Wednesday, 19 August 2009

A Classic Frenzy!

It never rains but it pours. That 18th century saying is usually used to express bad things happening, at regular intervals. But it is also relevant to the sudden - and welcome - creation of new cruise lines pandering to the more cerebral and, perhaps, more mature passenger.
Hot on the heels of the new Cruise & Maritime Voyages announcement (see the next entry in Time Spent At Sea) comes news of another start-up cruise line offering a more distinctive, small-scale and even traditional experience.
Voyages to Antiquity will start in May 4, 2010, as a one-ship, classic cruise operation, featuring destination intensive voyages in the Mediterranean and Black Sea, taking in the Middle East, Aegean and Adriatic. They will offer a heavily lecture-based onboard programme, with a focus on the ancient civilisations of the area (hence the line's title) and definitely aimed at an English-speaking audience.

The vessel will be the extensively-revamped Aegean I, which has been laid up in port following an ownership dispute for several years, and which will be reborn (after a multi-million pound facelift) as the Aegean Odyssey.

She will carry just 380 passengers and offer single-occupancy cabins as well as some new balcony cabins, with voyages varying from 14 to 29 nights (May-Nov). They also intend to get off the beaten cruise track where possible, and visit some out-of-the-way ports like Kotor (Montenegro) and Syracuse (Sicily).

Under the helm of Gerry Herrod, who started the original Orient Lines in the early 90s, this promises to be a thoughtful and educational cruise offering. So expect lots of seriously high-brow guests lecturers and a really in-depth focus on the destinations, their history and culture.

They are still several weeks away from launching their website and sales line, but, for those who really enjoy the classic cruise experience, this is definitely one to keep an eye on.