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28 Aegean Odyssey Cruise Reviews

We boarded the ship in Piraeus after spending 2 nights in the King George Hotel in Athens, followed by a 2 night land tour to Delphi and Nauplia. This was a very popular cruise: we booked 6 months ahead and there were only 3 cabins left! ... Read More
We boarded the ship in Piraeus after spending 2 nights in the King George Hotel in Athens, followed by a 2 night land tour to Delphi and Nauplia. This was a very popular cruise: we booked 6 months ahead and there were only 3 cabins left! We had an outside cabin on Columbus deck, which was compact but had everything needed for a two week cruise. There are two restaurants on board: the Marco Polo which is open for lunch and dinner, and the Terrace Café, with an inside and outside seating area, which was open for all meals, plus afternoon tea and late night snacks. The food was good and we enjoyed sitting outside for meals when the weather permitted. We often used the Marco Polo restaurant in the evening. Service was professional but could be slow at busy times. The Head Waiter Danny deserves a special mention for keeping things running smoothly. Complimentary wine was served at dinner. We had the same Italian wine served to us every night though which became tedious. Some variety is needed! Most of the shore tours are included in the cost of the cruise, and these had good content and were generally interesting and well organised. We visited several Greek islands where tenders were needed, and this proved challenging for the less able passengers, some of whom chose to stay on board. There were two lecturers on this cruise. The archaeologist was interesting, but the other lecturer's presentation was monotonous, and he tended to overrun his time slots, which was frustrating. Entertainment was provided by the Odyssey Trio, a classical trio who were excellent, and the Cruise Director Richard Sykes, who is a very talented singer and pianist, and a real asset to the company. A jazz singer and pianist were also on board. There was a mix of nationalities on board, with British, Americans, Australians and we were informed that the average age was 72. We enjoyed the cruise apart from the chaos at the British Airways check-in at Athens airport on our return journey. A cruise rep. stationed here to assist passengers would have helped enormously. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We choose this cruise because the route from Venice to Rome covered so many areas that we wished to visit. Having been spoiled by a couple of Viking cruises this one didn't measure up in some regards. Much of the food in the buffet ... Read More
We choose this cruise because the route from Venice to Rome covered so many areas that we wished to visit. Having been spoiled by a couple of Viking cruises this one didn't measure up in some regards. Much of the food in the buffet was not hot enough and we quickly adopted the formal dining room. The educational lectures were well done and much enjoyed, we not not so keen on the entertainment. The shore excursions were very good but some of the local tour guides were much better than others. Can't believe the number of times we went back to the desk to have our card keys replaced. They cheerfully replaced and reprogrammed new cards but fixing the problem would have been better. Our final day was not a happy ending. We did the Ostia Antica tour in the morning and the Vatican tour in the afternoon. Between tours some of our people were dropped off at Rome hotels with their luggage and picked up again on the second circuit of the route. Some of us were kept on the bus without access to toilets, water, lunch etc. I mentioned this to the company and the response or waffle made it worse. "We should have asked to get off at one of the hotels." (We spoke to our guide, it wasn't possible.) "It was an external tour, we can not be responsible." (We paid Voyages to Antiquity and they arranged it.) I would recommend this company with a bunch of provisos. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this cruise because we were faithful customers of the (much missed) Swan Hellenic ship Minerva...this seemed like the best match. In many ways it was just what we were looking for... - right size of ship- easy to get around and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we were faithful customers of the (much missed) Swan Hellenic ship Minerva...this seemed like the best match. In many ways it was just what we were looking for... - right size of ship- easy to get around and didn’t feel too busy or crowded - everything very clean and tidy - comfy bed - some interesting fellow passengers - efficiently run excursions - pleasant pool area - no dining restrictions -choose your time, place and dining companions - friendly waiting staff and charming room steward - really good on board lecturers- this was a highlight - all knowledgeable and entertaining However... - lacking the special touches which made Minerva great...no invitation to visit the bridge, no live music with afternoon tea, no opera ensemble, no special dinners at the start and end, no invitation to dine with the captain (who was virtually invisible), no towel sculptures by the pool(!), no crew demonstration (cooking/wine/flowers etc)m no on deck barbecues - overpriced spa - pointless ‘shopping’ trip to Murano - lectures out of synch with port visits..some took place after the trip! On one occasion, a scheduled lecture disappeared and then reappeared (after the visit) but wasn’t advertised so most of us missed it...given the very high quality of the lectures, this was disappointing - very limited library space and book stock - inadequate for the number of passengers - there were a number of ‘groups’ on board for whom activities were arranged - bridge players, single travellers, Australians/New Zealanders, Road Scholars, choir members...if, like us, you weren’t part of any of these groups, you could feel excluded - we did...and it made meeting people more difficult as these groups tended to stick together - the biggest negative was the evening entertainment which was hugely disappointing...we initially thought the quality of the musicians was not very good until we heard a jazz session by two of the musicians...the classical double bass player and the pop pianist -brilliant -so maybe they were all otherwise playing music they didn’t like! Unfortunately the majority of the entertainment (6 nights out of 10) was provided by the cruise director...he was a charming and helpful presence around the ship -always cheerful no matter what but...we went to his first performance (ABBA I think) and realised it wasn’t for us which meant lots of dull evenings. I can’t comment on his talent or otherwise as we didn’t return but, however good he might have been, this type of entertainment seems a strange fit on a cruise focusing on Greek and Roman sites with accompanying erudite lectures...opera, classical, more lectures would be good...I guess this may be a minority opinion but it’s strongly felt We’ll consider another Aegean Odyssey again next year (if the itineraries are right) but will also look around for other options - mainly because of the entertainment issues Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
One needs to know what to expect, so please read their brochure carefully before booking this ship. We believe you will enjoy the experience, if, and only if you have made the correct match for you. What we liked and did not ... Read More
One needs to know what to expect, so please read their brochure carefully before booking this ship. We believe you will enjoy the experience, if, and only if you have made the correct match for you. What we liked and did not appreciate. The ship is clean. The staff,overall, with one or two exceptions are great. More training was required for some of the servers. The Dining room dinners were right on but breakfasts were a challenge. Every morning I found myself desperately waiting for a piece of toast. A station for toast would be a huge improvment. A little thing to some but not to this passenger. Speaker, tours etc were bang on target. Entertainment was my only disappointment. We did enjoy the classical music but please upgrade the repetitious piped in music to post 1950. The overall impression of the entertainment is that it is geared to those over 80 years of age. This leads to an issue you need to understand that there are many very senior passengers on-board. This cruise line definitely caters to seniors. Will we travel with this company again? Yes, we are already booked for a back to back cruise in 2018. We have clear expectations of what to expect and the pluses outweigh the negatives. Great value for the dollar. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
