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115 Aegean Odyssey Cruise Reviews

The saying is: never go back! In 2012 we had an unforgettable cruise on Aegean Odyssey and we have always wanted to return. So on 26 April 2019 we flew to Athens to join her for a Classical Greece and Islands of the Aegean cruise. All ... Read More
The saying is: never go back! In 2012 we had an unforgettable cruise on Aegean Odyssey and we have always wanted to return. So on 26 April 2019 we flew to Athens to join her for a Classical Greece and Islands of the Aegean cruise. All went well, transfer to the port of Piraeus was swift and we were quickly into our comfortable outside cabin. Later we attended an Excursion Briefing for the following day and noticed that though we were now leaving the first port five hours earlier than published in the Excursion Booklet, no explantion was forthcoming. Those guests who were staying on for the Black Sea cruise the following week were asked to stay behind. The next day we learned from those passengers that the subsequent cruise had been cancelled as one engine had broken down. So the pattern for the next seven days emerged. Each day the ship left port hours early so that it could proceed at half speed in order to reach the next port in time for the morning excursion the following day. At no time did Captain Pallas (soon named Captain Invisible), Cruise Director Alison Lewin or Tours Manager Chantelle offer any explanation and of course rumours soon materialised. Reference to the Cruise Industry News website revealed that Voyages to Antiquity had issued a press release announcing that ten cruises through the Summer had been cancelled and that the ship would enter dry dock for a replacement engine. However for us unfortunate passengers there was no such information. Further it emerged that the ship is to be reconfigured and leased to the Road Scholars group for three years. So it was then clear that we were on Aegean Odyssey’s Farewell Cruise and that Voyage to Antiquity is no more. This was born out by free drinks being available to all on the last day (though once again nobody knew). The cruise would have been good, but excursions were inevitably rushed, and little time was left after to explore interesting tiny towns in which the ship docked. The Greek Easter Sunday lunch excursion was outstanding in Heraklion, Crete as was the visit to the Stephanos Crater on Nisyros. All the included excursions were well guided by knowledgeable local folks. The food was was mostly good and the included wines plentiful in the Marco Polo MDR though service could be very slow particularly if on a large table. There was a relevant lecture program which my wife enjoyed but there is no evening entertainment of note. So farewell Aegean Odyssey, great little ship with lovely public rooms and staff, let down by management in the face of a crisis which can happen on any ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Excursions. Unique and well orchestrated shore trips. However, the captain continually lied regarding the reasons for skipping ports and cruising at only 5 knots. Crete maritine authority nearly denied the ship permission to leave ... Read More
Excursions. Unique and well orchestrated shore trips. However, the captain continually lied regarding the reasons for skipping ports and cruising at only 5 knots. Crete maritine authority nearly denied the ship permission to leave Chania port without a seaworthy test. Had to limp to Athens. Ship has NO activities on sea days other than a couple of lectures and bridge (which we don't play), snooker (which we also do not play) and heavy drinking. Clients are VERY old and occupy all the loungers all day. Food is marginally OK, and the Bridge Club (about 50 people) gets to start dinner between 6 and 6:30 with seating on one side of the dining room putting the rest of us in the middle with no windows. This all forces the rest of us to start dinner at 7 PM. The ship is too "clubby", reserving large areas (the observation lounge for one) for the bridge group. The bed was reported to be very comfortable, but the pillows were too hard. Read Less
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
Sail Date April 2019
What a disastrous cruise experience. It is difficult to know where to start with this review. We always try hard to give a balanced and factual review. On this occasion there is not much we can say which is positive. The Aegean ... Read More
What a disastrous cruise experience. It is difficult to know where to start with this review. We always try hard to give a balanced and factual review. On this occasion there is not much we can say which is positive. The Aegean Odyssey is an old ship (nearing its 50th year). Originally built as a ferry it has been refitted as a small passenger ship. To be fair it not in bad shape for a vessel of its age. Being a small ship it dos not have the facilities of the large cruise ships. That was one reason for choosing this cruise. The philosophy of this ship is educational cruising. In fact, Road Scholars have chartered the ship from late 2019 for an extended period. The ship attracts the ‘mature’ passenger, many are retired professionals. It has a feel of being a bit ‘clubby’ with Bridge players, and Road Scholars passengers, who tend to form groups and take over parts of the ship. This means areas become ‘no go’ for other passengers. On our cruise it was a mainly Australian, north American and British passenger mix. We sailed on its penultimate cruises before it went in for, much needed, engine repairs. Much of our cruise was mired by the continual engine breakdowns. On one occasion a total failure needing a rescue by tug boasts off the coast of Crete. The cruise was disrupted by slow speed and engine trouble the whole voyage. We arrived late into many ports or had to leave early, which truncated many of our ports of call; Consequently, there was little free time in any port, and we had two additional days at sea. We didn’t make it into two ports on our itinerary due to engine