Jump to content
marysb

Voyages to Antiquity Photo Review (Athens to Venice)

Recommended Posts

Finally getting organized with photos and thoughts about our Aegean Odyssey Cruise - Ancient Greece and the Dalmatian Coast from May 5-18.

 

Here's a brief review of what came to mind first - If anyone has other questions, just ask.

 

 

 

Ancient Greece and the Dalmation Coast

Screen%2BShot%2B2018-05-28%2Bat%2B9.46.49%2BAM.png

Overall we had a wonderful cruise. Great little ship, fantastic service, wonderful ports and good friends. We are experienced cruisers and river cruisers and were anticipating a new adventure on this small all inclusive ship. We started in Athens with stops at Nauplia, the Peloponnese, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Split, Trieste and Venice.

 

 

  • The Ship: Embarkation was a breeze in Pireus and when we walked up the gangway, each lady was presented with a red rose. Very nice start! We were very surprised at how beautiful and bright and airy this little ship was. I had read so many reviews saying how old and neglected it was. I thought it was very nicely decorated. Nothing fussy or over the top, just a clean minimalist modern vibe. I call it " casual chic". It was immaculate - everything was very clean (we even saw the crew polishing and dusting the ridges in the ceilings) It was very bright and airy - lots of windows and light in all the public rooms. All the flowers and plants on the ship were real. Artwork was modern, colourful and interesting. Loved that the ship was quick and easy to get around (no problems if you left something back in your room- just a quick trip to get it unlike on a big ship where it is a major trek to your cabin), but the ship never felt crowded. Lots of air conditioning - bring a sweater.

  • The Cabin: We were in an outside on the Belvedere Deck, 507 near bow on port side. Smallish and plain but very doable for 2 people. We heard very little engine noise, but the air conditioner could be noisy- we just turned it down at night. Were disappointed that the beds were fixed narrow twins and would not push together. The beds were comfy and had bedding of good quality. We had no problems with rusty water - ever. I drank the water from the tap every day and had no ill effects. My only complaint is that the power plug is under the window between the two beds. There is no mirror on this wall so it was difficult to use a hair iron while the only mirror is from the closet doors across the room (and you had to open them just so to see yourself.) Hairdryer is fixed in the bathroom and works fine. There was plenty of storage- a big dresser/desk/night-table with 3 large drawers and 4 or 5 little drawers in the closet as well as a safe. Bathroom counter space is very limited. I will post some photos of this room.

  • The Itinerary and Tours: Loved the itinerary and the choice of tours at each port. You do have to get over the fact that you will be travelling with "the herd" listening to the whisperers or Audiovox in each port for at least part of the day. Do plan for some time alone to explore the ports. One of my big surprises on this cruise was the age of the pax. Lots of people with canes and walkers and quite elderly. I was expecting most to be retirees in their early 60's since this was a vigorous itinerary with a port every day and tours with lots of walking, cobblestones and stairs. Well - good for them, they did amazingly well! Anyway, at the port talks, people were told over and over about the walking and the stairs.... but a lot didn't listen. The young woman giving the port tour information and the actual tour did not really align (some guides I think do their own thing ...not always a bad thing). In a couple of ports the guides would walk too fast and lose half the group. I think the groups may have been too large as well. In Venice, they had guides at front of tours and someone from the ship at the rear to keep everyone herded up. The audiovox system worked very well to hear guides. On the final night of our cruise in Venice, we had a special night. A museum, Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista was opened just for us and we had private tours and a lovely cocktail party after serving prosecco, bellinis and canapés in a beautiful old building. Lovely!

  • The Food:We thought the food was very good, no complaints just compliments from everyone at all the tables where we ate. Ate breakfast and lunch in the Terrace Cafe and all dinners and a couple of lunches in Marco Polo. The fantastic service was a lovely surprise. You never have to carry a tray - ever! When you order an omelette, it gets delivered to your table every time ..... they always find you! And wine at dinner - it's a bottomless glass and there is always someone sneaking in to refill your glass ;-). And we found the wine to be quite good. Coffee was the one issue for me - it was not that great, but I think I got used to it by the end of the cruise ...Starbucks or Tim Hortons, it was not. When they brought the french press to the table, I found that if I waited a few minutes to press the plunger (the waiters wanted to press it immediately), the coffee could brew a bit and not be quite so bitter. I think one of the most enjoyable parts of this cruise was sitting at dinner with new friends and enjoying a great meal - unlimited wine didn't hurt ;-).

