and the ... Read More
This was our first cruise of this duration, and our first visit to the Eastern Mediterranean area. We were very pleased with all aspects of the cruise - the ship was as nice as it looked online, the food and service were excellent, and the itinerary was extremely interesting and enjoyable. Our package included flights from the US, and it would have been nice to not have had to make a connection, but we were not able to obtain direct flights, even though they were available from and to our home airport. Our transfer from the Athens airport to the ship was smooth, and we were taken to a hospitality room at a hotel until we could board the ship. Luggage handling was very good, and our luggage was delivered to our cabin promptly. Our cabin was Standard Outside, with only a porthole, located quite forward in the ship. It was not very large, but it was comfortable. We were on the Columbus deck (4), and could hear the sound of the water quite a bit. If we were to travel on the Aegean Odyssey again, we would probably prefer a cabin on a higher deck. Our steward service was excellent, and the service in the two restaurants was always friendly and prompt. We preferred the Marco Polo restaurant on deck 3 for dinner, and thought that the food was very good. We also used the Fitness Center, and found it to be nicely equipped. All of the public areas of the ship are attractive. The internet service was reliable and reasonable in cost, and the internet room included 6 computers available 24 hours/day. Our cruise included a series of lectures concerning the history, geology, and culture of the areas which we were visiting, and all of the lecturers were very good. There was also a music program which included concerts, dance music, and cocktail music, and the musicians were all of excellent quality. The shore excursions were all very good, and kept us very busy throughout the course of the cruise. The local guides were all very informative and spoke excellent English. The excursion experience was enhanced by the use of QuietVox transmitters and receivers which enabled us to hear the guides in the course of the tour through earpieces. The boxes worked well and were a big improvement over having to keep so close to the guide or asking him or her to speak louder. All of the excursions had ratings indicating the difficulty or amount of walking, and the ratings were reasonable. Some of the tours involved a considerable amount of walking, but anyone wishing not to do so was always able to sit and wait in an area for the group to return. Disembarkation went very smoothly, although our ride from Piraeus to the airport took quite a while, perhaps due to detours caused by concern over truck demonstrations. I would recommend this ship and the Light of Greece itinerary to anyone who is interested in seeing some beautiful and historic sights in Greece and Turkey. We thoroughly enjoyed it. Ports which we visited for excursions which do not appear on the list below included the following. Nauplia - we went to the Tomb of Atreus and the Citadel of Mycenae in the morning, and then went to the Sanctuary of Aesclepius at Epidaurus. The latter included a 15000-seat theater. All of the sights were excellent. Monemvasia - this is a delightful walled city, with narrow winding streets, nice shops and restaurants, and beautiful views of the sea and the surrounding cliffs. We enjoyed the visit there very much. Samos - we visited the Archaeological Museum, a winery, and the ruins of the Temple of Thera. The views of the island were very pretty to and from these sights. Kusadasi - we had a half-day excursion to Ephesus and a full-day excursion to Aphrodisias. Both of these were spectacular, especially the ruins of the Roman condominium at Ephesus. The scenery en route and returning from Aphrodisias was very interesting - mountains and fields of citrus, cotton, olive groves, and other crops. Turkey looked very nice. Cannakale - we had excursions to Troy and to Gallipoli, and both were very good. The ferry ride over to the Gallipoli peninsula was an interesting experience - avoid using the WC under any circumstance, if at all possible! It was awful! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2010
Flights and Embarkation: We were pleased with our requested Lufthansa flights, timely transfers and speedy delivery of bags. Cabin: We were in the smallest class which was adequate for two. The bathroom was spacious with the shelf below. ... Read More
