1. Home
  2. Cruise Destinations
  3. Baltic Sea Cruises
  4. Baltic Sea Cruise Reviews

16 Athens (Piraeus) to Baltic Sea Cruise Reviews

Starting with the boarding on the ship. When we arrived at the harbour of Athens we were very friendly welcomed an taken care off. Checking in procedures were very smooth. It only took 3 minutes from our taxi to the ship. Than we entered ... Read More
Starting with the boarding on the ship. When we arrived at the harbour of Athens we were very friendly welcomed an taken care off. Checking in procedures were very smooth. It only took 3 minutes from our taxi to the ship. Than we entered our veranda suite on deck 7. We were pleasantly surprised by the size and the look and feel off the suite. A bathroom with a separate bath tub and shower. Enough room for our clothes and belongings. And a nice sitting area. Our stewardess came to introduce herself and during our trip she was very helpfull. The experience on board in the fullest sense of speaking was great. The attention off the staff, the quality off the food and the surroundings of the ship were magnificent. We are experienced and demanding world travelers and this experience belongs to the best we have ever seen. We liked it so much that we already booked another cruise with the Encore. The excursions were so-so. Some off them were great some of them not. The in-room dinning experience was also below what you might expect of it. Overall it definitely was great and as indicated allready we go for a next time. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I picked Seabourn because I was told the service was outstanding. If anything, that understates the service. I never had anything less that a totally perfect service from any employee. If I was picky, I would note that caviar took 25 ... Read More
I picked Seabourn because I was told the service was outstanding. If anything, that understates the service. I never had anything less that a totally perfect service from any employee. If I was picky, I would note that caviar took 25 minutes to show up one night, and that I had already finished my first martini before it arrived. That is hardly anything to complain about. I was disappointed in the quality of the food in the colonade one night, and in the quality of the service in the Restaurant one morning at breakfast. Overall, however, food was outstanding. About the embarkation. We were on the 10th floor. We entered the boat, as did everyone else, on the aft side. The greeter told us to take the elevator to the 10th floor. The problem is that the aft elevator doesn't go there. Right when we were entering and did not know our way around the ship, we got bad instructions. If they won't let 10th floor guests enter in the front, they should let us know how to get there. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
I'm on board Odyssey right now in week 4 of a 5 week cruise. We've sailed on most of the major cruise lines and there are so many ways Seabourn excels its hard to describe. Just try them, you simply can't lose. The service ... Read More
I'm on board Odyssey right now in week 4 of a 5 week cruise. We've sailed on most of the major cruise lines and there are so many ways Seabourn excels its hard to describe. Just try them, you simply can't lose. The service is great and the staff excellent. Being all inclusive means no chits, no "may I have your keycard" constantly. Other lines may offer drink packages, but you and the bar staff are still passing back and forth cards, receipts etc. The ambience is totally different when all that nickel and diming stuff goes away. Throw in more like hosted dinner tables, staff who actually know your name, remember your favorite drinks, previews of the next day's dinner menus delivered to your room etc. And stuff like no ship's photographer in your face all the time, almost no announcements all day long for Bingo, art auctions, pool games, and (usually) no, or almost no kids Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We flew into Athens the day before departure, and boarded the ship around 4 pm on departure day. Embarkation process was smooth, except that when we got on the ship, the elevator we were sent to only went to the 9th floor and our suite ... Read More
We flew into Athens the day before departure, and boarded the ship around 4 pm on departure day. Embarkation process was smooth, except that when we got on the ship, the elevator we were sent to only went to the 9th floor and our suite was on the 10th floor. As relatively "newbie" cruisers, some explanation of where to go to access the correct elevator would have been helpful, but we did figure it out. The Odyssey is a lovely ship, well maintained and comfortable common areas through out. Our Penthouse Suite was surprisingly spacious. Plenty of closet and drawer space, double sinks in the bathroom. Shower stall is a bit cramped but adequate. The bed was incredibly comfortable. Room temperature was always just right. Seabourn is particularly known for its dedication to top-notch service, and that is certainly what we experienced. Every member of the staff seemed to go out of their way to provide whatever we wanted. The only service "complaints" I have are so petty I feel stupid to mention them. We particularly loved going to the Observation Bar for pre-dinner cocktails, and enjoyed the piano entertainment by Katy, plus nightly servings of caviar! We also loved the patio bar around the pool. Plenty