1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Aegean Odyssey Review
  4. Aegean Odyssey Cruise Reviews

115 Aegean Odyssey Cruise Reviews

This trip was magnificent. The food was superb at every single meal. the service was second to none. The ports and port excusrions, which are included in the fare,were interesting and well planned. the on-board lectures were very ... Read More
This trip was magnificent. The food was superb at every single meal. the service was second to none. The ports and port excusrions, which are included in the fare,were interesting and well planned. the on-board lectures were very informative and organised, and all the lecturers were only too happy to answer questions and ignite our passions in the various regions, history and culture. There is a gym,hair and beauty,swimming pool etc and not a tacky casino in sight. The cabins were clean, and very straightforward with no uneccessary trimmings.A welcome place to lay one's head after a busy day and evening; we only had one "sea day" the rest of the time we were in port. I had some personal requirements, and the staff were very helpful and went out of their way to accomodate me. the captain was happy to mix with voyagers, and was very approachable and also helpful. I would not hesitate cruising on MV Aegean Odyssey again.this is my second extended journey with them. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
I was attracted to this cruise by the range of excursions offered but I was concerned by some of the negative reviews. I need not have worried. The ship is certainly a little elderly, like most of her passengers, but, like them, she has ... Read More
I was attracted to this cruise by the range of excursions offered but I was concerned by some of the negative reviews. I need not have worried. The ship is certainly a little elderly, like most of her passengers, but, like them, she has aged gracefully and a little creaking here and there is to be expected. The range of included excursions was the best I have ever encountered in many years of cruising and all the different experiences will live in my memory. Others have praised the private visit to San Marco and it was wonderful to see the mosaics in the light of the setting sun and then beautifully illuminated, as they must have looked by candlelight. In the small ports of Croatia we experienced the Med that we had read about in old novels when you could smell the pines, hear the waves and enjoy the company of new friends in quiet bars. On an optional excursion we visited a palazzo in Palermo, and, although this was my third visit to Sicily I felt that I was seeing the city for the first time. I was lucky enough to take all bar two of my meals outside in the sunshine and the staff coped admirably with my gluten-free diet. There was an excellent programme of lectures to prepare us for the sights and I particularly enjoyed those of Gillian Hovell. When disembarking I felt very envious of those who were remaining on board for the next cruise.I was very impressed by some of the details, such as being welcomed back to the ship with cold towels and iced drinks. The staff always checked to see that each meal was good and the captain seemed to posses the ability to be everywhere at once. I would love to cruise on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
I do not want to go into great detail here about the facilities provided aboard the ship, other reviewers have already done that. However, I will say that I found the ship to be attractive and elegant on board (but decorated with some ... Read More
I do not want to go into great detail here about the facilities provided aboard the ship, other reviewers have already done that. However, I will say that I found the ship to be attractive and elegant on board (but decorated with some hideous artworks - but that is such a minor point, though one that caused a degree of amusement amongst some of us). The crew were truly fantastic and that was everyone from senior officers down to the deck crew, guys you would not normally have any dealings with. The food was super, not necessarily the very best that I have had at sea but few lines can compare with Oceania in that regard. Anyway, it was good and with a huge variety. The entertainment on board was really low key and thus delightful. The shore excursions were superbly organised, eat your heart out Swan Hellenic. Indeed, in many respects Voyages to Antiquity and Swan Hellenic are very similar but personally I think that the food, service and overall organisation and on board (and on shore) experience put Voyages to Antiquity way ahead of Swan Hellenic.Pre-cruise we were accommodated in super hotels in Egypt and again at the end of the cruise in a luxury hotel in Istanbul. These were all superb as was the organisation of everything while we were in those places.Reading a the negative reviews of Aegean Odyssey, it is as though those people were on another ship. I'd return to her without hesitation and have recommended her to others already. That said, if you want lots of on board diversions and entertainment then this is not the ship for you but if you want a destination oriented and culturaly-rich cruise and don't want to have mindless on board entertainment - cruising for adults - then this is the perfect ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
We were on a land tour to begin with through India and the company VOA chose to lead the tour was very good. There were enough people that we had 3 bus loads visiting Agra, Jaipur and New Delhi. Our guide was a bit difficult to understand ... Read More
We were on a land tour to begin with through India and the company VOA chose to lead the tour was very good. There were enough people that we had 3 bus loads visiting Agra, Jaipur and New Delhi. Our guide was a bit difficult to understand and I would say that was the only negative. Accomodations on the pre tour were outstanding. We rode a train from New Delhi which was an experience, visited many sites,rode in a tuk tuk had wonderful food as all meals pre trip were provided. Our eyes were opened when we saw what we saw in the countryside of India. What we saw in the golden triangle contrasted sharply with what we saw in Mumbai and Porbandor. We embarked the ship in Mumbai with great ease. The first part of the cruise from Mumbai to Safaga had only 155 passengers, mainly Australians, a few Brits, Canadians and 19 Americans. Having the ship to ourselves was a spoiling experience. We celebrated Easter on board with an extravagant lunch in the Terrace complete with many decorated tables decked out with Easter chocolates. Food was lamb, beef and fish. Both Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday Bible readings were read. The evening meal was in the Marco Polo dining room for all since we were a cozy group. I believe everyone would say that Easter was very special. Our shore excursions were ran very efficiently and the quality was good. I heard no complaints whatsoever about these. We were kept on a quick pace. Since we traveled through some rough waters surrounding Yemen and Somalia, the captain informed us of safety preparations in the event of pirate activity. Those on deck could see some men who were special ops forces on the bridge looking out through binoculars. The majority of the ships passengers will tell stories of one day's travel when several fishing boats with big motors carrying 8 passengers all standing circled our ship, raising their hands. The ops men were on their walkie talkies discussing this. At no time did I feel uncomfortable. The ship had taken precautions to have the water hoses tied to the deck so they could spray and razor wire was on the back deck so no one could climb up. Food was wonderful, plentiful, and varied. Carlos, the restaurant manager made certain that fresh fish was purchased whenever possible. Fresh strawberries were purchased in Turkey and the next day we had strawberries, clotted cream, melted chocolate to dip. How decadent was that? There were some previous complaints about the ship looking shabby. I could not see how anyone could say that. On days at sea maintenance was busy sanding and varnishing railings, sanding decks etc. The public areas were spotless. Entertainment was light and the many days at sea traveling the Suez Canal were long but the library had many books and I feel the majority of people on this cruise could take care of themselves. TV had some rather interesting choices for movies mainly old movies. None of the main tv channels had offerings but during the last part of the cruise a young man came on and worked the wirings and we were able to get 24 France and CNBC channel. Our guest lecturers were quite good. Martin Bell and Sandy Gall known to all the Brits. An artist who ran a workshop and was interesting to watch while on shore excursions with him. Then a man who is seen on tv lecturing about the Crusades and finally an expert who came on with his young family and talked about antiquities. The second part of the cruise from Safaga to Istanbul saw more passengers and we were at 305 capacity. It did put a bigger strain on the wait staff and there were longer lines but I do not believe anyone suffered as there was no place to go anyway. Post cruise was in Istanbul and again hotels were fantastic with breakfast included, 3 tours were provided including the Bazaar. Overall I do not see how anyone could complain. If they did they would have to be very picky and have to look hard for it. Would I cruise with them again. Yes. I do not think I would ever go as long again but the ship was great, staff accomodating, every need taken care of and I feel it was a pretty good value. Would depend on the itinerary   Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We loved this cruise and tours of the Indian Triangle and Treasures of Egypt. I retired from work whilst on this cruise and my wife had her 60th birthday which was celebrated in Egypt. We had a fantastic 5 day tour of India were we ... Read More
We loved this cruise and tours of the Indian Triangle and Treasures of Egypt. I retired from work whilst on this cruise and my wife had her 60th birthday which was celebrated in Egypt. We had a fantastic 5 day tour of India were we visited the Delhi, Taj Mahal, Amber Fort, Red Fort and boarding the Aegean Odyssey in Mumbai As part of this tour we stayed in 4 star hotels with excellent food and service. Firstly we had an inside stateroom which was OK but my wife found her bed uncomfortable so I asked if we could get an upgrade as the boat was half empty. Mathew the Hotel Director gave use and outside suite for no extra cost. Wow were we happy. Suite No 521 was fantastic and outside cabin twice the size of our original cab in with a double bed and was very comfortable Augusto our cabin steward looked after us very well. Carlos and his team in the dinning room and Bistro was fantastic looking after our dinning needs very well and we were served wonderful 5 course meals with French and Italian wines as much as you wanted. There was coffee and tea available 24 hours. Internet WI Fi was available , excellent and cheap. Everything was perfect, the tours, the hotels, the ship, the cabin. the food and the service was first class in every respect. We attended the lectures which we enjoyed very much. This was a great cruise and a great adventure traveling through India was a wonderful experience and Egypt was amazing. The hotels, food and tours were incredible. The tour guides were very good and made the whole experience fantastic. We would very much recommend Voyage of Discovery to any one great value for money. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
I recently returned from a "Grand Voyage," which is really a way of saying I took back-to-back cruises. The first part of the cruise started in Bangkok with stops in Cambodia, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, and Singapore. The second ... Read More
I recently returned from a "Grand Voyage," which is really a way of saying I took back-to-back cruises. The first part of the cruise started in Bangkok with stops in Cambodia, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, and Singapore. The second part started and ended in Singapore with stops in more of Malaysia and Thailand as well as exotic Burma. I have been on this ship before and enjoy the focus on seeing and learning about places. Yes, many of the rooms are small and there are no casinos or fancy entertainment (though there was an excellent trio of classical musicians), but that is not what I am looking for. I first traveled on the ship three years ago and am impressed on how well it has been maintained. The food is excellent. Better, in my opinion, than I have had on Princess, Holland America, or any of the several river cruise lines I have sailed on. The room stewards, reception staff, and dining room staff are superb. One of the highlights of this ship are the lectures by well-qualified speakers who also, for the most part, presented their topics well and with humor. And the topics, which ranged from politics to history to geology to peoples to literature all related to the places visited. Over the course of the cruise I visited the magnificent temples of Angkor Wat and Bagan. I witness extremes varying from the poverty of Cambodia and Burma to the opulence of Brunei and Singapore. I saw stunning modern architecture in Saigon, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore as well as British colonial architecture throughout the region. There were also visits to several excellent museums that highlighted the history and culture of the regions visited. There were several sea days on the cruise, and I was apprehensive about the number. However, the shore visits took place n hot and humid weather that left me drained, So, the days to relax were what I needed. Also, they contained lectures and assorted other activities that took up parts of these days. When there was nothing to do I found a place to read a book or surfed the Internet, which always worked well. However, for some reason, the TV reception seldom worked. So, what could have been better? During the first part of the trip, the seas were quite rough. In fact, we missed the port of Kota Kinabalu because we could not get there in time. Also, the water in my room (and everyone else's) ran a light brown. The must have flushed the tanks in Singapore as it was crystal clear the last half of the trip. Perhaps the biggest disappointment involved the shore excursions and visits, which I had thoroughly enjoyed on previous cruises on this ship in the Mediterranean and Black Sea. They were not quite as good this cruise. The port times were shorter, and the shore excursions seemed more rushed. We also were sometimes docked a good ways from the cities visited. This necessitated some longer times on buses than I like as well as the inability to easily walk through the cities. However, there were exception. For example, in Saigon and Yangon, we were docked right in the heart of town. The long distance to travel between ports in Asia also meant that we left most ports before dinner. It was nice in Europe to have evenings to see the cities by night and perhaps have dinner at a local restaurant. Finally, the shore excursion staff did not seem up to an Asian trip. They frequently could not answer questions, probably because most of them had never been to these ports before. There also was a lot a misinformation about use of US dollars. They were used almost universally, despite what we were told. This staff was pleasant enough and got us on are buses in an organized fashion, but the trip would have been much better, in my opinion, if they had included people familiar with Asia. This lapse in planning by V2A is the reason I have only rated this cruise a 4. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
In mid- February my wife and I embarked on a 2 week cruise in South East Asia - from Singapore to Rangoon and back. Our cruise was part of the Voyages to Antiquity program arranged for us by Exclusive Tours, Toronto. Never having ... Read More