Flights and Embarkation: We were pleased with our requested Lufthansa flights, timely transfers and speedy delivery of bags. Cabin: We were in the smallest class which was adequate for two. The bathroom was spacious with the shelf below. Recommend you bring some washing soap and clothespins as I think everyone did some hand washing. Cabins were very quiet and stable. We were on the gangway deck #4, but didn't notice any problem with offloading noise. If you are on deck #5 you might not want to be near the internet room which is open 24hrs.Room Steward was great. Telephone directories were being redesigned so we never got one. Dining Rooms: We found the Marco Polo had more gourmet food, but we preferred the views and atmosphere of the open deck of the Terrace Buffet. The sunsets were incredible and our new friends all ate there. Our waiters, Henry and Harun were anticipating our preferences by the third night. Food was mostly good, slightly repetitive by second week. Liked wines. Excursions: Well organized, good local guides, wish we could have had some more time. Some were abbreviated because of delayed arrival in port. Delos missed because of rough seas. Only took included tours as we wanted time for local atmosphere and the Beach! Managed to get to Pireaus beach near harbor. Monemvasia beach across from harbor. Rhodes Elli Beach. Agia Nicolias, Crete along Promenade. Kusadasi Ladies Beach and Skithios on edge of harbor. Must admit I skipped one whole day trip in Kusadasi. Ship Amenities: Found the ship spotless and easy to navigate. Plenty of room to be with friends or find quiet area. Library was well stocked. We enjoyed band and concerts. Spa and gym popular. Internet rates very reasonable, sometimes a wait for terminal. Office staff helpful and especially liked exchanging money on board. Lecturers were outstanding and mixed easily with passengers. Passengers were all interested in history, literature and archaeology of area. Summary: I would recommend "Voyages to Antiquity" to any lover of history and literature. The itineraries are well planned and we wish them success in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2010
We had taken a previous "Voyage to Antiquity" in June when the ship and itinerary were still quite new. There were several complaints from passengers on that cruise. Since then, however, the quality of the food,logistics in ... Read More
We had taken a previous "Voyage to Antiquity" in June when the ship and itinerary were still quite new. There were several complaints from passengers on that cruise. Since then, however, the quality of the food,logistics in getting on and off the boat, power problems, plumbing and air conditioning all seem to have improved a great deal. Embarkation was quick and easy with the luggage arriving promptly. The ship was very clean with no musty odors as had occurred in June. The ship's dining facilities were adequately staffed with extremely friendly waitstaff who kept our wine glasses full during dinner with very good quality wines (included in the price of the voyage). We preferred the casual Terrace Cafe to the Marco Polo dining room and ate all but 2 of our meals there. The weather was absolutely beautiful the whole time (until the last day when it rained), so we preferred to eat outside on the Terrace Cafe deck. The food, while better than last trip, was still inconsistent in quality. We had several soups and fish dishes that were excellent, however. The Marco Polo dining room is on the lower deck and has no windows, so seems dark and closed in to me. Plus, I didn't feel the quality of the food was any better than the Terrace Cafe the few times we ate there. The ship's library is outstanding with great selection of books appropriate to the theme of the voyage...history and archaeology of classical civilizations. There were several lectures geared to the sites we were visiting as well as general history and geography of the area. Most of the lectures were quite informative and interesting. The shore excursions (also included in the price), included (mostly) excellent local English-speaking guides. A couple included lunch at local restaurants, which were very nice. Our accommodations were spacious and included a balcony, great for viewing a smoking volcano (Stromboli) as we sailed on our way to the Amalfi Coast from Sicily. A mini fridge included water and soft drinks, plus a bottle of Epernay champagne (very good!). There is no clock in the staterooms, so be sure to bring your own or turn on the TV where the ship's channel has the time. In the bathroom, the shower seemed to leak as puddles of water soaked the bath mat just about every time a shower was taken. High quality, but not a luxury ship, we felt overall, this is great value for the experience gained. Though it does not have big show-style entertainment, casinos,children's facilities or big spa/gym facilities that other larger cruise lines have, it is a great trip for those who appreciate what it does offer: a caring crew, clean facilities and accommodations, and really great educational, interesting itineraries with lectures and shore excursions to match. We would definitely consider another "Voyage to Antiquity". Read Less
Sail Date: August 2010