of chairs around the pool, but sunny and shady for at-sea days or after returning to the ship from a port. Meals were excellent. Not to say that there wasn't the occasional "dud" course, but overall we loved the food. The Thomas Keller Grill is very special (I loved the veal chop!), and the Thomas Keller "theme" nights (one night ribs, one night fried chicken) were a lot of fun. On those nights, sharing tables was encouraged and meals were served family style. The nightly entertainment was a mixed bag. Some shows were really good. Some just "meh", but we didn't really care that much about seeing shows. We did enjoy the team trivia days, as well as the casino (which is small, but adequate). The only real negative about the cruise was the pathetic internet access. My husband and I each opted to buy 2 hours worth of access, figuring we could sign on, download email, and sign off. Sounded like a great idea, but often trying to download emails would take as long as 10 minutes. Most of the time, we just had to wait til we got to a port where we could access free WiFi or our cellular network. Plenty of people were frustrated with the slow internet speed. While we all like to "disconnect" to some degree, it is still necessary to be able to check in once a day. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Fantastic Cruise - did not disappoint on our journey to try all top luxury ships. Seabourn Odyssey is our 3rd luxury cruise and she did not let us down in any way, just ending too soon. The food was for a mixture of fine dining to casual ... Read More
Fantastic Cruise - did not disappoint on our journey to try all top luxury ships. Seabourn Odyssey is our 3rd luxury cruise and she did not let us down in any way, just ending too soon. The food was for a mixture of fine dining to casual grill. Pick up the phone and order whatever you like, and you will be presented with just that! A smaller ship with staff to passenger ratio almost one to one. The staff had a few characters that became your friends for the duration. What was most appealing, was in seeing the Captain walk around and chat to fellow passengers, I have never really seen that before, very friendly and part of the family. The suites were very large, largest we have experienced, with a great movie channel for when you just want to relax in your room. The shows were entertaining, but they did start late, around 9.45PM. Highly recommend this cruise, with many faces from all over the world and all aged different... Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We were so looking forward to sailing on the new ship as wehave done countless seabourn cruises, it's a beautiful ship but they are obviously cutting back, they did not have the staff to attend to customer needs and so the service was ... Read More
We were so looking forward to sailing on the new ship as wehave done countless seabourn cruises, it's a beautiful ship but they are obviously cutting back, they did not have the staff to attend to customer needs and so the service was apppaling in all areas, there were 6 of us onboard and all seabourn previous customers and not only we felt this but others did as well The pool area was like club med and you could never get a seat as people would put there towels down at 7 am and they were never removed, also people would walk in the ommo areas and the pool with their drinks, why when you can get a drink anywhere on this ship Bar areas you would wait 20 min for a drink and cabins not serviced well Seabourn lift you game as this was a major dissapointment and we will not sail on this ship again Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
After trying Holland America, Crystal and Silversea, we were a little hesitant to try Seabourn since our expectations weren't met on previous cruises. We were most pleasantly surprised by the service, the accommodations and most ... Read More
After trying Holland America, Crystal and Silversea, we were a little hesitant to try Seabourn since our expectations weren't met on previous cruises. We were most pleasantly surprised by the service, the accommodations and most importantly the food! Since Encore is a new ship there was no wear and tear in any of the public spaces or the beautiful Grand Wintergarden Suite. Since this was our first time on Seabourn Cruise Line we had no previous experience with which to compare so everything was a "first" for us. The public spaces were beautifully decorated; muted tones and no ostentatious glitter. Each time we used any of the lounges or the Seabourn Square there was never a feeling of crowds, which is important to us. We completely splurged and booked the Wintergarden Suite with the addition of the adjoining View Cabin for our adult daughter who was traveling with us. Our friend was also traveling with us in an Owner's Suite, so we used our cabin for meeting for appetizers before dinners. The cabin is designed so beautifully with space enough for two families! The bathroom was extravagant for a ship cabin; the tub being the highlight for me (arthritis problems melted away). The shower was large enough for my husband to move around comfortably (body bulder for many years) and there was so much space for our toiletries. The exciting part of the cabin was definitely the Jacuzzi tub on the closed-in deck. We used it a couple of times and found it to be a perfect place to relax after a strenuous excursion. We had our first meal in the Thomas Keller