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16 Aegean Odyssey Cruise Reviews

The saying is: never go back! In 2012 we had an unforgettable cruise on Aegean Odyssey and we have always wanted to return. So on 26 April 2019 we flew to Athens to join her for a Classical Greece and Islands of the Aegean cruise. All ... Read More
The saying is: never go back! In 2012 we had an unforgettable cruise on Aegean Odyssey and we have always wanted to return. So on 26 April 2019 we flew to Athens to join her for a Classical Greece and Islands of the Aegean cruise. All went well, transfer to the port of Piraeus was swift and we were quickly into our comfortable outside cabin. Later we attended an Excursion Briefing for the following day and noticed that though we were now leaving the first port five hours earlier than published in the Excursion Booklet, no explantion was forthcoming. Those guests who were staying on for the Black Sea cruise the following week were asked to stay behind. The next day we learned from those passengers that the subsequent cruise had been cancelled as one engine had broken down. So the pattern for the next seven days emerged. Each day the ship left port hours early so that it could proceed at half speed in order to reach the next port in time for the morning excursion the following day. At no time did Captain Pallas (soon named Captain Invisible), Cruise Director Alison Lewin or Tours Manager Chantelle offer any explanation and of course rumours soon materialised. Reference to the Cruise Industry News website revealed that Voyages to Antiquity had issued a press release announcing that ten cruises through the Summer had been cancelled and that the ship would enter dry dock for a replacement engine. However for us unfortunate passengers there was no such information. Further it emerged that the ship is to be reconfigured and leased to the Road Scholars group for three years. So it was then clear that we were on Aegean Odyssey’s Farewell Cruise and that Voyage to Antiquity is no more. This was born out by free drinks being available to all on the last day (though once again nobody knew). The cruise would have been good, but excursions were inevitably rushed, and little time was left after to explore interesting tiny towns in which the ship docked. The Greek Easter Sunday lunch excursion was outstanding in Heraklion, Crete as was the visit to the Stephanos Crater on Nisyros. All the included excursions were well guided by knowledgeable local folks. The food was was mostly good and the included wines plentiful in the Marco Polo MDR though service could be very slow particularly if on a large table. There was a relevant lecture program which my wife enjoyed but there is no evening entertainment of note. So farewell Aegean Odyssey, great little ship with lovely public rooms and staff, let down by management in the face of a crisis which can happen on any ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We travelled with Road Scholar, about 20 of us. We had our own guides separate from the what was provided to the other passengers on the ship. Pros - Nice size ship, under 300. Easy on/off. Restaurants not modded. - Very nice ... Read More
We travelled with Road Scholar, about 20 of us. We had our own guides separate from the what was provided to the other passengers on the ship. Pros - Nice size ship, under 300. Easy on/off. Restaurants not modded. - Very nice crew - Lovely outside deck for meals (there was also a restaurant inside, see below) - Food quality good - Good value - Spa services good Cons - Ship needs renovation. Rooms looks like my dorm room from the 1970s -- without the posters. Desperate need of soundproofing: sitting in bed at night each night, I could hear two people in the next room recounting their day like they were in my room. Spa facilities a bit low end for the prices, though the practitioners were good - At least on my level, there was frequently a septic smell in the hallways - The staff is very friendly, but any special request is met with a blank face and sometimes panic. I don't know what the training is that they get, but it must be about discouraging special requests. There was also the battle to get a refill on a cup of coffee each morning. - The shore excursions were rushed. For Road Scholar shore excursions, we went on our own, but we pretty much tracked with the ship. I don't know if this was required. We moved so quickly through sites that there was no time to sit and appreciate what we were seeing -- or to stop by the museum shop to pick up a book. It's not because we were sailing. We'd often sit in port for hours after, meaning endless rows of souvenirs shops. - The food was dull and repetitive. You would never know we were in the Mediterranean. For some reason, there was an "Asian Buffet Night". I assume most clients of this line want familiar food and that's fine, but I wanted an English type menu, I'd have gone to England. - We went along with the ship on two of their excursions that were really disappointing. First, Murano Island, which was solely a buying trip. We were discouraged from exploring the island outside the factory that we were brought to. The guide said "there's nothing see" which I knew wasn't true because I'd been before on my own. The guide also discouraged us from checking other shops/studios on the island. When I exited the shop to just look at the scenery, I was encouraged by the guide to go back in and do more shopping. What a scam! Second, the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. We went at night. The site takes about 15 minutes to go through. The paintings are all copies. There was a reception for us, consisting of sparkling wine and little quiche cups things (we were ready for dinner by then). It took up the whole evening. Total waste of time given all the pleasures Venice has to offer. Groups of passengers started going back to the ship earlier than planned because there was so little to see at the site -- and the ship, which was going to have dinner for us, said we had to wait until 10p. This is when the mask of geniality dropped and instead out came hostility. There's no flexibility or improvisation, which is what really makes good service. In summary: Road Scholar elevated my experience on the tour, but the ship is run-down and I wouldn't take a trip with them again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
