I have just returned from a short break on board Voyages to Antiquity’s ship Aegean Odyssey. Carrying around 340 passengers, this is small ship cruising at its best. Visiting smaller ports of call that the larger vessels simply can’t reach, the ship offers destinations and locations off the beaten track with longer in ports and more overnight stays.
I think it’s important to note just what is included in the price of your holiday. Starting with the comfortable accommodation a choice of either inside, ocean view, superior ocean view, balcony or suites, there is something for everyone. Its full board so breakfast, lunch and dinner served in either the main restaurant Marco Polo or in the Terrace Café buffet with its outdoor seating area. Wine, Beer & Soft Drinks are also included with your evening meal. Your tips & gratuities are taken care of so there is no need to worry about having pay extra. A choice of excursions are also included in your holiday with usually one if not more complimentary in each port.
The team on board Aegean Odyssey really are so friendly and go out of their way to make sure you have a relaxing and enjoyable time on board. Small ship cruising means it’s more intimate, you get to know the crew and they get to know you. After being on board within a few hours, crew were remembering my name and what I liked to drink. Rich Sykes is the cruise director on board and is the friendly voice you hear in the morning explaining the arrangements and timings for the day. But don’t worry if you miss any of them, the daily journal posted in your cabin every evening will detail what is doing on around the ship the following day.
Voyages to Antiquity really pride themselves on the varied itineraries and destinations, offering sailings across the globe as fly cruise options or for those or prefer not to fly there are a selection of itineraries sailing from the UK. There are port talks and lectures to attend to find out more about the things to do in port and the helpful shore excursion team are on hand for any questions. There is also an on board lecture programme with guest speakers who entertain throughout your cruise by sharing their knowledge and expertise and will always have time to speak 1 on 1 for any questions.
Gone are the days of panicking that you have to take your best cocktail dress or bow tie, there are no formal nights on board. In the daytime is typically what you would wear on holiday with polo shirt, t-shirts and shorts the order of the day and in the evening it’s smart casual, typically something that you might wear for a night out with friends in town.
I really loved the outdoor areas on board, all complete with teak decking there are comfortable padded sun loungers to relax on by the pool with fluffy towels and complimentary slippers. And it’s not just by the pool either, you can find places to relax at the bow and aft of the ship too, ideal for coastal cruising or sailing away from ports and landmark spotting.
There is something for everyone to eat on board. Breakfast can be a choice of either continental or cooked which can be served in the Marco Polo restaurant or in the Terrace Café, I really enjoyed eating alfresco at the aft enjoying views out to sea. Lunch and Dinner are again served in the restaurant or café, it depends if you want to enjoy waiter service or self service. There is usually a choice of breads, salads, cold cuts, soup, hot selection and also a fantastic sweet treats trolley with plenty of choice! Again at evening meal time wine, beer and soft drinks are included with meals in your cruise fare. Late night snacks are available in Charleston Lounge for anyone who fancies a nibble before retiring to bed.
There are three main areas which are used for entertainment or relaxing. Up on Observation Deck is the Lounge & Piano bar offering stunning views around, at times a pianist will play melodies in the evening and in the day time it’s a place to challenge your fellow travellers to bridge. Down on Promenade deck (deck 6) the Ambassador Lounge is the venue for lectures, seminars, dancing and the captain’s cocktail party. Mid-ship is Charleston Lounge where you can find the daily fun quiz plus a variety of evening entertainment from pianists to vocalists. If you want to relax in any venue with a book, the well-stocked library has something for everyone from travel guides to novels plus you can find the daily crossword and board games here too.
On Columbus deck you can find the Athena Health Spa offering massages, treatments and specialist body therapies to make you relax whilst on board. The Fitness Studio & gym is open daily offering a choice of equipment and 1 on1 sessions – after all that food you will need it!
Don’t forget to stop by the very impressive shop. Offering everything from confectionery to duty free it is open on sea days or when in port. It also offers holiday essentials ideal if you run out of something or if you have simply forgotten it! You can pick up a branded souvenir, a new handbag or watch in the shop, look out for the sale bargains too!
On board I met a real mix of people, but what I noticed was how friendly everyone was. Many of the passengers I met were on their 7th or 8th cruise on board Aegean Odyssey and it’s clear to see why the repeat passenger number is so high. I will definitely be back on board soon and hopefully next time for longer.