Restaurant which was a 5 star experience. The service was good (we did ask for our own choice of wines) and the evening was a perfect way to kick off the week. I had fish, my husband had chicken and our companions had beef and a vegetarian option. All food was cooked to perfection and the choices were adequate. You must have the sundae! What a splurge on calories, but so worth it ;) We also frequented the Colonnade; our favorite casual meal, although there was nothing "casual" about the food. Again, 5 star food in a buffet setting, amazing! The Patio Grill was another wonderful venue with food selection limited but delicious. We had another great meal in the Sushi Restaurant with some very innovative dishes served. The service in all dining venues was exemplary. I can't comment on the entertainment since we were exhausted most days and chose to get some sleep for the next day's activities. My husband did, however, frequent the Casino where he had a marvelous time meeting and chatting and playing with fellow guests. This was the only place on the entire ship that could have used some help; the couple running the Casino were less than agreeable and there were a few incidences while on board with a few disgruntled guests leaving. We went on 4 different excursions and while they were fun and informative, I found them to be not as dynamic as the excursions we have taken on Crystal. Also, there was usually at least 30 people on each excursion (usually more) and large buses were used; we preferred the small 10 - 12 person excursions Crystal arranged. It did not deter us from having fun with other guests and getting to know them while on tour, however. We did arrange for our own driver when we arrived in Amalfi, choosing to go where we wanted when we wanted and driving down to Positano (our favorite) and having a meal on the beach. In summary, this was our favorite cruise to date. The people on the ship, while very affluent and well-heeled, were the warmest and friendliest we have ever encountered on any ship and we made some very nice new friends. We could have chosen to focus on the very minor problems; our cabin stewardess was not well trained and we found out that there was a problem with visas for some crew members before our sailing so we had some crew who were not trained as properly as they should have been. The chaise lounge on the deck was constantly drenched each morning due to a design flaw; we were one floor down from pool deck so each morning the water from washing the deck would wet our deck and furniture. The stewardess was supposed to pull back the lounge pad each evening, but she was not trained to do this. It made for a soggy morning on the deck, but I used towels and sopped it up myself. We did complain to the Guest Relations Manager and he was very concerned and gave us onboard credit. I found all officers on board to be so accommodating and genuinely concerned about our experience. It made us feel as though we were a valued guest. We are already looking into our next cruise with Seabourn and hope it will live up to our expectations once again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
This was our first cruise ever so we did not know what to expect. Seabourn Encore more than lived up to our expectations. The ship is beautiful in an understated way, it is simple to be negotiate and never felt crowded or noisy. Our ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever so we did not know what to expect. Seabourn Encore more than lived up to our expectations. The ship is beautiful in an understated way, it is simple to be negotiate and never felt crowded or noisy. Our veranda suite on deck 7 was comfortable, a little more spacious than expected and very well designed with plenty of storage space and a lovely bathroom.The bed and pillows were very good quality and comfortable. All the staff were friendly and did their very best to make us feel pampered and welcome. Service was generally top notch, give or take the odd forgotten coffee order in the Colonnade at lunchtime, but we understood that everyone was really trying their best and relaxed into our holiday mode. Everyone we met on board, including the guests were respectful, quiet and polite. We enjoyed being able to sit where we liked to eat and loved the open air restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it was very special! The food choices were incredible! We preferred to eat breakfast and lunch at the Colonnade where the buffet choice was outstanding in quality and range. We tried the restaurant a few times, which was very good indeed and one night we ate at Thomas Keller where we loved the steak but felt maybe it was a bit overhyped or we expected too much! The entertainment suited us, it was low key and we liked that, we dipped in and out of the short shows. The party night on deck was great fun and a very nice memory, however we would have liked the opportunity for some ballroom dancing and the dance floor in the club is very small. The casino on this deck feels a bit intrusive especially when there are few people in the night club and is clearly there just to make money. We found plenty of relaxing places around the ship to read and spend quiet time, although the pool deck was busier we always found a lounger. We could not understand the concept of the retreat, it seemed a wasted space and a bit divisive in such a ship, we did not see anyone there and would never pay 350 dollars to sit there. We liked the fact that we visited small places where there were few other cruise ships and we liked the tender journey ashore. Overall we enjoyed the varied itinerary although the port of Brindisi was horrid and ugly so we were glad we had arranged a trip. Our cruise would have been absolutely perfect if the WIFI had either worked well or been free of charge...it was rubbish! I also looked forward to the advertised yoga on deck but there was only Pilates in a small claustrophobic room which really was not very good, so that was a disappointment, partially made up for by the excellent gym facilities. A few very minor issues well but worth a 5 star rating and we will travel with Seabourn again when hopefully we can dance and do some yoga!!!