Discovering the Light of Greece: Aegean Odyssey Cruise Review by Bob Dymowski

Aegean Odyssey 5
Bob Dymowski

Overall Member Rating

Discovering the Light of Greece

Sail Date: September 2010
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Embarkation: Athens (Piraeus)
This was our first cruise of this duration, and our first visit to the Eastern Mediterranean area. We were very pleased with all aspects of the cruise - the ship was as nice as it looked online, the food and service were excellent, and the itinerary was extremely interesting and enjoyable. Our package included flights from the US, and it would have been nice to not have had to make a connection, but we were not able to obtain direct flights, even though they were available from and to our home airport.

Our transfer from the Athens airport to the ship was smooth, and we were taken to a hospitality room at a hotel until we could board the ship. Luggage handling was very good, and our luggage was delivered to our cabin promptly. Our cabin was Standard Outside, with only a porthole, located quite forward in the ship. It was not very large, but it was comfortable. We were on the Columbus deck (4), and could hear the sound of the water quite a bit. If we were to travel on the More Aegean Odyssey again, we would probably prefer a cabin on a higher deck. Our steward service was excellent, and the service in the two restaurants was always friendly and prompt. We preferred the Marco Polo restaurant on deck 3 for dinner, and thought that the food was very good. We also used the Fitness Center, and found it to be nicely equipped. All of the public areas of the ship are attractive. The internet service was reliable and reasonable in cost, and the internet room included 6 computers available 24 hours/day. Our cruise included a series of lectures concerning the history, geology, and culture of the areas which we were visiting, and all of the lecturers were very good. There was also a music program which included concerts, dance music, and cocktail music, and the musicians were all of excellent quality.

The shore excursions were all very good, and kept us very busy throughout the course of the cruise. The local guides were all very informative and spoke excellent English. The excursion experience was enhanced by the use of QuietVox transmitters and receivers which enabled us to hear the guides in the course of the tour through earpieces. The boxes worked well and were a big improvement over having to keep so close to the guide or asking him or her to speak louder. All of the excursions had ratings indicating the difficulty or amount of walking, and the ratings were reasonable. Some of the tours involved a considerable amount of walking, but anyone wishing not to do so was always able to sit and wait in an area for the group to return.

Disembarkation went very smoothly, although our ride from Piraeus to the airport took quite a while, perhaps due to detours caused by concern over truck demonstrations.

I would recommend this ship and the Light of Greece itinerary to anyone who is interested in seeing some beautiful and historic sights in Greece and Turkey. We thoroughly enjoyed it. Ports which we visited for excursions which do not appear on the list below included the following.

Nauplia - we went to the Tomb of Atreus and the Citadel of Mycenae in the morning, and then went to the Sanctuary of Aesclepius at Epidaurus. The latter included a 15000-seat theater. All of the sights were excellent.

Monemvasia - this is a delightful walled city, with narrow winding streets, nice shops and restaurants, and beautiful views of the sea and the surrounding cliffs. We enjoyed the visit there very much.

Samos - we visited the Archaeological Museum, a winery, and the ruins of the Temple of Thera. The views of the island were very pretty to and from these sights.

Kusadasi - we had a half-day excursion to Ephesus and a full-day excursion to Aphrodisias. Both of these were spectacular, especially the ruins of the Roman condominium at Ephesus. The scenery en route and returning from Aphrodisias was very interesting - mountains and fields of citrus, cotton, olive groves, and other crops. Turkey looked very nice.

Cannakale - we had excursions to Troy and to Gallipoli, and both were very good. The ferry ride over to the Gallipoli peninsula was an interesting experience - avoid using the WC under any circumstance, if at all possible! It was awful! Less

Published 10/04/10

Cabin review: Std406

Small at 130 sq ft; too far forward for our taste; noisy due to water sounds, machinery when coming to port, etc. Storage area was good, bathroom a reasonable size. We would have preferred being able to move the beds together, but that was not an option.

Port and Shore Excursions

We had some free time while we waited to board the ship, and then had a highlights of Athens tour on the next day. We visited the Acropolis and the adjacent museum, toured the city, and had free time in the Plaka area. We were thrilled to see the Parthenon and the other ruins at the top of the Acropolis, and considered them well-worth the climb and having to deal with the crowds of other people intent on doing the same thing.

We were at Heraklion, and had excursions to the Palace at Knossos, a ride to a monastery on the Lesithi Plateau, lunch at a taverna, and a visit to Melia, another palace site. The scenery in Crete was very pretty, and we enjoyed all of the excursions. We rejoined the ship at Agia Nikolas, which was a very pretty little seaside town.

We saw all of the major sights in Istanbul in a rather whirl-wind tour - the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, the Hippodrome, Chora Church, the New Mosque, the Topkapi Palace, and the Grand Bazaar. Istanbul was very crowded and busy the day we were there, and our guide said that it seemed much busier than usual, perhaps because it was the last weekend before schools re-opened. In any case, the hustle and bustle was a bit intimidating to me and my wife, and we elected not to go into the Grand Bazaar, which our guide had described as "4000 shops in 60 blocks, all selling the same 20 items". That seemed like something we could pass by. Otherwise, Istanbul was certainly a place with amazing monuments to see

Read 403 Istanbul Reviews

We did not arrive until after dark, since the ship had slowed its speed to reduce the motion of the ship. All I was able to see were the shops, and they were the usual mix. It would have been nice to have seen the island in daylight, but that was not to be helped. We actually had not been able to land on Delos because of the delay in our cruise due to the wind and wave conditions, so that was a disappointment.

Read 839 Mykonos Reviews

We anchored in the modern port area just across from the old port and the Old Town. We had an excursion to the Acropolis at Lindos, where we saw very interesting ruins and some beautiful views of the sea and the surrounding cliffs. Our tour of the Old Town included the hospital of the Knights of St. John, the Street of the Knights, the palace of the Grand Marshal as restored by the Italians in 1939, and free time in the Old Town. It was very pleasant, and all of the sights were very interesting.

Read 391 Rhodes Reviews

Santorini is as beautiful as all of the pictures you have seen of it, perched high on the nearly sheer cliff walls. We visited both Oia and Thira, and the Akrotiri Archaeological Museum, which was very good. We had lunch at one of the cafes overlooking the caldera, and the views were spectacular. We would have liked to have had more time, but only had most of a day there. The ride back to the ship on the cable car was fun also.

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Bob Dymowski
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