  • The Entertainment and Speakers: Richard Sykes was the cruise director and what a personable and talented person. We loved his singing shows in the evening. He could sing a large range of musical styles and he always got a crowd on the dance floor. The small ensembles(duet & trio) in the lounge ranged performed classical, jazz, standards and pot - all very good musicians. All speakers were excellent, very interesting! This cruise also had Bob Porter who directed a cruise choir - what a lot of fun, and anyone who liked to sing was invited to join.

  • Pre and Post -Cruise: We were greeted at the airport by the VTA reps and put on a bus with commentary on our way to the hotel. What can you say about the Grande Bretagne in Athens but very posh! Beautiful rooms with chandeliers and marble, wonderful breakfasts with a view of the acropolis on the 8th floor, perfect location at Syntagma Square, and do check out the beautiful spa - many of the facilities there are included with your stay. The VTA reps were in the lobby to assist us and get all our tours organized. Post-cruise in Venice was just as organized, but I know many people had difficulty with the walk in Venice. A long walk to the bus from the ship and then another long walk from bus into airport all carrying your own luggage.

  • Conclusion - We had a lovely cruise. I can see why it is so appealing to many, but it would not be for everyone. I think this is for a traveller interested in learning about history and cultures and is great for single cruisers. It was more like a river cruise than an ocean cruise for me. The pace is quite strenuous with shore excursions every day (I walked between 4-8 km at each port). Please go to shore excursion talks to get information about which tour is more suitable for you - some have more walking, and some are bussed. Would love to do another cruise with this company and so said many of the people we met on this cruise.

Cabin 507 Cat H

fullsizeoutput_47c3.jpeg

 

 

fullsizeoutput_47c4.jpeg

 

fullsizeoutput_47c5.jpeg

 

 

 

fullsizeoutput_47c6.jpeg

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I snapped some photos of the rooms across the hall from us when we embarked.

 

Interior 505

fullsizeoutput_47c7.jpeg

 

Interior

Single 509

fullsizeoutput_47c9.jpeg

 

fullsizeoutput_44c2.jpeg

 

 

 

fullsizeoutput_44c3.jpeg

 

Next up - ship tour photos

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Terrace Cafe

 

Outside

 

fullsizeoutput_44d7.jpeg

 

 

fullsizeoutput_47d5.jpeg

 

 

Inside Seating and the buffet area

fullsizeoutput_46b9.jpeg

 

 

fullsizeoutput_46ba.jpeg

 

 

Salad bar, ice cream bar, Indian food bar, or what ever is needed.

fullsizeoutput_46bb.jpeg

 

fullsizeoutput_46bc.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the review. The ship seems to look better than what I remembered. Glad that you enjoyed it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m enjoying the pictures which bring back memories of 2015 and make me look forward to my trip to the Norwegian Fjords in 2019. Thanks.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mary, Thanks very much for posting your review. We are looking forward to getting on board again in October for Aegean Experience 1. We have also booked the Black Sea cruise departing May 2019! Linda. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for taking the time to post your comments and pictures.

An informative review.

Glad you enjoyed your cruise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Glad everyone is enjoying the photos. If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask.

 

Mary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Lido Deck and Pool - really nice pool area and always well maintained. The pool is salt water and was very refreshing (not heated).

 

 

Looking forward

fullsizeoutput_47ca.jpeg

 

 

 

Looking aft

IMG_2384.JPG

 

 

IMG_2391.JPG

fullsizeoutput_47cb.jpeg

 

 

The coffee/tea and continental breakfast sitting area by the pool

fullsizeoutput_47ce.jpeg

 

 

fullsizeoutput_4966.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Public Rooms - these rooms were very nice and unfortunately the photos don't really do them justice.