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Based on prior Cruise Critic reviews, it appeared Seabourn Encore was off to a rocky start. I am here to report the crew have overcome most of their issues and are offering a top notch program with the exception of a few minor glitches ... Read More
Based on prior Cruise Critic reviews, it appeared Seabourn Encore was off to a rocky start. I am here to report the crew have overcome most of their issues and are offering a top notch program with the exception of a few minor glitches they are still working out. The ship is amazing with beautiful and comfortable furnishings in all the public rooms. I thought the staterooms (I had a V6 cabin on Deck 10) felt a bit smaller than on Odyssey. The make-up table, in particular is so tiny, it can hardly be used. The shower also seemed smaller than on Odyssey, however, I could be wrong on that. The bed was comfortable, the towels and sheets were soft. The sofa was nice to sit or lay down on. You won't feel cramped in these cabins. The service is basically up to the standards I expect from Seabourn. Many crewmen knew us by name within two days. The bartenders certainly knew our favorite drinks! The only issue we had with slow service was the delivery of caviar on deck. The crew admitted they were still working out kinks with that and suggested to pre-order caviar if possible. However, I ordered caviar four times in the main dining room, as an appetizer, and it was served in a timely manner. The problem only appears to be on deck or in the lounges. Main Dining Room menu was wonderful. They had a decent variety to choose from. I'm not a fan of Thomas Keller, the celebrity chef Seabourn is aligned with. His offerings were very hit or miss. However, the Seabourn standards were plentiful enough to satisfy me on the off nights. The salmon ,and the filet were 5 star yummy! The lobster tagliatelle was so good, one of our party ordered it every night as an appetizer. The Thomas Keller Grille was also nice, although a bit noisy. Our table of four had trouble conversing over the sound of music. As for service, in the main dining room, we had one amazing team, that could teach a course on fine dining service. We were overwhelmed by how good they were. Everything they did seemed designed to make us feel special. A second crew was a very good team and very efficient, but did not make us feel like special honored guests. Still, no complaints about them. . . And one team was very subpar. They couldn't take orders properly, fill water glasses or even deliver food in a timely manner. One night the maître d' actually came over and apologized for the poor service. I can understand anyone dining with this team writing bad reviews about the MDR. They were really bad. The Colonnade dining room (Deck 9) was where we ate breakfast each morning. They had a wonderful buffet, although I ordered off the menu most of the time. Here's a tip: You can order almost anything you want for breakfast and they will try to make it for you. From corned beef hash to waffles. . . You can also order cappuccino of a latte. The name brand entertainment on our trip was spotty. The magician/comedian was cute. The woman hired to sing show tunes was average. However, the standard shipboard singers and dancers were all wonderful. I thought they far out-performed the specialty talent. They all had great voices! The dancers were "Dancing With The Stars" caliber. The piano player in the Thomas Keller Lounge (Deck 8) was perfect for pre-dinner cocktails. The duo in the observation lounge had great voices. The deck five band could crank it for a party. In fact, all the on board parties were fun! The shore excursion crew did an admirable job of getting people off on a good foot. They also handled a problem many of us had with an unruly and reckless passenger on an excursion. Folks, the staff is there to help you. . . just speak up if you have a problem. The gym and spa, if you use them are the best Seabourn has to offer. The gym, in particular, was pleasingly large and well equipped. At the pool, there seemed to be plenty of deck chairs and eager attendants to shuttle cocktails. It never seemed crowded. The casino staff was nice. My only complaint there was too many penny slot machines and none for a quarter or dollar. If you've booked a Seabourn Encore cruise, don't worry. It is finally up to Seabourn standards. If you have not yet booked one, I highly recommend you do! Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
This was our first Seabourn cruise. The ship is extraordinary: beautiful, functional, classy, very well designed. The food, crew and staff were as close to perfect as imaginable. The bathroom in our cabin was as nice as any 5 start ... Read More
