Not for just any ol’ cruise ship would I subject Sara and myself to such a long flight – 10 jet hours from San Francisco to Munich plus a thumb-twiddling five-hour wait there before another 50-minute hop on a propjet puddle jumper over the Dolomites to Venice.
But the ship we’re aiming for, the Aegean Odyssey, just might be what I’ve been seeking for years.
As a veteran cruiser of dozens of mega-ships, some seemingly top heavy with decks upon decks, I am eagerly anticipating a human-size vessel – one maxing out with about 340 guests, instead of thousands. And one with a goodly number of passengers who might be much like myself – a dedicated history nut.
The specialty of the Aegean Odyssey is teaching and learning. Lecturers are on board to tell us what we will see in depth. I don’t think we will find classes in napkin folding and the easy formation of towel animals.
Moreover, shore excursions are included – most of them anyway. And the scheduled ports include some I was fascinated with as a youth more than 50 years ago.
If you’ve ever read books like Gods, Graves, and Scholars (a history of archeology) or perhaps the Bull of Minos (a study of the Minoan civilization), you’ll know what I mean.
Our ship is a handsome vessel refitted three years ago by a young company called Voyages to Antiquity. We’ve looked at the pictures, pored over the itinerary and analyzed the deck plans. Now we’re ready to enjoy it.
As usual in the blogosphere, these entries will end up in reverse chronological order. If all goes well, you’ll find some new impressions of Venice in the posts directly on top of this one.
April 11, 2012