Well, we have been home just 5 days and I can report that our " Grand Tour to S.E Asia " on the Aegean Odyssey was great.
Firstly, the ship itself was modern, spotlessly clean and just the right size to get to meet people.
Our cabin, which was an outside deluxe , had a little balcony. It wasn't classed as a 'concierge" class, but is only one of two on board of the the class down that has a balcony..We still had a fridge that was replenished with soft drinks and water everyday, 2 bottles of Champagne and petite fours on arrival and also half way through the trip again. Our cabin attendant Rex was a meticulous and cheerful guy who looked after us very well.
The cabin was bright, cheerful and roomy and having the balcony was fantastic ( great for hanging washing) .We are not good sleepers, so many hours were spent out there watching the fishing boats slide by at night,
On board were 2 eating areas..one had an inside and outside area. This terrace cafe was the one most favoured by the guests. There's nothing better than dining out the back with new friends watching the sun set , or looking at the locals busy about their work just off board.
The Marco Polo downstairs was a nice venue also that served pretty much the same food, but the stewards served it to you .You did tend to dress a little smarter down there, some very much so, but it wasn't necessary.Its a great place to go if you've overindulged upstairs at the buffet ...
The food was a;ways very nice with plenty of variety and the provided wines were drinkable.
There are a number of places to go just to sit and read or chat, with the Charlestown lounge the most popular.
Bridge was being played most days at the Observation lounge upstairs. There were lots of deck chairs all around the ship so there was none of that CHAIR HOGGING that you find on the other cruises.
There's a lovely little shop with all sorts of goodies to buy. It always seemed to be open at meal times, which meant we always popped our heads in on the way to eat and ended up buying something that I'm sure was necessary.
There's a well stocked library that had mini newspapers printed every day which was great because TV reception out to sea was poor.
One point I would make was that every day they ran 3 or 4 DVDs through the TV. They were pretty old and a lot of the time the quality was so poor that you couldn't hear them. Or someone forgot to press PLAY and they just stayed in the one position for hours. Also as we were on 2 cruises back to back to make the "grand tour" , they played the same movies in the second half as they did in the first half. DVDs are so cheap these days, it would be very easy to improve their library. As I thought the music played each night was a little old for me, I was more than happy to lie on my bed and read or watch a movie...only to be disappointed.
All the staff were very friendly and helpful. We had the usual bunch that didn't listen at the daily briefings and asked all sorts of stupid questions , but the staff were endlessly patient..
The excursions were well run and very efficient ..Its great being on the smaller ship , you are off the ship and on the buses in no time...none of this waiting around for hours like the huge ships. We were in colour groups and pretty much stayed with the same lot the whole trip, so you knew your group pretty well by the end of the month.
The pre and post cruise accommodations and activities were absolutely first class..5 star hotels all the way. we thoroughly enjoyed our hotels in Bangkok and Siem Reap. We couldn't have asked for better.
EXCURSIONS..Have you heard of the ABC tours ? ( Another Bloody Cathedral) . Well this was a little like this.Only this was ABB ,Another Bloody Buddha. We hadn't been to S.E.Asia before, but found that all the countries were pretty similar. It could be because we were seeing the same things in each country. Buddhas,museums,temples,water villages,pagodas and markets. After a while, towards the end, some people preferred to stay on the bus and snooze rather than get out for the same thing. It wasn't bad, but a bit repetitive. As it was a VOYAGE TO ANTIQUITY, NOT VOYAGES TO SHOPPING MALLS AND BEACHES, I suppose it was only to be expected.
Our best excursion was one we organised ourselves to see the Orangutans at Kota Kinabalu. Was very surprised that VTA didn't do this and more guests were cross after we told them of our great day.
Next best was to Angkor Wat..A fantastic place and the magnificent hotel to return to,made for a great day.
Was disappointed at how dirty a lot of the countries were. Our world will be swallowed up by plastic water bottles, that are strewn everywhere. Burma in particular was a filthy place with obvious poverty and starving dogs everywhere. It did have some lovely things to see, but I was left with a sense of sadness about the place. But that's just my impression.
The jacuzzi had disappeared from the ship, hopefully that will be returned.. The pool was hardly filled in the second half of the trip due to the swell. Christmas and New year were quiet on board due to the numbers of guests in their cabins with sea sickness.
Overall. loved the boat..VTA seems to have dealt with all the prior concerns that had been brought up at forums such as this. I never met anyone on boat that was unhappy..It was a great trip that I would do again in a heartbeat. Obviously doing something right as the ship was full of return clientele.
Missing ports of call.
Phuket...seemed nice enough..did a longtail boat ride around islands.
Yangon ,Myanmar. Saw some great things , but disappointed in the place as a whole.
Penang. Just a city drive, museums etc. seemed a nice cleaner place.
Mallaca. As Above
Brunei ..Very modern areas, big modern buildings and mosques for the king, some poor areas. huge housing suburbs being built..
Kota Kinabalu..Liked this little town. nice beaches, some modern buildings. typical stinking markets. Fantastic Orangutan sanctuary
Nga Trang. city tour again. usual museums, temples etc but lovely beaches too. looked nice
Sihanoukville..city tour.. and beaches.. looked nice.. very poor area.
Siem Reap..enjoyed these two days.. new hotels everywhere, great temples, different to all other places visited. very enjoyable.