This was our first Seabourn cruise. The ship is extraordinary: beautiful, functional, classy, very well designed. The food, crew and staff were as close to perfect as imaginable. The bathroom in our cabin was as nice as any 5 start hotel, including full bathtub and walk in shower, double marble sinks and (especially for a cruise ship) unbelievable water pressure. The cabin had the ability to draw black out curtains between the seating area and the bed, allowing an early riser not to disturb a spouse sleeping in. We read about some early growing pains as the ship was only 6 months old. We saw none of those issues. Incredible. Incredible. Incredible. Sushi restaurant was good. Thomas Keller Grill was extraordinary. They say you can only book once per week, but we secured reservations for two nights. Only suggestion is to explore third party excursions as well as considering Seabourn's. Very easy to meet and socialize with other passengers. Average age 45 to 65. No kids or teens on our cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
I travelled on Minerva first December then returned 12/05/2015. The quality of food was poor even since Christmas when chef replaced and obviously budget reduced. The speakers had not liased and there was overlapping of information, ... Read More
I travelled on Minerva first December then returned 12/05/2015. The quality of food was poor even since Christmas when chef replaced and obviously budget reduced. The speakers had not liased and there was overlapping of information, although all very good. The late evening entertainment was very poor and guaranteed to empty Orpheous. The opera and other entertainment was good. In my opinion Minerva are failing to look at their core cliental. Their previous clients have been replaced by baby boomers. Sixties night consisted of 3 dusty Springfield covers and jazz. However when crew jammed it was obvious there is plenty of talent already on board and Orpheous was packed. Come on Minerva move on and survive. On both cruises there was a large group of singles. On another note the shore stops were very poor. I know the problems in Ukraine forced changes. But 2 nights in Georgia, a beautiful country and two at Bulgaria would, it was generally agreed by all have been preferable option. The service was an attempt at fine dining not back up by the faire Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
There were many good things about this cruise but overall I feel that you get what you pay for and that a good deal is probably too good to be true. The food was barely passable for a hospital cafeteria and the entertainment was an ... Read More
There were many good things about this cruise but overall I feel that you get what you pay for and that a good deal is probably too good to be true. The food was barely passable for a hospital cafeteria and the entertainment was an embarrassment. The ports of call were fabulous but we had such little time, it was insane. Usually you don't have to leave so early from port but this cruise some departures were at 5pm. I hate to complain but our room was quite dirty upon arrival, complete with suspicious "hairs" in the window! Our steward never introduced himself and we had to ask for replenishment of everyday items more than once (cokes, water, cruise literature, receipts, and gift orders were late). One thing that really bothered me was how filthy the windows were on the whole ship. I have never experienced that before on a cruise. Holland America needs to step up on at sea day activities. I know they are catering to an older set but come on! The tennis court and basketball court barely functioned with heavily used equipment that was badly in need of repair (deflated balls and ripped nets). The ship musician's repertoire needs to be expanded (you can only listen to Scott Joplin's "Maple leaf Rag" so many times). Internet access is extremely expensive and is slow as molasses in January. Don't use it unless you have to. The library was well stocked and DVD rental collection sizable. In cabin room service had a really small selection but the breakfast menu is fairly decent. Our waiter and support staff in the diningroom were superb. But it bothered my husband to see that there was little diversity in the service and house keeping departments onboard. So, next time we probably won't be going on another cruise with Holland America. We made the best of what we had but probably won't be cruising again in the near future. I think we will adventure off to some remote part of the world, free of bad lounge singers, gaudy decor, orthopedic shoes, and fruit Jello. Read Less
Sail Date May 2007
Jewel is simply a beautiful ship, so much space we never saw everything available. We cruised the Baltic stopping in Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, St Petersburg and Tallinn. Embarkation in Harwich was smooth and quick, we were ... Read More
