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.
- 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.