I chose this cruise for the itinerary and the quality excursions advertised. It is the smallest ship I have sailed on. I would not recommend the two night pre cruise stay in Seville. The excursions were good, especially Cordoba but the ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the itinerary and the quality excursions advertised. It is the smallest ship I have sailed on. I would not recommend the two night pre cruise stay in Seville. The excursions were good, especially Cordoba but the Melia Sevilla was substandard, undergoing renovations and had a lack of food outlets. Not everyone wanted to go out after a day sightseeing. I cannot fault the staff on the ship. Excellent service and sailing down the river after leaving Seville was very pleasant. A visit from a flamenco group was a nice surprise as was the sangria provided.The excursion to Jerez from Cadiz was well run and well organised. Good tour of the bodega, generous sherry tasting and lots of tapas. So apart from the noisy cabin issues ( see cabin review ) I was a happy sailor. Good company from fellow passengers, an interesting, well travelled lot. Then came Morocco and Mourad, the tour guide from hell. We got a detailed and boring rave about the different Moroccan ethnicities, all the way to Marrakesh. Lots of repetition. Lunch at the Grand Savoy was OK and then we set out for the Medina where he literally raced through all the lanes, no stopping to point out or explain items on sale. At the Ben Yousefa Medrassa we were treated to a long rant about the 5 pilars of Islam. At this point I complained to our VTA escort and here I need to note that Mourad was incredibly rude to this nice young man, constantly screeching 'Harry count!!' Finally reached the square exhausted. Back at the hotel, some room keys, mine included, took over 45 minutes to arrive. Poor. I skipped the included dinner and show and had room service. By the way this hotel, the Grand Savoy, was not the hotel advised in a last minute pre cruise email. The next day we could not visit the Bahia palace (a film crew were there) so went to the Saadi tombs near the Kasbah. A visit to the Majorelle gardens was a pleasant reprieve, but not worth an hour stop. Lunch was at a lovely riad. Nice surroundings but very average food and only 2 loos for the ladies. You can imagine the queue. I had asked Mourad that morning, before leaving the hotel to slow down. He didn't. When I spoke to the excursions manager I was told that there would be another guide for Rabat and Fes. I hope so but I did not find out as I came down with a really nasty bug despite hand washing and sanitizing. I must say the crew, medical staff and reception were incredibly kind and professional. I have done overland excursions , Petra, the Taj Mahal, Machu Pichu, from cruise ships before. I expected VTA to provide a superior product. It didn't. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Having read numerous reviews regarding Voyages to Antiquity (VTA) and their ship, Aegean Odyssey, I was puzzled by the diverse reviews. Some appeared to love it, whilst others hated it. My conclusion, after a cruise in May and talking with ... Read More
Having read numerous reviews regarding Voyages to Antiquity (VTA) and their ship, Aegean Odyssey, I was puzzled by the diverse reviews. Some appeared to love it, whilst others hated it. My conclusion, after a cruise in May and talking with some fellow travellers, is that many have only been on this ship and learnt to love the quirks and forgive the shortcomings, as they have nothing with which to compare. Others have cruised before on other lines and thus have a base for comparison. We recently travelled on the Aegean Odyssey, from Seville to Rome, departing May 13. We booked Cabin 805, a Junior Suite with a balcony (category below the Owners suite). The cabin came at a price, but was the best cabin that we have ever had on any cruise ship with only a few minor complaints. We have previously cruised on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Azamara and Princess, on a range of ships sizes from 130kt to 30kt. At 12kt, this was the smallest (and oldest) ship on which we have sailed. There were quite a few positives with regard the Odyssey, which we really loved, but sadly far outweighed by the negatives, to the point that we would not consider cruising on this ship again (unless we had a guarantee that the negatives had all been addressed). I would like to note that apart from taking up specific issues with the Excursions Manager (which was a total waste of my time), I also completed the passenger survey form that was delivered to our cabin on the last night. I offered to expand on my negative comments, hoping to offer constructive criticism, before I posted anything on Cruise Critic. But after 6 weeks passing from cruise completion, and having heard nothing, I can only conclude the VTA either does not take the survey forms seriously, or doesn’t really bother to read them. Incidentally, this was the similar response that I received on board from the Tour Manager, when I tried to suggest some changes to the way in which some tours had been organised. Now for some details The Ship 3/5 Yes, the