 

 

The Ambassador Lounge

fullsizeoutput_47db.jpeg

 

 

 

The Charleston Lounge

fullsizeoutput_47d8.jpeg

 

 

fullsizeoutput_44bc.jpeg

 

 

Ladies Washroom

fullsizeoutput_44bb.jpeg

 

 

The Lounge beside the Reception Desk

fullsizeoutput_47fc.jpeg

 

 

The Lido Bar

fullsizeoutput_47dc.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brings back memories. Unfortunately, I spent a fair bit of time in the Charleston lounge icing the ankle that I sprained in Istanbul. The bar staff were wonderful about providing me with ice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Glad everyone is enjoying the photos. If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask.

 

Mary

 

Thank you for your photos and comments, which make the ship look inviting. Looks like my kind of small ship, with the outdoor eating area. Love the live plants and colour coordinated pool towels. Can you tell me more about the ship? Is Voyages to Antiquity the name of the ship? Which company owns the ship.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you for your photos and comments, which make the ship look inviting. Looks like my kind of small ship, with the outdoor eating area. Love the live plants and colour coordinated pool towels. Can you tell me more about the ship? Is Voyages to Antiquity the name of the ship? Which company owns the ship.

The name of the ship is the Aegean Odyssey. It is registered in Panama. I'm not sure what the ownership situation is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice review and photos. I really do love the Terrace's outdoor dining -- always seems to coincide with sailaways in the evenings making for a beautiful backdrop.

 

I also wanted to comment again on the very friendly dining and room stewards and bar service. Also, for those used to the mass market ships, some differences:

-- limited entertainment

-- inexpensive internet (compared with mass market) but same connectivity issues

-- good drinks prices

-- shore excursions included (at least one per port and sometimes a choice)

 

I was just onboard for the leg after the one being reviewed here. Some of the special touches described were missing on our cruise. No roses given (not sure why...?), no special event. Also, having cruised with VTA since their inception, I thought the shore excursion staff were very inexperienced compared with previous years -- but they'll learn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

O.k. Let's start with a question. Mary, in your first post, you wrote that the Cruise Director "always got a crowd on the dance floor". Was it at the Ambassador Lounge or the small dance floor at the Charleston Lounge?

Regarding friendly dining room staff, even the managers are friendly. Just one story: the food manager usually came by and asked how was the food. Once, at lunch, we told the Food Manager that the duck breast served for dinner the evening before was a little overcooked to our liking, and that we preferred it pink. About 10 minutes later, he came back with a freshly cooked duck breast and asked us to try it and to see whether that was how we liked it. It was done exactly right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
O.k. Let's start with a question. Mary, in your first post, you wrote that the Cruise Director "always got a crowd on the dance floor". Was it at the Ambassador Lounge or the small dance floor at the Charleston Lounge?

Regarding friendly dining room staff, even the managers are friendly. Just one story: the food manager usually came by and asked how was the food. Once, at lunch, we told the Food Manager that the duck breast served for dinner the evening before was a little overcooked to our liking, and that we preferred it pink. About 10 minutes later, he came back with a freshly cooked duck breast and asked us to try it and to see whether that was how we liked it. It was done exactly right.

 

 

Richard was very talented and he did attract a crowd in the Ambassador Lounge.

IMG_2516.JPG

 

 

Totally agree about how wonderful the dining staff was! The Maitre d, assistant Maitre d and all wait staff were always available and very attentive. And also our cabin steward Ricky was great - we have been on a lot of cruises and the crew on this ship have to be the best ever. I heard this over and over from passengers throughout the cruise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you for your photos and comments, which make the ship look inviting. Looks like my kind of small ship, with the outdoor eating area. Love the live plants and colour coordinated pool towels. Can you tell me more about the ship? Is Voyages to Antiquity the name of the ship? Which company owns the ship.

 

Glad you are enjoying the review - The ship is Aegean Odyssey and there are only about 350 passengers when full. The company is Voyages to Antiquities which only has the one ship. The cruise is geared to history and culture buffs, have inclusive tours to interesting destinations and have great speakers on board.

