Voyages to Antiquity

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Voyages to Antiquity Highlights

  • Mediterranean, Cuba and the Caribbean cruises with historical and cultural bent
  • Lots of onboard enrichment in the form of lectures
  • 378-passenger Aegean Odyssey is particularly singles-friendly
  • Most shore excursions and wine and beer at dinner are included
  • Voyages to Antiquity News: Voyages to Antiquity Reveals 2018 Programme, Including New Itineraries, Maiden Ports and More Single Cabins

Voyages to Antiquity Fleet (1)

The line purchased a single ship (the former Aegean I), which was built as a ferry in the early 1970's and renamed it Aegean Odyssey. Aegean I sailed most recently on charter (for the now-defunct Renaissance Cruises and others) but was laid-up for several years after a deal to send it to Louis Cruise Lines in 2005 fell apart.

A major refurbishment of the ship -- from cabins and public rooms to the galley and funnel -- cost three times more than the purchase price of the ship, according to Voyages' managing director, David Yellow. Aegean Odyssey's capacity was lowered from 570 to 378 by creating larger cabins via the combination of smaller cabins. An additional reconfiguration in early 2013 created 18 additional outside cabins by relocating the spa to replace 10 inside cabins.

Yellow says there are no plans to add other ships.

Onboard

One-ship line Voyages to Antiquity puts a huge emphasis on learning throughout each cruise -- guest lecturers play a big role in the cruise experience. Among those presenting the daily lectures are professors from great British universities, a former ambassador, historians and chefs. A frequent lecturer is historical author Lord John Julius Norwich, who helped plan the cruise line's itineraries.

Voyages to Antiquity is marketed as a "premium, small-ship product." The ambience is country-club chic: never dressy, never sloppy. The public address system is seldom used, other than for the captain's daily update. Gratuities are included in the basic fares, as are most excursions and wine and beer with dinner.

While lone cruise ship Aegean Odyssey has no casino or showroom, plenty of enrichment opportunities are available onboard. The entertainment is purposely low-key, usually just a string trio, a pop ensemble or a pianist playing show tunes -- no midnight comedy acts, no dance troupes, no bingo. Yet, the small library is filled with books on the ancient world, encouraging passengers to embrace education and enrichment on their cruise holidays. Facilities include a small swimming pool and a compact spa.

There is no assigned seating for meals, and the mainly Filipino waitstaff will remember your preferences. Dining venues include an open-seating dining room named Marco Polo and the Terrace Cafe and Grill -- a casual buffet restaurant with an alfresco section that's home to "Tapas on the Terrace." Afternoon tea is served in the Terrace Cafe, and hors d'oeuvres are offered during the late-afternoon cocktail hour and again after dinner in the Charleston Lounge, which also features musical performances.

Cabins range from 130 square feet (inside and outside cabins) to 550 square feet with balconies (Owner's Suites). There are 26 dedicated single cabins (4 inside, 20 outside and 2 balconies).

Fellow Passengers

Many of those onboard are former passengers of cruise line founder Gerry Herrod's earlier ventures, Orient Lines and Pearl Cruises. Because of the educational focus of Voyages to Antiquity itineraries, the passengers tend to be educated, intelligent and curious. Generally, these discerning travelers are well-to-do, older than 50 and speak English as their native language. Voyages to Antiquity cruises are marketed in the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Australia.
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