ship is old and a former car ferry, but is well maintained. I was particularly impressed how well it handled a few rough days, much better than I had anticipated for such a small ship. Not exactly a pretty ship, very small pool area, but easy to get around. Itinerary 3/5 We booked this cruise because of the interesting itinerary around Spain and Italy, included tours and some of the positive reviews. Most of the ports were interesting, perhaps too much emphasis on churches, but overall good. Cabin 4/5 Having booked a superior grade cabin, we loved it. Few issues apart from a ridiculously small TV, balcony door that leaked and air conditioning for which there was no individual adjustment in each cabin. But cabin was very spacious, well appointed, and probably the quietest cabin on any ship. The balcony was tiny and almost unusable. Public Rooms 4/5 A small ship which allows light from both sides into public rooms, and thus creates a lovely atmosphere. Could always find a seat in all lounges. The nicest room was the Observation Lounge on the top deck, but rarely ever used and such a waste. Overall, lounges were modern and no complaints. Food 3/5 Unfortunately, this is an area for improvement. Serving sizes were often quite small in the main restaurant (not necessarily bad), but after having fish and steak on a few occasions, I gave up on these dishes. The fish dishes were always overcooked. Steaks were always requested rare, hoping to at least get medium rare, but alas, they were always served medium/well, overcooked for my liking. Some of the dishes in the main restaurant were excellent, others okay, but generally not up to the standard of other cruise lines. The other buffet restaurant also receives mixed reviews. Some dishes excellent, others ordinary to bad. Lunch-times often saw a themed lunch, eg Indonesian, Indian etc and we tended to like this variety, and food was generally good and interesting. Service Again, mixed reviews depending on the staff involved and the restaurant. One annoying feature of the buffet restaurant is that the doors which open onto the really lovely outdoor terrace area, are not automatic, heavy and dangerous if you had to carry a tray full of food through them. This was recognised as a real safety issue and their solution is to have wait staff carry your tray for you to all points of the restaurant, both inside and out. This sounds a great idea, but is labour intensive which often detracts from the service – clearing tables, filling up water glasses, offering drinks etc. A far better solution would be to install automatic doors, as on almost all other ships and even with an old ship, it must surely not be too difficult. This would free up quite a few wait staff to greatly improve the patchy service. On one day early in the cruise, we sat in a section of the indoor restaurant where service was poor. To his credit, one of the wait staff with initiative, from another area, observed our plight and suggested we sit in his section, which we did for rest of the cruise. He was excellent, looked after us and provided great service and we rewarded him with an extra tip at the end of the cruise (even though tipping was an inclusion). On one of the few nights when we chose to eat in the buffet restaurant, the service was again poor. Drinks at dinner were included in the fare, and on sitting down, I asked for a quick beer to quench my thirst (as we had just returned from a tour) and requested a wine to follow. The wine came, but not the beer, so I went up to the bar and requested my beer. I was told that there was table service only, apologies given and the beer was delivered to my table. When I requested a second glass of wine, same problem, it never arrived. So again, back to the bar, same apology, same result. I have never had to do this once, let alone twice on any other cruise ship. We noted that a new Maitre d’ (Peter) joined the ship after about 4 days and some discipline was then observed and things improved quite a bit, with education and training of some of the wait staff. He did an excellent job and lead by example, and we cannot compliment him too highly and told him so. Entertainment Being a small cruise ship, we did not expect grand productions as we have experienced on larger cruise ships. But we were not prepared for the lack of variety in the entertainment. We don’t get bored easily and normally find enough to entertain ourselves on sea days, but thankfully on this cruise, we had few sea days (more on that later!). We thought that a fair comparison may have been to compare with the previously smallest ships on which we had sailed (Azamara Journey and Quest), both with roughly twice the number of passengers. But Azamara was light years ahead, with a 5 piece show band, and 4 singers/dancers, guest entertainers, many more activities during the day. The Odyssey had an extremely talented cruise director (Richard) and he was the sole entertainer each night in the main lounge, supported by a classical duo and trio, playing at other times in lounges. All a bit too repetitive. Without Richard (who carried out more of an entertainer’s role, rather than one of a cruise director) and his talent, this ship would be even more lacking in entertainment. But the standard just does not compare at all with the offerings from Azamara, with just double the number of passengers. The highlight during the sea days was the quiz, again hosted by Richard, but lasting just 15-20 minutes. Lectures VTA advertises as a strength, its on-board lecture program. This consisted of 2 lecturers, one on art and one on archaeology. The art lecturer was very dry and thus I only attended one of his sessions, whereas the archeology/history lecturer was excellent, passionate and always interesting and I really enjoyed all of his