We were "cruse virgins" until 2013 when we had our first experience of Variety Cruising on the sister ship Panorama (Adriatic Odyssey) We enjoyed that cruise so much, we decided to do the Aegean Odyssey on Panorama 2. From the moment of boarding, we were treated royally by all the friendly and attentive staff and cruise director Natalia. As our cruise was during shoulder season, there were only 24 passengers on a ship which can take up to 48 passengers. Exclusivity Indeed! Nothing was too much trouble for the staff.
Our cabin was on the top deck, right next to the Captain's. It was quite roomy, with a double bed, sofa, bathroom etc. We really only used our cabin for sleeping, because we could relax in the lounge area or on deck chairs on the front deck. It was wonderful to lounge on the deck area when the ship was under sail. The sound of the wind in the sails was exhilarating. With so few passengers ( all of whom were friendly and interesting) it almost felt like we were on our own private yacht. We really loved the exclusivity of small ship cruising. We never felt like part of a herd ( something we certainly observed when huge passenger liners docked in larger ports)
Ours was a round trip from Kusadasi (Turkey ) to Athens and some beautiful Greek Islands. While we did stop at the popular tourist islands of Mykonos and Santorini (both magnificent) we were also able to visit other ports where the huge passenger liners don't stop. For us, this was one of the major attractions of being on a small ship. As it was too windy to moor at Tinos, we visited the elegant island of Syros, capital of the Cyclades and joined the fascinating walking tour led by Natalia. We also loved Patmos and Samos because, unlike Santorini, they were not overrun by tourists. We enjoyed hiring a car and visiting the beaches and sites recommended by Natalia. Many other passengers enjoyed the shore excursion to the mediaeval town of Chora. I would also recommend the shore trip to Ephesus, the magnificent Greco-Roman city near Kusadasi.