The MV Aegean odyssey is a small ship that recently entered service after a major refitting. because it's small it doesn't have some of the amenities of larger ships (casino, shows, etc.). I would characterize it as a 3 star ... Read More
The MV Aegean odyssey is a small ship that recently entered service after a major refitting. because it's small it doesn't have some of the amenities of larger ships (casino, shows, etc.). I would characterize it as a 3 star (bordering on 4 star) cruise. The ship supports the "voyages to Antiquity" program whereby a pleasant cruise is made marvellous by the inclusion of top-notch excursion and wonderful lecturers. We sailed from Rome to Sorrento, to Paestum, all around Sicily (6 nights), up the Dalmatian coast of Croatia (Split and Dubrovnik) and disembarked in Venice. The ship was very comfortable and the entertainers (piano, chamber music) were first rate. the lecturers were superb. The food on-board was OK. Wine (as much as you wanted) was included with dinner. Prices on-board the ship (drinks, laundry, Internet) were very reasonable. A substantial number of rooms had two single beds (that couldn't be pushed together). That was less than perfect for couples. The staff could not have been any better. They took every opportunity to make our trip pleasant and our days enjoyable. The excursions were included as part of the cruise. They were very good (while, as good as a tour with, say, 30 people can be). The cruise was an incredible value. I don't know how they were able to provide everything that the cruise included (airfare from Naorth AMerica, meals, accomodation, wine, excursions) for the price they charged. It was great value for the money. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2010
My eldest daughter, Sarah Saunders, a chef and lecturer on historical and contemporary food subjects, surprised me with her invitation to join her on the Aegean Odyssey cruise around the coast of Italy, Sicily and Croatia this August. I ... Read More
My eldest daughter, Sarah Saunders, a chef and lecturer on historical and contemporary food subjects, surprised me with her invitation to join her on the Aegean Odyssey cruise around the coast of Italy, Sicily and Croatia this August. I discovered the special pleasure of listening to Sarah and the other terrific lecturers which stretched both my brain and imagination. We visited classical sites early in the morning to beat the crowds led by well informed local guides and I met many interesting passengers from around the world. Delicious meals were both informal and formal, local wine was always plentiful and all the staff were incredibly attentive and charming. We even discovered mutual friends of Felice, the Italian chef on board, who ran the hotel we stayed in for many years near his home-town in Italy. As a result of his on-deck fish demonstration with Sarah, I can now prepare and cook a huge sea bass with complete confidence! Sunbathing with a book by the pool, daily swims in fresh sea water and a surprise birthday dinner on board with new friends all made this the best possible mother and daughter holiday. I will cherish late night chats in our cabin about our experiences at sea and my maiden voyage in the cruise world and I congratulate all those who worked so hard to make our trip such a total success! This small 21st century cruise ship which offers every creature comfort plus entertaining talks about the history and culture of classical sites, with occasional trips to food markets and practical demonstrations of local culinary arts, is in my view a most refreshing and important contribution to intelligent 21st century tourism! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2010
The mid-size 550-passenger MV Aegean Odyssey's exterior is pleasingly sleek, white with a navy stripe with Neptune's trident in gold as her symbol. Completely rebuilt in Piraeus Greece she once plied the Aegean as a ferry before ... Read More
The mid-size 550-passenger MV Aegean Odyssey's exterior is pleasingly sleek, white with a navy stripe with Neptune's trident in gold as her symbol. Completely rebuilt in Piraeus Greece she once plied the Aegean as a ferry before being reinvented in 2010 as a tonic for those fascinated with the art, archeology and culture of classical civilizations. What she proves to be with her personal service and just right size is an antidote to the large ship experience with their endless queues, cafeteria type noshing, noisy children and forced onboard activities. The brain and chairman behind this exciting venture is, not surprisingly, Gerry Herrod well-loved by independent travelers for his adventurous seafaring spirit embodied in the Marco Polo, the ship that pioneered explorations in Antarctica and the Ocean Pearl, which exclusively plied the exotic Far East. He consistently brings to cruisers a valuable and novel travel experience. Registered in Valetta Malta (after some red tape with the previous Greek registration) the reinvented Aegean Odyssey sailed