In mid- February my wife and I embarked on a 2 week cruise in South East Asia - from Singapore to Rangoon and back. Our cruise was part of the Voyages to Antiquity program arranged for us by Exclusive Tours, Toronto. Never having travelled to that part of the world before, we did not know what to expect, and perhaps were somewhat apprehensive, as 70 year olds are wont to be. There was no need for any doubts. The tours were exceptionally informative and educational, as we delved into the different Asian cultures, religions and visited first hand the cities and towns of the countries visited. Our cruise ship the Aegean Odyssey, although small, met our every need and suited us just fine. The staff was extremely pleasant, friendly, and accommodating. The ship was extremely clean, with our cabin more than ample for the 2 of us. There were plenty of amenities and diversions available for us when on board. We found the meals to very satisfactory, whether going through the buffet line or ordering from a set menu in the more formal dining room. Our choice was to go through the buffet for breakfast and lunch, but have our evening meals in the dining room. Free flowing wine at dinner was an added bonus. Should one hear of the Voyage to Antiquity program, check it out. You will not be disappointed in the tours, nor the Aegean Odyssey cruise ship. My wife and I will certainly keep our eyes peeled. Cheers! Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
I have just returned after being on board from Hong Kong to Bangkok. I will do a full review once I have recovered from the jet lag and have the time. The ship looked very old, sad and worn (I have sailed on a lot of old ships). The funnel ... Read More
I have just returned after being on board from Hong Kong to Bangkok. I will do a full review once I have recovered from the jet lag and have the time. The ship looked very old, sad and worn (I have sailed on a lot of old ships). The funnel belches out lumps of soot, the 'black bottom' being the symbol of a V2A passenger, especially after eating on the Terrace! They have to clean the decks and funnel regularly. Exposed furniture is permanently soot stained. I think that this ship's carbon footprint must resemble the Sasquatch. The decor is either old and dull or industrial looking. We sailed between two typhoons, without any warning from the Captain. This ship is not good in high seas. People who never get seasick were feeling ill as she bobbed about like a cork on the swell. Then the AC broke. Again the Captain ignored it, then started lying to us in spite of knowing full well they they needed a replacement part. They kept telling us that it was being fixed and yes, couldn't you feel it getting better!!? The ship was full of University alumni and VERY experienced travellers, but they treated us like children. Even the free drinks were kept a secret. Offer the passengers free drinks to keep them happy, but do not tell them in case they actually take advantage of the offer. People only heard by word of mouth! On a three week cruise across the equator in very hot and humid conditions, we have no AC for a week and only partial and intermittent AC for another week. It was fully functional by Singapore. Our inside cabin was like an oven. Someone registered 100 degrees F in their cabin. Sleep was fitful and uncomfortable. After waking up, feeling like I was suffocating, I resorted to sleeping on the deck for two nights till they moved us to a slightly larger cabin. These things happen, especially in an old ship, but as a previous poster said, it is how the company handles the situation that either saves or aggravates the situation. V2A failed miserably. Their communication was very poor. They were not honest with us and did not keep us informed. The crew were wonderful in terrible conditions. They must have been finding sleep impossible but still had to work very hard, sweat pouring off them. They even had to continue wearing their double layered formal attire in the evenings. We would have been happy with salads and sandwiches but no, the full menu was produced. The management seemed very hard on the crew, showing little understanding and respect. Working in the kitchens must have been hell! The food was good though. We almost always ate outside, aft of the Terrace. The dining room was too hot and often closed. General organisation was poor, with a lot of miss information and conflicting information. One of the major disappointments was the quality of the tours. I decided on this cruise because I read that the tours were so good, We usually dislike ships' tours and these were no exception. They were often rushed, very repetitive, the guides often had such poor English that they could barely be understood and there were the usual quota of aggravating passengers (loud, late, lost, unable for the activity level, rude, selfish etc). Sometimes there were just too many people in one place. The cherry on the cake came on the last night and was almost laughable. We were invited to dine with the Hotel manager. We replied as requested but still received an afternoon phone call asking if we would be attending. In the evening, we excavated our unused semi formal attire and dressed up for our third venture down to the dining room. We arrived at the specified time and announced our presence, to be met by a blank stare from the Maitre'D, who led us to the empty table (no Hotel manager there to greet his guests). As we stood in the middle of the dining room, feeling quite conspicuous (everyone else was casually dressed), the name tags were examined at both hosted tables, but our names were nowhere to be seen! The Maitre'D then fled to the telephone, leaving us standing there like a couple of spare (well you get the idea!). After a while we slinked off to a corner, but still the M'D was anxiously talking on the phone. Feeling quite uncomfortable, I eventually said that if this was some sort of mix up, I would rather retire gracefully from the situation. We returned to our cabin, changed into casuals and went to the Terrace for our dinner, feeling less than pleased. The Maitre'D did attempt a weak apology and feeble explanation later. We passed the Hotel manager on the way off the ship next day but he said nothing. It was funny in a way, because it was so typical of their lack of organisation. It wasn't all bad though. We saw a lot of places, enjoyed the crew and service in the Terrace. Eating outside as the world passes by, is nice. The food was good. The cabin stewards were good too. I also enjoyed some of the lectures. The pre- and post-cruise arrangements were good and embarkation was smooth. Would we go with them again? NO WAY! Not because of the AC, but because of the way they handled the situation and because of the poor shore excursions, shabby ship, uncomfortable beds, thin walls (noisy neighbours), unpleasant management etc. We were berthed next to the Swan Hellenic, Minerva in Saigon. She is beautiful, like a little Prinsendam. I would certainly like to sail on her. The Aegean Odyssey looked like an old rust bucket in comparison. If you have already booked with V2A, do not worry, the AC is working now (or was) and many people seem to have enjoyed the experience. Do not let me rain on your parade. Oh, I forgot to mention the lifeboats. Ours was a small open, old fashioned type. Judging by the 'bum' marks on the seats, we would have been sitting on top of each other, so I am glad that we were not cast adrift on the South China Sea in that. The tenders did have covers, but on the two occasions that we needed to tender ashore, they had great difficulty in launching them (they gave up on the second occasion and used a shore tender instead). Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Booked Through: AHI Pearls of Southeast Asia: Hong Kong to Bali - Jan 12, 2013 to Jan 29, 2013 'Cruise Ship': Aegean Odyssey Voyages to Antiquity There were two parts to our "trip" -- starting with ~2 days ... Read More
Booked Through: AHI Pearls of Southeast Asia: Hong Kong to Bali - Jan 12, 2013 to Jan 29, 2013 'Cruise Ship': Aegean Odyssey Voyages to Antiquity There were two parts to our "trip" -- starting with ~2 days in Hong Kong, ending with ~2 days in Bali and the 10 day "cruise" part in the middle. The land based parts of the trip were quite good, organized by AHI and generally up to the expectations we have experienced in the past for AHI Trips endorsed by UW Alumni Travel. However, the 10 days "cruise" between Hong Kong and Bali was extremely disappointing and definitely NOT up to AHI promotions or similar endorsement from Wisconsin Alumni Association travel. Background: On this cruise portion of the trip, there were 5 "excursion" stops (Manila, Philippines; Borneo, Malaysia; Pare Pare, Lombok and Bali, Indonesia) and 5 days "at sea". At this time of the year darkness starts around 6:00 PM. However, 3 of the 5 excursions had port arrival times at 1:00 or 2:00 PM -- which strategically makes the time for excursion kind of tight (i.e.: delay arriving into port or delay getting onto the buses, cuts into time for excursion). Overall comments on the Aegean Odyssey part of the trip: - This ship is promoted as having recently been refitted for "small ship cruising" in the Mediterranean and Southeast Asia. I would instead think of this ship as "lipstick on a pig", the cosmetics of the ship have been redone attractively, but the inner workings are still those of a Black Sea/Aegean overnight ferry. o This was the FIRST venture of the Aegean Odyssey into Southeast Asia and the crew seemed to be feeling their way along with slow entries into ports and long delays with local customs clearance. o The ships engines seemed out of balance and caused a continuous "shudder" throughout the ship when running at full 14.5 kts. o The engines belched black smoke and black particulates all over the "Terrace Cafe" white canvas seats. Black stripes on the seats and on the passengers rears could be seen throughout. NOTE: all the canvas seats were washed the last evening before arrival into Bali for the next group of passengers. o The Air conditioning was obviously ill equipped to handle the humidity and temperatures of SE Asia. After leaving Manila, the AC FAILED, leaving the passengers to the mercy of 85-90 F heat and similar levels of humidity. Yes 8 days of NO AC on the cruise -- the closed cabins were, in some cases, unbearable with passengers seeking sleep on the decks or lounge areas. The Observation lounge on the top deck was like the 4th level of hell. The Ambassador lounge (lecture hall and general meeting area) was similarly uncomfortable, which detracted from the lecture series (AHI and V to A lectures). Worse yet: the Greek Captain made daily announcements that the engineers are working on the AC and will have it operating shortly (delusional). Also, announcements that parts have been flown into the next port (but they were the wrong ones) and that when we returned from excursion, it would be "frigid". o Comparably minor inconveniences: the Wi-Fi service on board was non-existent or spotty except for the last couple days -- fixed long distance via the UK home base; there was no TV signal for the entire cruise and the daily movies were "hits" from the 60's (e.g.: Around the World in 80 Days -- David Niven version, Bridge over the River Kwai etc.). - Unbelievably, this Greek Captain arrived in every port (YES every port) at least 1 hour late. This late arrival, in addition to the "amateurish and sometimes snotty" actions of the Shore Excursion director and her novice team led to the excursions being rushed or cut short (sites eliminated from the itinerary). On the last evening aboard, the Captain announced that we would leave Lombok for Bali at 23:00 and that the AC would be running again by 22:00, with arrival into Bali (only 4 hours away) at 05:00. Pathetically, there was no AC and the ship arrived into Bali at 06:15 with disembarkation started at 09:30 instead of the scheduled 08:00. - ON THE GOOD SIDE: The British Hotel Manager and the staff of cabin stewards and the dining room servers were outstanding despite the trying conditions. Many of the passengers sympathized with the wait staff and tipped generously before leaving. The food was generally quite palatable and of consistently good quality. The lectures were interesting, but the closed-in lecture hall was very uncomfortable with NO AC. Free drinks were started after the AC failed. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
This 10 day cruise was part of a university sponsored 20 day trip. The University I used was Western in London, Ontario Canada. The company that they used was AHI Travel in California. It would appear that AHI failed to do there homework ... Read More
This 10 day cruise was part of a university sponsored 20 day trip. The University I used was Western in London, Ontario Canada. The company that they used was AHI Travel in California. It would appear that AHI failed to do there homework on the cruise part because it was a complete disaster. I found out after boarding that this was going to be the maiden voyage! To start off the ships staff were wonderful and the food was great but that's where the good ends. The cruise as mentioned before was 10 days with the first 1 1/2 days in rough seas and most people either felt sick or were sick. Our first port of call was Manila,Philippines where we were rushed around in heavy polluted traffic on buses and told we had sometimes 20 minutes at a stop.We were then rushed back to the ship . There was not any free time and rushed rushed everywhere. We all wanted to be on land after 2 long days at sea. The very next day we were at sea again! The next port where I'm sure we arrived late we were able to see the Orangutans for about 20 minutes while they were fed. That was great but going to a good zoo would have suited me just as we'll! Again a long way to go for what you got to see. Next 2 full days at sea but wait the air conditioning for the entire ship died and never went back on for the remainder of the trip! We were crossing the equator the next day! We were lucky enough to have a balcony but a lot of people didn't even have a window. The poor staff 4 to a room must have just died down below. These were the same people that had to wait and serve us after not sleeping all night. The next port was Pare Pare we needed to drive 41/2 hours one way to get to the destination. That day we were on the bus with just a few stops for 13 hours arriving in the dark back at the ship. Nice tour but 13 hours on a bus? Because we were late at every stop our tours were cut short or extremely rushed or simply forgotten about. Everybody was complaining about everything. Without air conditioning you have to always dress down to keep cool,limit your activities on board as to not overheat. One good thing was that the drinks which you were suppose to pay for we're free! I think they thought if they kept us drunk we wouldn't mutiny. I could go on but I won't I will cruise again but I felt sorry for some of the more elderly people who for them it might be their last cruise and what a way to end a great way to travel. This ship and the little British Brats they had running it should turn it back into what it was originally built for a car ferry. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
We flew from North America to Hong Kong directly and although it was 13 ½ hours it was tolerable. On arrival we were met by the V2A agent and another couple. We had some wait for a third couple who had managed to exit by a different ... Read More
