Been There, Done That: A journey on the MV Aegean Odyssey

So, you’re on your 14th cruise to Alaska, or are less than pleased with a ship the size of an aircraft carrier. The Caribbean is always nice, but how many beaches can a person be expected to visit? Isn’t there something different? Something interesting? We’ve been there and done that!

Of course there is, it’s the Voyages to Antiquity’s MV Aegean Odyssey. And, I’m booked on their cruise from Venice, down the Adriatic Coast of Croatia to Greece, concluding in Athens. Join me, you’re Been-There-Done-That travel guide, for a look at the ship, its cabins and public areas, the crew, and the food for the next 14 days. (Another ATC travel writer has been given the assignment to cover the shore excursions.

Established with its inaugural cruise in 2010, the Voyages to Antiquity literature promises a premium class ship, the MV Aegean Odyssey, that carries an average of 350 passengers offering generously-sized suites, junior suites and staterooms with and without balconies. A benefit to the Odyssey is said to be that as a mid-size ship it has the ability to visit ports that are too small for larger vessels.

The stated philosophy of Voyages to Antiquity is to create a cruise experience that is not only for the amateur or professional historian, but also for people who simply want to understand the history, art, myths and culture of the ancient world. The cruise proposes to open a window into the origins and genius of western civilization.

On board guest lecturers are to be from prestigious universities and museums from around the world and offer unique perspectives about the art, history and culture of the ancient civilizations explored on our itinerary. Passengers are to further benefit by the amount of access they have to the cadre of experts on each cruise. We are also promised that these experts will participate in shore side excursions, host intimate gatherings on board, and will be readily available to discuss the sites of the day over coffee or cocktails.

Corresponding land tours will have been planned by the Voyages to Antiquity staff in conjunction with Lord Norwich and other noted on board historians, guest lecturers and celebrated speakers that have been selected for their knowledge of the areas we are to visit and their ability to bring the history of these remarkable civilizations and cultures to life. Assisting the main speakers aboard ship and on land is team of classical history graduates to answer our questions and assist the guides on sightseeing trips.

With these things in mind, it is not surprising to note that Voyages to Antiquity has been honored with a TravelAge West 2011 Editor’s Pick Award in the category of Expedition Cruising as part of the TravelAge West WAVE (Western Agents’ Votes of Excellence) Awards.

The ship’s amenities include: Two restaurants plus outdoor terrace dining, three lounges , four bars, a lecture theater, library, shop, internet center, outdoor pool, spa and Jacuzzi, beauty salon, medical center, telephone, fax and e-mail via satellite, satellite TV, hair dryer and personal safe in every cabin.

Past cruise reviews have been generally positive, with very good marks for excellent shore excursions. A few reviews, however, fault the ship for a lack of crew training, limited food offerings, ship noise and smoke stack ash.

As a travel writer my responsibilities sometimes require me to Go There and Do That, so that you don’t have to. We shall see.


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