failures. On the previous repositioning voyage from South Africa the ship faced many delays due to engine failures. We remain of the opinion that this ship should never have sailed after the South Africa cruise until fully repaired. What made a bad situation much worse was the senior ships staff making excuses and telling lies to the passengers for the whole cruise: We are going slow because of the wind – it was a calm day! We must leave early as it is Easter – but no other ship left early! We cannot leave this port due to port clearance procedure - we stayed two days while a temporary repair and sea test were completed! Then finally, we can’t go to this next port due to weather conditions – we check and it was a calm day in the port with fine weather! All of these were barefaced lies, we were never told the true situation. The senior staff failed to follow the companies Bill of Rights to passengers. After our cruise the following cruise experienced the same situation. The company then took the decision to cancel the next 10 planned cruises and take the ship into dry dock for repairs. Our experience on board was only enhanced by the ships junior staff who were attentive, hardworking and had delightful personalities. The two resturants served a variety of food, unfortunately we never really had a hot meal as the buffet ‘hot’ food was barley warm and in the main resturant it was only slightly better. Drinks on board are included at dinner and outside that they were reasonably priced. There was very little in the form of entertainment, the odd quiz, and some light music most days, but there were educational lectures. Many passengers were card players and they somewhat took over parts of the ship. Many passengers choose this ship for its educational included excursion programme. These are well organised and had to be constantly changed on our cruise due to the truncated nature of each tour as the ship either arrived late or departed early. In fact, we didn’t make it to Heraklion and buses were arranged for passenger to travel the 5-hour round trip from Chania. The ship also didn’t make it to Santorini due to engine failure. The ship has lots of returning passengers, but I would say many on the cruise we experienced said they would never use the ship again. Mainly due to the senior staff’s unacceptable behaviour. Most said if they would only tell us the truth we would understand, but instead they fabricated stories to try to cover up the problems. On return we complained to our travel company and direct to Voyages to Antiquity. We received a dismissive letter and a derisory offer of £230 compensation. We are in the process of taking this matter up with ABTA. We would never consider sailing on this ship again and many others feel the same. Such a shame that the company and its senior staff felt deceiving customers was a good policy. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I had previous cruises on large ships and thought it would be a change to try a small ship cruise in parts of Asia I had not visited. The Aegean Odyssey cruise from Singapore to Colombo seemed to fit the bill. The 21 day cruise included 2 ... Read More
I had previous cruises on large ships and thought it would be a change to try a small ship cruise in parts of Asia I had not visited. The Aegean Odyssey cruise from Singapore to Colombo seemed to fit the bill. The 21 day cruise included 2 nights stay in a hotel at Singapore. Checking into the ship was complicated by the fact that we did not secure the Indian visa for the stopover at Port Blair but we were allowed to board after we signed a waiver to leave the ship at Yangon and make our own way to Colombo. I had phoned with the travel agency on whether it is permissible to remain on board the ship during the stopover at Port Blair without the costly visa and the reply was that it should be all right. Our ocean view cabin was comfortable. The bathroom was small but clean and functional. As noted by other reviewers, the water in the bathroom is frequently rust coloured enough to stain white clothes if you need to wash them. One night a water pipe burst and flooded the carpets on the fourth level so we were without a flushing toilet for close to 24 hours. Entertainment was limited to some lectures on the culture of the far east. During the cruise on the Strait of Malacca the captain warned that we were in pirate territory and as precaution to close the curtains at night to limit visibility of the ship. Food was acceptable and service in the dinning rooms was excellent.. Service was excellent all around. Shore excursions, aside from introductory tours of each stopover, involved long travel times in buses or boats to sites of interest. Enough said; there are better choices available for cruising in Asia. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
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
Sail Date October 2018
In choosing this cruise we wanted to travel to the Greek Islands in a smaller ship, visit ancient sites and learn a little more of the history of the area. The brochures and itinerary met all our requirements as it was a combination of 3 ... Read More