We flew from North America to Hong Kong directly and although it was 13 ½ hours it was tolerable. On arrival we were met by the V2A agent and another couple. We had some wait for a third couple who had managed to exit by a different door and took some finding. Once we were all gathered we were transported to our hotel, The Langham, which was, very possibly, the best hotel we have ever stayed in. It was beautiful, comfortable and the food was superb. This set up our hopes of a wonderful, luxurious and enjoyable month. The following day we were taken on a tour of Hong Kong and up to Victoria peak, but the view was not very good as it was so hazy. The guide was pleasant but her English was rather poor for the job. We went to Stanley Market and Aberdeen Harbour. In the afternoon we wandered about on our own in the local area and visited a Dim Sum restaurant for dinner. By the time we had had Dim Sum for breakfast every morning and twice for lunch/dinner we had had our fill of that particular food type, but all of it was very good. The second day we went off on our own to Hong Kong Island and found the place I was expecting to find. I was rather surprised at how modern Hong Kong was, but over on the Island and way up the walkway, I found more of the traditional look I had expected to find. In the afternoon we went to the Peninsula Hotel for afternoon tea, which was not worth the money and was regretted. Like so many, they did not know the difference between afternoon tea and high tea, believing that the word "high" somehow added a sense of grandeur rather than offering something they did not deliver. I was surprised at how cold it was in Hong Kong; not really cold, just not as hot as I had expected. On the third morning we were out of our rooms and waiting in the lobby for our transfer to the ship. My husband went out to see the ship, which was within easy walking of the hotel. I didn't have the sense to ask him what he thought. The bus was driven directly on to the dock side and we walked on to the ship with no security checks whatsoever. My heart sank the moment I saw her. My husband later told me he had the same reaction when he went out to view her in the morning. Our passports were taken from us and we were issued with key cards. We were then shown to our cabins. The more I saw of the ship the less happy I was. I understood that she would have been like one of the Saga Sisters, or at worst one of Fred Olsen's ships; older and plain, but comfortable; this was more like the Regal Empress, although in her slightly younger days. The cabin was the smallest I can remember ever being in with so little storage space some things had to remain in the cases. The beds were as hard as bricks (we later discovered that the bases were solid metal sheets). We had an inside cabin which we have had on other ships before, but this one had a claustrophobic feel. We expected it to be warm in the cabin as they often are when the ship is at rest, but the heat and the stench of raw sewage coming from the bathroom made the room untenable and we left as soon as we possibly could. They did manage to get rid of the powerful smell, but a residual one remained. The drains frequently spewed water back up them and onto the bathroom floor. The air conditioning was a saucer like contraption on the ceiling which could be opened or closed by the turn of a knob. There was no finesse about it and no ability to truly control the temperature. We explored the ship and found a couple of lounges, a theatre and a dining room. There was not one comfortable seat in any of them. The sofas and the chairs bolt upright. In the theatre the chairs could be moved, but the tables could not. This was okay for the lectures but would have been very squashed for a dance or other formal event. The decor was plain to the point of being dated and boring. The outside decks were teak and had that old world feel which was lovely. I was amazed that there were so few deck chairs, but I have to say that on most days one could be found free somewhere. Just above the pool was an outdoor bar with sofas and chairs more akin to patio furniture than ship's, but it looked like a nice spot for a drink, although it was, like the rest of the ship, very uncomfortable for sitting. We sailed from Hong Kong in a fog and straight into rough seas. (force 8. This info had to be dragged out of the Capt. later ) There was no word of warning from the Capt. and many of the passengers were very sick and confined to quarters. Moving about was very difficult as she was pitching and rolling quite badly. On other lines we would expect the Capt. to alert us so that medications could be taken in advance, if required. We decided we did not want to go to the dining room on the first evening, so we headed to the Terrace. This is an indoor/outdoor arrangement with a tiny buffet inside. There was a menu board in the hallway directly opposite the hand sanitizer; as a result people stopped to read the menu and missed the sanitizer. My husband suggested that they stagger the two things so that one could read and then use the cleanser. This was done for one day and then it was moved back again on orders "from above". This meant that on most days the sanitizer was never used. I think that all things being considered, on the first leg of our trip, the food was the best we have had on any ship. It was good, varied and interesting at every meal and that was a minor miracle considering what the crew had to endure. The second leg had a different head chef and the food was not so good. Our first port was Manila. Due to the heavy seas we were late into port and so were rushed round the sights. Well, most of them. We had FAR too long in the museum and the dioramas, while interesting and well executed were far too numerous (over 50) for a rapid visit. Our guide's English was dreadful and the Quietvox system was not effective in a tight space where three guides, plus independent visitors, were all talking at once. Later the guide was asked to just talk directly into the box as it would make hearing her easier, but she kept pointing with the hand holding the box, so that didn't do the trick! We missed the church as a result of the late arrival but no apology was offered by the ship and the guide got in such a panic about our tight time that she rushed us back to the ship and we were there half an hour before anyone else. On return to the ship it was rather warm, but we thought that the A/C was just rubbish. So, off we sailed again, into rough waters and again with no warning; sweating as we went. Next day we were in Sandakan to see the Orang Hutan, but guess what, we were late again. We were rushed to the centre, but were well passed the feeding time when we got there so the Orang had been and gone before we got the chance to see them. As it so happened we, and two or three other couples, hung back to the bitter end just in case and we were rewarded by a baby who came to see if there was anything left. We were being called to hurry up for the bus, but we went to see Orang Hutan and we were jolly well going to see her. Again our guide's English was impossible to understand fully and we had to contend with one of the girls from the ship's shore excursions office talking over him. She was a little snip of a girl who spoke to us as though we were children. Their ability to organise was now obviously non existent. People were offered the chance to visit the loo first, but there was no time for that; they were being taken in and out on the same walkway and there was no room to move; communication was not detailed enough and it was clear that details had never been though about. On return to the ship it was sweltering. Day 5 saw us at sea again, but boy were we all miserable. Most of us had had another bad night as there was no A/C at all and we were hot and tired. That evening was the Capt's Cocktail Party but we didn't go as the thought of so many people crammed into that hot room was not to our liking. We heard later that he said that there was a little problem with the A/C but it would be fixed by bedtime. It was not. He apparently did not stay long at his party! We ate at the Terrace. There was a little pot light which was flickering and they sent for an engineer to change it. When he was done I thanked him as I had found the flickering annoying and ask if he could fix the A/C too. I was just joking, but he replied "No. There is a part broken and we HOPE to get a new one at Pare Pare" The Capt knew this and yet he said it would be fixed by bedtime. Pare Pare was over 24 hours away. Day 6 The cabin was now smelling of pseudomonas and unbearable to be in. The crew were changing their clothes up to 7 times per day and getting into trouble for having tops showing sweat. The chefs were working in infernos and several of us asked that we just be given salads and cold sandwiches, but the Hotel Manager said no we would continue as normal. No one really wanted all that food in that heat and yet they had to cook it. The stick, rather than the carrot was the preferred method of dealing with the crew, but it was not working and several were getting near the end of their tethers with the officers. The dining room had been closed as it was too hot to eat there, but we learned that the crew had taken to sleeping there as it was cooler than their cabins! One passenger had a thermometer and took a random sample of the cabins in which to measure the temps. Not one was cooler than 102F!! We had taken to sleeping on deck. This had it problems as there were regular thunder showers in the middle of the night. We were soaked one night, which was a rude awakening! My husband caught a cold as a result. Several others already had it so the place was sweltering, stuffy and full of coughing, sneezing passengers many of whom were not using any hand sanitizer at meal times and serving themselves with their hands. We had the crossing ceremony today at which people were volunteering just to get in the pool. It has not been open everyday which seems odd as it is so hot. The Capt, got carried away with a can of cream and was spraying the lecturers and staff. Some were not at all pleased as their clothes are sprayed with greasy cream. The pool then had cream, spaghetti and other food substances in it making it unusable by the overheated passengers. The Dr was run off his feet with heat related problems and was in one of the hottest parts of the ship while doing it. Day 8 We were going round in circles outside the bay of Pare Pare and were late arriving. We never knew why. We drove for 4 hours, each way, to visit the Toraja people and to see their burial sights. This was fairly boring but the drive was interesting. We stopped en route for fried bananas and photos, on the way up, and again on the way back. As the bananas were included the foods laid out on the way back were assumed to be so also. They were not and the poor woman was not paid for heaps of food the passengers thought they were entitled to take. As was becoming the norm the guide's English was awful so we had no idea what we were support to be learning about the people we were visiting. One thing I did enjoy in the Toraja village was getting to go inside one of their houses. It was on stilts and very dark inside. Pare Pare is the major city of the Bugis people and they were the ones we (Brits) were told would come in the night and take us away if we were naughty. The bogeyman was the terror of many children. The source of this story was the Bugis pirates who were renowned in Indonesia for their ferocity. Our wine waitress was Bugis and a nicer person you would be hard pressed to meet, so I shall now no longer worry about the Bugis coming in the night. It had been announced that the required part to fix the A/C would be brought on board today and that we would be cool when we returned. Not so, it was still sweltering. A later announcement said that it was the wrong part, but the right one would be awaiting us at the next port. As that was Ujung Padang just down the coast in Makassar it seemed unlikely, to say the least. One thing which they did on the ship which I kind of liked was a daily briefing. We would be told about the tour the next day and any information we needed re- dress code, things to take or look out for. On the first leg it was fine, (apart from the heat) but on the second leg it became a free for all idiots who had stupid questions to ask. It was amazing how stupid people can be. On this day Zoe told us that we would be late into port AGAIN and one of the passengers lost the place. He was furious, hot, tired and let rip at her. Later I spoke with him and he and a lady were getting ready to confront the Hotel Manager and were using the "M" word. This was rash as that is a crime and that very afternoon they had learned the results for one Capt Bligh!! Two passengers got off today and made their own way home. It had also been noted that the internet had been down for exactly the same length of time there had been no A/C. Interesting! We spent yet another night on deck, but this night we found a better use for the patio furniture than sitting on it. The cushions were too soft to support anyone sitting, but laid on the deck they made a comfy bed........until the heavens opened and we got an early shower. Day 9. More guides with poor English and more sweltering. At this point the ABC had become ABM(arkets) and we were all getting very fed up. On return to the ship we were told they had embarked 5 engineers and the problem would be fixed that evening. Guess what? After yet another night on the deck we decided that we had had enough and that we could not endure this to Bangkok. So my husband spoke with the Cruise Director, Alison, and said we thought we would get off in Bali. She said she would see if the Hotel Manager could find us another cabin which may be cooler. So in the afternoon we were offered five cabins from which to choose. There was one, on the same deck as we had booked but a little farther forward which, strangely, was a little cooler so we moved into it, but reserved the right to leave in Bali. We were told that the problem was being fixed and it was amazing how many people started to think it was cooler. The power of imagination is truly boggling!! There was a rumour going around that the cruise was going to stop in Singapore as she was due to go there soon anyway for a dry dock spell. We now wondered if that were to be the case would we stay on until Singapore, but decided we would wait and see what happened next. Tomorrow is Bali and those leaving the ship are preparing to go with joy. The Capt said that the problem was being worked on, but no one believes him. He said he would update us at 18:00 but he didn't, nor did he yesterday after making the same announcement. He is without doubt the most unpopular man on the ship. We are in Lombok today and were to gather at 13:20, we were still sitting there at 14:00 and the ship was not yet docked. We arrived at 14:30 and were off the ship at 15:45. They had to cut two stops from our tour and guess what? Yet again we could not understand half of what the guide was telling us. On return we were told by the Capt that the A/C was fixed!! Woohoo!! Another night on the deck. Day 12 Bali. This should be interesting. How are they going to explain no A/C to the new passengers getting on? Simple, they don't. It was so funny hearing all the newbies complaining about the heat. However, I think they had done something to improve the situation as it was slightly cooler and we actually managed a night in our beds. Today was the first day we had a guide we understood. His English was excellent and we enjoyed our day in Bali; apart from two passengers who spoiled things by their behaviour. The tour sheet said that we would visit a specific temple, but the guide said that all the guides has suggested to V2A that we should visit another one, as the one on the itinerary required 300 steps to be descended to reach it and, naturally, this meant that the same 300 had to be ascended to get back to the bus. As half the folk couldn't walk the length of their noses this was never going to happen. This woman was VERY vocal about wanting the temple we were told we were going to; she was rude and could not understand that in Indonesian culture you do not say "No". The poor guide was nearly in tears and when we arrived back late to the ship, because she insisted on shopping, there was a rush of passengers to tell the shore excursions folk that we were not late because of the guide. Bizarrely, as we usually complain the other way, there was next to no time to shop anywhere on the entire trip. When did you ever hear a pax saying "We need MORE shopping time!!" ? It was only much later that we think we figured out why she was so insistent. There is a picture of the Ulun Danu Beratan Temple on the V2A brochure and we think she thought this is where we were supposed to go. Why they have that picture I do not know because they offer no tour, at any time, which visits it. Back at the ship many of the familiar faces have gone and there are strangers on our ship!! We are told that the A/C is fully fixed and although not inclined to believe him, we do think it is slightly better. Day 13 at sea and yes, the A/C is fixed. What a relief!!!! We were going through clothes like there was no tomorrow and so complained about the cost. We were given a reduction and told that the company will be in touch with us when we get home. So we settle down to a quite day at sea and expect things to just get better, until about 23:30 when the ship's general alarm is sounded. Not to worry though, it is just a faulty button! What next? What next? The tenders can't be lowered. Now worry, they'll get local boats to take us ashore when needed............and if we need them on the high seas????????? Day 