Jewel is simply a beautiful ship, so much space we never saw everything available. We cruised the Baltic stopping in Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, St Petersburg and Tallinn. Embarkation in Harwich was smooth and quick, we were onboard and in our cabin within 45mins of arriving at the car park. Our cabin, on the stern, has a spacious balcony holding two chairs and two loungers. Loads of storage and although no bath, the shower was very good indeed. We were part of a Cruise Critic group of over 60 people from around the world, we met up on arrival and in addition to a great Meet and Mingle had got together for sort of activities, including Dancing lessons, horse racing and the Mr Sexy Legs competition. Others also attended the Murder Mystery and Quest together. The food available in each of the restaurants was good, Chops was particularly excellent, as expected. Service in the cabins, bars and food areas was friendly and efficient. Our waiter Nimesh and assistant waiter, Troy, were both great. Our cabin assistant, Angela Wilson, was marvellous, looking after us very well throughout the cruise. Leaving the ship back in Harwich was as simple as it could have been. All in all an excellent cruise with brilliant people and so many new friends made. Read Less
Sail Date August 2005
We sailed on the Triton on May 3, 2004 and were very pleasantly surprised. Most of the reviews we had read were not good. Royal Olympic/Olympia Cruises has been going through some tough times. We went on this cruise and expected it to be ... Read More
We sailed on the Triton on May 3, 2004 and were very pleasantly surprised. Most of the reviews we had read were not good. Royal Olympic/Olympia Cruises has been going through some tough times. We went on this cruise and expected it to be only a means of transportation from Piraeus, Greece to the islands of Mykonos, Patmos, Rhodes, Crete, Santorini, and to Kusadasi, Turkey. The ship is in good shape, the food was good and had a varied selection, the staff was very friendly, the entertainment was good. Really, our only complaint was that the ship's photography staff was not very good. We usually purchase a photo or two on a cruise, but the quality was so poor on the Triton that we did not purchase any photos. The itinerary is very hurried, but this is to be expected when you have six different ports-of-call in four days. Some of the organized tours left the ship at 7:00 a.m. We have sailed on many nicer ships, but for the price and the itinerary, this cruise is well worth the money. Read Less
Sail Date May 2004
Olympia Countess Sailing Date: October 6, 2003 Itinerary: Aegean Classic - 4 day cruise from Piraeus throughout the Aegean Since reviews for the Olympia Countess are few and far between, I thought I might take a few moments to ... Read More
Olympia Countess Sailing Date: October 6, 2003 Itinerary: Aegean Classic - 4 day cruise from Piraeus throughout the Aegean Since reviews for the Olympia Countess are few and far between, I thought I might take a few moments to share a few thoughts and observations. I booked this cruise because of the wonderful Aegean Sea itinerary, and because the cruise fit well with other travel plans. Overall, I had a wonderful time on this cruise, but my positive experience was not because of the ship itself. Because so many cruisers focus on the ship, I though my observations might be helpful. History This ship came into service in 1973 as the Cunard Countess. Though listed as 18,000 tons, the ship feels a bit bigger. The vessel holds 814 passengers - quite a large number for the advertised tonnage. Embarkation/Debarkation Embarkation was very smooth. I was on the ship within 15 minutes of arriving at the port. A representative showed me to my cabin. Debarkation was an equally satisfying experience. Cabin The cabin (Number 73 - Outside - Poseidon Deck) was a bit larger than I expected, with two twin beds (with worn and somewhat rough sheets) and a pull-down bed on one wall. The cabin was well worn with fraying bedspreads and a dented ceiling. Many layers of paint on the cabin trimmings suggest an older vessel with many miles under its belt. Shallow metal drawers painted battleship gray provide enough space for one person on a 4-day cruise, but couples on longer voyages might need more space. A peek at other cabins revealed larger wooden drawers, so expect variations from cabin to cabin. I had no television in my cabin, but I notice that other cabins included TVs. The bathroom was an average size and fairly clean. I did not notice the noise problem from surrounding cabins mentioned by reviewers on other websites, although I was plagued by loud engine noises throughout the cruise, forcing me to wear ear-plugs to sleep. The noise was noticeable in the hallway, but diminished greatly only a few cabins forward. I suspect my noise problem was restricted to a few cabins toward the middle of the Poseidon Deck. Public Areas DEcor and ambience are covered below. As for the ship's amenities, a salt-water swimming pool and two hot-tubs are located mid-ship. The deck space surrounding the pool is a bit crowded, and one should expect to search for a deck lounger during peek sunning hours. Several lounges/bars are available. Depending on the hour and activities planned, the smaller lounges can provide a quiet and intimate retreat from the busier areas of the ship. A small exercise room is available. Several small shops can be found adjacent to the reception area, but a lack of space and stock will surely disappoint those used to promenade shops found on newer and larger vessels. DEcor and Ambience I usually enjoy the ambiance and character of older vessels, but the Olympia Countess has very little in the way of a charming atmosphere. This ship was built in the 1970's, so it lacks the ambience of ships built in the 50s and 60s, but without all of the glitz and modern conveniences of ships build in the 1990s or today. The overall color scheme