In choosing this cruise we wanted to travel to the Greek Islands in a smaller ship, visit ancient sites and learn a little more of the history of the area. The brochures and itinerary met all our requirements as it was a combination of 3 back to back cruises. It indicated a reasonable level of fitness which also suited our requirements. On arrival in Venice we found that the cabin was as we expected. Not flash, but functional; however, had only one, poorly located powerpoint. The staff were generally helpful but some appeared that they would have been happier elsewhere. We found the food to be adequate but not to the standard we had experienced with some other companies. Food in the main eating area was cafeteria style, dishes were not labelled so everyone had to ask what each dish was. This created long slow lines at every meal. We asked the staff about adequate signage and were told that it was not Company Policy. Deserts and other hot foods were “serve yourself”, which provided huge opportunity for cross contamination and increased the risk of allergic reaction if staff did not understand or were not available to provide adequate answers. I am allergic to poultry and asked staff the ingredients. I was answered ‘meat sausage’. turned out is was chicken and as a consequence spent a very unpleasant few hours. There were not always staff to ask. There did not appear to be adequate staff to ensure appropriate hygiene was maintained by the passengers. We were served on a number of cracked cups and bowls which should have been removed from service. The more formal eating area was much better as the food was individually served. Since the cruise was focussed on Ancient Greek and Romanan ruins there were guest lecturers on each of the three legs. Most lecturers provided interesting insights but others just went through the motions. The AV facilities were as old as the ship, and provided many interruptions and failures. Most lecturers used laser pointers which were useless. Talk times were not at optimum times but when most passengers were not on board. As days went by it was obvious that the ship was extremely noisey. When our small ship was birthed next to one carrying 10x more passengers (3000) the only one you could hear was the Aegean Odyssey. Whilst cruising the noise level was greater than 75db in the cabin, which made sleeping difficult. The poor crew had to remove soot daily from the outside furniture and many passengers gained black oil stains on their clothing. Shore excursion staff lacked basic knowledge of the ports visited and could not tell passengers where pharmacies or banks were located, cost or location of buses or taxis. Nor could they tell us about some of the places of interest that were on the shore sheets. Manning of desk tardy. Not there on time. A little offhand and sometimes rude with responses. Water was only provided to guests who elected to do organised excursions. The excursions were usually run by local guides, some good some hopeless, who tried to accommodate all passengers. Unfortunately, with an average age of passengers in the middle to late 70s, the pace at which they were forced to go resulted in excruciatingly slow movement that then meant some of the highlights were not seen. This persisted for all three legs of our journey. It really should have been called Voyages of Antiquity! There appeared to be a policy of ensuring the passengers who had travelled before were always first off the ship. Unfortunately, due to their age and lack of mobility, this ensured everyone else was delayed. Tender safety was poor. The crew did not provide definitive instruction on where to sit, how to hold arms, slide along seats to move rather than walking and direction on where to sit and when to stand for exit. As many of the passengers no doubt had osteoporosis, it will only be a matter of time before bones are broken. Very poor! At the end of the first leg our cabin developed a water leak which soaked the carpet. The hotel manager offered us a move to a cabin on the upper deck which we readily accepted. It was slightly larger with one bed instead of two singles and slightly quieter (72db) Unfortunately the hot water was intermittent and often was filthy and both taps lacked acceptable pressure. The toilet would not flush so we resorted to a 10l bucket! When cruising, the room vibrated to such an extent that we were forced to put towels in the door to stop it rattling. There is no way this room was worth an extra $4000 pp! On our last day there was a significant water leak which resulted in a large area of one level being flooded. Since the ship had no downtime the oncoming passengers had a very wet and potentially mouldy trip ahead. Internet now is a must for travellers and unfortunately was exorbitant in cost and was of such poor quality that many passengers demanded refunds. In conclusion, Voyages to Antiquity have a great product but need to ensure guests’ capabilities are assessed and appropriate shore excursions are provided so that all passengers are provided with the experience they expect. The ship is in dire need of major refurbishment and maintenance. The crew have to endure more than most. I would not recommend this trip to anyone who has even a moderate level of fitness. It’s like travelling in a floating care facility! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Wanted to see and explore Iceland and some of Scotland. We have sailed with this company several times in the past, but I can assure you it will not happen again. From the time we left port there were problems. The water pressure in our ... Read More
Wanted to see and explore Iceland and some of Scotland. We have sailed with this company several times in the past, but I can assure you it will not happen again. From the time we left port there were problems. The water pressure in our cabin was so bad that it was a joke. A joke we tried to have rectified for EIGHT days before the issue was resolved. We were offered a remotely located smaller cabin with half the storage on day five but declined it secondary to the severe rolling experienced in the North Atlantic. Food was beautifully presented but lukewarm at best unless you ordered a la cart. The sewage smell was so overwhelming at times that we couldn’t sleep. That problem was rectified on day TWELVE. The excursions were pitiful compared to past experiences on this ship. They did not run on time, failed almost universally in attaining their stated destinations and resorted to instructions to watch as we drove by! The lectures were quite good as was the attention delivered by cabin stewards and the wait staff in restaurants. During the trip, I fell at night and suffered a massive hemaoma that involved my whole lower right leg. After notifying reception, my husband was told that medical opened at 7:30am. Eventually I was treated with cream and diuretics. MORAL of story don’t plan on adequate treatment if you suffer a life threatening event! Even after returning home my doctor could not get X-rays due to size of hematoma and swelling. She was horrified that I had flown home with my leg in that condition. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We choose this cruise because the route from Venice to Rome covered so many areas that we wished to visit. Having been spoiled by a couple of Viking cruises this one didn't measure up in some regards. Much of the food in the buffet ... Read More