I was part of Bernard Magee's bridge group. Both this and the fact that we arrived back into the UK rather than having to make another flight with all the airport hasssle involved persuaded me to take this voyage. The observation ... Read More
I was part of Bernard Magee's bridge group. Both this and the fact that we arrived back into the UK rather than having to make another flight with all the airport hasssle involved persuaded me to take this voyage. The observation lounge was a wonderful venue for the bridge, but it would have been even better if the air conditioning could have been controlled at a chosen level, rather than only on or off. I thought most of the excursions were good and appreciated that their cost was inclusive. Just one point regarding the Oporto port tasting and the vineyard visit from Bordeaux. At neither of these venues was there anywhere to sit whilst the guides gave their talks. I was unable to stand and often the quiet talk system didn't work and I had to find somewhere to sit and therefore missed the information. Yesterday I went with our U3A on a vineyard tour (Brightwell vineyard near Wallingford) and the owner guided us around the vines, imparting relevant information on the growing, pruning, watering and picking etc. en route, but the main part of the very informative talk took place inside the tasting area, where everyone was seated. Each wine and its production was explained as the tasting progressed. At the Bordeaux vineyard we were not even walked around the vines and all the talk took place without any seating. If at all possible I would suggest this way of conducting such tours would be appreciated far more if seating was available and in particular, if done in the way the Brightwell tour was. My cabin was very comfortable and my steward excellent. I enjoyed the food, mainly lunching on the promenade deck and dining in the Marco Polo and breakfasting on the Lido deck. The staff were delightful. I cannot comment on the lectures or entertainment, as I didn't attend any due to the amount of time I spent playing bridge. However I heard good reports about some of the lectures. I am not sure why the coaches were always a good step away from the ship, but thought this might have been due to security requirements. I found the ship's shop useful, especially as the weather from Bordeaux onwards was colder than many had anticipated. I note you don't give an option for comment on the disembarkation! I thought this was chaotic and Tilbury a nightmare of a port for the taxi to navigate. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We were on the last tour before the ship goes into dry dock for refurbishing. Although the decor was dated and showed some wear, the ship had a sort of retro charm about it and everything was in working order. As others have mentioned, the ... Read More
We were on the last tour before the ship goes into dry dock for refurbishing. Although the decor was dated and showed some wear, the ship had a sort of retro charm about it and everything was in working order. As others have mentioned, the ventilation system in our cabin was noisy requiring me to wear ear plugs at night. We had an ordinary inside cabin on Columbus, the lowest passenger deck. It was surprisingly comfortable with ample closet and drawer space and a good sized bathroom. I am not sure it would be worth the extreme price increase to get an outside or balcony cabin. The food and service were excellent, and Richard Sykes, the cruise director, is a one-man entertainment guru. He made the trip a lot of fun, especially for us single female travelers. Overall, I give high marks for comfort, service, and food. The captain threw a Greek barbecue one night as a celebration of the last voyage of the year, and he was out and about socializing and dancing with the passengers. That was a highlight of the trip. We found the hotel manager to be very accessible, and he helped us make a phone call to sort out a credit card problem. Now for the down side. As Americans, we are used to a bit more activity on a cruise ship, and although we understood the limitations of a smaller ship, we were not prepared for the bridge players taking over the entire observation lounge or the readers turning the entire ship, inside and out, into a reading room, including the cocktail lounge. We felt rowdy and out of place trying to play games and socialize among all the readers. Somehow we thought that was what the library was for, but no -- it was taken over by the jigsaw puzzlers. Fortunately, we didn't have many sea days -- most of the sailing was done at night, so it wasn't a major problem -- but I often found myself thinking about how well suited the ship would be to an Agatha Christie novel. Would I go again? Maybe. I would be curious to see the refurbishment of the ship when it returns to service next year. But probably not, mostly because of the inconvenience of embarking the ship in Europe. I may seek small ship experiences at ports more convenient to my location in the United States. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
The itinerary was very interesting, and having traveled on the ship previously, you can always expect to meet up again with people that you know. The atmosphere on board is comfortable and friendly. The ship offers good value for the cost, ... Read More
The itinerary was very interesting, and having traveled on the ship previously, you can always expect to meet up again with people that you know. The atmosphere on board is comfortable and friendly. The ship offers good value for the cost, with most shore excursions included, complimentary wine with dinner each evening, quality lecturers who add to the educational and entertainment aspect of the small ship, and a dedicated staff and crew who do their best to make your time both on the ship and on shore enjoyable. In spite of the engine room fire on the first night, which caused changes in the planned itinerary, the cruise director Richard Sykes did a great job in trying to keep the guests occupied with a challenging daily quiz and entertaining cabaret performances, and the other musicians on board provided diversions from the missed ports of call, temporary lack of hot water due to the fire, and other inconveniences caused by the work being done to assure that the ship was sea worthy. Shore excursion staff were friendly, and providing maps for the places we visited were most useful when exploring alone during free time. This was especially helpful in Bordeaux, where we were docked for several days whilst the ship was being repaired and ready to sail for the remaining ports. Some of the ship is showing wear, but hopefully the refit that will happen later this year will make it ready for 2017. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
I've been on several other cruises with this company and have enjoyed each one. The staff are very friendly and courteous. They remember you when you return and I see other passengers that have sailed with this company many times. ... Read More
