Getting in the swing with V2A

As I head north to Alaska on board Diamond Princess – we arrive in Ketchikan on Monday morning – it was good to hear from two separate sources that back in Europe, a new cruise venture is finding its feet after a hesitant start earlier this year.
Voyages to Antiquity, a new company formed by cruise veteran Gerry Herrod, operates just one ship, the Aegean Odyssey, and sails to a selection of classic destinations culled from the pages of (Lord) John Julius Norwich’s book, The Middle Sea.
The operation’s launch in April was beset by problems. Dry-dock work on the ship was delayed by a series of strikes by Greek workers, and the Icelandic volcano ash cloud disrupted the delivery of supplies and key crew.
Once voyages finally got under way there were operational problems which led to the appointment of Matthew Swire as hotel manager and Linda Reyes as operations director, managing director David Yellow told Seatrade Insider.
Menus were changed by popular demand, and some of the initial snags sound rather alarming; tender safety has been improved, and technical adjustments have been made to reduce soot fall from the funnel.
“Initially, our food scores and the on-board management – cruise staff – were not up to the level we wanted,” Yellow said. “Now, we’ve achieved scores we’re happy with across the board. We’re offering the premium product we’re after.”
Cambridge classics professor and author Mary Beard has been on a recent sailing as a visiting lecturer, and writes in the Times Literary Supplement:
“The food is good, the alcohol generous, the view from my cabin mostly bloody marvellous, and everybody – from the crew to the other passengers and lecturers – pretty charming.
“There is, I confess, something nice about having everything arranged, at least for a few days. The bit I liked best was leaving the boat – sorry SHIP – to go to Pompeii and being given a couple of little bottles of ice cold water to take along. Just what you need.”
Aegean Odyssey has spent the summer sailing in the central Mediterranean and Adriatic; she will be sailing the eastern Med tp Jordan, Syria and Egypt, and in November will be cruising the north coast of Africa, including Libya.
Yellow says UNESCO World Heritage sites such as the Phoenician trading post of Sabratha, the Roman city of Leptis Magna and the ancient Hellenic colony of Cyrene are not only amazing; they can be seen without being surrounded by hordes of other tourists.
Next year’s itineraries are being tweaked to make more appeal to American passengers who already make up 60 per cent of the complement, with pre-and post-cruise hotel stays being offered in addition to shorter voyages, mostly of seven nights.

By | 2010-08-16T02:44:23+00:00 16 August 2010|Cruise destinations, Cruise people, Cruise ships, Cruise talk|0 Comments

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John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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