presentations. But I must say that neither was overworked during their 2 week on-board stints Activities As covered above, there was little to do on sea days, little more to add. Tours This is the most disappointing aspect of the cruise, touted as a strength for VTA, with its included tours, but which were often very poorly organised. The Tour Manager was seriously lacking in personal skills, personality and organisational skills and was backed up by some friendly but inexperienced support staff. My issues, as well as those experienced by many other passengers on this cruise, are too numerous to detail. The inability to often manage an orderly disembarkation for tours was very annoying. As Junior Suite passengers, we were supposed to have priority disembarkation for tours, but the tour manager could not adequately organise this. With other cruise ships, passengers are requested to sit in a specific lounge in groups, and such groups are called one by one to disembark. Not the case on the Odyssey, where passengers tended to mass outside of the lounges and not follow any firm instructions to allow any form of orderly disembarkation. Instead of calling small groups to fill buses one by one, they would call large groups at once, often filling 6 or more buses at the one time, hence unnecessarily delaying departures. When I complained to the Tour Manager, she became quite defensive and said that she cannot control the behaviour of passengers, or she would get complaints from them. It seemed that my complaint did not count. She also advised that she had been doing it this way for 10 years, which I pointed out did not necessarily make it correct. I advised her that her system could not and would not work on larger cruise ships, but alas, this all fell on deaf ears. We actually missed the port of Cartegena totally, due to some “internal ticketing issue” (as we were advised) with organisation of one of the optional tours in the previous port and were told that this tour was regarded as a highlight of the cruise, and that a “private, after hours” tour had been arranged. This meant a late departure and thus to make up for this delay, we had to miss the next port. In my passenger survey, as previously mentioned, I requested a more detailed explanation of why we had to miss a port, but no reply received to date. Conclusion The ship had been tied up in Greece for approx. 5 months from Nov 2016, until April 2017, and it is understood that many of the crew were new and perhaps inexperienced, so perhaps this contributed to the lack of organisation and detail. The ship was in good shape. Overall, the cruise and itinerary had great potential but sadly did not live up to expectations, and not even close to Azamara in value for money, service and food quality. We have now been advised that after one cruise, we have joined the “Odyssey Club”, which entitles us to a range of freebies on our next cruise, such as free internet etc, but it would take a lot more than a few throw-ins to ever entice us onto this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
My wife and I had never previously been keen to join a cruise. However, the itinerary of this one, its emphasis on historical exploration and the fact that the boat seemed relatively small and therefore perhaps more intimate and less ... Read More
My wife and I had never previously been keen to join a cruise. However, the itinerary of this one, its emphasis on historical exploration and the fact that the boat seemed relatively small and therefore perhaps more intimate and less processed, enticed us to book. The itinerary was well planned with appropriate time allocated to most of the venues and days at sea, although the time spent in Morocco was too short, leaving insufficient time should any glitches occur. Several did and the coach journeys in particular became endurance tests for us.Commencing our cruise in Funchal created a special introduction to both the ship and Madeira, helping us to settle in quickly to the ship and its routines and to relax whilst guided around such a beautiful town. The ship was in tip top condition having quite recently received some refurbishment, and throughout the cruise every opportunity to maintain the ship in splendid condition seemed to be taken by the ship's crew.Our cabin was of an adequate size and apart from the paucity of storage space let us enjoy its comfort and amenities.It was kept clean by our cabin staff, although there were several occasions when insufficient towels or loo paper etc were provided.The options for dining were very acceptable and a star feature was the energetic and friendly waiters and waitresses, who were consistently conscientious and welcoming. The main restaurant was situated in the depths of the ship. It was well organised and food was served slickly with an emphasis on courteous attention from all staff.Its physical size, especially the low ceiling made it feel slightly claustrophobic at times. The food was generally quite good but did not live up to our pre-cruise expectations, especially the dinners. Providing almost 300 dinners from a relatively confined galley space may well contribute considerably towards explaining this.The food provided at the other restaurant where breakfasts and lunches were mainly served, was very well staffed and our food was generally enjoyed.Once again, the staff were very well organised and worked consistently hard to please the guests. Entertainment was organised and promoted by a highly personable and talented manager, where there was almost certainly something for everyone, although far too much was aimed at those older than my wife and I, and could well do with a thorough review and revamp.The quality of the entertainers of every kind was always of a high standard or better. My wife and I enjoy