I've been on several other cruises with this company and have enjoyed each one. The staff are very friendly and courteous. They remember you when you return and I see other passengers that have sailed with this company many times. The excursions and lectures are informative and academic. This last cruise we had an engine fire on the first night! We had our 2nd muster drill that evening but the 2nd one was very real! Because of that we had to put in to a port that wasn't on the itinerary. The excursion staff hustled to make some of the excursions happen and to come up with others while the ship was being repaired and certified to sail. We missed some of the highlights of the trip though such as visiting the chateaus. We also didn't have hot water for a day. We are still waiting to hear about a promised compensation...... This was really something that should have been decided and announced to everyone before we disembarked. Now everyone thinks that if we really do receive compensation it will be inequitable. But we did get an open bar several nights! Then, just as has happened on other cruises, we missed another port of call as the seas were very choppy and caused the small ship to change course. This is something people need to be aware of on this small ship. You don't always get to visit all the ports of call. Instead you get a choppy day at sea as they move on to the next port of call. Now they are moving to the North Sea for 2017 which is notorious for choppy waters! This ship really rocks. One day we were confined to our cabins because it was to dangerous to be out and about. We were told the ship was going to go into dock for 6 months after this season ends in November. I hope they refurbish the cabins. The carpets are stained and worn. The bed skirt was filthy as were the walls. The towels were stained. That being said, the attitude of the crew/staff and fellow passengers makes this a friendly travel experience. You can get into to port at cities the large cruise liners can't and the excursions are designed to be educational. The food is better than the standard cruise liners. The passengers are older and I've only seen 1-2 teenagers. There is a tiny workout room but no regular activities. This is probably due to the fact that most passengers are in the 60-80 year old range. The excursions are usually a half day which allows free time in the port city. I hope this cruise line can get it together as they really have a good thing going and a devoted, but dwindling following. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was a wonderful cruise. The ship is small which meant we got to know many other passengers quite well and we plan to keep in touvh with some of them.. The service on this ship was second to none. The largely Asian staff were so ... Read More
This was a wonderful cruise. The ship is small which meant we got to know many other passengers quite well and we plan to keep in touvh with some of them.. The service on this ship was second to none. The largely Asian staff were so attentive and cheerful. The food was also excellent, fresh with lots of choice. The wine also flowed freely at dinner. We chose this ship largely for the destinations it was visiting and we were not disappointed. There was no "glitzy" entertainment but this is not what you go on this ship for. The cruise director, Richard, was so talented and we loved dancing to his music or just listening to the trio whilst we had a pre-dinner cocktail. My only suggestion for this company would be to, on days when you have all day tours planned, offer half day tours to those of us who are not getting any younger. The tours to Rome and Florence were quite exhausting. I have been on many cruises and I will certainly be returning to this ship! Thank you to all the staff at Voyages of Antiquity for making this such a wonderful experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
I chose this cruise because of the included Brandenburg Sing-at -sea choral experience, which was very enjoyable. I hope it will be repeated. The two days in Athens, the departure city! got us off to an excellent start being ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the included Brandenburg Sing-at -sea choral experience, which was very enjoyable. I hope it will be repeated. The two days in Athens, the departure city! got us off to an excellent start being interesting and educational. From first boarding the the ship to disembarkation in Venice at the end, I l enjoyed it greatly. I have nothing but praise for the dining and its superb cuisine, the service, the helpfulness and friendliness of the crew and the excellent maintain and of the cabin accommodation and public areas. In general, I found the air conditioning colder than comfortable however and, along with others, reported it. It was often colder than outdoors and jackets were needed. The excursions were well chosen and carried out though the local guides overwhelmed us with continuous talk. There's only so much information one can absorb. I will certainly repeat the experience and will most certainly book with Voyages to Antiquity again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was our second cruise on the Aegean Odyssey. Our first cruise in January 2015 was a bit disappointing, mainly because of problems with discoloured water and some poor shore excursions. However, we decided to give them a second chance ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the Aegean Odyssey. Our first cruise in January 2015 was a bit disappointing, mainly because of problems with discoloured water and some poor shore excursions. However, we decided to give them a second chance based on the itinerary (Aqaba, Jordan to Athens) and our preference for a small ship experience. This time our overall impression was very good. There were still problems. We had not purchased their pre-cruise land tour and so joined the cruise as "independant travellers". Despite email exchanges with our travel agent in Canada, their office in the US and the ship’s agent in Aqaba, when we arrived at the Port gate the ship’s agent claimed to have never heard of us. We were sent back into town where we had to wait for an hour while things were sorted out. But once this drama was out of the way, our impression was that things have improved - discoloured water on only one or two occasions and much better organized shore excursions. We also enjoyed the entertainment more this time (an excellent operatic trio and a new, very talented singer/pianist Cruise Director). The shore excursion briefings and lectures were all excellent. There was some grumbling about the fact that a large "Mr. Bridge" group had exclusive access most days and evenings to the Observation Lounge – the only public room with any decent views – throughout the trip. But for us, this was not a big deal. All in all, we enjoyed the cruise very much. I have no hesitation in recommending them, provided one remembers that it is an older ship – which means small cabins, a bit of wear and tear and some noisy mechanical systems, including the air conditioning. The “small ship cruising" experience they provide does not necessarily mean "premium cruising", as some of their advertising implies. But with tips, shore excursions and wine with dinner all included, it offers excellent value for money. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We booked this cruise because we were attending a wedding in Malaysia at the end of February. The cruise was a perfect fit leaving Colombo, Sri Lanka, arriving in Singapore in time for our wedding. We would visit several places we had ... Read More