14 Borobudur. Central Java is the most beautiful part of Java and we loved seeing it again. The temple was smaller than I had expected but with the temp at 97F it was quite big enough. We had a great day; spicy food for lunch, being able to use our Bahasa and just interacting with some of the loveliest people on earth. Just adore Indonesia. Day 15 At sea. The sea days just melt away. We had one or two lectures and a briefing, if the next day was a shore day, that was all, but with that, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and a good book it was bedtime before you knew it. There is no prom. deck to walk right around and even if there were it was too hot to bother, so exercise was limited to turning pages and lifting a fork to one's mouth. Day 16 Singapore. We asked the desk staff if we could get an underground train from the pier and do our own thing but they didn't know and were unsure if it would be safe. There was a station right by the pier and we went AWOL for a whole day. It was wonderful. We were off the ship at 07:00 and due to sail at 19:00, but the notice said All Aboard at 17:00. We thought this was very early, and checked with three sources who all said yes, 17:00. So we wandered all over Singapore (very easy city to see on your own) and had a drink at the Level 57 before rushing back to the ship. We arrived at the security at about 17:10 and there was nobody to be see anywhere, so we were a bit worried we were late. There is a long way to walk from security to the ship, so we half ran, and arrived at the gangway in a lather of sweat to see that they had changed the notice from 17:00 to 18:00 while we were out. I am sure those of you on the West coast heard my husband quite clearly. A muttered word of apology was uttered; they send us a free bottle of the free wine we got every night anyway. Singapore was also the port at which three men from head office boarded the ship. Suddenly the crew were stiff as boards. Terror reigned. Having been told we would get a reduction in the laundry over the next week they sent us three bills for the full amount, which put us in the awkward position of either accepting it or complaining, which seemed cheap. The hotel manager was known by his first name, which I have never seen before and did not like. That is no way to address an office; even if he is not a gentleman. The girls at the front desk were dreadful for making people wait while they answered the phone, so passengers got the message and stopped going to the desk, but phoned instead. Generally, their service was poor and the over all attention to detail was slipshod. Day 17 At sea. Invited to a cocktail party at lunch time. Turned out to be for B2Bs. I was quite happy with my one glass of fizz, but others had to ask for a second glass. We were given 45 minutes in the lounge and then turned out. Again that suited me fine, but not everyone was very happy with that. The shore excursions people were made up of Zoe, who seemed to be the senior member; Hannah, Ion and Melisa. Hannah was snippy and spoke to us like we were children, Melisa was quite efficient and Ion was out of his depth; charming but, if you'll forgive the pun, at sea. Zoe disappeared in Singapore and reappeared in Koi Samui. It turned out that she was due to go home on holiday but spent the time in Singapore trying to find a replacement for Ion, who had had more than enough by this point and was barely able to keep his mouth shut. I didn't blame him for leaving and trust he is happier in his new position. The group of them, like the rest of the organisation, did not pay enough attention to details and made their own lives difficult as a result. Over all, I would never cruise with them again. The idea that they are a quality line is laughable. The decor, comfort and general management was barely at standard level. However, the food was very good and the crew in the dining rooms, bars and cabins were fantastic. The lectures ranged from interesting to down right boring; but then there were things for every taste, from healthy living to cargo shipping, from the history of the Vietnam war to the inventions of the Chinese. The ship produced a huge amount of soot and the decks had to be swabbed daily to keep the mess under control. Everyone had black marks on their backsides and several items of our clothes are stained. I spoke, one day with a Mr Nicos,(sp?) who described himself as Gerry Herrod's "right and left arms". I told him how wonderful the crew had been through those difficult and unbearably hot days and he seemed surprised. He told me that he was telling the Capt; from head office, (where he claimed to have stayed for four days without going home) to keep the passengers informed, but I don't believe him. He also said that the reason for the rough weather at the beginning was because we were trying to avoid two typhoons. Why was mention of this never made to us at the time? Almost all of us were seasoned cruisers and many university graduates; were they worried we would be unable to handle to information? He spent his days prowling about the ship finding fault with everything and, although it sounds as though I am doing the same, I am not doing it to the faces of the crew who were the best part of the trip and working their backsides off. I am giving you a review of a ship on which we were less than happy and for which privilege we paid a great deal of money. Several crew members told us they will be leaving and not returning to that company. I wonder why? The tense has changed over this review as I began from memory and ended up transcribing notes made at the time. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
5 days into our cruise the Ship lost the air conditioning. For 6 nights, 5 days we were subjected to extreme heat onboard (cabins, restaurants, common areas). The captain and/or ship manager were less than forthcoming about the problems, ... Read More
5 days into our cruise the Ship lost the air conditioning. For 6 nights, 5 days we were subjected to extreme heat onboard (cabins, restaurants, common areas). The captain and/or ship manager were less than forthcoming about the problems, extending no information for days and then very limited info. Attending lectures in the Ambassador Room were uncomfortably hot, meals in the Marco Polo Room were limited, closed one evening because of the heat and other evenings too hot to dine there. Meals were not enjoyable because of the extreme heat. Cabin temperatures were in the 90's with no air movement at all. Passengers resorted to sleeping on the promenade deck and in common areas around the ship. My medications (pills) disintegrated because of the heat. The ship arrived late in EVERY port, thereby limiting our excursions (eliminating some points of interest), and rushed through many others. Upon leaving Hong Kong we noticed considerable black smoke & soot emitting from the smoke stacks which continued throughout the cruise. Crews washed down the promenade deck each morning to rid the black soot. T.V. channels were non-existent and Internet was intermittent - mostly down for the whole cruise. Upon disembarking in Bali, instructions were given by a crew member circulating around the ship to inform passengers (suspect intercom was now down). All in all a very unpleasant experience aboard Aegean Odyssey, BUT cannot say enough about the crew who managed to smile and work tirelessly throughout. No apologies from Aegean Odyssey. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
The Voyage to Antiquity cruise/tour was a 31 day, 22 night cruise trip of a lifetime. The ports of call included Hong Kong - 3 nights, Manila Philippines, Sandakan Borneo, Pare Pare Indonesia, Ujung Indonesia, Lombok Indonesia and Bali ... Read More
The Voyage to Antiquity cruise/tour was a 31 day, 22 night cruise trip of a lifetime. The ports of call included Hong Kong - 3 nights, Manila Philippines, Sandakan Borneo, Pare Pare Indonesia, Ujung Indonesia, Lombok Indonesia and Bali Indonesia. Some of the passengers left at Bali and a new group came on board for the trip to Bangkok. The next port of call was Semerang Indonesia, Singapore, overnight at Ho chi Minh Vietnam, Sihanoukville Cambodia - Koh Samui Thailand was substituted because of the Cambodian King's funeral, and finally Bangkok. The trip included 2 nights in Bangkok, an overnight trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia, one more overnight in Bangkok and then back home. This was our first experience on a small cruise ship and we were extremely satisfied with a smaller group of passengers. The ship can accommodate 370 passengers, however, I believe that the first leg had about 340 and the second about 320. There always were deck chairs available, seating in the dining rooms was never an issue as well as attending the lectures etc. - always adequate space. The small ship had the ability to sail into ports of call that is not available to larger ships. The line up of guest speakers was varied and entertaining, many topics pertinent to the upcoming tours. The lectures provided us with insight into these island countries, their development with the spice trade, the strategic development of the towns and cities as well as the cultures and religions that were brought to these parts of the world by these traders - India, China, Britain, Holland, Portugal and the United States all played an important part in the development of these islands. There were 13 ports of call featured in this trip including Hong Kong, Bangkok and Siem Reap. These were beautiful and diverse places with stunning temples and palaces, fascinating local markets, fishing villages, local cultures, drive to the volcano with its diverse landscape and the modern city of Singapore. The ship's entertainment included the "Fantasy Trio", a Romanian orchestra group playing the piano, violin and bass. These guys were excellent in their selection of music and formats - formal concerts, classical, jazz etc. Nicki was a soloist pianist/singer, who had a terrific range of music that would please any age. She lined up with the Fantasy Trio on many occasions making for a memorable after dinning evening. Our Belvedere outside cabin was excellent - it exceeded our expectations. We had a wardrobe, two night stands and a dresser with a mini bar fridge. This allowed us to store our clothes in a manageable fashion. The bathroom was spacious, good shower, hair dryer etc. The Marco Polo lounge was the more formal dining area; however, you could order the Marco Polo menu a la carte in the Terrace Cafe dining room. The Terrace Dining room had more choices and a more relaxed atmosphere, so it became out dining room of choice. It also allowed us to mingle with other passengers in a more relaxed setting. The food selections and variety were excellent throughout the complete journey. The Philippine/Indonesian crew were outstanding - they were always smiling, friendly, efficient, professional and willing to take the time to talk about their lives and families. They continued to smile even in the 5 days of adverse conditions with no air conditioning - the cooks continued to make outstanding meals in what appeared to be unbearable conditions. Were there problems - yes, the first 2 days out to sea were rough and with a smaller ship, many passengers, crew and staff suffered from sea sickness. The weather was relatively cool in the first couple of days (we had the A/C shut-off in our cabin ) and with the air conditioning working, the cabins were home to many of the passengers. Then the A/C failed as the temperatures and humidity climbed to the mid 30 C and 100% humidity. It rained almost every night in the first week or so, making the day time weather very humid. It appeared that the ship's Chief Engineer and his crew were unable to diagnose the problem and obtain the needed parts. Once in Bali. they were finally able to bring in the parts and the experienced manpower to solve the problem. The ship has a steam boiler which requires nightly soot blows (not allowed when in port) to minimize any soot during the day. However, depending on wind direction, soot did accumulate on deck chairs and the Terrace Cafe outside dinning chairs. A wipe with the towel ensured that you did not encounter the soot on your cloths or body. The water on board was considered drinkable however; each time we turned on the cabin tap, the first flow of water had a brown colour - we resorted to bottled water for drinking which we had to purchase. The new passengers who embarked in Bali brought along a virus that quickly spread amongst the passengers and crew. The Doctor on board was outstanding in dealing with this onslaught of clientele. Our biggest disappointment was the continuous late arrival at the various ports of call. This became a significant issue when the tour was a half day tour - usually limited to 4 hours because of daylight, so with an hour or more of tardiness, these tours became a rushed encounter barely allowing time for photographs and absorption of the surroundings. This needs to be addressed so that more time is available for these tours. The smaller number of passengers allowed large tour groups a controlling interest in the overall ability to function on the ship. They had their own private sessions, lectures, functions, tours and bridge playing that would occupy the lounges on the ship. They also would have a larger say in the scheduled activities. The A/C failure showed the arrogant side of many of the passengers. These passengers were typically from an educated professional background and their screaming and display of poor behaviour toward the the staff was an embarrassment. In summary we have booked two more future cruises on the Aegean Odyssey, the small cruise ship, its crew, the food selections, atmosphere, lectures etc. far outweigh the issues that were encountered on this trip. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Well, we have been home just 5 days and I can report that our " Grand Tour to S.E Asia " on the Aegean Odyssey was great. Firstly, the ship itself was modern, spotlessly clean and just the right size to get to meet people. ... Read More