We choose this cruise because the route from Venice to Rome covered so many areas that we wished to visit. Having been spoiled by a couple of Viking cruises this one didn't measure up in some regards. Much of the food in the buffet was not hot enough and we quickly adopted the formal dining room. The educational lectures were well done and much enjoyed, we not not so keen on the entertainment. The shore excursions were very good but some of the local tour guides were much better than others. Can't believe the number of times we went back to the desk to have our card keys replaced. They cheerfully replaced and reprogrammed new cards but fixing the problem would have been better. Our final day was not a happy ending. We did the Ostia Antica tour in the morning and the Vatican tour in the afternoon. Between tours some of our people were dropped off at Rome hotels with their luggage and picked up again on the second circuit of the route. Some of us were kept on the bus without access to toilets, water, lunch etc. I mentioned this to the company and the response or waffle made it worse. "We should have asked to get off at one of the hotels." (We spoke to our guide, it wasn't possible.) "It was an external tour, we can not be responsible." (We paid Voyages to Antiquity and they arranged it.) I would recommend this company with a bunch of provisos. Read Less
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
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
Sail Date May 2018
Overall we had a wonderful cruise. Great little ship, fantastic service, wonderful ports and good friends. We are experienced cruisers and river cruisers and were anticipating a new adventure on this small all inclusive ship. We started ... Read More
Overall we had a wonderful cruise. Great little ship, fantastic service, wonderful ports and good friends. We are experienced cruisers and river cruisers and were anticipating a new adventure on this small all inclusive ship. We started in Athens with stops at Nauplia, the Peloponnese, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Split, Trieste and Venice. The Ship: Embarkation was a breeze in Pireus and when we walked up the gangway, each lady was presented with a red rose. Very nice start! We were very surprised at how beautiful and bright and airy this little ship was. I had read so many reviews saying how old and neglected it was. I thought it was very nicely decorated. Nothing fussy or over the top, just a clean minimalist modern vibe. I call it " casual chic". It was immaculate - everything was very clean (we even saw the crew polishing and dusting the ridges in the ceilings) It was very bright and airy - lots of windows and light in all the public rooms. All the flowers and plants on the ship were real. Artwork was modern, colourful and interesting. Loved that the ship was quick and easy to get around (no problems if you left something back in your room- just a quick trip to get it unlike on a big ship where it is a major trek to your cabin), but the ship never felt crowded. Lots of air conditioning - bring a sweater. The Cabin: We were in an outside on the Belvedere Deck, 507 near bow on port side. Smallish and plain but very doable for 2 people. We heard very little engine noise, but the air conditioner could be noisy- we just turned it down at night. Were disappointed that the beds were fixed narrow twins and would not push together. The beds were comfy and had bedding of good quality. We had no problems with rusty water - ever. I drank the water from the tap every day and had no ill effects. My only complaint is that the power plug is under the window between the two beds. There is no mirror on this wall so it was difficult to use a hair iron while the only mirror is from the closet doors across the room (and you had to open them just so to see yourself.) Hairdryer is fixed in the bathroom and works fine. There was plenty of storage- a big dresser/desk/night-table with 3 large drawers and 4 or 5 little drawers in the closet as well as a safe. Bathroom counter space is very limited. I will post some photos of this room. The Itinerary and Tours: Loved the itinerary and the choice of tours at each port. You do have to get over the fact that you will be travelling with "the herd" listening to the whisperers or Audiovox in each port for at least part of the day. Do plan for some time alone to explore the ports. One of my big surprises on this cruise was the age of the pax. Lots of people with canes and walkers and quite elderly. I was expecting most to be retirees in their early 60's since this was a vigorous itinerary with a port every day and tours with lots of walking, cobblestones and stairs. Well - good for them, they did amazingly well! Anyway, at the port talks, people were told over and over about the walking and the stairs.... but a lot didn't listen. The young woman giving the port tour information and the actual tour did not really align (some guides I think do their own thing ...not always a bad thing). In a couple of ports the guides would walk too fast and lose half the group. I think the groups may have been too large as well. In Venice, they had guides at front of tours and someone from the ship at the rear to keep everyone herded up. The audiovox system worked very well to hear guides. On the final night of our cruise in Venice, we had a special night. A museum, Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista was opened just for us and we had private tours and a lovely cocktail party after serving prosecco, bellinis and canapés in a