We booked this cruise because we were attending a wedding in Malaysia at the end of February. The cruise was a perfect fit leaving Colombo, Sri Lanka, arriving in Singapore in time for our wedding. We would visit several places we had never visited before including Mayanmar. We declined the air and 2 days either end of the trip, instead taking the discount and making our own travel arrangements. Embarkation at the port was the easiest ever. The taxi took us right up to the ship, we checked and within 5 minutes were in our room. We had a junior suite, 804, which was very nice. Lovely big bathroom with full sized bath, good hair dryer and walk-in closet. Lots of room but not very good hangers. I asked Ian, our cabin attendant, for some skirt hangers which he duly brought. An easy thing for them to upgrade. Very spacious room. Comfortable bed. Nice side tables with a plug in night light. The balcony was disappointing being long and narrow. We never actually sat out there but that was OK because there were other places to sit. The AC system is forced air and requires some adjustment to reduce the noise. We would keep it open all day and then close it down somewhat at night. We were always comfortable. However, there was one cabin on our floor which had trouble with theirs. We had free wifi and laundry(with room) and wifi was generally good but only in two locations. Free water in our room and always bottled water when we left the ship. Of course there is no casino and no theater. Pianist, trio and demonstration dancing along with dane lessons. We did not attend. The cruise director was disappointing. He didn't do very much other than introduce the lecturers and hold a couple of trivia nights. He was retiring and a new director joined the ship in Thailand. I hope he is more in evidence on future cruises. He had a Shorex team of highly educated young graduates who did all the paperwork and chaperoned us on the tours. All the public spaces are well appointed. We always ate breakfast and lunch in the outside section of the vista buffet area. We rarely had a problem getting a table in the shaded area. Dinner in the Marco Polo. We also had Continental breakfast on the Lido deck. Tea and coffee were available all day at this location. They even had decaf. tea! The staff on this ship are the best we have ever had. Always cheerful and accommodating. Tips are included but we found ourselves giving additional to many of the staff including our cabin attendant. There is a small shop with jewelry, clothing and necessities. Small exercise room and Spa. The food was good, free beer and wine with dinner. We drink white wines and they served from a different country every night on rotation. You could buy a bottle at lunch for $18. The only one I couldn't drink was the Italian. We had to buy a bottle that night. Pity they don't have a choice. The tours were generally exceptional. We opted to take 3 additional tours including the one to Bagan. Not to be missed. They should cut out Phi Phi Island in Thailand. It is a zoo and horrible ride to get out there. James Bond has ruined those islands. Organization getting off the ship was good except for India. So much paper work and bureaucracy even though we had purchased those expensive visas. Only had to tender one time and it was very easy. I attended most lectures which were well presented and watched a couple on the TV. The only time the TV was on. There is no ATM on the ship so make sure you take plenty of cash. We only took $100 in $1 dollar bills for tipping here and there( Tour guides and drivers) Should have taken more. The $ was accepted in most places. We managed to find an ATM in Yangon( Strand Hotel) and Penang. Yes, there are a few things about this ship which some will complain bitterly about. The toilets flush sea water and there is some color in the water. The captain told me it was the water that they take on in each port. It did seem to clear up towards the end of the cruise so maybe that was true. I would not hesitate to go on this ship again but then again we did have one of the best cabins and that would probably not happen next time. We took the ship for the itinerary and were not disappointed. As an aside everyone on our ship was English speaking. There are a number of single cabins so quite a number of singles. For some it was the 5th time. It is not a ship for children. It is a ship for people who like the small ship, educational experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
My husband has always been interested in visiting South Africa and he discovered this holiday cruise from Cape Town to Richards Bay around the bottom of the horn and then returning to Cape Town via Namibia which included four safari day ... Read More
My husband has always been interested in visiting South Africa and he discovered this holiday cruise from Cape Town to Richards Bay around the bottom of the horn and then returning to Cape Town via Namibia which included four safari day trips with promises of viewing the Big 5. Unfortunately rough seas kept us in port for a couple of extra days mid-cruise, so we missed our chance at viewing lions & leopards. However we were able to experience a herd of African elephants at a watering hole for almost an hour and numerous rhinos on a river cruise that came almost close enough to touch. Also saw Cape buffalo at a distance as well giraffe, zebras, ostrich, African eagles, and many other small water fowl. The Aegean Odyssey itself is a unique vessel that caters to well traveled, primarily English speaking seniors and most of the passengers on this voyage were British, making afternoon tea a must do occasion on our days at sea. A buffet line option for breakfast and lunch with outdoor seating on deck 6 at the bow of the ship at the Terrace Cafe was our go to spot, although you can also take your meals in the adjoining dining area. The sit-down Marco Polo restaurant, available evenings on deck 3, offers a more formal dining venue with complimentary wine, beer, and soft drinks available evenings at both restaurants. The Charleston Lounge attracts the after dinner crowd with nightly entertainment offerings there as well as in the Ambassador Lounge most evenings. Port & shore excursions are assigned by cabin class which is another reason to consider booking a balcony category cabin. My only complaint involved our embarkation as our flight, which was booked by Voyages of Antiquity, did not arrive in Cape Town until nearly midnight. However, we did have a limo meet us at the gate and when we arrived at the dock and there were crew members waiting to welcome us onboard in the wee hours of the morning. Disembarkation went off without a hitch and as our flight did not take off until the following day, we were treated to a organized tour of Cape Town and surrounding areas including lunch at a winery and an overnight stay at The Culling including breakfast before being transported to the airport. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Excellent lecturers. Top class opera group Barcarola was just amazing. Enjoyed the violinist in the Odessey Trio her playing was magic. The service, food was very good, lots of choices. A great cruise for singles, or couples, good ... Read More
Excellent lecturers. Top class opera group Barcarola was just amazing. Enjoyed the violinist in the Odessey Trio her playing was magic. The service, food was very good, lots of choices. A great cruise for singles, or couples, good friends. Tours and tour guides, assistants were great. Lots to see and do. You can relax or listen to a lecture. Would recommend this size of vessel. More personal and the tour director Paul was fantastic. The staff on board were so helpful and took care of us. Dining room staff were very good. All the phlipinoes working for this cruise line deserve a big hug for their great personalities and general care of us. The ship was great, clean and easy to get around. I enjoyed the shore excursions and the tours provided. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This sailing I had no brown water. A/C was working. Excellent quality of lecturers. Top class opera group Opera Barcarola. Wonderful violinist in Odyssey Trio. Enjoyed Maritime Memories lecturers also. Internet was working (unlimited ... Read More
This sailing I had no brown water. A/C was working. Excellent quality of lecturers. Top class opera group Opera Barcarola. Wonderful violinist in Odyssey Trio. Enjoyed Maritime Memories lecturers also. Internet was working (unlimited minutes if you've sailed with them before) Odyssey Club - free laundry, free internet, bottled water in cabin, upgraded toiletries) Filipino staff continue to work tirelessly to make the cruise enjoyable. Had 7 days at sea and lots of activities. Wine tasting, watercolour art lessons, trivia night, passenger choir, yoga, Pilates, Zumba (all free!) Air fare and tipping included in cruise price. Excursions were included along with advice if touring independently in the port. Wine, beer or soft drinks included with dinner. Healthy food choices along with decadent desserts at tea time. Low single supplement. On disembarkation day, out of cabin by 8 am. But able to stay on the ship until 3 p.m. Docked at V&A Waterfront in Cape Town so it was ideal. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