is a boring beige with touches of gray (especially in the corridors). The colors in the lounges are warmer. I found no wood on the interior of the ship (except for the doors leading to the deck), but rather lots of painted metal and a few touches of wallpaper. Though overall quite dull, the ambience improves in the evening with indirect lighting, becoming almost romantic in the lounge areas. Food I found the food in the main dining room to be quite mediocre with little attention paid to presentation. Think of a Rotary Club luncheon at the local Holiday Inn and you will get the idea. The soups were a high note, along with the assorted flavors of sorbet. The popular buffet served on the aft deck was a bit more interesting with some fresh salads and vegetables with Greek seasonings. Cruisers on the Countess should closely review the daily bulletin for dining times, as food in not available between meals. Are you looking for free beverages? Tap water, hot tea and coffee seem to be the only choices. Service Service seemed inconsistent. Some of the dining room staff were friendly and attentive, while others weren't interested in doing anything extraordinary. My interactions with the reception/information desk also varied. Some staff were helpful, while others seemed to simply tolerate my requests. I received the impression that they would help with simple tasks, but I'd be pushing my luck with anything out of the ordinary. Entertainment A lackluster offering of entertainment continues the theme of mediocrity. I lasted only about 5 minutes at one of the lounge shows; sleep seemed to be a better use of my time (perhaps the show brought on my urge to sleep). The musicians stationed in the lounges were better than the stage acts. As for other activities, I don't usually participate in them, so I can't provide you with a fair opinion. Itinerary This is where the cruise becomes alive! The Aegean Sea itinerary has to be one of the best available with visits to Mikonos, Patmos, Turkey, Rhodos, Crete and stunning Santorini. All of the Greek islands were picturesque with plenty of opportunities for historical sightseeing, shopping and dining. Several islands had beautiful beaches with amazingly clear-blue water. The shore excursions were all first-rate and well organized, although quite tiring. With six ports visited in only four days, you will get the idea. Fellow Passengers This was a very international crowd with fairly large representations from the US, Canada, Spain, Greece, Germany, Italy, Australia, and the UK. Since this cruise took place in October, I found not children on board. The average age of passengers seemed about 40, with even distributions between 20 and 60. Overall Impression Again, I took this cruise for the itinerary and not the ship itself. Since my expectations (for the ship) were low to begin with, and since my overall objective was to efficiently visit a number of Greek islands, I was not disappointed. You might think of the Countess as a tourist-class European hotel that floats. If your main objective for a cruise is the ship experience, then you should avoid the Olympia Countess. If you happen to be in Europe and are looking for a great way to see many picturesque and historic islands, then you might want to consider the Countess. That said, I would have a hard time justifying a trans-Atlantic trip with the sole purpose of taking this 4-day voyage. Fit it into your larger plans. For a cruise-only experience, choose at least a 7-day excursion on another ship. This ship is used for much longer voyages to Africa, but I truly could not imagine living on this vessel for much more than the 4 days I was aboard. Read Less
Sail Date November 2003
My husband and I just completed this cruise (may 18 - 25th) and had a wonderful time. we arrived in athens a day early and were able to wander around the plaza and have dinner at a scenic taverna that evening, spend the night, go on a ... Read More
My husband and I just completed this cruise (may 18 - 25th) and had a wonderful time. we arrived in athens a day early and were able to wander around the plaza and have dinner at a scenic taverna that evening, spend the night, go on a city tour of athens (including the acropolis/parthenon) that morning and then board the windspirit after lunch. we had been told that was all we needed to do in order to see the best of athens and i believe it. some people on our cruise had spent more time there but they had used it as a base to travel to neighboring sites. some advice about the ports (and the tours offered by the ship): mykonos: the tour to nearby delos is worth it. delos was revered by both the greeks and the romans as the birthplace of apollo and served as a major trading port to several ancient civilizations. wear sunscreen and a hat ---no shade. the tour goes until lunchtime and you can either return to the ship for lunch or eat out. we had already decided to eat "local" whenever possible to get as much of the experience as possible (btw the food on the ship is excellent). afterwards, there is time to visit the shops or the beach; the ship doesn't sail until late. santorini: because this route arrives here on monday, the ruins at akrotiri are closed. the only tour available takes you to the picturesque town of ia (or oia in some books). visit the town on your own --- don't bother with the tour. this is one of the two big regrets of our cruise (the other was not staying longer in istanbul). this tour