The Aegean Odyssey has a lot of history and experience under its belt. Once used as a car ferry, she has come a long way since her original purpose in 1973. Now, stepping aboard, there is no sign she was ever anything other than a cruise ship. Her interior hints at a casual sophistication and her itineraries typically appeal to the more historically-minded holidaymakers. Add this to the fact she only carries up to 378 passengers and you've got a very tailored experience.
Cabins are relatively spacious and a large proportion of these are fitted with balconies. Early 2013 saw additional work completed on 18 new outside cabins on the Lido Deck, thus meeting customer demand for more premium cabins. But it is the type of holiday advertised by the company rather than the vessel itself that is likely to find a core audience.
"The type of passenger we are aiming for is interested in destinations, lectures and itineraries, not floor shows or drinking late," managing director David Yellow famously told one passenger during an Italian itinerary. "The big cruise lines say their ships are the resorts; we say itineraries are the prime reason to come aboard."
Aegean Odyssey has two dining venues - one with a buffet and one with table service. There isn't much difference between them when it comes to the menu, unfortunately, but what is on offer is top knotch. Kitchen staff are fabulously eager to please and more than happy to accommodate additional requests.
Breakfast features pastries, scrambled eggs, bacon and your standard cruise fare. Dinner normally reflects at least one local dish, which is usually exceptionally well prepared. Other than that, expect a carved meat, pasta, grilled items and buffet of desserts. Diners at the Terrace Cafe may choose to eat outdoors if the weather is fine.
For such a small vessel, the Aegean Odyssey packs a punch where the activities are concerned. A ship-wide lecture theatre provides an excellent location for visiting scholars and professors keen to talk about local history, while the Charleston Lounge on the Promenade Deck is the place to head to for live music.
Generally, it's your traditional affair - a three-piece string orchestra or a pianist performing Broadway favourites. Occasionally, you may be treated to an evening of themed music - a tribute to Frank Sinatra, for example, or A Concert in Italy.