beautiful old building. Lovely! Dining: We thought the food was very good, no complaints just compliments from everyone at all the tables where we ate. Ate breakfast and lunch in the Terrace Cafe and all dinners and a couple of lunches in Marco Polo. The fantastic service was a lovely surprise. You never have to carry a tray - ever! When you order an omelette, it gets delivered to your table every time ..... they always find you! And wine at dinner - it's a bottomless glass and there is always someone sneaking in to refill your glass ;-). And we found the wine to be quite good. Coffee was the one issue for me - it was not that great, but I think I got used to it by the end of the cruise ...Starbucks or Tim Hortons, it was not. When they brought the french press to the table, I found that if I waited a few minutes to press the plunger (the waiters wanted to press it immediately), the coffee could brew a bit and not be quite so bitter. I think one of the most enjoyable parts of this cruise was sitting at dinner with new friends and enjoying a great meal - unlimited wine didn't hurt ;-). Entertainment and Speakers: Richard Sykes was the cruise director and what a personable and talented person. We loved his singing shows in the evening. He could sing a large range of musical styles and he always got a crowd on the dance floor. The small ensembles(duet & trio) in the lounge ranged performed classical, jazz, standards and pot - all very good musicians. All speakers were excellent, very interesting! This cruise also had Bob Porter who directed a cruise choir - what a lot of fun, and anyone who liked to sing was invited to join. Pre and Post -Cruise: We were greeted at the airport by the VTA reps and put on a bus with commentary on our way to the hotel. What can you say about the Grande Bretagne in Athens but very posh! Beautiful rooms with chandeliers and marble, wonderful breakfasts with a view of the acropolis on the 8th floor, perfect location at Syntagma Square, and do check out the beautiful spa - many of the facilities there are included with your stay. The VTA reps were in the lobby to assist us and get all our tours organized. Post-cruise in Venice was just as organized, but I know many people had difficulty with the walk in Venice. A long walk to the bus from the ship and then another long walk from bus into airport all carrying your own luggage. Conclusion - We had a lovely cruise. I can see why it is so appealing to many, but it would not be for everyone. I think this is for a traveller interested in learning about history and cultures and is great for single cruisers. It was more like a river cruise than an ocean cruise for me. The pace is quite strenuous with shore excursions every day (I walked between 4-8 km at each port). Please go to shore excursion talks to get information about which tour is more suitable for you - some have more walking, and some are bussed. Would love to do another cruise with this company and so said many of the people we met on this cruise. Read Less
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
Sail Date May 2018
I chose this cruise for the itinerary and the quality excursions advertised. It is the smallest ship I have sailed on. I would not recommend the two night pre cruise stay in Seville. The excursions were good, especially Cordoba but the ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the itinerary and the quality excursions advertised. It is the smallest ship I have sailed on. I would not recommend the two night pre cruise stay in Seville. The excursions were good, especially Cordoba but the Melia Sevilla was substandard, undergoing renovations and had a lack of food outlets. Not everyone wanted to go out after a day sightseeing. I cannot fault the staff on the ship. Excellent service and sailing down the river after leaving Seville was very pleasant. A visit from a flamenco group was a nice surprise as was the sangria provided.The excursion to Jerez from Cadiz was well run and well organised. Good tour of the bodega, generous sherry tasting and lots of tapas. So apart from the noisy cabin issues ( see cabin review ) I was a happy sailor. Good company from fellow passengers, an interesting, well travelled lot. Then came Morocco and Mourad, the tour guide from hell. We got a detailed and boring rave about the different Moroccan ethnicities, all the way to Marrakesh. Lots of repetition. Lunch at the Grand Savoy was OK and then we set out for the Medina where he literally raced through all the lanes, no stopping to point out or explain items on sale. At the Ben Yousefa Medrassa we were treated to a long rant about the 5 pilars of Islam. At this point I complained to our VTA escort and here I need to note that Mourad was incredibly rude to this nice young man, constantly screeching 'Harry count!!' Finally reached the square exhausted. Back at the hotel, some room keys, mine included, took over 45 minutes to arrive. Poor. I skipped the included dinner and show and had room service. By the way this hotel, the Grand Savoy, was not the hotel advised in a last minute pre cruise email. The next day we could not visit the Bahia palace (a film crew were there) so went to the Saadi tombs near the Kasbah. A visit to the Majorelle gardens was a pleasant reprieve, but not worth an hour stop. Lunch was at a lovely riad. Nice surroundings but very average food and only 2 loos for the ladies. You can imagine the queue. I had asked Mourad that morning, before leaving the hotel to slow down. He didn't. When I spoke to the excursions manager I was told that there would be another guide for Rabat and Fes. I hope so but I did not find out as I came down with a really nasty bug despite hand washing and sanitizing. I must say the crew, medical staff and reception were incredibly kind and professional. I have done overland excursions , Petra, the Taj Mahal, Machu Pichu, from cruise ships before. I expected VTA to provide a superior product. It didn't. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We cannot criticise this little ship in any way. The organisation was wonderful from boarding to disembarking. We were a little concerned at some of the critical comments but soon dismissed them. The food was simply wonderful wherever ... Read More