activities for reading and reflection and we were able to find plenty of occasions and venues to fulfil these wishes. One major criticism is the hopelessly inadequate provision regarding internet and especially Wi-Fi onboard. It was demonstrably naf and way below the expectations of many travellers of today. Our shore excursions were largely both well organised and thoroughly enjoyable; being of suitable duration in most cases, and visiting an interesting range of local places. With one major exception, the guides were very well trained and provided both excellent commentaries and advice about the life and culture being experienced. A day visit to Rabat proved dire, with an indecisive guide and inadequate provision for crucial activities such as using toilets. The visit included seeing the royal palace, but it was a cursory affair whereas a typical fortress nearby, seemingly heaving with interesting local Moroccan life, history and opportunities was not included. The guide provided for us when visiting Marrakesh was extremely good and made the whole visit come alive. The hotel was also a real treat and a welcome "watering hole" for us to enjoy. The ability for the relatively small ship to provide cruising from the Atlantic up to the port of Seville was a delightful experience and took us to the heart of such a fine city. It also provided the chance to enjoy the many delights of Cordoba. Being moored in Seville provided a delightful finale to the whole cruise. Overall, we felt the cruise provided reasonable value for money. For us its worst feature was that we left the ship feeling it was in some ways rather like a "floating care home" and locked into days gone by. The general ambiance came across as one perhaps suited to folk quite a lot older than ourselves, and we have been retired for well over a decade. We would not plan to use the cruise company again unless we could be convinced they had revised their philosophy and realised more effectively what we suspect most travellers of our age-group or younger now seek from cruising. We appreciated the ship's many individual qualities and strengths, but somehow left feeling a strange combination of rested and relaxed, yet somehow a great deal older than when we first arrived in Funchal.Maybe we have arrived at Antiquity? Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
It was recommended for the quality of lectures and excursions, which I found excellent. Before the trip I was sent the wrong documents (for another passenger!) and had to wait for my e-ticket to arrive by post rather than by email which ... Read More
It was recommended for the quality of lectures and excursions, which I found excellent. Before the trip I was sent the wrong documents (for another passenger!) and had to wait for my e-ticket to arrive by post rather than by email which was frustrating and odd for this day and age. There was confusion at the airport and I spent a long time looking for the VTA rep who had mistakenly ticked off my name and the bus nearly left without me. The room was grubby and smelly which I discovered was caused by black mould in the shower and on the wall - even the dressing gown was stained by it. Fortunately, after some argument with the receptionist, I was moved to a better room but it was noisy at night. Sometimes the water turned brownish which left me feeling more dirty than clean. The constant soot on the Terrace restaurant was also bothersome. The staff worked very hard and the food was delicious. I particularly appreciated the convivial company of like-minded people. On the whole, I enjoyed my first experience with VTA and hope to go back provided the whole ship is refurbished. I understand this is scheduled for the end of this year. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We chose the Grand Voyage to the Rivieras (London to Rome) on Aegean Odyssey in June-July 2016 because it was a small ship which promised an educational program and visits to antiquities. Selecting a four week cruise was always going to be ... Read More
We chose the Grand Voyage to the Rivieras (London to Rome) on Aegean Odyssey in June-July 2016 because it was a small ship which promised an educational program and visits to antiquities. Selecting a four week cruise was always going to be a stretch for us because we usually prefer a more active style of holiday, however the itinerary indicated that we would primarily be in port participating in excursions during each day except for 3 days at sea and the fact that the ship was small enough to dock in smaller harbours adjacent to old towns really appealed to us. The reality was quite different and very disappointing. Excursions: The pace of the excursion program was much too slow for us (we are in our middle 60's and are fit and active) seeming to cater for infirm, older passengers who don't like to be inconvenienced by getting up and out early and who have an inherent fear of stairs and walking any distance greater than 100m. The excursion organisation seemed at times to be poorly coordinated. We have been on other shorter cruises where within moments of the boat docking in port, passengers were whisked away to coaches on their excursions with no time wasted. On the Aegean, shore excursions rarely started before 9am even though the ship had docked hours earlier. Most of the shore excursion staff were young and seemed disinterested and inexperienced in customer service and public relations. The shore visits we enjoyed most were when the ship docked within walking distance of the old town and we could do our own walking tour. Just something to note: We booked our cruise in Australia with the price quoted in Australian dollars yet the booklet provided to us by the Australian agent which outlined shore excursions had the cost listed in $ but did not