I have just returned from my first experience of cruising on the Aegean Odyssey from Venice to Istanbul and I must say it was most enjoyable in all respects. Voyages to Antiquity is particularly geared towards a clientele with an interest ... Read More
I have just returned from my first experience of cruising on the Aegean Odyssey from Venice to Istanbul and I must say it was most enjoyable in all respects. Voyages to Antiquity is particularly geared towards a clientele with an interest in ancient sites and history and is definitely not suitable for young children. The ship itself seems to be very well maintained, with the public areas being spacious and visually very pleasant. The Charleston Lounge was the venue for enjoyable pre and post dinner cocktails and gatherings. I preferred to eat in the Marco Polo Restaurant for the evening meal and found the food to be very good - not excellent or 5 star, but very well presented and tasty. Wine was included with dinner and was plentiful and quite drinkable. I had breakfast and lunch in the Terrace Cafe (buffet) and rarely found it hard to find a seat. All excursions are included in the price and the cruise can become very tiring with one (and sometimes two) excursions every day. On this particular voyage there were no sea days to recover, however, excursions were not compulsory and could be skipped to allow for some personal time and physical recovery. The excursions are given a walking grade level of 1-3 and the Shore Excursion staff on board highlight this in their informative port information segments. I found the Lecturers on board very interesting and one in particular, Dr David Price-Williams, made his specialised topics very easy to understand and added a welcome touch of humour to his lectures. Staff on board from the cabin stewards, waiters and bar-staff are excellent and are very soon greeting you by name, with a friendly smile and a welcome back on board! The Aegean Odyssey caters very well for solo travellers with a number of single cabins available. A word of warning regarding cabin selection - I initially chose Cabin 554 on the starboard side on the Belvedere Deck (a single cabin with a small balcony, Category EE) which sounded perfect for my needs, but I had to request another cabin due the amount of noise/vibration generated from the engine room/air conditioning fan room (?) on the opposite side of the passageway. Having checked out this cabin prior to booking and noting the library above and Doctor's surgery below I didn't think there would be any noise problems but there were and, to their credit, the reception staff handled the situation extremely well and offered me another cabin. Fortunately for me, another cabin was available (as the cruise was not fully booked), or I am not sure if my review would have been as good! All in all, the Aegean Odyssey lived up to all of my expectations and I am very pleased to have made the journey on what was my "retirement from work" cruise and my 30th cruise overall. Perhaps in the future I may be able to repeat the experience on the Aegean Odyssey. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We are small boat travellers and picked the Aegean Odyssey in part for this reason. This is a clean ship with hospitable staff. The food is simple but good. The only criticism is the quality of the coffee in the morning. We would very much ... Read More
We are small boat travellers and picked the Aegean Odyssey in part for this reason. This is a clean ship with hospitable staff. The food is simple but good. The only criticism is the quality of the coffee in the morning. We would very much recommend that this be improved. A nice cup of Java in the morning sets you up for the day. Also since I wouldn't recommend drinking the water out of the tap there should be complimentary water in the cabins. The talks given on board were excellent. For the most part the on shore guides and buses were good. The journey between Venice and Nice and all points between was most pleasurable. This is a boat for adults who want a little education and aren't interested in chorus girls. The cabin although small was clean and comfortable. It was tended to each day by staff. Avoid a room above the engine room and stack-a little noisy. Getting on the boat and off to head home was easy. So if the coffee was good and the water plentiful this boat would move to excellent. We participated in all shore adventures which were quite educational. The staff was always happy and helpful. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This cruise combined a 5-day land tour of India's Golden Triangle -- Delhi, Agra (Taj Mahal) and Jaipur-- with sea voyages from Mumbai to Oman (Muscat and Salaleh) and Jordan (Aqaba, Petra, Amman). Fascinating itinerary, high-quality ... Read More
This cruise combined a 5-day land tour of India's Golden Triangle -- Delhi, Agra (Taj Mahal) and Jaipur-- with sea voyages from Mumbai to Oman (Muscat and Salaleh) and Jordan (Aqaba, Petra, Amman). Fascinating itinerary, high-quality land tours, comfortable small ship, lovely crew and staff, and interesting fellow passengers -- mostly Australian, British and Canadian. Many aboard were university professors, history aficionados, seasoned travelers seeking cultural immersion. Pros included the high-quality onboard lecturers: a BBC war correspondent, a BBC radio religion commentator, a top archaeologist. Land accommodations were first-class; food onboard was always enjoyable; dining venues were attractive and elegant -- al fresco dinners in the stern's Terrace Cafe were especially memorable. Public spaces -- the lounge, the library, the pool and decks, the small spa, the spacious lecture space -- were fine. Cabins were comfortable and attractive, if showing their age a bit (the ship is a converted car ferry of some vintage). Given the troubled areas we were passing through (Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the territorial waters of Somalia, Yemen and Saudi Arabia) the Captain reassured us of the security measures in place: armed military men, 24 hour watches, razor wire on the stern to prevent pirate invasions. The slight element of tension was worth it for the wonders we saw, especially in Jordan: the desert expanses of Wadi Rum, the breathtaking hidden city of Petra, the Roman ruins in and around Amman. Criticisms: the quality of the musical entertainment was far below the standards of the cultivated clientele. North American passengers reported problems with reservations, flights and timely receipt of tour materials. Overall, a memorable experience. Not perfect, but very good. A vacation that stimulated the brain and enlarged the vision. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We travelled with this cruise line in 2010 in the Mediterranean. Overall we found the food uninspiring and the excursion staff to be very amateurish. However, that was tolerable. What was not tolerable was the stench of sewage in which ... Read More