We cannot criticise this little ship in any way. The organisation was wonderful from boarding to disembarking. We were a little concerned at some of the critical comments but soon dismissed them. The food was simply wonderful wherever we chose to eat. Breakfast on the rear deck was like stepping back in time. Lunch inside (or an the rear deck) could be ordered or self served. There were everyday choices such as fish, salads, etc at one end of the dining area with a huge and colourful dessert spread at the other end, In between was the daily specials such as Japanese, curries - a different choice every day. Pizzas were brought around too. The wait staff couldn't do enough for us. I couldn't wait for the next lecture as they were so informative and enjoyable - dry history made live. Our excursion briefings, by Zoe, were concise and to the point. Everything covered, to the point and not treated like children. I really liked the way she asked for questions, "Does anyone have any questions that would benefit the group?" Some of the excursions were a little too long in the bus but I understand that there were changed to an overnight stay. The guides were excellent. WE skipped on tour in Nantes and found a local street train. While we adults sat up like kids in a toy train, it took us through back streets and to all the sights. We will look for these in future. We have been to London many times and did not need the sight-seeing part of the extended pre-cruise but thought it worthwhile after a long flight from Australia. It was especially as our bags were delayed. The extra time, post-cruise, in Lisbon was best of all. what friendly people and great food. WE would recommend this ship to anyone, especially those who like the added knowledge of the lectures instead of "boring cruising". Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Flying from Australia to set sail from Tilbury (London) it was great to have two 'pre-cruise' days built into the itinerary to enable recovery from jet lag as well as exploration of the departure port. Our hotel was situated ... Read More
Flying from Australia to set sail from Tilbury (London) it was great to have two 'pre-cruise' days built into the itinerary to enable recovery from jet lag as well as exploration of the departure port. Our hotel was situated just beside the Tower of London which meant we could wander over the road to explore that historical site. The VTA organized London sightseeing tours were terrific - a quick 'taste' of all the major sites. Embarkation was quick and hassle-free - a feature of our re-embarkations at every port of call. Being on a smaller cruise ship, we moved quickly through security to re-board at the end of every day's shore excursions. The on-board staff were helpful and friendly and nothing was too much trouble for them. Cruise Director Richard did his job brilliantly. Entertainment was very appropriate for the passenger profile. The highlight of the on-board activities would have to be the series of lectures provided by various guest lecturers. These were informative, interesting and at times very amusing, and attended by virtually all passengers. The lectures brought the sites we visited to life, giving us a greater understanding of the history behind the areas visited, and the changes that have occurred in Europe over the ages, resulting in the modern day Europe we visited. A highlight of the trip (although it is hard to pick just one) was the evening visit to Alhambra Palace - cooler, better light for photography and fewer tourists around - just us!). In summary, this is a very convenient way to visit the coastal areas of these western European countries - no change of hotel each night! Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Embarkation at Tilbury was hanpered by poor car parking arrangements but, from the moment we got on board, the crew were efficient and friendly.The trip was enhanced by the quality of the lecturers who were both knowledgeable and ... Read More
Embarkation at Tilbury was hanpered by poor car parking arrangements but, from the moment we got on board, the crew were efficient and friendly.The trip was enhanced by the quality of the lecturers who were both knowledgeable and entertaining. The cruise took in the Northern Scottish Isles before and after Iceland. Bad weather caused the Captain to cancel one listed port and shorten another. This resulted in a couple of trips, one bird watching and the other whale watching, to be missed but, at short notice, these were replaced by similar trips at other locations. The reasons for these changes were carefully explained by the Captain and his crew but a few passengers seemed to think that it was either his or the ship's fault. This is not the newest or, thank god, the largest ship but it is well maintained and cannot be expected to ignore gale force winds and seas. Despite this VTA later compensated all passengers with a very generous refund of over £220 per person. Previous voyages we have taken with Fred Olsen and others, when similar disruption has taken place, did not merit an apology let alone any suggestion of compensation.We gained the impression of a company with a strong sense of customer service and would be more than happy to take a cruise with VTA again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
One needs to know what to expect, so please read their brochure carefully before booking this ship. We believe you will enjoy the experience, if, and only if you have made the correct match for you. What we liked and did not ... Read More