specify which country. Having been provided the information in Australia we presumed that the excursion price was Australian dollars but how wrong we were. On boarding we discovered that the excursion prices were actually American dollars. With the exchange rate that means they cost much more than we anticipated and really equates to false advertising...Beware! Cabin: We booked Room 711 a Premium Outside Room which had a fixed double bed and a view restricted by a lifeboat but which was in the middle of the ship for stability and well away from the propeller. Even still the vibration could be felt in our room. This old ship does not have the stabilisers that newer ships have so it certainly rocks and rolls even in a small swell which meant that we missed one scheduled port because the captain chose to travel away from the coast to make the boat more stable. The ship also travels considerably slower (9-15 knots) compared to larger ships which travel up to 23 knots. On viewing other rooms we were glad that we did not spend further money on larger rooms as they didn't seem worth it. The room and ensuite we chose were more spacious than we were expecting. I have rated the cabin average because the towels were stained, white-grey in colour and often with frayed edges and should have been tossed out ages ago. Ship: The Aegean is an ageing ship which struggled to provide the premium quality experience we paid for and which was advertised. While we did not have any real problems, other guests shared their experiences of burst water pipes, continuously flushing toilets , sewerage seepage. It seems unbelievable that a cruise ship which includes river ports in its itinerary is actually incapable of processing the silt from the river. The two days we were in port in Bordeaux we had to "manually flush" our toilets with a bucket because the water to the toilet cisterns was turned off because the silt was causing problems in the plumbing. I don't recall that being mentioned in the promotional information! Add to that the fact that we were only cruising half-an-hour from embarking in Dover when we had to man our muster stations for two hours while the fire crew put out a fire in the engine room. The ship is due to go into dry-dock in November 2016 but I doubt that anything short of a re-build will solve the problems long-term. Ports: Due to the fire our itinerary, excursions and service were all compromised. While the crew did their best to manage the situation by providing an open bar (a bit lost on us because we don't drink alcohol) and hot water was limited to a couple of hours each day. The fact that we were docked in an unscheduled port for three days while the ship underwent repairs meant we were unable to participate in a number of excursions and a number of ports were eliminated which was very disappointing to say the least. We have been promised compensation for this loss but at the time of disembarking, no one would specify what the compensation would actually would be, which is a poor response. Dining: Meals in the Terrace Cafe did not meet our expectations with most food bland, and soft. We like more texture and taste in our food. Again, the ship was probably catering to the geriatrics that were on board. When booking our cruise we identified that we were vegetarians but somehow that information was not recorded by hotel services and never passed on to the shore excursion staff. That meant when we were invited to attend a special meal in the Marco Polo Restaurant we RSVP'd requesting two vegetarian meals BUT what we got was they just skipped the three seafood courses meaning we got less than everyone else... really! Even though I directly advised the shore excursion staff each time our excursion included a meal that we needed vegetarian food, it took a full two weeks before the message was acted upon. Crew: The hospitality and service crew were from the usual mix of Asian countries and were always friendly, helpful and went out of their way to please. Entertainment and Activities: The Cruise Director, Richard Sykes,was a bundle of energy who never seemed to sleep and seamlessly coordinated the entertainment as well as contributing to the program himself. The expert speakers were entertaining, intelligent and interesting. The Library provided a country-specific news summary every day which was useful given that the WiFi was woeful and there were plenty of books, both light reading and educational available. We would not choose to cruise with Voyages to Antiquity again because the style of cruising, the clientele it attracts and the intense focus on antiquity, does not suit us. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Well, as ever, it was quite good. Emphasis on "quite". The good things. Despite my criticisms below, Voyages to Antiquity are good value for money. I cannot emphasise that enough. But... The staff. They are wonderful. ... Read More
Well, as ever, it was quite good. Emphasis on "quite". The good things. Despite my criticisms below, Voyages to Antiquity are good value for money. I cannot emphasise that enough. But... The staff. They are wonderful. Obliging, friendly. The cabins. Well appointed. Though the beds are very narrow. The food. Tasty. A wide range. Though always tepid. The excursions. Excellent. No quibbles. Did I say the staff? The are wonderful. The less good things. The ship. It is, frankly, getting past it. The chairs and carpets are shabby. As are some of the cabins. The water in the bathrooms was always tepid on our cruise. The toilets frequently did not work. Pick your cabin. Some are really noisy. Speak to the old hands and avoid the rattly cabins. The information system. When things went wrong, the girls on the information desk never gave me a straight answer. And an apology seemed out of the question. Several times we had to help elderly passengers with a simple problem, had the girls on the desk not been so unhelpful. In the end, they came to us. Not good enough. We were happy to help our fellow passengers, but... (For example, one lady asked how to ring the UK to wish her daughter happy birthday. The receptionist blanked her. We overheard the conversation and lent the lady our mobile. She was sooo grateful. The receptionist could have done that, for goodness sake). We've had some good times with them. But this was definitely our last cruise. It was out 9th cruise, so clearly things were not all bad! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We were so excited to try this small ship. But there were many things that were disappointing. The A/C was not adequate for the hot, humid climates. The water was brown the whole time we were on the ship, although I know there was a lot of ... Read More
We were so excited to try this small ship. But there were many things that were disappointing. The A/C was not adequate for the hot, humid climates. The water was brown the whole time we were on the ship, although I know there was a lot of time spent trying to fix the problem, but we were never sure was the problem was. Not a lot of explanation was given. The food was pretty good, not great. More local fresh fruit would have been a good addition. Wine with dinner was nice. We had one of two Owner's Suites. The suite itself was nice, but the balcony was so small it was almost unusable. Service for our cabin was great. Pool was a small salt water pool. However, there was no fresh water rinse off. So we only used a couple of times. Excursions were included. Pretty well done. Our speakers were excellent . We enjoyed the talks very much. The ship's staff were good, although the cruise director was obnoxious. She was loud and brash. Entertainment was not inspiring. Would be nice to have more upbeat music for listening and dancing. This ship has a broad list of itineraries, so there a a lot of choices. All in all ok experience, but will probably not go with them again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Ship is having problems. From Colombo, Sri Lanka - Singapore - Bali the following problems occurred: Brown water in shower and basins, a/c not working to capacity, upper respiratory disease went through the ship, ship's engines ... Read More
Ship is having problems. From Colombo, Sri Lanka - Singapore - Bali the following problems occurred: Brown water in shower and basins, a/c not working to capacity, upper respiratory disease went through the ship, ship's engines stopped at 2:45 a.m. January 27, 2015 and we drifted at sea without power until 3:26 a.m. Internet was not reliable and your balance disappeared. Positive notes: small ship with friendly Filipino staff who work tirelessly to make your cruise enjoyable, wonderful lecturers, small ports so you get to experience the true culture of the site. Great library on board. Lots of quiet areas to relax, tips included with price, wine/beer provided at dinner, tea time each day, no prescribed seating. Quiet, comfortable and educational. Single cabins or low single supplement. An environmental expert came onboard at Singapore to look into the water/air quality problems. No changes as of February 5, 2015 when I disembarked. The pre and post hotel stays were 5 star and a wonderful way to get over jetlag at the beginning of the cruise and to relax before the long flight home.. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
WE were attracted to the "Singapore and Islands of Indonesia" cruise because of the ports of call and the concept of having "expert" lecturers on board to enhance the experience. All in all the concept worked. The ... Read More
WE were attracted to the "Singapore and Islands of Indonesia" cruise because of the ports of call and the concept of having "expert" lecturers on board to enhance the experience. All in all the concept worked. The lecturers were good, the ports of call were interesting, the staff were brilliant and the food was great. HOWEVER... the ship let the whole experience down. This is the fourth cruise line we have travelled with, and without a doubt this ship was by far the worst. It is disrespectful to customers to expect them to tolerate soot drifting down from the ships funnels which covered the decks, the pool and our clothes with filthy black soot. Similarly, virtually every cabin had brown tap water throughout the cruise. Sure it was being investigated, but it looked foul. Our toilet backed up on more than one occasion. The staff did their best to make our stay memorable, and on the whole they succeeded, but I fear this ship is now way past it's sell-by date. It is after all a converted car ferry, and in many ways this showed. We would certainly travel with Voyages to Antiquity again, but only after they replace this ship. VTA have a great concept, great staff, great crew, but all are let down by the Aegean Odyssey. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
A thoroughly enjoyable cruise with fascinating sites, good guides and fine hotels in Athens and Istanbul at beginning and end of cruise. There were a number of disappointing elements mostly related to the ship. The air conditioning in the ... Read More