from Piraeus for its inaugural cruise THE LIGHT OF GREECE on May 4, 2010. Summer voyages will see the Mediterranean, Aegean and Adriatic. Beginning this autumn she sails to North Africa the Red Sea and in the Eastern Mediterranean. The ports of call chosen by Herrod and vetted by Lord Norwich are a fascination as are some of the included tours. This review is written from my experience on the SICILY IS THE KEY TO EVERYTHING itinerary, the second in a series of voyages aptly titled VOYAGES TO ANTIQUITY. Although my husband and myself are rank novices where ancient history is concerned we admire the concept and fascination that it holds and here is where the Aegean Odyssey stands tall. The Aegean Odyssey takes 'firsts' in this hallowed department with her line up of lectures by renowned archeologists, writers and professors such as the celebrated Lord John Julius Norwich. Norwich is author of the fascinating tome The Middle Sea about the Eastern and Central Mediterranean. Her library should be the envy of all ships including the luxury vessels that have more space. The Aegean Odyssey's library faultlessly imparts a compelling sense of place, an integral ingredient to the enjoyment of foreign travel. There are archaeology, history and art books galore with a raft of titles (travelogue and fiction) set in the ports of call. This includes modern detective fiction (Andrea Camilleri's Inspector Montalbane among others) for those in a lighter frame of mind. Hard to find fiction such as the scandalous South Island by Norman Douglas first published in 1917 with an introduction by Jan Morris winks from the shelves. So do travelogues from famous names throughout the century such as Jan Morris, Norman Lewis, Evelyn Waugh and Charles Dickens. All in all the collection of books will thrill all whose eyes rove her shelves. But is a cultural cruise enough to make a memorable and stress relieving holiday? To let you know, I have been a travel writer for thirty years but took this cruise as a paying passenger as I wanted to sample the cruise as a guest. I was lured by that peripatetic occupation as a child of ten when my family sailed the Med on the MS Europa. There, swinging my feet and losing one shoe overboard, I filled my leisure time in a deck chair while chronicling my experiences in my school notebook. Since then I have professionally penned stories for books, magazines and the Internet. So, for one as spoiled for travel as I am: the answer is an emphatic No. Just culture is not quite enough. My mandate: Sleep well, eat well, be comfortable and bring home memories of experiences as unlike home as possible. The choosing of a cruise (for me) encompasses the following: A small to mid size ship with outstanding and unusual ports of call paired with onboard creature comforts. Our cruise complies. The spacious stateroom with balcony (we chose to pay the price) is quiet. We sleep like babies in our gentle sea cradle (two stabilizers) on quality Linea Strom mattress with high thread count bed linen. A bath tub in our stateroom (only with some balcony staterooms) is a definite plus. Dining and lounge chairs in public rooms with good back support ensure leisurely meals and pre and postprandial drinks. The two comfortable bars with live music are well stocked with premium liquors. To cap all this, the cuisine is excellent and like the books in that wonderful library suits the ports of call. At meals there is fresh produce and often meat and fish purveyed locally by the fussy for quality hotel manager and chef. The decks boast a decent sized outdoor pool, Jacuzzi, shady areas with comfortable loungers for quiet time and an outdoor dining area. The Aegean Odyssey has lovely wooden decking making it an aesthetically pleasing whole. Did I forget personal service? MS Aegean Odyssey doesn't. Concession Cruise Solutions provides all staff except for officers. Unusual though this may seem everything and everyman and woman is up to the mark including an Italian Master Chef whose cuisine beats five star Regent(except specialty restaurants) hands down. Italian hotel manager Maurie's deft hand runs the show. Reception takes care of guests' bidding with a smile. Her colorful brochure boasts a semi-inclusive cruise with tips, tours and wine with dinner. All good things. Regarding the total cruise experience (if you ask my opinion), I'd change the one seating dinner hour from an old persons' 6 to 8 pm to a more sophisticated 7 to 9 pm. I would have breakfast served until 10 am rather than rush to be seated with food by an early bird 8:30. I would insist on more than one choice of the inclusive red or white wine at dinner. As is any new product there are some new ship type glitches and these problems will be overcome. Tomorrow we disembark in lovely and classical Rome. And, as the old adage says "Rome wasn't built in a day." Read Less
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