One needs to know what to expect, so please read their brochure carefully before booking this ship. We believe you will enjoy the experience, if, and only if you have made the correct match for you. What we liked and did not appreciate. The ship is clean. The staff,overall, with one or two exceptions are great. More training was required for some of the servers. The Dining room dinners were right on but breakfasts were a challenge. Every morning I found myself desperately waiting for a piece of toast. A station for toast would be a huge improvment. A little thing to some but not to this passenger. Speaker, tours etc were bang on target. Entertainment was my only disappointment. We did enjoy the classical music but please upgrade the repetitious piped in music to post 1950. The overall impression of the entertainment is that it is geared to those over 80 years of age. This leads to an issue you need to understand that there are many very senior passengers on-board. This cruise line definitely caters to seniors. Will we travel with this company again? Yes, we are already booked for a back to back cruise in 2018. We have clear expectations of what to expect and the pluses outweigh the negatives. Great value for the dollar. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Visiting Iceland was the main reason for choosing this cruise. Having cruised previously and pleasurably with Swan Hellenic we had hopes of a similar experience but it was not to be.Our cabin, which was forward on Columbus Deck, ... Read More
Visiting Iceland was the main reason for choosing this cruise. Having cruised previously and pleasurably with Swan Hellenic we had hopes of a similar experience but it was not to be.Our cabin, which was forward on Columbus Deck, immediately impressed as somewhat spartan with no chair and one rather miserable picture by way of decoration. In rough weather the noise in this cabin was akin to an artillery bombardment and I do not consider the £3000pp we had paid represented value for money. Ports of call were missed notably the Orkneys and Shetlands and certainly at least one shore excursion was truncated. I note in the Company's response to Jocklet they plan to offer a goodwill payment in recompense. As yet I have received nothing. To be fair the food offered was of a reasonably good standard and the lectures provided were very good. Not so the entertainment unless you enjoy lengthy quiz sessions or the Cruise Director imitating Elvis Presley et al. After about ten days my wife and I became ill displaying symptoms, I later discovered, commensurate with Legionaires Disease -ie- ataxia, mental confusion, shortness of breath, coughing sputum and extreme tiredness amongst others.Recourse to the ship's medical services proved futile. I was actually asked what I expected from someone in their eighties when I reported my wife's symptoms to the doctor.When I lost balance and was removed from the dining room in a wheelchair he took a cursory look at me and then disappeared never to return. He dismissed my suggestion of providing an antibiotic out of hand I later discovered I had been charged for this "service". Disembarking at Tilbury the ship's staff were at the exit with clipboards but failed to notice we were having difficulty on account of illness unlike the port staff who immediately provided assistance It was a relief to return home and receive appropriate medical attention from our doctor - ie- Clarithromycin 500mgs OD - but we will never travel again with this company.. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Iceland was the main attraction of this cruise and then the Islands of Great Britain. We traveled in the Owners Suite which was adequate but not anything special. Our cabin steward was excellent and nothing was too much trouble for him. ... Read More
Iceland was the main attraction of this cruise and then the Islands of Great Britain. We traveled in the Owners Suite which was adequate but not anything special. Our cabin steward was excellent and nothing was too much trouble for him. We found the food to be exceptionally boring and monotonous in its lack of variety and presentation. The staff were wonderful and couldn't do enough for you. The entertainment was very basic and repetitive. The itinerary which was the major reason for booking this particular cruise would have been amazing if they had adhered to it !!!!!!!! The Captain chose not to dock at times but anchor offshore which meant traveling by the slow , uncomfortable and ancient tenders to port . The organization of getting onto the tenders was slow and onerous. The Excursion Desk was not open often enough and the Excursion Staff were amateurish in their efforts to explain changes to the itinerary . On shore excursions were too short and rushed. When changes to sailing were made the time in Port was excessive and not what we expected or paid for or what the literature proposed. Lectures were held on at sea days and then extra lectures were added when Ports were cancelled . These were apparently quite informative at times. The ship was like a floating nursing home and despite the literature indicating that all passengers needed to be fit and able and sign a statement to say they were I have never seen so many elderly and unfit travelers. The ship was clean and well maintained but obviously very old. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Air Canada did what Air Canada does. Poor food, and a 3 hour delay on the tar mac, scrunched in a corner with a cricket team. Hotels: Edinburgh was the best part of the trip - mostly because of 3 interesting, but rushed tours. London ... Read More
Air Canada did what Air Canada does. Poor food, and a 3 hour delay on the tar mac, scrunched in a corner with a cricket team. Hotels: Edinburgh was the best part of the trip - mostly because of 3 interesting, but rushed tours. London was fancy and better maintained, but the excursions were optional and overpriced. (We were across the street from the British Museum)! The ship is dated, but might appeal to older passengers. New tenders are a must, if Northern ports are to be included. There is no wrap around deck for walking/talking. Due to inadequate tenders and inclement weather, my $10,000 cruise resulted in 5 missed ports, a cabin with thin walls, exposed rusty pipes (and little else). The ports offered in exchange were often travelled by myself and many of the guests so, of little interest or adventure. Shore excursions were generally included, but not all - (as advertised.) Entertainment was mainly covered by a few excellent speakers, and Richard's awesome cabaret. It saved the trip. The overworked Crew were amazing. Many thanks. Are they ever allowed off the ship? Visas should be provided for them. Would I sail with Voyages To Antiquity again? Do pigs fly? Read Less