Well, we have been home just 5 days and I can report that our " Grand Tour to S.E Asia " on the Aegean Odyssey was great. Firstly, the ship itself was modern, spotlessly clean and just the right size to get to meet people. Our cabin, which was an outside deluxe , had a little balcony. It wasn't classed as a 'concierge" class, but is only one of two on board of the the class down that has a balcony..We still had a fridge that was replenished with soft drinks and water everyday, 2 bottles of Champagne and petite fours on arrival and also half way through the trip again. Our cabin attendant Rex was a meticulous and cheerful guy who looked after us very well. The cabin was bright, cheerful and roomy and having the balcony was fantastic ( great for hanging washing) .We are not good sleepers, so many hours were spent out there watching the fishing boats slide by at night, On board were 2 eating areas..one had an inside and outside area. This terrace cafe was the one most favoured by the guests. There's nothing better than dining out the back with new friends watching the sun set , or looking at the locals busy about their work just off board. The Marco Polo downstairs was a nice venue also that served pretty much the same food, but the stewards served it to you .You did tend to dress a little smarter down there, some very much so, but it wasn't necessary.Its a great place to go if you've overindulged upstairs at the buffet ... The food was a;ways very nice with plenty of variety and the provided wines were drinkable. There are a number of places to go just to sit and read or chat, with the Charlestown lounge the most popular. Bridge was being played most days at the Observation lounge upstairs. There were lots of deck chairs all around the ship so there was none of that CHAIR HOGGING that you find on the other cruises. There's a lovely little shop with all sorts of goodies to buy. It always seemed to be open at meal times, which meant we always popped our heads in on the way to eat and ended up buying something that I'm sure was necessary. There's a well stocked library that had mini newspapers printed every day which was great because TV reception out to sea was poor. One point I would make was that every day they ran 3 or 4 DVDs through the TV. They were pretty old and a lot of the time the quality was so poor that you couldn't hear them. Or someone forgot to press PLAY and they just stayed in the one position for hours. Also as we were on 2 cruises back to back to make the "grand tour" , they played the same movies in the second half as they did in the first half. DVDs are so cheap these days, it would be very easy to improve their library. As I thought the music played each night was a little old for me, I was more than happy to lie on my bed and read or watch a movie...only to be disappointed. All the staff were very friendly and helpful. We had the usual bunch that didn't listen at the daily briefings and asked all sorts of stupid questions , but the staff were endlessly patient.. The excursions were well run and very efficient ..Its great being on the smaller ship , you are off the ship and on the buses in no time...none of this waiting around for hours like the huge ships. We were in colour groups and pretty much stayed with the same lot the whole trip, so you knew your group pretty well by the end of the month. The pre and post cruise accommodations and activities were absolutely first class..5 star hotels all the way. we thoroughly enjoyed our hotels in Bangkok and Siem Reap. We couldn't have asked for better. EXCURSIONS..Have you heard of the ABC tours ? ( Another Bloody Cathedral) . Well this was a little like this.Only this was ABB ,Another Bloody Buddha. We hadn't been to S.E.Asia before, but found that all the countries were pretty similar. It could be because we were seeing the same things in each country. Buddhas,museums,temples,water villages,pagodas and markets. After a while, towards the end, some people preferred to stay on the bus and snooze rather than get out for the same thing. It wasn't bad, but a bit repetitive. As it was a VOYAGE TO ANTIQUITY, NOT VOYAGES TO SHOPPING MALLS AND BEACHES, I suppose it was only to be expected. Our best excursion was one we organised ourselves to see the Orangutans at Kota Kinabalu. Was very surprised that VTA didn't do this and more guests were cross after we told them of our great day. Next best was to Angkor Wat..A fantastic place and the magnificent hotel to return to,made for a great day. Was disappointed at how dirty a lot of the countries were. Our world will be swallowed up by plastic water bottles, that are strewn everywhere. Burma in particular was a filthy place with obvious poverty and starving dogs everywhere. It did have some lovely things to see, but I was left with a sense of sadness about the place. But that's just my impression. The jacuzzi had disappeared from the ship, hopefully that will be returned.. The pool was hardly filled in the second half of the trip due to the swell. Christmas and New year were quiet on board due to the numbers of guests in their cabins with sea sickness. Overall. loved the boat..VTA seems to have dealt with all the prior concerns that had been brought up at forums such as this. I never met anyone on boat that was unhappy..It was a great trip that I would do again in a heartbeat. Obviously doing something right as the ship was full of return clientele.Missing ports of call. Phuket...seemed nice enough..did a longtail boat ride around islands. Yangon ,Myanmar. Saw some great things , but disappointed in the place as a whole. Penang. Just a city drive, museums etc. seemed a nice cleaner place. Mallaca. As Above Brunei ..Very modern areas, big modern buildings and mosques for the king, some poor areas. huge housing suburbs being built.. Kota Kinabalu..Liked this little town. nice beaches, some modern buildings. typical stinking markets. Fantastic Orangutan sanctuary Nga Trang. city tour again. usual museums, temples etc but lovely beaches too. looked nice Sihanoukville..city tour.. and beaches.. looked nice.. very poor area. Siem Reap..enjoyed these two days.. new hotels everywhere, great temples, different to all other places visited. very enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
It was advertised as a Grand Voyage but proved to be anything but "Grand". It was made up of two cruises back to back. Bangkok to Hong Kong and Hong Kong to Bali. It was a "maiden" voyage to this area and hadn't ... Read More
It was advertised as a Grand Voyage but proved to be anything but "Grand". It was made up of two cruises back to back. Bangkok to Hong Kong and Hong Kong to Bali. It was a "maiden" voyage to this area and hadn't been done before. The pre and post cruise accommodation was very good and made up for the failings of the holiday as a whole. The catering staff on the ship were excellent and tried hard to make up for the failings of the ship as a whole. The air conditioning failure has been detailed by other reviewers and contributed to making it unpleasant to attend lectures. The lecture programme was supposed to be a plus point for the Cruise but the ability of the lecturers varied from excellent to poor. The content didn't always contribute to the shore excursions. We had to have 3 cabins due to a leak and then the fact our replacement cabin must have been booked for the second half of the Grand Voyage. We would agree with everything already said regarding the cruise and in summary, the black soot smuts impacted on us and the ability to use the outside decks specifically at the stern of the ship. Waiters would use napkins to place on the Terrace dining seats. Loungers would have black soot on them. Two of our cabins Belvedere F Deluxe Staterooms (541 and 545) were noisy and 534 which we ended up in had the same kind of air conditioning control issues as other reviewers have noted, although this cabin was much quieter. If we ignore the air conditioning failure then the following points explain why we would never cruise again even though we had been offered compensation for the cruise including an "attractive" percentage off a future cruise. The ship is old and jaded and retains the feel of a car ferry. It emits black soot and seems slow and unable to maintain the speed required for the distances traveled on this cruise. It did not seem to be able to make up speed to compensate for adverse weather conditions. I did not feel that we had particularly heavy seas compared to a large number of ferry crossings I've made in Europe and to cruises in the pacific and around cape Horn. The sore excursions were our biggest disappointment. In several cases the trips did not take in the sights shown in the brochures. We were late into all the ports on the Hong Kong to Bali leg and where trips were curtailed due to time issues then visits to jewellery factories and similar venues seemed to miss the cut over handicraft and similar venues. the overall feeling was one of being rushed from place to place and with little time to actually take in the atmosphere of each sight. The average age of the passengers on the cruise was 68 and indeed many were unable to meet the pace required to follow the itineraries given to the local guides. Thus some passengers tired of waiting for some to catch up would wander off making the job of the guides to account for all their party members difficult. We did not find it difficult to understand our local guides and their ability was invariably good to excellent. The advantage of the small ship was that it could access ports that larger ships could not. However the voyage included 3 trips involving coach trips that exceeded 4 hours each way. In the case of Pare Pare some 12+ hours with functioning air-conditioning on the bus was a welcome relief from the on-board experience! The tender operations seemed to be inefficient and perhaps the fact that the ship was small and could take berths that larger ships could not reach meant that using their own tenders was not as practiced as on other ships. The Ambassador Lounge screens to assist a lecturer's presentation or for viewing films was not wholly visible from most seats. The lecture programme is part of the Unique Selling Point of the cruise and so needed a better venue. There was excellent musical entertainment on the cruise but the Charleston Lounge is the only bar available after dark so musicians battled against people in the same venue who wanted to sit with a drink and talk with others. Before making this review we spent time looking at out previous cruises and came to the conclusion that the itinerary did not give sufficient time to spend in the venues and this is also seen when comparing the quality of photographs we took. So many of our images were taken through coach windows and looked as rushed as the pace of the trips. The grand Voyage promised much but delivered poorly in part I feel due to poor management. Would it have been a better experience with air conditioning throughout and thus make the offer of money off a future cruise acceptable? I think not. The rushed nature of the itineraries have been reviewed before, there is no real provision of excursions with levels of ability and so despite excursions having a difficulty level for access/walking passengers who couldn't cope took the trips anyway despite advice from the shore excursion briefings as to what would be the problem areas (number of steps, distance to walk etc.) The ship is probably too old and there are likely to be failures in the future and the black soot will continue to be emitted and a look at the 2013/14 cruise itineraries show few changes for this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Trip: Istanbul to Venice Date: 24 September 2012 Previously: I've sailed with P&O, RCCI, Thomson -- a total of about 6 cruises. Booking: I chose VtoA for the itinerary, hoping to enjoy the small ship experience. I am a ... Read More
Trip: Istanbul to Venice Date: 24 September 2012 Previously: I've sailed with P&O, RCCI, Thomson -- a total of about 6 cruises. Booking: I chose VtoA for the itinerary, hoping to enjoy the small ship experience. I am a solo traveller, so was attracted to their willingness to welcome solos. Initially I was too late for the first batch of solo bookings, but after exchanging emails with the sales office, got a deal that I was happy with. There are some things that are not available on a VtoA cruise: there is no casino, no zipwire, no kids club and there are no photographers. Aegean Oddysey is small -- you can get to any part of it in only a couple of minutes. She is clean and smart. Some of the public areas have a sort of 70's decor, but nothing looks that old. My cabin (inside) is of good size and is fresh and comfortable. The deck areas seem to be noisier than some ships that I've been on. But maybe that's because the ship is smaller, and so it's harder to escape the machinery. The Terrace at the back of the ship is a superb place to eat. The sundecks are never crowded, and I haven't seen any sunbed hogging. There are many places to read a book, drink tea, etc, which are both nice and available. Ship's staff are friendly -- the Cruise Coordinator chats to everyone all day, the ShoreEx staff never stop smiling, the waiting staff are eager. The captain often dines on the Terrace Restaurant and sometimes goes on the tours. Tours in Istanbul (before the cruise really started) were average -- but the tours while cruising have been well above average, with knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides. The Whispernet that I had in Istanbul didn't work too well... breaking up quite often. But once on ship, each passenger gets their own Quietvox for the whole trip. These boxes are pretty good, giving good guide-tourist communication over a reasonable area. So it's easy to slip away from the group but still keep in contact. Fellow travelers are mostly aged over 60. They seem to be intelligent, discerning folk. I was concerned that I'd be surrounded by history PHDs, but most people seem to know a little and want to learn a bit more. Sure, there are some people on board who are avidly building on their knowledge, but most are just looking for something more than being taken to a shop that the guide knows. There's a lot about the cruise experience which is nice. At the start of each tour, I am given a bottle of chilled water. On each shore excursion trip we have a guide, but we are also escorted by a member of the shore excursion team... and the ShoreEx team chat on radios to ensure that things are coordinated. Significantly this means that even though some 300 of us are visiting the same places in different groups, the visits are staggered. When I return to the ship, there isn't a hand-gel machine, there's a stack of chilled moist face cloths. In the shade, by the pool, there is an endless supply of tea and coffee. The barman at the Lido Bar keeps wine glasses in the fridge, so that white wine is not served too hot. There are waiters to take my drink order... but they don't disturb me every five minutes. Overall, I feel like I am a guest, not a customer. The food is superb. I pass by glorious salads. The roast dinners are beautifully cooked -- one night there was a leg of pork which had been roasting all day, and was succulent and tasty. One night there was duck which was full of flavour. There was turkey, chicken and suckling pig. I only got to try a couple of the Tapas dishes -- which were excellent. I learned to walk around and look to see what food was available from various sources before deciding, I was never disappointed. During dinner on the terrace, the waitress Aida walks among the tables, refilling glasses with wine. She has a constant smile. On the tours, I am in the Brown Group. For several days we have the same guide -- one of the 16.2% of men in Greece called George. George doesn't travel on the ship -- instead, he is chasing us around Greece -- always one step ahead of us. He is the perfect tour guide -- on the bus he drips out the odd bit of information, usually accompanied with a related joke. In the museums and churches he keeps up a constant flow of information, - but it's not just dates and names. George knows what we've seen and where we are going... so he paints a bigger picture, putting everything together. For most of the trip, the only sign of 'smuts' were a few marks on the white seat covers on the Terrace Cafe. But, leaving Dubrovnik, the funnel spewed out a lot of hot particles, some of which landed on the aft sundeck. So -- if you're out there and ash starts to land around you, it might be smart to relocate. Voyages to Antiquity have delivered the holiday that they said they'd deliver -- excellent quality, with a focus upon history rather than an obsession with it. It worked for me. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
We sailed on the Istanbul to Athens cruise around the Greek islands. This is our 3rd cruise on this boat in 3 successive years. We enjoyed it immensely. The informality of a small ship and the ease of getting aboard in each port is hard to ... Read More
We sailed on the Istanbul to Athens cruise around the Greek islands. This is our 3rd cruise on this boat in 3 successive years. We enjoyed it immensely. The informality of a small ship and the ease of getting aboard in each port is hard to beat. The food was excellent, even better than previous years. One of the nicest things about this line is the fact that excursions are included in the price. Over time you get to know the other passengers in your group as you tend to go with the same group each port. Most of the passengers have the same interests and there is an emphasis on museums and ancient sites. The lectures are excellent and the sites visited are well chosen. The staff are delightful and extremely helpful. There's a small pool with a number of loungers but it never seems to be overcrowded as people use the other rooms and the library. the ship is small enough to get in to the smaller ports and in many of these they use their own tenders. This is a bit of fun especially if there is a little chop to the water. You are never going to have all the facilities on a small boat that you have on some of the massive ships but everything that you need is on board. The small cabins are pretty small but you tend not to spend a great deal of time in them. If you can afford one of the larger cabins these are certainly a great deal more comfortable. This cruise line has come in for some criticism particularly because it has chartered some of the mid-summer cruises and left some passengers inconvenienced. But for simple charm, informality, friendliness, pleasant company and great destinations it is unbeatable! If I can afford it I am hoping to be back again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