We travelled with this cruise line in 2010 in the Mediterranean. Overall we found the food uninspiring and the excursion staff to be very amateurish. However, that was tolerable. What was not tolerable was the stench of sewage in which developed in the cabin. Fortunately there was another cabin available or we would have had to leave the ship. What ws surprising was that this seemed to be treated very casually by the ship's staff, with the explanation that this happened because of rough seas. We were interested in the ports of call of this cruise from Colombo to Singapore and decided to give the ship a second chance. The food seemed better and the lecturers were very good. Unfortunately several days into the cruise the hot water became the colour of tea and for a substantial part of the cruise we had to bathe in brown water. This was not confined to our cabin but seemed to be a general problem. We were never given an explanation or an assurance that there was no health problem or even an apology. Later in the cruise one of our facecloths, when opened up, proved to be covered in disgusting brown stains. This cloth had been carefully folded so that none of the stains were visible until the cloth was opened. It was fit only for garbage. I sent it ot the hotel manager with a letter of complaint and said that I wanted to meet hime to talk about this. There was no response. It appears to be the policy with this cruise line, when faced with problems,to simply pretend that they do not exist. Arriving on time seems to be a particular problem. For example, we were supposed to leave the ship for a tour of Malacca at 2:25. Because of a late arrival we were approximately 1 hour late in lheading for the tender. As a result we were able to spend only 2 hours visiting a UNESCO World Heritage Site, including 10 minutes in a museum, since we had to be back at the tender by 5:30. At Phuket, Thailand those going on excursions left about 3 hours late. While waiting for our late departure on excursions we were often thanked for our patience. Since we had no alternative this expression ranks close to "Your call is important to us" in it ability to irritate. The hotels used at the beginning and end of the cruise were excellent. Our lower priced cabin was adequate   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Colombo to Singapore This was my first cruise, ever, and having read previous reviews I was somewhat apprehensive. The conclusion I came to is that reviews are often written by pedants - as on Trip Advisor with which I am more familiar. ... Read More
Colombo to Singapore This was my first cruise, ever, and having read previous reviews I was somewhat apprehensive. The conclusion I came to is that reviews are often written by pedants - as on Trip Advisor with which I am more familiar. Yes there were a few hiccoughs along the way but the basics were just great. We selected this cruise because we wanted to try a different style of travel to the usual 'flashpacker' and the destinations were of interest. The company advertising said that the cruise was aimed at those who are interested in the places they visit. At the time of booking there was a good deal by way of reduced price and we were able to select a cabin to suit our needs. We ended up on Belvedere Deck in a balcony cabin. Loved it. Large (twin beds, bed side tables, large cupboard with fridge, small 2 seater lounge, coffee table and chair) with masses of storage and a fair sized bathroom. The food was excellent featuring variety and quality and was never disappointed with a meal. I personally enjoyed the fact that seating was not allocated, that way we came to know a variety of people or could just sit alone. I cannot praise the restaurant staff enough. Service was always outstanding, efficient and friendly with the odd joke thrown in by the occasional staffer. we ate at the more formal restaurant a few times but preferred upstairs. Air conditioned inside was great by day and outside in the tropical air was fabulous by night. We also occasionally took advantage of the room service which was efficient and easy. Embarkation and disembarkation was easy with so few people, in reality with a smaller number of passengers, we were all off in around an hour. Loved the return to the ship with welcoming words, iced tea and cold cloths. Fabulous. The lectures were the particular aspect I was looking forward to, though again I had wondered about the quality of the speakers prior to the cruise. Again, not disappointed, a former ambassador and his wife together with a range of academics from well known institutions such as ANU. Level of delivery varied - as in any university but by and large I knew a lot more going into the various ports than I had before which made my time ashore much more interesting and worthwhile. The television in the cabin was not used all that much - basically because nothing was available. There were a few nights when being able to sit back in the cabin, after a long day ashore, it would have been great just to watch a movie. There were however, relevant movies shown in the auditorium which many people enjoyed. Entertainment overall was fine and we particularly enjoyed Artur's piano playing over a drink at night. Which reminds me - the bar staff knew my name and order by the second night - just fabulous! The port visits were fine, and here I will say that I have decided that cruising port visits are too short for me personally. It's not really my style of travel. And we did miss one port (Galle) and had shortened visits at several others. As a first time cruiser, I figured that this was always possible due to port and weather conditions so was prepared for the possibility. Disappointing but travel of any kind throws up its challenges and you need to be realistic about factors not within your control - weather and tides being one of them. The shore visits we had were generally well organised and guides overall were excellent. Several suffered graciously under the protests of some fellow travellers about reduced shopping time. Priorities obviously vary, mine was to see as much of the places I visited as possible - not to take home souvenirs to show I'd been there. Possibly the most difficult day was in Phuket with reduced time due to late arrival we spent 4 hours on a bus coming and going with about 90 minutes lunching and cruising islands on a long boat. My recommendation to the company is to consider a 'Plan B' if at all possible for such occurrences. In that case a few hours in the town may have been preferable, though obviously the company has booked guides, buses etc. I also need to consider for myself that personal trips ashore may be preferable. Given the shore visits were included in the price, I think it was excellent value. The visits were enough for me to get a 'feel' for places and we've already planned a trip back to India later in the year based on what we saw in Chennai and Port Blair. A trip to Burma will also be on the cards. We very much enjoyed the few hours cruising along the Yangon River as the ship, being smaller, was able to anchor right at the port with a short walk to the main street of Yangon. The hotels in Colombo and Singapore were excellent, certainly luxurious compared to my previous travels. Wi-Fi was intermittent at best and there were several days without, but I did enjoy the fact that I was out of contact though knowing that my family could contact me in an emergency through the ship. Overall I enjoyed the experience. I was surprised - as a first time cruiser - at the complaints of some fellow passengers - it is hardly the fault of management that people became ill. (The doctor by the way was excellent - professional and thorough.) To be honest the pettiness of some of my fellow travellers makes me think that I may not cruise again if this is standard behaviour. I would recommend Aegean Odyssey for people with a genuine interest in the culture and history of the places they visit and who appreciate superb, professional service. If I cruise again, I would certainly consider this ship.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
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
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
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
Pre-Cruise Tour and Hotels: This cruise started with an included land stay and tours in Cairo and Luxor before boarding the Aegean Odyssey in Safaga. The hotel used in Cairo was great (Fairmont Nile City); most rooms have beautiful ... Read More