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
Sail Date June 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
Sail Date May 2017
My wife and I had never previously been keen to join a cruise. However, the itinerary of this one, its emphasis on historical exploration and the fact that the boat seemed relatively small and therefore perhaps more intimate and less ... Read More
My wife and I had never previously been keen to join a cruise. However, the itinerary of this one, its emphasis on historical exploration and the fact that the boat seemed relatively small and therefore perhaps more intimate and less processed, enticed us to book. The itinerary was well planned with appropriate time allocated to most of the venues and days at sea, although the time spent in Morocco was too short, leaving insufficient time should any glitches occur. Several did and the coach journeys in particular became endurance tests for us.Commencing our cruise in Funchal created a special introduction to both the ship and Madeira, helping us to settle in quickly to the ship and its routines and to relax whilst guided around such a beautiful town. The ship was in tip top condition having quite recently received some refurbishment, and throughout the cruise every opportunity to maintain the ship in splendid condition seemed to be taken by the ship's crew.Our cabin was of an adequate size and apart from the paucity of storage space let us enjoy its comfort and amenities.It was kept clean by our cabin staff, although there were several occasions when insufficient towels or loo paper etc were provided.The options for dining were very acceptable and a star feature was the energetic and friendly waiters and waitresses, who were consistently conscientious and welcoming. The main restaurant was situated in the depths of the ship. It was well organised and food was served slickly with an emphasis on courteous attention from all staff.Its physical size, especially the low ceiling made it feel slightly claustrophobic at times. The food was generally quite good but did not live up to our pre-cruise expectations, especially the dinners. Providing almost 300 dinners from a relatively confined galley space may well contribute considerably towards explaining this.The food provided at the other restaurant where breakfasts and lunches were mainly served, was very well staffed and our food was generally enjoyed.Once again, the staff were very well organised and worked consistently hard to please the guests. Entertainment was organised and promoted by a highly personable and talented manager, where there was almost certainly something for everyone, although far too much was aimed at those older than my wife and I, and could well do with a thorough review and revamp.The quality of the entertainers of every kind was always of a high standard or better. My wife and I enjoy activities for reading and reflection and we were able to find plenty of occasions and venues to fulfil these wishes. One major criticism is the hopelessly inadequate provision regarding internet and especially Wi-Fi onboard. It was demonstrably naf and way below the expectations of many travellers of today. Our shore excursions were largely both well organised and thoroughly enjoyable; being of suitable duration in most cases, and visiting an interesting range of local places. With one major exception, the guides were very well trained and provided both excellent commentaries and advice about the life and culture being experienced. A day visit to Rabat proved dire, with an indecisive guide and inadequate provision for crucial activities such as using toilets. The visit included seeing the royal palace, but it was a cursory affair whereas a typical fortress nearby, seemingly heaving with interesting local Moroccan life, history and opportunities was not included. The guide provided for us when visiting Marrakesh was extremely good and made the whole visit come alive. The hotel was also a real treat and a welcome "watering hole" for us to enjoy. The ability for the relatively small ship to provide cruising from the Atlantic up to the port of Seville was a delightful experience and took us to the heart of such a fine city. It also provided the chance to enjoy the many delights of Cordoba. Being moored in Seville provided a delightful finale to the whole cruise. Overall, we felt the cruise provided reasonable value for money. For us its worst feature was that we left the ship feeling it was in some ways rather like a "floating care home" and locked into days gone by. The general ambiance came across as one perhaps suited to folk quite a lot older than ourselves, and we have been retired for well over a decade. We would not plan to use the cruise company again unless we could be convinced they had revised their philosophy and realised more effectively what we suspect most travellers of our age-group or younger now seek from cruising. We appreciated the ship's many individual qualities and strengths, but somehow left feeling a strange combination of rested and relaxed, yet somehow a great deal older than when we first arrived in Funchal.Maybe we have arrived at Antiquity? Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Aegean Odyssey Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.6
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 2.0 3.2
Public Rooms 3.0 3.8
Fitness Recreation 2.0 3.0
Family 1.0 3.0
Shore Excursion 4.5 4.1
Enrichment 4.0 4.3
Service 5.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.3

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