The fact that this ship is a converted car ferry says a lot. The owners have done their best with it but the ship was laid down in 1973 and things like engine noise suppression cannot be as good as with modern, specifically built, cruise ... Read More
The fact that this ship is a converted car ferry says a lot. The owners have done their best with it but the ship was laid down in 1973 and things like engine noise suppression cannot be as good as with modern, specifically built, cruise ships. Our cabin was on the Bridge deck and we experienced quite a lot of vibration which would have been a lot worse on the lower decks. On our cruise, passengers were 90 less than capacity which was good as we thought the public facilities would have been really stretched had the ship been full. The ship is shortly to have a refit and an extra 8% capacity added. We really don't see how this will work if the ship runs to capacity as the main dining room will not cope with a single sitting nor will the lounge have anywhere near enough space. With regard to food we can only describe this as average; it was certainly nothing memorable. Although wines were included with dinner, they were for the most part the same (probably cheap) Greek wines. We did enjoy our cruise as the trips were certainly outstanding - most memorable was a private viewing of St Marks Basilica in Venice - awesome! The crew on the ship and staff of VtoA were all excellent. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
The room was very comfortable, and the ship seemed in good shape. The lounges were nice. Weather did not really permit us to spend a lot of time on deck while at sea. The exercise room was nice, with really up-to-date machines, although ... Read More
The room was very comfortable, and the ship seemed in good shape. The lounges were nice. Weather did not really permit us to spend a lot of time on deck while at sea. The exercise room was nice, with really up-to-date machines, although I would have preferred a few more of them, as several times there were none available. Staff were uniformly polite and professional. Our cabin steward was amazing and among the highlights of the trip. Restaurant staff were helpful and service was generally good, although sometimes they were a bit overwhelmed by the crush of guests. Excursions were excellent. The Shore Excursion staff held a briefing each day outlining the next day's activities, and rode herd on the local guides, although in an unobtrusive manner. The guest speakers each offered several lectures, which were generally very entertaining, although sometimes only tangentially related to the sites we were visiting. I also would have preferred if the lectures were timed better--related to sites we would be visiting the next day rather than places we had visited a few days ago or three days from now. Still, well done. Most of the local guides were well chosen also, or we were very lucky. Some of these guides really made the sites come to life (e.g., in Split, Crete, and Naxos). In general, I would have preferred a bit more time ashore, especially when guests could navigate to the ship on their own or via tenders (as opposed to ports where we used shuttle buses. The food was generally good, although arranged around the excursions in such a way that EVERYONE was usually trying to eat at the same time. I don't know how better to time it, however. We had some nice meals in the sit-down Marco Polo room, although the buffet upstairs offered nice options even at dinner. Post-cruise stops were managed awkwardly. The cruise line tried to crowd in as many things as possible in Istanbul after disembarkation, hitting all of the obvious stops. This resulted in a rushed morning, where we did in three hours what our local guide told us he would usually recommend doing in a day and a half. All in all, we learned a lot, enjoyed our trip, and felt positive about the cruise line. We would definitely cruise on the Aegean Odyssey again! Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
I'm a seasoned cruiser who enjoys cruising more for the ports and sights than for relaxation or entertainment onboard. I've cruised with several lines, but also enjoy land vacations. I'm very interested in ancient history; ... Read More
I'm a seasoned cruiser who enjoys cruising more for the ports and sights than for relaxation or entertainment onboard. I've cruised with several lines, but also enjoy land vacations. I'm very interested in ancient history; also I often travel solo and have no problem doing things on my own in port. For me, Voyages to Antiquity sounded like a great idea. They offer some very interesting itineraries on a small ship that holds about 350 at maximum capacity. The itineraries are usually built around a theme, and guest lecturers provide additional history and enrichment onboard to complement the shore tours (which are mostly included in the fare). The line debuted in 2010 and I first sailed with them last year in November (to Syria and Lebanon as well as Egypt!). You can read my earlier review of that voyage here as well. It was a very good experience, more than good enough to prompt me to book another trip in 2011. (As a side note, the itinerary I originally booked for 2011 was to have been to Libya to see Leptis Magna!) This time around, the 2011 early reviews were uniformly more positive, so I looked forward to another great experience. The ship, Aegean Odyssey, was completely refurbished prior to starting her new career as the only ship in the Voyages to Antiquity line. She is nicely decorated but certainly not glitzy. I won't rehash the details of the ship's public rooms as they have been well described by others. My favorite place to sit and relax indoors remains the Charleston Lounge. However, the best place of all on board is either sitting in one of the very comfortable loungers or at an outside table on the Terrace (Promenade deck aft), of which I'll say more later. The only mild complaint is that with a full group in the main lounge (Ambassador Lounge), which is used for briefings and lectures, there are a lot of seats where the sight lines to the presenter and screen are not great. Embarkation at Civitavecchia was very fast and easy -- once I found the ship. Since I had been staying in Rome a few days, I took the train to the port and hopped on the shuttle there. The driver didn't seem to understand what ship I wanted. When we got to the large board listing all the ships in port, the Aegean Odyssey's name was not there. A bit concerning, until I spotted the ship's funnel and could direct the driver. Still, it would be nice if the port agent would make sure the ship name shows up. I seem to recall the same thing happened at another port as well. My cabin on this sailing was a wonderful plus. I had initially booked a basic solo cabin -- one of the things I like about the line is that there are several solo cabins on the ship and often they have deals with low or no solo supplements on various sailings. A few weeks before sailing I was notified of an upgrade to a deluxe balcony solo cabin (810), and what a treat it was! The room was a great deal larger than my previous cabin, with a layout that was lengthwise to the ship. There was a window as well as glass balcony doors that let in a great amount of light, and the balcony ran the length of the cabin. It was quite narrow, but plenty of room for the two chairs and small table placed there. The bed was larger than a twin but seemed a bit smaller than a standard double. The mattress was quite comfortable -- much better than some lines I've sailed with (are you listening, Princess?). The room was nicely decorated with heavy drapes to block out the morning sun. There was plenty of storage space, including a large 3-drawer dresser near the bed and a closet with good hanging space and some smaller drawers (and a room safe) inside. As this cabin is considered "Concierge Class", there were two really nice perks associated with occupying it: first, a mini-fridge stocked with free soda and water (and restocked throughout the cruise with my favorite Diet Coke), and second, you are automatically put into the "Red" tour group, which is the first group to depart on tours at every port. Other perks included a bottle of champagne upon boarding, fresh flowers in the room, and deluxe toiletries (Molton Brown) in the bath. Speaking of the bathroom, it was about the same size as I had in my previous cabin but then shipboard bathrooms are never spacious, are they? A perk related to the cabin location was the availability of fresh coffee and pastries in the morning just steps from my cabin door (outside on deck 8), just in case I was rushing to get ready for an early excursion. Service throughout the ship was at a very high level. Within a few days, almost all of the personnel that I interacted with on a daily basis knew my name and my preferences. My cabin steward was helpful but unobtrusive (which is what I prefer). The maitre d' hotel and two headwaiters were very much in evidence in both dining venues (the Marco Polo Restaurant and the Terrace Cafe). The shore excursion staff, while young, seemed to have things running very smoothly at all times. There was almost always one of the staff with our tour group, which at times came in very helpful, as when one woman fell and seriously injured herself at one of the ancient sites we visited. Within moments several people were tending to her. Speaking of excursions, most are included (as I mentioned above) and range from half-day to full-day tours, some of which are quite strenuous. The staff did a much better job this year in accurately presenting the level of activity for each tour and thus there were fewer people on the excursions who really couldn't handle the pace. Our bus also had fewer people than last year and the guides, in my opinion, were generally better. I think some of this is due to lessons learned in their first season. Overall, all the included and optional tours that I did were very satisfactory except one. The excursions were one area I had noted last year had some room for improvement, and I'm happy to say that comments from myself and others must have been noted and acted upon. The one excursion that was unsatisfactory was the half-day tour at Souda -- it simply included too much for a half-day tour and was very rushed. I mentioned it to the staff and they agreed; hopefully the head office will take note and re-think things at this port in future. Dining on board was very pleasant. I ate in the Marco Polo dining room (the main DR) almost every night. The head waiter put a group of 6 solo women of all ages together and we all hit it off and had a blast; we ended up dining together most nights. I found my fellow passengers were well traveled and very good conversationalists. The food last year in Marco Polo was comparable to what you might expect on most mass market lines, but this year I feel it was a step higher in quality. At least two meals really stand out in my memory as excellent. The house wines were good (mainly Greek) and were poured generously throughout the meal. Although the dining room was also open for lunch, I enjoyed most lunches (when not ashore) at the Terrace Cafe, sitting outside. I must say that V2A really upped the ante over last year in regards to this venue. Inside the regular buffet had good choices, but outside they also added a pizza station and had a daily pasta made to order, as well as a selection of antipasti (often with a local slant) set up outside. Breakfast is only available at the Terrace Cafe buffet, with more or less the same selection each day. Omelets could be made to order. There is not much in the way of planned entertainment onboard the Aegean Odyssey, other than the advertised lecturers. This was a high point on my previous cruise and I enjoyed them again this time. We had two lecturers who each provided 4 lectures over the course of the cruise. Both were good speakers. In addition two of the ship staff each provided an additional lecture. Of the 10 lectures, I only missed one. The same musical group, Cafe Concerto Strings was onboard this year and I remain impressed with their musical talent -- they add just the right touch to the cruise for me. Another musical duo were on board but I was less fond of them. The ship also arranged a group of Greek dancers/musicians to come aboard and give a show while we were in Rhodes. There are no facilities for children onboard, no casino, no production shows. Internet was inexpensive and speed was good relative to other ships I've been on. There is one shop onboard that stocks a variety of essentials, jewelry, logo items, and books. The library is excellent; it was almost my first stop on this cruise to check out the selection of books -- novels, history, guidebooks -- most related to the ship's itineraries. I have yet to set foot in the salon, spa, or gym, so I cannot say much there. I generally provide more detailed reviews of individual ports on the Ports of Call boards, but some basic thoughts on our ports visited are listed below: Palermo -- We overnighted here and saw quite a bit, with three included half-day tours. The Palatine Chapel and Monreale were standouts. On the last afternoon, the bus tour started at Palermo and visited Segesta (the highlight for me) and the nearby Greek theatre before heading to Trapani to meet the ship there. A bonus -- V2A decided to include Erice in the the Segesta excursion and it was just lovely to walk around this medieval hilltop village. After leaving port, we encountered some rough weather (swells) enroute to Tunisia. Tunis -- We overnighted at Tunis (La Goulette, a beautiful new facility) and I found Tunisia to be lovely and peaceful -- no signs of any civil strife. One of the highlights of the entire trip for me was the full-day excursion to the ancient ruins of Dougga. The setting is spectacular and the ruins are in very good condition; the tour also included a nice lunch at a local hotel in Dougga. Our guide was outstanding. The next morning, our included trip was to Carthage, where the ruins are less complete, but (for me) just being at the site of the ancient city was fascinating. We also briefly visited Sidi Bou Said. I would've liked to have visited the Bardo Museum to see the mosaics, but I know the museum has been under renovation (many rooms not accessible) for quite a while.... Valletta -- We had a half-day tour of Mdina (beautiful, and nearly empty when we were there early on a Sunday morning) and Valletta. Unfortunately, being Sunday, we could not get into the Co-Cathedral even for a look. However, visits to the Grand Master's Palace and the Archaeology Museum were included. In the afternoon, I had made separate arrangements to go to the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, a very important prehistoric site; advance reservations are needed and only 10 people per hour can take the tour. The ship had an optional tour that visited the nearby Tarxien temples (also prehistoric) and the fishing village of Marsaxlokk. Chania -- As I already mentioned, the half-day tour here, which covered the old town and Venetian harbor at Chania, as well as a one-hour drive to Rethimnon to see the Venetian fort and harbor there, was just too rushed and included too much. There was not a single unplanned second to savor the views or enjoy a leisurely stroll through the streets around the area(s). I'm sure that contributed greatly to my general dissatisfaction with this port. There was time in the afternoon to go back to Chania (about a 15 minute taxi ride from the port; local buses were also available and easy), but honestly it didn't seem worth it. Iraklion -- This port, also on Crete, was much more successful. The included half-day tour to Knossos was another highlight for me, greatly aided by the fact that our guide was superlative and we arrived at the site quite early and beat the crowds. Compared to some archaeological sites, Knossos is actually quite small and I can see how it can get quite crowded at peak times with people queuing up to get inside the various areas. In the afternoon, it was an easy, scenic stroll of 15 minutes or so along the water to get to the old town of Iraklion, where I did a little shopping and also visited the Archaeological Museum (note: the full museum is closed for renovation, but the most important items from Knossos and other excavations are on display in a small area in the basement of the museum; it is still well worth going). Lindos -- An interesting day and our only tendered port. We were