Aegean Odyssey - Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Aegean Odyssey

★★★ +

Berlitz’s Ratings

Ship: 350 out of 500

Accommodation: 141 out of 200

Food: 269 out of 400

Service: 291 out of 400

Entertainment: 68 out of 100

Cruise: 279 out of 400

Overall Score: 1398 out of 2000

Aegean Odyssey Statistics

Size: Small Ship

Tonnage: 12,094

Lifestyle: Standard

Cruise Line: Voyages to Antiquity

Former Names: Aegean I, Aegean Dolphin, Dolphin, Alkyon, Narcis

IMO Number: 7225910

Builder: Santierul N. Galatz (Romania)

Original Cost: n/a

Entered Service: 1972/May 2010

Registry: Malta

Length (ft/m): 460.9/140.5

Beam (ft/m): 67.2/20.5

Draft (ft/m): 20.3/6.2

Propulsion/Propellers: diesel (10,296kW)/2

Passenger Decks: 8

Total Crew: 200

Passengers (lower beds): 408

Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 29.6

Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 1.8

Cabins (total): 216

Size Range (sq ft/m): 130.0-550.0/12.0-51.0

Cabins (for one person): 26

Cabins (with private balcony): 42

Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 2

Wheelchair accessibility: Fair

Cabin Current: 220 volts

Elevators: 2

Casino (gaming tables): No

Slot Machines: No

Swimming Pools: 1

Hot Tubs (on deck): 0

Self-Service Launderette: No

Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No

Library: Yes

Onboard currency: US$


Cultural exploration and learning are the big draw

Overview. Aegean Odyssey will appeal to couples and single travelers looking for a life-enrichment experience in a smart, yet somewhat traditional classic ship environment. The credo is based on history, ancient civilizations, and learning and the main appeal is the quality of the excursions and lecturers.

The Ship. Although this isn’t a new ship by any stretch of the imagination, it has been tastefully and skillfully converted to provide an extremely comfortable environment. Its profile is quite smart, with a well-shaped funnel that balances a rather angular stern - the result of a $26 million ‘chop and stretch’ operation some years ago. The present operator, Voyages to Antiquity, bought the ship in December 2007, then set about a painstaking refit and refurbishment program that ended up more like a complete rebuild, because the ship now looks much nicer, and has a pleasing profile.

Originally built to carry munitions, the ship’s hull is really strong. The passenger capacity was significantly reduced - from 650 to 378, with a subsequent increase in the passenger/space ratio - in a well thought-out conversion. As a result, the open deck space, covered in teak, is extremely good, and measures 37,674 sq ft (3,500 sq m) - a lot for a small ship.

The Promenade Deck houses most of the public rooms. There is a forward observation lounge, with many windows providing plenty of natural light. The Charleston Lounge - actually a large lounge with a large dance floor and bar - is quite stunning, and sports a classy black and red decor.

Some materials in public rooms are held together by the ‘patch and fix’ method, but subtle, pleasing, warm color combinations - most with earth tones - help to create a spacious, light, and open feel.

Excellent academic-style lecturers are an intrinsic part of the cruises, which are typically 14 days long, and a good-size library is an important facility. Itineraries include several port overnights.

Gratuities to dining and cabin staff are included in the fare, together with selected wines with dinner (or beer/soft drinks); for non-included drinks, a 12.5 percent service charge is added to bar accounts. Most shore excursions are also included (together with bottled mineral water for the included excursions).

Despite the shakes and rattles of the ship’s interior fittings when going at maximum speed, it’s the character of the ship, its generous open deck space (and gorgeous thick, highly polished handrails), and an excellent lecture and enrichment program that all help to nudge the final score higher than one might normally expect for a 1970s-built ship.

Accommodation. There are now many different cabin price grades (six of which are for single-occupancy cabins), with about half designated as Balcony Class. The accommodation numbering system is nautically incorrect, however, with even numbered cabins on the starboard side instead of on the port, or left, side of the ship, although the lifeboat numbering is correct. Most cabins have an outside view, with similar sizes and configuration. All have a small refrigerator.

They are reasonably spacious, considering the ship’s size, and pleasantly decorated, although closet, drawer, and luggage storage space for two is limited in the lower-grade cabins, particularly for longer cruises. Most bathrooms are partly tiled, with decent storage space for toiletries.

Single travelers have a choice of 36 single-occupancy cabins (in 6 different grades), most of which are quite spacious.

Two Owner’s Suites are located forward on Sun Deck. These are rather nice and have forward ocean views over the bow, and include a narrow balcony on either port or starboard side. They have a separate bedroom, a walk-in closet, and a bathroom with a tub-shower combination.

Dining. The Marco Polo Restaurant is the ship’s main dining room. It is located on the lowest passenger deck (so it’s very stable when the ship is at sea). It has a restful color scheme, and a high ceiling. Seating is mostly at large tables - there are no tables for two - in an open-seating arrangement that allows you to dine when you want and with whom you want. The amount of space around each table is good. Portholes on both sides, rather than windows, are set high up, and allow some natural light during the day.

The cuisine is a mixture of Continental and Asian, but the selection of breads, cheeses, and fruit is limited. Meats, fish, and poultry items are not of a high quality, although they are decent enough for most passengers. For casual meals, self-serve breakfast and lunch buffets are available at the Terrace Café, aft on Promenade Deck, with indoor-outdoor seating that includes a Tapas Bar each evening (‘Tapas on the Terrace’), and daily grilled specialties.

Entertainment. The Ambassador Lounge is a single-level showlounge that has a bar at one end, and seating that is mainly in tub-style chairs or old-style banquette seating. The sight lines to the ‘stage’ from many seats are obstructed, however, because of several support pillars. This room principally serves as a presentation room for the specialist lecturers, and for classical concerts.

Spa/Fitness. A new indoor wellness centre was built in 2012. It is an attractive facility, and includes a separate male sauna, female wet sauna (steam ‘pods’), and a changing area for males and females, two body treatment rooms, plus a beauty salon, and a good-size fitness area.