CRUISE Q&A: Jos Dewing Talks About Small-Ship Cruising With Voyages To Antiquity

Voyages To Antiquity is a unique cruise line operating just one small cruise ship, the Aegean Odyssey. The cruise line’s experience is designed for travellers who want to learn more about the history, culture and natural wonders of the ancient world.

The size of the ship is part of what makes cruising with Voyages To Antiquity so different. The ship is perfectly suited to visit places which larger ships cannot, therefore offering more destination-rich cruise itineraries.

The cruise line’s Managing Director, Jos Dewing accepted our invitation to take part in this exclusive CRUISE Q&A interview so we could learn more about Voyages To Antiquity and its unique small ship, Aegean Odyssey.

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Can you give us a brief overview of Voyages To Antiquity?

Voyages to Antiquity is 10 years old next year and operates the 350 passenger, Aegean Odyssey. We are best known for our multi-award-winning lecture and enrichment programme and our inclusive shore excursions and land stays, both pre and post and overland.

The company was inspired by a novel about the Eastern Mediterranean, ‘The Middle Sea’ by Lord Julius Norwich but has since broadened its horizons to sail to many new destinations.

What makes Aegean Odyssey unique from other ships?

Aegean Odyssey benefits from a classic and elegant design and very much inspires the sense of the golden age of travel when passengers sail on her. She was also originally designed for over 500 passengers and has almost been entirely rebuilt under our ownership, meaning she benefits from a lot of space, the classic look and feel but updated comforts and furnishings. Her size also makes her unique, large enough to feel like a home from home, small enough to access the smaller ports and engage in river cruising too.
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What facilities does the ship have to offer?

The ship has two restaurants, one includes outdoor dining on the terrace and one more formal dining room, a large lecture theatre that can accommodate the whole ship, a pool, library, cinema room, observation lounge & bar and 2 further bars/lounge for evening entertainment and music. We also have our Athena Spa, a beauty salon, Medical centre, internet centre. We also have a shop.

What is the accommodation like on board?

Spacious and surprising most people tell us. We have 219 staterooms and cabins of which 42 have balconies and 38 are dedicated single occupancy cabins. Our cabins are spacious, many were originally two separate cabins before the major refit and were made as one. Our balcony class cabins offer a further dimension to our accommodations and upgrades to the booking, these include business class flights in Europe, complimentary welcome champagne, stocked fridge, luxury bathroom amenities and priority sightseeing.
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Where does Aegean Odyssey cruise to?

She cruises all over the world, from Iceland to St Petersburg and the land of the midnight sun in Northern Europe to Myanmar, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Cape Town in South Africa. Owing to her advantageous size, she is able to navigate close to scenic coastlines and islands and even cruise upriver into the heart of Seville and Bordeaux.

Does Aegean Odyssey sail from UK ports?

Aegean Odyssey makes a number of calls to UK ports in her traditional summer season but her most recent home ports have been Tower Bridge in the heart of London and Tilbury a little further down the Thames.
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What’s included in the price of the cruise fare?

Almost everything. Pre and post hotel stays in 4 and 5-Star hotels, roundtrip air, transfers, gratuities, lectures, shore excursions and wine with dinner. If you are a member of our past passenger club, the Odyssey Club, you will get even more benefits included, such as free WIFI, discounts on you fare, upgrades, onboard credits and more. We believe we have the best loyalty club in the industry and certainly one of the most generous.

Can you tell us about the type of shore excursions on offer?

Our shore excursions are included in your fare which makes us one of the very few cruise lines that offer this. We also won ‘Best for Shore Excursions’ small ship in the 2017 Cruise Critic Awards. As this is voted for by actual passengers we are very proud of this award. We offer a variety of excursions, from a 5-day post cruise Golden Triangle Land Tour in India to a 5 day pre-cruise land tour in Greece. Our excursions are designed to show our guests the authenticity of the places we visit, the real destination, its culture, heritage and people. Shore excursions are really one of our main selling points so we have to do them very well.
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Who should cruise with Voyages To Antiquity?

Our cruises are very experiential and offer a cultural insight into the places we visit. It you want to understand more about where you are going, experience it with like-minded people, enjoy and unhurried, non-crowded and informal ship environment with open seating dining, no  queues and a team of experts to support and enrich at every level, VTA is for you. I do not believe there is any similar cruise line for such a passenger.

Do you have any plans to add another ship to the fleet?

If the right ship were to become available we would certainly look at it, our cruises are full and we believe a second ship would be successful, however she would have to be very special indeed to sail under the VTA flag and do justice to her unique sister, the Aegean Odyssey.
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