Athens to Istanbul on Aegean Odyssey - Cruise Review
Discover archaelogical treasures in Turkey and the picturesque Greek islands on a cruise from historic Athens to cosmopolitan Istanbul. Read Ann's review about her cruise on board Voyages to Antiquity's small ship Aegean Odyssey.
I was very excited about my cruise on board Aegean Odyssey as this was my first time on a small ship, and I was not disappointed in any way. The journey started with BA flights from London Heathrow which is the preferred airlines for Voyages to Antiquity. After a smooth flight we landed at Athens and were swiftly transferred to Pireaus ' the port for Athens.
The Aegean Odyssey looked extremely small compared to all of the super-sized ships but it is true, good things do come in small sizes!
On boarding I was shown to my cabin, which was lovely and light and near to the reception area. It had a very comfortable bed, which was great after a busy day of excursions, and the bathroom was quite large, compared to some of the larger cruise ships. It had a walk in shower which would suit elderly passengers and those with mobility problems.
The ship had a lovely feel to her and every area was easily accessible as there was a lift to all decks. I had a look around and found the well equipped library with books on the various destinations that we were visiting, along with daily newspapers and magazines. There was something to suit all tastes! There was also a Spa, small gym, hairdresser and Internet area on board which were all well used.
Dinner that night was in the Terrace Caf' where you could choose from the extensive buffet or from the A La Carte Menu. The food was absolutely delicious, so much so that I tried quite a few dishes! Wine is served with dinner however if you wish to choose a different bottle then you can do so for a charge. After dinner we adjourned to the Charleston Lounge where there was live music. They played something to suit all tastes and some dancing was involved!
When I returned to my cabin for the night the bed was turned down, the bedside light on and a chocolate was on my pillow ' lovely touches!
The itinerary was geared around the ancient Roman, Greek and Turkish history, taking in places that are not normally accessible to larger cruise ships. They also had lecturers on board and gave information and lectures on the next port of call in the Ambassador Lounge.
Our first stop was the island of Delos, via tender. What an amazing place! The guide made the ruins come to life and the 'Quietvox' meant that you could wander off to look at something of interest and not miss what the guide was saying. In the afternoon we visited Mykonos with its lovely white-washed buildings, narrow streets and small harbour. We missed the resident pelican but did see the famous windmills and 'Little Venice'.
All of the guides allocated to the included excursions were very knowledgeable and passed on the information in an interesting way, even if you didn't know much about the area before.
Our group were lucky enough to have cocktails and dinner with the Captain in the Marco Polo restaurant which is a little more formal with the A La Carte menu. All of the staff and crew on board were extremely friendly and helpful with nothing being too much trouble.
The next morning we visited Ephesus which was an amazing place. The work and excavation that has been done is astounding and the guide gave us a good insight as to what life was like there. After returning to the ship we went into Izmir city in the afternoon ' what a contrast! The bazaar with the 2500 shops is a very bustling and busy place with the shopkeepers doing their best to get you to buy something!
On our final day we visited the picturesque Greek island of Lemnos in the morning, another port of call not normally on other cruise itineraries. It was lovely to see unspoilt areas and see the locals in the shops and restaurants rather than a lot of other tourists.
I was sad to leave and felt very at home on the ship. Hopefully I will make a return to the Aegean Odyssey.