Pre-Cruise Tour and Hotels: This cruise started with an included land stay and tours in Cairo and Luxor before boarding the Aegean Odyssey in Safaga. The hotel used in Cairo was great (Fairmont Nile City); most rooms have beautiful views over the Nile in downtown Cairo and the hotel is new and opulent. The Luxor hotel wasn't quite as stellar (Sonesta St. George) but was fine for the one night we spent there. A full day of touring in Cairo included the pyramids, sphinx, and Egyptian museum; I did not participate having done these several times already. Instead I arranged a private walking tour of al-Muizz li-din Allah street, a newly restored and pedestrianized street near the Khan el-Khalili bazaar with beautiful old Islamic mosques and other sights. I highly recommend it. We flew to Luxor very early in the morning of the next day and toured Karnak temple, had the afternoon off, then returned to Karnak for the Sound and Light Show that evening. The next morning we visited the Valley of the Kings (3 open tombs plus the tomb of Tutankhamun), then Hatshepsut's Temple and the Colossi of Memnon before checking out of the hotel and boarding buses for a 3-hour drive to Safaga for embarkation. All meals and tours in Cairo and Luxor were included in the price of the cruise. Embarkation and Cabin: Embarkation was extremely speedy. We all had to exit the bus and go through a security check at the port entrance, then we reboarded the bus for a quick drive to the pier. Check-in took all of about 5 minutes as we gave our name and handed in our passports (required) then received our room key. We were asked to head to the Information desk sometime that evening to register a credit card for purchases and then we were free to board. My cabin was on Columbus Deck (Deck 4), the same deck used for embarking/disembarking in most ports, so it was just a few steps to my room. Within about 15 minutes, my luggage also arrived. A thorough safety drill was conducted shortly after boarding. My cabin was a Category M Inside cabin. There were two twin beds, a large dresser between them (with a mirror above), and a stool/ottoman. The closet had plenty of room for hanging items (especially for one person), and another small set of drawers, plus a safe. The closet doors are mirrored also. Lifejackets were stored above the closet and suitcases fit easily under the beds for storage. There is a flat TV on the wall above one bed, and reading lights at both beds. Overall, the lighting in the cabin seemed a bit dim. The air flow is adjusted at the register, which is located on the ceiling. Not a problem for me (at 5'7"), but some shorter passengers had trouble reaching it. The bathroom was obviously newly fitted and average-to-smallish in size (about the same as I've had on Princess) with a shower and no tub. The blowdryer was new and quite adequate. Toiletries were provided and included shampoo, bath/shower gel, soap, and shower cap. I had no problems in my cabin with plumbing issues or any smells, but I did hear a few others on board were reporting problems with toilets flushing continuously (or not flushing). Public Rooms: The ship's main public rooms (on Floor 6) are generally nicely appointed. The Ambassador Lounge is primarily used for tour briefings and lectures, although it also hosted the Welcome Aboard and Farewell cocktail receptions. It seems fine for this purpose. Whatever A/V issues were noted earlier in the season by cruisers did not seem to be a problem any longer. Generally the sightlines are good with the exception of a few seats near the entrance. If people wouldn't come in late and sit there, they would have no problem seeing the lecturer and presentations. The Charleston Lounge (midship) was probably my favorite place to sit, especially during the day when you could see out the many windows. The decor is light and elegant. At the rear of Floor 6 is the Terrace Cafe where buffet breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served. There appears to be ample seating both indoors and outdoors (where tapas are served in the evening). The Library is tucked in between the Charleston Lounge and the Terrace Cafe and had an excellent amount of books on the destinations of our cruise and the Mediterranean in general, as well as a small assortment of other nonfiction and fiction. The honor system is used for check-in/out and the Library is open 24 hours/day. I rarely utilized any of the other public areas aboard, except for the Information Reception area (Deck 5), which never seemed crowded, and the Internet room (also on Deck 5). Internet prices are a steal compared to most ships. I purchased 4 hours for $18; service was generally good but as always when at sea it was occasionally quite slow. The Internet area had 6 terminals and only once did I experience a bit of a wait to use one. I never used the salon, spa, or fitness areas, so cannot comment on them. There is one shop on board with a selection of items including jewelry, other items from various Med ports, books, limited sundries, and some apparel. Outside, the loungers were plentiful and comfortable. I preferred to sit aft, rather than around the pool (which has enclosed walls to help cut down on the wind). The often discussed smoke from the stack never seemed to be an issue on this cruise, although I could see evidence on the lounger cushions of problems in the past. Dining/Drinks: I found the Marco Polo restaurant to have better food than the Terrace Cafe. Overall, I thought the food was no better or worse than what I've been served on other mass market cruiselines. Occasionally dishes were not as hot as they should've been. This was particularly an issue in the buffet line. There were a few "misses" but the waitstaff were anxious to satisfy, and if they ever noticed anyone at our table not finishing an item, they would immediately enquire if everything was okay or if we wanted something different. The wines served with dinner were good Italian table wines (red or white) and were liberally poured. We had a great waitstaff the very first night and we were always able to get seated in their area for the remainder of the cruise. Breakfasts at the Terrace Cafe were about the same each day. On the plus side, the line never seemed long and seating was always available, even when almost the entire ship was dining at the same time due to early shore excursions. On the minus side, coffee/tea service was often slow and difficult to get a refill. Drinks prices were about average for a cruise ship; certainly no bargain. The few drinks I purchased were good. Mixed drinks tended to be made with generous pouring of alcohol. Entertainment: Entertainment is mainly limited on these cruises to lecturers and the occasional music program. The days are jam-packed with touring and at times it seemed difficult to even fit all the lectures in. I found the lecturers (there were 3 on our trip; all British) to be absolutely outstanding. I only missed one lecture and every one I attended was well done. However, I am a huge history nerd. Some did tend to fall asleep at the evening lectures. Then again, some on the cruise were quite a bit older than me! Most of the music on board was provided by a trio called Cafe Concerto Strings who were quite good. I was less fond of the piano player in the Charleston Lounge. Most nights there was dancing in this lounge after dinner. On sea days there were a few other activities scheduled, such as a Trivia Quiz, bridge, and some "Infomercials" by spa/fitness staff. The ship is not meant for those looking to party late at night. There is no casino (hurrah), and no activities for children. Shore Excursions: On our sailing, every shore excursion except for ONE optional tour were included. Unfortunately, the tours were all the "big bus" sort, with 30-40 people per guide/group. The "Quietvox" earpieces ensured that we could all hear the guide easily; however, it is still difficult to have a meaningful interaction with a guide when the group is so large. Some people just could not seem to get the hang of using the whisperers and consistently people in our group would lose either the earpiece or the battery. Guides also seemed unfamiliar with them and were forever asking us to "gather around" them, when the whisperers were supposed to enable us to wander a bit. There was not always a staff member on each tour, so at times the guide was expected to do too much. For example, at Karnak Temple in Egypt, one woman with limited mobility insisted in attempting the tour. She walked partway to the temple, then decided she couldn't go on. The rest of us had to wait while the guide helped her get back to the bus. Which brings me to this point: the tours and the itinerary of this "Odyssey" were quite strenuous. There were people on the tours that clearly were not in a condition to be able to do them. It was frustrating for those of us who were able to do the tours, and I'm sure it was frustrating for those who attempted a few tours then mostly decided to stay on board