took us to the highest point of the island, the profitis illas mountain, where you can see both sides of the island, which was not uninteresting but it was a big time-waster considering that the ship has to set sail at 4:30 pm in order to make rhodes by the next morning (shortest port time on the cruise) by the time we arrived in ia, we only had an hour and a half to see it. another couple invited us to rent a taxi with them to go directly to ia instead of the tour and we declined. big mistake on our part; they had time to see the whole town and do some shopping as well. rhodes: we took the tour to the acropolis at lindos and enjoyed it. the tour guide was very knowledgeable about the history of the area and from what i heard later had good advice about places to eat and shop in the town after the tour. once on our own, we paid the admission so we could walk on the top of the walls around the old fortress (again, no shade, need good sunscreen and a hat) and visited the "palace of the grand master" at the fortress -- probably the worst of the sites we visited because the pamplet and the signs explained little about the displays and the docents (if you could call them that) just said "i don't know" about everything we asked. perhaps they didn't speak english but if so, they were among the few people we met who didn't. btw: we shared rhodes and bodrum with the passengers on the sister ship windstar (the istanbul-to-athens route). we didn't have many opportunities to interact with them, but it was neat to see the two ships side-by-side in the ports. bodrum: the most relaxing and longest tour of the cruise. we hesitated taking this tour because it takes up the whole time the ship is in port and is the most expensive but it was worth it. we were broken up into groups of only 10 and taken to the port-side museum of underwater archeology. very few of the artifacts there are reproductions and span several centuries and civilizations. then, we were escorted on board a small sailboat (called a "gullet") and taken to a quiet cove where we were invited to change into bathing suits and swim (water was a little too cold for me though) and sunbathe while the crew fixed us a wonderful lunch of local dishes. we spent the rest of the day relaxing and sunning on the gullet. we needed that after 3 days of sight-seeing. when we got back to the ship, we were entertained by a troupe of local dancers along with a belly dancer in the ship's lounge and then it was time for the pooldeck bbq. tons of fun and great food and dancing under the stars. we also got the see the windstar put up her sails and head to santorini; good picture taking opportunity since you can't really get a good picture of the windspirit with sails up. many of us agreed that this was the best day of our trip. kusadasi & ephesus: before starting the cruise we booked a tour from a local company called byzance. we can't say enough great things about them and the tours they provided. guide was waiting for us at the port, ready to begin our day. i requested that we try to avoid the ship's buses, and they did everything possible to make sure this occurred! it was a pleasure to enjoy the same places that the ship offered at our own pace, staying as long or as short as we wanted for a fraction of the cost! the fact that we were "alone" made it much more personalized. on most of our tours, we had around 30 people and each and every one of them raved about the great time they had. it always seems there is usually someone who may have a concern or complaint, however this was not the case with byzance. our guide was very knowledgeable and friendly. we will most definitely use them on future cruises and from comments made from our group, i can assure you they will also! their web site is http://more.at/byzance the sea day: we needed this time off at this point. we were just about "ruin-ed out" and needed a break. we took the tour of the galley that the chef offered and had massages in the beauty salon. the dinner that night included beef tenderloin and lamb chops --- both were excellent and we celebrated over a bottle of champagne our last evening on board with two other couples we had become fast friends with. istanbul: you will regret it as we did if you do not spend a couple of days here. we used byzance here too. i could not be happier with the service we received from guide, i have never had a more positive experience with any company of any kind -- ever! i don't know what more i could say. we had to leave very early the next morning after our arrival so we only had time to see the blue mosque and the hagia sophia and walk through a small part of the grand bazaar. that means we missed topkapi palace entirely (it takes 4-5 hours to tour properly) and several other places we wanted to see. this is definitely on our list of places we wish to re-visit one day. we later debated "what if we had taken the istanbul-to-athens cruise instead?". the other route no doubt saw more port time at santorini (& would have been there when akrotiri was open) but on the other hand, their sea day came early in the trip instead of at the end when we felt we really needed it to recover and appreciate istanbul. the choice is yours. i hope this helps anyone considering this cruise. it was the trip of a lifetime for us and we have wonderful memories of the people we met and places we visited. Read Less
Sail Date May 2003

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click