Voyages to Antiquity’s Aegean Odyssey. // © 2010 Voyages to Antiquity
Focusing on port-driven itineraries was a no-brainer for freshman cruise line Voyages to Antiquity.
After all, the cruise line — which is the latest venture of cruise industry veteran Gerry Herrod, who also founded Orient Lines — was inspired by “The Middle Sea,” a sweeping history of the Mediterranean, written by Lord John Julius Norwich.
The line’s one ship, the Aegean Odyssey, was specifically selected for her size and ability to call upon smaller ports that are often bypassed by larger ships. And, with an extensive sailing schedule focused on calling upon ports that serve as gateways to the classical ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean, Adriatic, Aegean and Black seas, as well as North
Africa and the Red Sea, the cruise line fully anticipated that its passenger roster would largely be made up of travelers seeking total historical immersion.
From ancient Greek architecture and the splendor of Roman cities to the wonders of Egypt’s Pyramids, the cruise line is dedicated to bringing history to life for its passengers.
The pursuit of knowledge, in the case of Voyages to Antiquity, is included in the price of admission. Fares include most shore excursions on an itinerary line-up that was meticulously planned to reveal as much as possible of the extraordinary wealth of natural beauty and classical history that the Mediterranean region has to offer.
Onboard, the ship continues its total cultural immersion, and discos and casinos are eschewed in favor of presentations by lecturers and scholars who are well-versed in the region. Historians, food specialists and even volcanologists make up the larger part of the ship’s entertainment programming, and their lectures bring to life the art, history, archaeology, geology, architecture and the reverence of the Mediterranean as it was thousands of years ago that guests can explore firsthand.
The Aegean Odyssey carries an average of 350 people, making it the perfect size to provide inclusive sightseeing options for every guest. Originally a 570-passenger vessel, the Aegean Odyssey underwent a complete overhaul, and the newly configured space is dedicated to larger suites, junior suites and staterooms. The retrofitted ship has also introduced a Concierge Class stateroom category that comes with full windows (instead of portholes), luxury bedding, a welcome bottle of champagne, priority sightseeing and other benefits.
Come mealtime, guests can enjoy meals in one of two restaurants — the more formal Marco Polo with full waiter service and the buffet-style Terrace Cafe. With a combination of indoor and outdoor seating, the Terrace Cafe will prove popular with clients looking to soak up the Mediterranean breezes. In both restaurants, dinners include soft drinks and
several complimentary house wines.
As the cruise line looks forward to its second year, it is revealing a host of new features for 2011, including pre- and/or post-cruise hotel packages, a variety of shorter cruise lengths and new destinations.
All itineraries in 2011 are being designed as cruise-tours which feature seven- to 12-night cruises and pre- and/or post-cruise hotel stays in a variety of cities such as Rome, Athens, Istanbul and Cairo. Guests, however, may opt out of the hotel stays and receive a credit toward their cruise fare.
A wider range of cruise lengths is another new feature for the 2011 season. In order to appeal to a larger audience, especially younger travelers with shorter vacation windows, the new itineraries have been designed with more flexibility and durations as short as seven nights.
Also new in 2011 will be the addition of new destinations with the Aegean Odyssey offering unique circumnavigation of the Black Sea region with ports in Georgia, Russia, Ukraine and Bulgaria as well as destinations in Corsica, Sardinia and Libya.
Cruise fares start from $3,295 per person, based on double occupancy, and include most shore excursions and gratuities for the shipboard staff. As a special incentive, clients booking any 2011 itinerary by Dec. 31 will receive free airfare from more than 70 North American gateways. Some departures between March 25 and Aug. 25 will also onclude a one-cabin upgrade.