We welcomed over 40 lecturers and specialists on board Aegean Odyssey in the first year of our operation. We thought you might like to see what Dr Oswyn Murray said about our first year after sailing with us on three cruises…
Voyages to Antiquity: the first year
After more than thirty years as a lecturer on Mediterranean cruises, I was excited to be asked to take part in this new venture; I have seen more of the ship than most, since I lectured on three cruises, around Sicily in the spring, down the Adriatic in the autumn, and on the last cruise through Egypt, Sinai, Lebanon, Syria, Cyprus and Turkey. For me this first year has been a huge success.
After a slightly shaky start the boat service improved until it is now really excellent. The Filipino crew is very friendly and the small size means that you can get to know most of the passengers, who are a heady mix of groups from the USA and Canada, and individuals from the UK, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. My fellow lecturers from Australia, the UK and the USA were knowledgeable experts and great personalities.
A genial captain, a sparky cruise director and an excellent chef made the experience very pleasurable. I liked especially the young and enthusiastic classics graduates who acted as chaperons on the desk and on shore. Indeed (since the price is quite reasonable) I hope that future cruises will attract families with younger people, especially those who are thinking of going to university to study the ancient or the medieval worlds: there is nothing to beat actually seeing the sites to awaken interest, as I know from forty years experience in university teaching.
This informal, relaxed small ship cruising offers the best way to visit the Med: you can stop in so many ports and avoid most of the crowds on the big ships; you have ample time ashore to dine and shop in small towns. The land excursions are well planned and adventurous, even involving some overnight hotel stops and quite long coach journeys or flights. I visited many places that I had not seen before, and look forward eagerly to next year: see you perhaps coasting along north Africa or voyaging round the Black Sea?
Fellow of Balliol College Oxford and university lecturer in ancient history
Related posts:Cruising the Black Sea with Dr Victor Sonkin – Part One
Cruise Travel Magazine profile Voyages to Antiquity
Professor Mary Beard Returns to Aegean Odyssey