to tender to Lindos, spend the day there, then re-board the ship and sail to Rhodes Town, around to the north of the island. Seas were quite choppy, however. Our group was as usual the first to get off, and the water was so rough that some had trouble boarding the tender. I should mention that the briefing the evening before had focused extensively on the difficulty of the climb up to the Acropolis at Lindos (the main focus of the tour), so some people had already opted not to tender in. The ride from ship to shore was a bit like a roller coaster. When we tied up at the dock, Zoe (shore excursion manager) stuck her head in the boat to let us know that there was a change of plans. Once everyone tendered in, the ship would sail for Rhodes, as the weather was predicted to worsen. V2A arranged for buses to pick us up from Lindos at the end of our excursion and take us into Rhodes. I highly commend V2A for making such a quick decision and arranging the change with a minimum of fuss. We were well taken care of (even got to see an additional site on the way to Rhodes Town), and the weather later that evening, where waves were washing over the dock at Rhodes, made it clear that the right decision was made. Rhodes -- Although some of us had already gone into Rhodes the previous afternoon, the included excursion was a half-day tour of the old city and included the Grand Master's Palace (yes, another one -- later than the one on Malta and refurbished by Italian kings and Mussolini) and the Archaeology Museum. Although the tour itself was interesting, our guide was not. After the tour ended, I grabbed a taxi to take me up to the acropolis of Rhodes to get a few photos (our tour had driven by but didn't even stop); then I enjoyed wandering the Old Town for a while longer. Before sailing, the ship brought some Greek dancers and musicians on board for a show; they were quite good and had us all dancing. Opa! Antalya -- Luckily the seas had died down and our sailing from Rhodes overnight was fine. Having been to Antalya twice before, I opted to skip both the included and the optional excursions and just head into Antalya on my own. (One should definitely NOT miss Perge and Aspendos on a first visit, however). Here is another area where V2A did well by its passengers: they laid on a free shuttle into Antalya (Old Town area) from the ship. Since it was about a 30-minute ride, this was well appreciated. From the Old Town, it's easy to get to the Archaeological Museum on the tram (1.75 Turkish lira per person, each way), which I did and spent a lovely morning seeing the museum at leisure. Then I headed back to the Old Town where I had lunch at a restaurant built right into the old Ottoman walls and looking at the lovely harbor. A bit of shopping and I headed back to the ship on the next-to-last shuttle. Tasucu -- This little-known port in Turkey turned out to be a lovely surprise. The port is a 2-hour drive from the sites we visited. V2A wisely decided to combine both the Crusader castle (Mamure Castle) and the Roman ruins (Anemurium) into one tour rather than having one included and one optional tour. The ride to the sites, although long, was on a winding highway that clung to the hillside right at the edge of the sea. The views were incredible, even if the turns were at times a bit exciting. The ride was also enlivened by the fact that it was the first day of the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha (festival of sacrifice), where families traditionally kill and share one of their livestock (sheep, goat, etc) with those less fortunate. We were warned that we might see some butchering along the road and indeed I did (though it was easy to miss if you didn't want to see). Certainly something I will remember. Limassol -- Our last port; we had a full day here before leaving the next morning. This port was also a repeat of last year's V2A cruise for me, so I skipped the included tours. I had hoped to get to Paphos to see the mosaics there, but it seemed quite expensive to take a taxi on my own, and I couldn't seem to find anyone to help figure out the supposed "shared taxi" system I'd read about. At any rate, V2A again laid on a shuttle into town, so I walked around a bit. Perhaps because it was the end of the trip, but I didn't find much to recommend there. The ship included transfers to the airport, and disembarkation was smooth and relatively painless (except for the very early hour). I would not recommend ending a cruise in Limassol; it made for a long travel day back to the US -- about 21 hours for me. All in all, my second experience aboard Aegean Odyssey was better than the first in almost all respects. I really am fond of that little ship and I know I'll be sailing on her again in future. V2A just recently announced new itineraries to Asia, and there is always the chance that Libya will be back on the program..... Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Having only experienced mid sized cruise ships before, this was an entirely different experience that we initially had mixed feelings about. However having just done Sicily is the Key to Everything on VTA's Aegean Odyssey, we were ... Read More
Having only experienced mid sized cruise ships before, this was an entirely different experience that we initially had mixed feelings about. However having just done Sicily is the Key to Everything on VTA's Aegean Odyssey, we were surprised just how much we really enjoyed the feel of being on a much smaller ship. We found the ship positively charming, yes she's an old girl, no getting away from that and at times a little noisy, but she's been tastefully refurbished and the staff are absolutely fantastic. We started off with 2 nights pre-cruise stay at the Atheneum Intercontinental in Athens,loverly modern room, hotel is a bit out from City Centre, but having done the main sites in the included excursion we were more than happy to flop out by the hotel pool and just enjoy the sun. The age group on this cruise was predominantly retirees, although there was the occasional younger person (am including ourselves in that even though we are sixties children). The representatives acting for the cruise line in Athens were perhaps a bit too how shall I put it? "mothering" for our tastes, but I suppose they have got rather accustomed to behaving like that, although younger passengers may find this rather irritating. The thing I really noticed about Athens was how much graffiti there was, the greeks like scrawling on anything and everything apparently. The transfer and embarkation in Piraeus was very swift and we were soon in our cabin. We had asked for a Double bedded cabin and the G grade cabins were supposed to have convertible beds, however the one were were allocated didn't and as the twin beds were fixed, we had to change cabin. The ship wasn't full so we were able to secure a balcony cabin instead. Size wise the extra space in this type of cabin was comparable with the standard balcony cabins you get on RCI, although the balcony was more spacious and better appointed on this ship and was a great place to watch from as the ship sailed through Malta's Grand Harbour. Welcoming touches were my favourite Molten Brown toiletries, a chilled bottle of Champagne and a mini bar full of complimentary soft drink cans. The wallhung LCD tv was very tiny but we adjusted to it's smallness. We loved eating breakfast and lunch al fresco out on deck in the Terrace Restaurant and there was always a good choice. For dinner we always ate in the Marco Polo Restaurant purely as we enjoy being waited on for this meal and the chance to share a table with other passengers. What a welcome surprise that was too,not sure what we were expecting but we met some extremely interesting people and some real characteurs, it was genuinely a pleasure to cruise with. The food was enjoyable,they even had Brussel Sprouts in August! Entertainment wise this was very, very low key,the trio were very accomplished musicians and were very well received everytime they played. Not too keen on the duo, the vocals weren't too good. A Michael Bubble CD went down far better. Can't say too much about the evening lectures, we did the first one then snook off to the bar instead on other evenings, but we were told afterwards that people did drop off in them. There really is a lot of walking on these itineries, so if you are less able in getting around, it's not perhaps best suited for you and you might be better on a bigger ship that offers more "scenic driven" excursions and less tendering. This was quite an experience when the sea swell got a bit choppy. One of my favourite ports was Taormina, loved the Greek Theatre and its views of Etna. The lemon ice cream here is to die for, do try some. Great also for shopping, would have liked 2 days here, to have had the time to go further up Etna by cable car/4x4 as we didn't feel the optional excursion we took went sufficiently high enough for us. Mycenae and it's ancient beehive tombs was interesting, Nauplia good for buying cheap italian leather shoes. Syracuse has a great market to walk round, only on in the morning so skip the morning excursion if you want to do this. The excursion tour guides were good, very knowledgeable and easy to understand. Red group are always the first group on excursions, the other 5 groups take it in turns to go with them. Also was surprised that contary to what I had antisipated,I actually prefered Sicily over Greece and will definately revisit Taormina one day. We found the staff exceptional,always smiling and so willing to help you. Special mentions to Sidi our cabin boy,Edgar and Victoria in the bar, Vanessa and Lesley on reception and Matthew the Hotel Manager onboard. Would we cruise with VTA again? Most definately, the new Indian and Asian intineries for 2012 soun very promising. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
We have cruised 13 times on both mainstream and upscale ships. Good: Lectures (good to very good); the value of the extra two-day program in Istanbul (accommodation in Ritz Carlton); no casino; efficient steward; polite crew; frequent ... Read More
We have cruised 13 times on both mainstream and upscale ships. Good: Lectures (good to very good); the value of the extra two-day program in Istanbul (accommodation in Ritz Carlton); no casino; efficient steward; polite crew; frequent dining al fresco. Problems: - FOOD! The (Polish) purchase manager did a great job but the chef (Italian) didn't. The food was depressing; after a few fatal misses in the Marco Polo restaurant we moved to the buffet that was a notch better but still below even the Carnival or Royal Caribbean standards. - Tendering: Despite the rotation schedule among various groups, the waiting time was substantial, up to two hours in Monemvasia (the tour there and in some other places there was effectively shortened by half). Tenders broke a few times (!), and the crew was clearly very inexperienced with handling the problems. This was the first time that we didn't feel safe in the tenders; - Cabin: very small - but with such an intensive excursion program, size was not a problem. Noise was: both the very clumsy air condition and the ship's machinery made the good night sleep quite difficult. Adequate but not great: the excursion program. Many guides were mediocre, and there were several logistical problems. The worst: crowding in visited places caused by our own ship due to the fact that all excursions followed the same itinerary. In a few cases it was very easy to de-congest, e.g., on Crete, all excursions went in the morning to Khania and in the afternoon to Heraklion. Overall, a slight disappointment comparing with the brochure. Negligible nuisances: ashes from the chimneys (we got reimbursed for dirty clothes), old decor, rather uncomfortable lecture hall. The bottom line: unless the food improves, we will consider other ships before we try Aegean Odyssey again. It is a relatively better option on itineraries with little tendering. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
I was a little hesitant to book this cruise since there had been no Cruise Critic reviews on the ship since November 2010 and they weren't all that positive. However, since Sicily is one of my favorite places in all of the world (and ... Read More
I was a little hesitant to book this cruise since there had been no Cruise Critic reviews on the ship since November 2010 and they weren't all that positive. However, since Sicily is one of my favorite places in all of the world (and I have seen a good part of it!) and the ship spent almost a week in Sicily in the various ports, I decided to throw caution to the wind and book it anyway. Am I glad that I did!! I flew into Athens and spent my pre-cruise night at an inexpensive hotel in Piraeus. The only good thing that I can say about the hotel that I booked was that it offered a free shuttle service to the port. Hotel check-out time was 12 noon so I got to the cruise ship pier about 1215PM. The information that I had gotten from Voyages to Antiquity said that embarkation did not begin until 2PM and boy, were they spot on. Most cruise lines say embarkation begins at a certain time but they always let people on early. Not this ship! At exactly 2PM they opened the check-in desks and there was no line so I was checked-in and on the ship in about 5 minutes. I was handed a red rose (for which there was a bud vase in my cabin), escorted to my obstructed view cabin by a smiling Filipino steward and my luggage arrived shortly after that. I headed down to the Terrace Cafe for a buffet lunch and then explored the ship. The Aegean Odyssey is a very small (11,563 tons) "boutique style" 40-year old ship. If the ship is full it holds 350 people. There were only about 200 passengers on our sailing so there were never any lines and the service was top drawer. It has 6 passenger decks and 2 dining venues - the main dining room called the Marco Polo Restaurant, down in the bowels of the ship on the lowest passenger desk as is the norm with many older ships, and the Terrace Cafe, a delightful buffet restaurant on the Promenade Deck where I took most of my meals. Breakfast is always a buffet served at the Terrace Cafe. Generally one can have lunch and dinner served in the Marco Polo Restaurant or at the buffet at the Terrace Cafe. There were a few times when the Marco Polo was closed for lunch and a buffet lunch was the only option. There is no room service. There are no set dinner times at the Marco Polo and there never seemed to be a wait for a table when one wanted to eat dinner there. The food was excellent. Very fresh and well made with, for such a small ship, plenty of options. Fresh food (such as tangerines, swordfish and yellow fin tuna) was brought on at Palermo and they never seemed to run out of anything. The service in the Marco Polo was generally pretty good and it was absolutely excellent in the Terrace Cafe. Your tray was always carried from the buffet to your table of choice and you could eat inside or outside. The servers and stewards in the Terrace Cafe were SO fun and friendly and learned many of the passengers' names within a couple of days. There was always a chef cooking something on the indoor grill (such as bacon, fish, hamburgers, hot dogs or steak) and a separate table with tasty desserts. The Aegean Odyssey has the most amazing ice cream. It tasted like it was just made on the ship but it actually comes from Italy and they have 14 rotating flavors. There was plenty of salads and fresh sliced, cut up and whole fruit. You won't go hungry! English tea time was daily at 4PM and VERY well attended. The ship is all non-smoking except for an outside area on Deck 5 aft. On our sailing the passenger mix was about half Americans, a lot of British and some Australians and other English-speaking nationalities. Everybody was very congenial and friendly. Some of the passengers had sailed on Aegean Odyssey previously and said the food and service had improved since last season. I would guess that the average age was 65. My cabin was very comfortable (except for the horrible foam rubber pillows). Plenty of hangers and a good size bureau, as well as more drawers and a nice-size safe in the closet. My cabin steward was excellent and took wonderful care of me. I had 2 windows with life boats in front of both of them. Not a problem. At least I could see if it was sunny or not outside! I had one of the 16 single cabins with a bed big enough for me (somewhere between a normal single and