 

Tonnage:11,906

Length:461 ft (140.51 m)

Beam:67 ft (20.42 m)

Draught:20 ft (6.10 m)

Decks: 8 decks 7 decks passenger accessible

Capacity:380 passengersCrew:180

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another question: Does the AO still have problem with soot? During our first cruise on the AO, the stewards in the Terrace Cafe would often clean the outside chairs before we sat down. I hope they have fixed the problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Another question: Does the AO still have problem with soot? During our first cruise on the AO, the stewards in the Terrace Cafe would often clean the outside chairs before we sat down. I hope they have fixed the problem.

 

We didn't see a sign of this problem. Could have been some soot, but we didn't experience it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Marco Polo Dining Room

 

fullsizeoutput_4967.jpeg

 

 

Captain's table

IMG_2568.JPG

 

 

I usually forgot to take photos of food, but we did enjoy our meals in the dining room - service and presentation was great.

 

IMG_2402.JPG A salmon App

 

 

 

Prime Rib cooked to order ;-)

IMG_2643.JPG

 

 

 

Apple Dessert

IMG_2644.JPG

 

Delicious choc cake and ice cream

P5130889.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Misc photos from around the ship

 

DSC_0380.JPG

 

 

fullsizeoutput_45e2.jpeg

 

 

 

fullsizeoutput_47d4.jpeg

 

 

fullsizeoutput_474b.jpeg

 

 

Choir practice in the Observation Lounge

fullsizeoutput_473e.jpeg

 

 

The view from our Terrace Cafe table one day at breakfast.

IMG_2711.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Aegean Odyssey

 

IMG_2501.JPG

 

 

fullsizeoutput_47d7.jpeg

 

 

Tendering

fullsizeoutput_47d1.jpeg

 

 

A cold drink and cool towel always was waiting for us before boarding. Also bottled water was always given to us at the bottom of the gangway before our tours.

DSC_0374.JPG

 

 

 

Our Cruise director Richard - very personable, talented, professional and always around to greet people.

fullsizeoutput_47d3.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for the continuing stream of picture reviews.

Glad you like it. I will continue with our hotel in Athens. I am still wading through all the photos.

 

Mary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have been on the AO from Venice to Athens and stayed in the Grand Bretagne. The view of the Acropoli during breakfast was indeed breathtaking.

 

Do you happen to have more picture of food or any pictures of the menus in the MDR? The ownership of VTA changed in 2016. I wonder whether this change affected their menu offerings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We have been on the AO from Venice to Athens and stayed in the Grand Bretagne. The view of the Acropoli during breakfast was indeed breathtaking.

 

Do you happen to have more picture of food or any pictures of the menus in the MDR? The ownership of VTA changed in 2016. I wonder whether this change affected their menu offerings.

 

Sorry, totally forgot to take photos of menus.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have finally organized the hundreds of photos I took. If you would like to see our tours and ports for this voyage, Athens to Venice. I have included the link below.

 

There are 4 parts to this cruise - Greece: Dubrovnik & Bay of Kodor; Split & Trieste; and Venice. Click on a photo to open the photo blog for each part.

 

https://maryandnormtravel.blogspot.com/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These photos are wonderful Mary, thank you so much for posting. Linda. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Mary for these very nice photos that bring back fond memories to me of sailing in this nice little ship in the early nineties around the Greek Isles just after she had been rebuilt the first time, converted from a ro/ro ferry to a mini version of that great deluxe cruise ship HL's Europa, by the Greek family that owned Dolphin Hellas Cruises and called her the Aegean Dolphin. She was very pretty then, but subsequently had a very chequered career and had deteriorated until being saved by Voyages of Antiquity, rebuilt again, and is now a very smart little vessel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many thanks for the great photos of the ship Mary. I join her on 1 September in Lisbon to cruise to Civitavecchia. There isn't much information on the internet about her and having never done an ocean cruise on such a small ship I was second-guessing my decision to try Agean Odyssey. It was the itinerary that really attracted me and the huge outdoor dining space that many ships do not provide, even though they are sailing in wonderful sunny regions.

 

Can you help with two things please? One CC reviewer said there was one power point in her cabin for charging devices. I need to be able to charge my phone as I use that as my camera. Was there a USB port in your cabin to charge devices? What sort of plug did the power point take? European or US?