A thoroughly enjoyable cruise with fascinating sites, good guides and fine hotels in Athens and Istanbul at beginning and end of cruise. There were a number of disappointing elements mostly related to the ship. The air conditioning in the cabins is pretty primitive and extremely noisy and the ambassador lounge which is used for the lectures is unfit for purpose. The view of the screen is very poor. We were promised that fresh local produce would be used but saw little evidence of this. We ate mostly in the Terrace cafe where lunch was quite good but evening meals were poor. The menu was unimaginative but the most disappointing feature was the poor quality of the ingredients. Fish (cod and perch, how Mediterranean!) was bland and tasteless and many of the main course meats, particularly the veal, were so tough as to be inedible. These cruises are not cheap and we expected much better. Desserts were gelatinous and unpleasant. Wine was included with dinner but rather than being 'carefully sourced' was poor cheap, mostly Greek wine. Better wine was available at a stiff premium. When French wine was provided it was vin de table (the sort of stuff you can buy for a couple of euros in a supermarket) and again not the standard we expected. Most of the excursions were well organised although the timings were not always appropriate. However on Santorini, there was a huge melee and a wait of over an hour for the cable cars back down to the beach. In temperatures of 40C it was not surprising that queue jumping with resultant scuffles took place. Most disappointingly the passengers (who were mostly elderly) were left to fend for themselves with none of the excursion staff present. Although many passengers complained no apology was made by the company and I feel this is unacceptable.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
In common with some others we found the food, though reasonable in quality, to be extremely bland and uninteresting. One exception was a lunchtime special dish of casseroled octopus Croatian style. The largely Filipino staff are ... Read More
In common with some others we found the food, though reasonable in quality, to be extremely bland and uninteresting. One exception was a lunchtime special dish of casseroled octopus Croatian style. The largely Filipino staff are enthusiastic. Plates disappear from in front of you with remarkable speed even when other people are still eating. Don't be on the late side for breakfast as they do not keep a small area fully laid up and quiet but rather allow you to sit anywhere and carry on clearing away and setting up for the next meal all around you. The wines are served by the bar staff. In the buffet restaurant there is often a long wait for wine as the "ordinary waiters" are not allowed to get involved. "The bar is a different cost/profit centre to the catering was the explanation - hardly of interest to a customer. All it means is that their internal organisation is not customer focussed. The ship is well run and clean. .It is badly in need of its' planned refurbishment. The large lounge where the lectures are help is poorly designed for that purpose. The ceiling too low to allow proper projection and the seating very poor. I would not travel on this ship again without a personal recommendation from someone who travels in it after refurbishment and whose judgement on the catering I fully trusted Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
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
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
An interesting itinerary, combining cruising with some hotel stays. We flew to Cairo and due to a delayed flight spent a short night in the Fairmont Nile Hotel before beginning our tour of the Museum, Pyramids and Sphinx. Our guide for ... Read More
An interesting itinerary, combining cruising with some hotel stays. We flew to Cairo and due to a delayed flight spent a short night in the Fairmont Nile Hotel before beginning our tour of the Museum, Pyramids and Sphinx. Our guide for these visits and the following day was excellent but unfortunately this was the highlight and the subsequent guides varied from average to poor. This hotel was good apart from the dining arrangements for dinner which took place on an open veranda with a strong wind blowing. Not a place to linger over one's meal. The following day we flew to Luxor and a further overnight stay visiting the Temples and Valley of the Kings before travelling to Safaga to embark. A further overnight was spent in Palmyra whilst visiting the large site. At many of the ports we were late leaving for our tours, clearance seemed to take longer than planned and as a result we arrived at St Catherine's Monastery just 30 minutes before it was due to close. We had tendered at Sharm El Sheikh which added to the time to get ashore, although a similar sized ship was berthed alongside the quay and there appeared room for our own ship. Organization for the tours was not good, our cabin level (concierge class)gave us priority for disembarkation but in reality this didn't happen all the time. The size of the groups were large but the whisper devices were good. At St Anthony's Monastery the local monk acted as guide which was good except that the size of the party meant that those at the rear of the group seldom knew to what he was referring. Food on board was reasonable but not to the standard I have experienced on other ships. The cabin was fine and the beds comfortable. The air conditioning seemed to work well but the temperatures were never too high to test it. Speakers on board were good but it would have been nice if they had been introduced by the cruise staff and facilities made to catch up on the On board TV for any missed. TV facilities were very limited throughout the cruise and only came back as we approached Athens at the end of the cruise. I believe the idea is good but the organisation must be improved. The young staff who acted as assistants to the cruise director were very willing but one felt they lacked direction and were not sure what their responsibilities were. The cruise director was lacking in personality and failed to make announcements interesting. 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

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