double bed mattress). The Standard and Premium cabins all seem to have 2 tiny twin beds (smaller than normal size twin beds) that do not go together. There were some large people on the ship and I don't know how they were able to sleep in those small beds without falling out! Some of the Deluxe cabins have very nice queen beds. The Standard and Premium cabins have no-name toiletries and the Deluxe cabins have Moulton Brown toiletries. Being an old ship, the air conditioning in the cabins is rather unusual and tempremental. There is no thermostat on the wall. There is a dial on the vent on the cabin ceiling that you turn to supposedly open or close the damper to change the room temperature. Well, sometimes that worked and sometimes it didn't. The air conditioning vent could also be very noisy. I was told by a couple who were in a cabin on the top passenger deck (Lido Deck) who sailed on the ship last year that the air conditioning did not work hardly at all and the staff brought them a fan to try to cool the room down. My cabin shower was small but larger than some other ships (such as the old Renaissance Cruise Line ships that now sail for Azamara, Princess and Oceania). The Deluxe cabins have larger showers or tub/shower combos. There was an occasional lack of really hot water when many people were showering at the same time but I did not find that to be a problem. Entertainment on the Aegean Odyssey was very limited. There was a fantastic piano player (Stacy) and a classical trio (the Cafe Concerto trio) that alternated musical sets in one of the lounges. There were lectures most days or evenings from the historians/lecturers onboard and one game of "Name that Tune". There was no trivia, dance classes, art auctions or any of the usual shipboard activities. We were so busy with the shore excursions on this port-intensive itinerary cruise that there really wasn't too much time for any activities anyway. There was a well stocked library onboard and I read a number of books. With this older passenger group I think that most people went to bed quite early. I know I did! The shore excursions were mostly included and amazing!!!! I never walked so much in my life nor saw so many temple ruins or cathedrals. Thank goodness the weather was in the 70s most of the trip! If it was any hotter it could have been a problem (at least for me) since much of what we saw was outside with little or no shade and few places to sit down. The passengers were all divided into colored groups (red, yellow, green, blue, orange and purple) and these were the groups that we toured with the entire time. The colors were also rotated so that each color group got to go on a tour first at least once. The big tour buses were all very comfortable and air conditioned and held maybe 30 or so people. We had a shore excursions staff member with us on almost all of the tours and those kids were wonderful. Knowledgeable, friendly, personable, fit and helpful. They kept track of the group and would help the slower members of the tour group (the people with canes or walking difficulties of which there seemed to be quiet a few) keep up. They also carried a huge tote bag with filled with first aid kit, bottles of water, extra Quietvoxes (the amazing listening devices that allowed us to hear our guide even when we were wandering off taking photos or whatnot) and who knows what else in their magic tote bags.I was very fortunate that all of my tour guides were excellent. I heard a couple of comments from other passengers who were in different tour groups that their guides in Palermo were not the best, but that was very unusual. Just about everybody seemed to be very happy with all of their tour guides. There was a LOT of walking on all of the tours. Truthfully I don't know how some of the passengers did it. Much walking on cobblestones and other uneven surfaces, stairs (oh, MANY stairs!) and hills. I never walked so much in my life! But I was very proud of myself (I am not in the best physical shape and would be the first to admit it!) that I was able to do all of the tours and keep up. Be warned - you will get A LOT of exercise on this cruise!! We had to tender in 4 of the smaller ports which held things up a bit, but with only 200 passengers tendering generally was quick and efficient. In closing, this was one of the best cruises I have ever taken. It was certainly a completely different experience than most cruise lines offer. The ports of call, shore excursions, passengers, crew, staff and food were excelllent and I would definitely recommend it to anybody who is interested in the history and culture of the classical world. Certainly the price is higher than many other cruises, but the value received (including selected shore excursions, in-depth lecture program, nice small ship with no lines, wine with dinner, gratuities and bottled water) makes it well worth the money. I am looking forward to my next cruise on the Aegean Odyssey. Hope to see you there! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
My husband and i traveled with a friend and her sister on the May 7 2011 cruise to Greece and turkey. We had cruised once previously to Alaska on a large Princess ship. Although we enjoyed Alaska, we were not fans of the huge glitzy cruise ... Read More
My husband and i traveled with a friend and her sister on the May 7 2011 cruise to Greece and turkey. We had cruised once previously to Alaska on a large Princess ship. Although we enjoyed Alaska, we were not fans of the huge glitzy cruise ship with the lines and waiting. I discovered Voyages to Antiquity searching the internet and noted there were some uneven evaluations. But the concept of the small cruise ship fascinated us and, although our professions are in mechanical engineering and nursing, my husband and I are both amateur historians. May is a fabulous time to cruise the Mediterranean! It was warm yet not hot and the wild flowers were in bloom. It was not yet peak season, although the shore excursion sites were already busy. Our cruise started with two nights in a hotel in Athens. There are two hotels used. We booked an inexpensive inside room on the ship and were placed in the less expensive hotel-I believe the name was the "Intercontinental Hotel." Persons booked in the suites on board ship stay at a more expensive hotel. We were pleasantly surprised by how nice the hotel was. We had a large room with a king sized bed and a sitting area with a sofa and chair. It was very clean and had a fabulous morning breakfast buffet included. Voyages to Antiquity staffed a desk in the lobby for 12 hours a day where very pleasant staff offered maps and advice on how to plan for meals and excursions on our own. They sent us to a delightful and inexpensive taverna just a short walk from the hotel. (The hotel meals were very expensive.) Included was a tour to the Acropolis and the forum. Try to visit some of the smaller museums in Athens on your own-they were fabulous. Boarding the ship was efficient and well organized-like all of our experiences with this cruise line! We had booked a less expensive inside cabin which we were thoroughly satisfied with. The beds cannot be pushed together to form one large bed and they are smaller than a twin. But they were comfortable. There was air conditioning in the ceiling which I ran because I am hot all the time. It worked well but it was May and not that hot out anyway. The bathroom was adequately sized and clean. The pleasant cabin steward was always available and made sure we had everything we needed. Laudry service was available and a bit expensive. For example a shirt was $3 and slacks $4 each. We had brought soap and did undies and t shirts in the bathroom sink. The food was great-fresh and well prepared. Much better than what we had on our Princess ship. The Marco Polo dining room was more formal and required a jacket for men (although I noted the dress code became less formal as the cruise went on.) We had most meals in the Terrace buffet which had inside and outdoor seating and was informal. Most meals had three main choices to choose from. there was lots of well prepared and fresh fish. Every meal also had a pasta dish and delicious pizzas. There were piles of fruit and salads. All of us were very pleased with the food. Wine and beer are included (free) at dinner. My husband's only suggestion was that they should increase their choice of beers-all they had was Becks, Corona and Bud Light. (Be sure and try the Mythos beer in Greece!) Shore excursions were spectacular! Voyages to Antiquity contracts with excursion providers in each port. When the call was made to depart for the days excursions, the buses would be lined up and waiting for us. Each group had a tour leader/guide. In general they were good except I had difficulty understanding many of the Greek guides because of their accents and the fact they tend to talk fast The ship gives you an audiovox system to hear the guides with and it was helpful but not perfect. Our particular tour visited fascinating and beautiful destinations. Monemvasia in Greece was beautiful as was our optional trip to the medieval Byzantine town of Mystas. The island of Delos was fascinating with the May flowers blooming amidst the Greek and Roman ruins of the city. The medieval town area in Rhodes was great also. In Turkey we visited Ephesus and Aprodisias. walking the streets of a these Greek/Roman cities was an unforgettable experience. And to our surprise we loved Istanbul! We are not usually "city people" but this was a fascinating and truly exotic place. We thought this trip was an excellent value. When you first look at the price it seems high-but when you factor in the comfort of small ship cruising, the excellent service, the organization (no lines!), outstanding food and the fact that almost all the shore excursions were included in the price, and the high quality pre-cruise hotel you realize it really is a great value. There are a few things I would like to see improved. As mentioned, my husband thought the beer selection was fair at best. Also, many excursions were too short-we would be brought to a fascinating place and would be back on the bus in 2-3 hours. I would rather have spent more time in every place we visited. But the cruise line seems to book 1/2 day shore excursions and bus travel time eats into what is available. Also, there is no time to shop. Please note I am NOT a big shopper-but everyone needs to pick up T shirts foe the kids etc. There was very little time allowed. We would be hurried past vendors to get to the buses while I would have loved 20 minutes to peruse their wares. We asked to be brought to the famous Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. The bus dropped us off and we were told 30 minutes! Hardly time to experience what it is like. One other issue we noted is that the service in the Terrace Grill buffet dining area could be uneven. Sometimes you would be approached quickly and offered beer or wine and others times you would not be noticed very quickly. Some times they would bring around pizza slices to offer and other days they never reached you. The wait staff was pleasant but service was just a bit uneven. One thing to keep in mind is that this cruise line attracts an older clientele. My husband and I are in our late 50s. I would guess the average age is between 65 and 70. There were a few young couples and a smattering of teens and 20 somethings that were cruising in a family group. But this is an older and sedate crowd. If you like to spend evenings reading, listening to 45 minute lectures on history presented by college professors, chatting with new friends, listening to a string trio playing in the lounge or a pianist crooning out the top sounds of the 1950s and show tunes etc, you will love this ship. If you want to drink hard and party at the disco-this cruise line is not for you! But, we absolutely loved our cruise. We have already ordered the 2012 brochure and are picking out a cruise for next year. I think that is the best indicator of how much we enjoyed this cruise! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We had great hopes of this cruise in spite of some of the reviews of the ship. And in fact the ship was fine. Our cabin was comfortable, with a small but just adequate balcony, and there was ample room for clothes and general clutter. The ... Read More
We had great hopes of this cruise in spite of some of the reviews of the ship. And in fact the ship was fine. Our cabin was comfortable, with a small but just adequate balcony, and there was ample room for clothes and general clutter. The whole ship was clean and visually well maintained. And the cabin and restaurant staff were outstandingly good. There were a number of minor irritations - the lift was frequently not working or not working properly, there was one day when none of the toilets flushed all day and another when they did not stop, the Marco Polo was frequently full and one had to come back later - but there were 3 real areas of weakness which would stop us returning. First was the quality of the lectures. I gather from people who had been on other cruises with the same ship that their lecturers were fine, but I certainly could not recommend the ones on our trip. Not only were they mostly (we found) crushingly boring and not really aimed at an intelligent but not expert audience, but they were technically badly presented. Many of the seats were in positions where it was impossible to see any illustrations, there were no handouts, and there was no facility to see them on the TV in the cabin or on DVD afterwards. Initially the lectures were full: later they were poorly attended. That speaks for itself. Secondly the food was poor and tedious. The menus read well, but the food was bland and unappetising, like superior motorway food. The plates were always cold, the puddings were usually accompanied by vile coloured artificial sauces, the soft cheeses were put out straight from refrigeration - nothing seemed to be simple and fresh. There was no sparkling water after day 3. Thirdly, the administration was frequently amateur verging on shambolic. Although the Whispervox system was excellent, there were rarely back markers in any group, and those who moved slowly got left behind. The staff told us that no-one had ever taken any of the tours before, but had relied on organising them through the internet, so that they had no idea what route the guides would take round sites. That meant that those whose walking was more limited could not take short cuts, missing out parts of the site and catching up later, or rest in one place knowing that the tour would be coming back the same way. Personal safety did not seem to be a priority. One person cut himself and bled badly, and was told that there were only 3 first aid kits and that his group did not have one. We were told they were learning on the job. And the last night in Cairo was chaos. One of our cases was not delivered to our room, and phoning down achieved nothing. I eventually found it, with dozens of others, still outside the hotel hours later. The woman on the group hospitality desk said that everyone would have a 4am wake up call, and those who believed her and did not return to the desk that night did not see that that had been changed, and everyone had to arrange their own wake-up call. At least one person to whom I spoke later had missed the coach. Everyone was told to make sure that they got on the same coach as their luggage. That proved impossible for most. There was an appalling crush trying to identify luggage and then personally carry each case by hand to the coaches, some of which were parked by a narrow pavement where 2 people could not pass each other. We found our luggage eventually abandoned in the airport, with no-one guarding it or indicating where it might be. The ship also had problems getting into Leptis Magna. The Libyan authorities would not allow it in on the day we were supposed to visit, so that we had to stay an extra day and missed Benghazi. It was unclear what had happened, but it is indicative of the widespread cynicism about the organisation that we heard numerous rumours to the effect that the ship's agent had been at fault. So - some good points, but we were overall very disappointed. There are better cruise lines and we intend to go with them in future. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
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

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click