 

Secondly, your photo of the library shows a reasonably large selection of books. Was there light reading/fiction amongst these books? Were there enough books to go round or did the library empty out pretty quickly?

 

Your help would be much appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Palmycrusier,

We will be onboard VTA too, Hope to meet you there.

Regarding electric outlets, from VTA website's FAQ on Electrical outlets: "Our cabins and suites feature European 2-pin round sockets with 220 voltage." I think the 2-pin socket is the UK version, and not the European version. I will be bringing both the UK and the European version, because in Rome, we will need the other version.

The library is well stocked with travel, history, arts and archaeology books; similar to the ones on the suggested reading list on VTA's website. Someone else may know better whether they have light reading/fiction materials.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding electric outlets, from VTA website's FAQ on Electrical outlets: "Our cabins and suites feature European 2-pin round sockets with 220 voltage." I think the 2-pin socket is the UK version, and not the European version. I will be bringing both the UK and the European version, because in Rome, we will need the other version.

 

Correction, I think the 2-pin socket is the European version. I need to bring both because we are starting from London.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

European is 2 round prongs. UK is 3 flat prongs in a T shape (sort of).

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can you help with two things please? One CC reviewer said there was one power point in her cabin for charging devices. I need to be able to charge my phone as I use that as my camera. Was there a USB port in your cabin to charge devices? What sort of plug did the power point take? European or US?

 

Secondly, your photo of the library shows a reasonably large selection of books. Was there light reading/fiction amongst these books? Were there enough books to go round or did the library empty out pretty quickly?

 

Your help would be much appreciated.

 

Glad you enjoyed the review and photos - looks like we are booked again for next April :-).

 

Here is a photo of our desk in an outside room. I do believe it is similar in the inside rooms. There is only one European 2 prong outlet. We needed the power strip with multiple outlets. The hair dryer is in the bathroom and permanently plugged there, so that was not a concern.

 

IMG_2561.jpg

 

As for books, I think you will be fine. Looks like there were lots, but Im guessing as I brought a kobo with ebooks. I know the printed newsheets went fast on some days.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Glad you enjoyed the review and photos - looks like we are booked again for next April :-).

 

Here is a photo of our desk in an outside room. I do believe it is similar in the inside rooms. There is only one European 2 prong outlet. We needed the power strip with multiple outlets. The hair dryer is in the bathroom and permanently plugged there, so that was not a concern.

 

IMG_2561.jpg

 

As for books, I think you will be fine. Looks like there were lots, but Im guessing as I brought a kobo with ebooks. I know the printed newsheets went fast on some days.

 

Many thanks Mary. I travel light.... really light......with just my cell phone so that one European power point will be fine. I won't be bringing my tablet so that's why I hope there'll be some light reading. All will soon be revealed!! Thanks again. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mary, Thanks very much for posting your review. We are looking forward to getting on board again in October for Aegean Experience 1. We have also booked the Black Sea cruise departing May 2019! Linda. :D

We're booked for the Grand Voyage that includes your cruise and Aegean Experience II, so perhaps we'll meet!

 

Bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Glad you enjoyed the review and photos - looks like we are booked again for next April :-).

 

Here is a photo of our desk in an outside room. I do believe it is similar in the inside rooms. There is only one European 2 prong outlet. We needed the power strip with multiple outlets. The hair dryer is in the bathroom and permanently plugged there, so that was not a concern.

 

IMG_2561.jpg

 

As for books, I think you will be fine. Looks like there were lots, but Im guessing as I brought a kobo with ebooks. I know the printed newsheets went fast on some days.

 

Is there an outlet in the bathroom, or only the hard-wired hair dryer? Thanks.

 

Bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We're booked for the Grand Voyage that includes your cruise and Aegean Experience II, so perhaps we'll meet!

 

Bill

 

Pleased to hear it Bill. I started a Roll Call a few months ago for Aegean Experience 1, but didn’t get any replies. I understand that nearly all the cabins have been sold. Should be a very interesting itinerary. Linda :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Victory Cruise Lines Sweepstakes - Enter now for a chance to win a free 9-night cruise on Victory II
      • Holiday Exchange - Jingle and Mingle 2018
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Community Contests
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×