ship. I don't know what the answer is, but the cruise line and travel agents perhaps need to push a bit harder the fact that almost EVERY tour involves a lot of walking, steps, precarious footing, etc. These are not panoramic bus tours! The sites we visited on the cruise were all outstanding, and it's a shame that I can't say the same for the guides, which were of about average quality overall (although our group had a particularly bad one in Syria -- we all took to "tuning in" a different guide on our whisperers as he was so difficult to understand). If I hadn't done my reading and research in advance, I honestly think I would've gotten very little information from some of the guides. I would rate only 2 of the 8 guides we had (including those in Egypt) as above average. Many of the sites visited were quite a long bus ride away from the port. I was well aware of this in advance, but some people grumbled. I mention it just for future reference. To my mind, the sometimes 2-3 hour ride in the bus was worth it in order to see these off-the-beaten-path sites. Buses were modern and generally comfortable. In most cases there was a toilet on the bus. Free bottled water was provided by the ship: 2 bottles per person for full-day tours and 1 bottle for half-day tours. I don't want to give an overly negative impression; I very much enjoyed the sites we visited and in most cases the tours were adequate. I think with a little tweaking, though, Voyages to Antiquity could provide a better experience. And let's face it, the sites and tours are the primary reasons most people book with a line such as this one. I'm not sure the current system of organizing the buses by a color coded system is the best. I made several friends aboard ship but never got to tour with them as we were in different color groups -- which meant not seeing much of them on a very port-intensive cruise. Ports: I will not go into a long description on the ports and sites visited as that information is well covered in the Voyages to Antiquity brochures/internet information already. However, I will offer a few notes: Sharm el-Sheikh: The ship offers a tour to St. Catherine's monastery. It's a long bus ride (about 2.5 to 3 hours each way) but well worth the trip. Just do not expect to find peace and quiet, it's very crowded with visitors. Ein el-Sokhna: Again, ship offered a tour to St. Antony's monastery (Coptic). Shorter bus ride and quite interesting as one of the monks actually leads your tour. We were offered freshly baked pita bread at the bakery. Less crowded than St. Catherine's. Quite a few people skipped this tour after the long day to St. Catherine's the day before, but I thought it was well worth it. Beirut: We had an included tour to Baalbek, an ancient (mainly from Roman period) site. The scale of the ruins was definitely monumental. Again, the drive by bus was long; our lunch stop was not reached until quite late in the afternoon. We only glimpsed a little bit of modern Beirut as we drove in and out of the port -- sadly it still looks very much in recovery. Tartous, Syria: The cruise included an overnight tour to Palmyra, the fabulous ruined desert caravan city from the Roman imperial era. On the way there, we stopped to see Krak des Chevaliers, the "most outstanding and well preserved Crusader castle". It was quite a sight, perched up on a hill that required some tight twists and turns on the part of our buses to reach. After this, we arrived at Palmyra and had an afternoon visit to the site museum. Our hotel was quite close to the site itself, but didn't have much character. Some people did a camel ride that evening but it got very cold in the desert at night. Next morning, we had an extended visit to the Palmyra ruins, including visits to some of the tombs. Shopping in the little modern town was great; however, shopping time was quite limited (fine with me but others had complaints). We returned to Tartous after lunch at the hotel. Latakia, Syria: One of the few places where some optional tours were offered. I chose the full-day Aleppo tour and it was one of the best of the cruise. We again had a long drive but the countryside was pretty. In Aleppo we saw the Citadel (a Crusader-era castle but built by Arabs), the Omayyid mosque (which required us women to don burka-like coverings), and the souk. Again shopping time was quite limited. A highlight was lunch at the Sissi House restaurant, a very lovely experience in a well-known restaurant and including live music. Other half-day tours were offered and included the Castle of Salah el-Din (Saladin), and Ugarit. Limassol: Included half-day tour to Kourion, a ruined Greco-Roman site with a beautiful location on the water. Some time was given for wandering and shopping in the old Harbor area; unfortunately it is undergoing a lot of renovation at present. I'm sure it's very charming when not scaffolded! The cruiseline offered a free shuttle to and from town all day, which is a nice touch. In several other ports, shuttles were also offered and there was never a charge for them. Antalya: The included tour here was a half-day visit to Aspendos and Perge. Although I had done virtually the same tour in September, I went along anyway and enjoyed this one much more (due to the lovely weather in part; in September the temp was close to 100 F!). The one extra-charge tour was offered in the afternoon: a visit to the Antalya museum and walking tour of the old town. I did this as well. The museum deserves more time as we were marched through it very quickly. The old town is lovely, it's definitely a place I want to come back to for a longer visit. Free shuttles were offered here also. Overall Service and Value: In general, service in the dining room and from my cabin steward was quite good. The mostly Filipino crew is friendly and professional. The Shore excursions staff/Front desk staff could use some more experience. Several were recent college graduates with great Classics pedigrees but little actual practical experience. At times they appeared a bit short-handed. As a note, the ship was only about 2/3 full on our sailing, and I can imagine they would be seriously short-handed with a full complement of passengers. However, in general most things went off rather well considering the ship was visiting most of these ports for the very first time. Delays occurred in a couple of ports but were minimal, no ports or sightseeing was missed. Our cruise involved quite a bit of juggling of passports (handing them in, picking them up, turning in again, getting boarding cards, etc) and that was handled quite well. Things seemed organized and lines were never long. Sometimes the port officials would throw the staff a bit of a curve, but they dealt with it. (For example, in Syria the port officials wanted copies of all the passport info -- apparently this was never mentioned in any advance communication. Good thing there were only around 200 passengers.) We only tendered to one port, and it was not a problem. However, I do agree that the tenders seem to bob about more than most and hopefully the ship can get some newer ones during their overhaul in Piraeus now that the season has ended. I think the value for the cost of the cruise is quite high. After adding up all the included items (gratuities, wine at dinner, included tours, airfare), I found this cruise cost far less than the similar length Eastern Med cruise I took on HAL in September. Of course, the no or low single supplements really are a huge bonus in this regard. Summary: Overall, I love the premise of this cruise line. I had a wonderful experience and found nearly all of the negative things mentioned earlier this season to have been addressed (if they existed at all....). A bit more tweaking would lead to an even more positive experience, but I'm well satisfied with the value; so much so that I've already booked another cruise with this line next year. Between the great itineraries, lecturers, and included costs -- particularly the single supplement -- I found this line to be a great fit for me. Please just give us smaller tours!! 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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