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HI - so I just got off the phone with Road Scholar and this is what I now know -

 

As a Canadian I asked if I can book through my usual TA and the agent advised that since RS pays no commission, most agents don't want to bother.  In other words, I would book in $US without my extra trip protection I get in Ontario.

I asked about the Odyssey club and she wasn't sure so she put through an inquiry ticket and they'll get back to me.  I'll keep you posted.

 

I'm in touch with a RS person onboard right now and things are going ok but there is still brown water in the bathrooms.

 

Calm seas - Shar.

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2 hours ago, CalmSea said:

RS is already advertising their 2020 VTA offerings. But their website seems to be tailored only for US clients. Shar, I hope you can find out more information during your upcoming cruise. For example, does the Odyssey Club benefits still apply during the RS charter?

 

Enjoy your cruise, which is coming up really soon.

 

I’d be amazed if Odyssey club benefits apply. Once Voyages to Antiquity chartered out the ship they have nothing to do with its future passengers. 

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I do not expect the Odyssey booking discount will apply. But, how about the on board benefits, such as free wifi or one free bag of laundry?

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8 hours ago, CalmSea said:

I do not expect the Odyssey booking discount will apply. But, how about the on board benefits, such as free wifi or one free bag of laundry?

Again, I doubt it.

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HI - I just heard back from RS and in a word, no to any Odyssey perks. 

 

The lady I'm in touch with onboard now is travelling with RS and they are having a good time with good hotel stays and interesting extra tours for  which RS is famous.  It's her first time on the AO and , even at a 140 day cruise, she pays for wifi, laundry & water.

 

So, is there anyone out there who's  travelled with RS on the Odyssey?  Have you collected Odyssey perks after your first cruise with them?  My guess would be no since they are separate companies.   I imagine it would be the same for the other cruise lines RS uses too.

 

Shar

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Interesting information, Shar. I hadn't thought to question whether the OC perks would still apply. 

 

I have several times in the past met interesting folks onboard ship who were traveling with RS and liked it. I believe they get some extra lectures and tours beyond what VTA already offered. Not sure what else....

 

I am taking the opportunity to do some other cruises on different ships. Booked an April 2020 HAL cruise around Japan and a BTB November 2020 cruise on Celebrity from Venice to Athens to Dubai. Will it be the same small-ship experience as Aegean Odyssey -- sadly, no. But not too many of the RS itineraries appeal to me.

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On 1/23/2019 at 3:31 PM, Ontariotrekker said:

 

I'm in touch with a RS person onboard right now and things are going ok but there is still brown water in the bathrooms.

 

 

I will be on the Aegean Odyssey in April.  The brown water concerns me.  We were on last spring and we never saw any rusty water in our bathroom.  Will the ship supply bottles of drinking water free of charge in each stateroom?

Also - Is Richard still the cruise director?...he was great!

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We were on the AO in August, doing the Three Rivers. They did warn the passengers that, because the ship is using water from the river, and it may sometimes have sediments. However, I never encountered any brown water, nor sediments for the whole cruise. As an Odyssey club member now, Mary, you will be provided with a big bottle of water in your statement every day. Together with the water supplied on the tours, we had too much water. We actually had to tell our steward not to give us any new bottles if there was a large unopened bottle of water in the stateroom.

 

As for Richard, he is great. But, unfortunately, I think he has left. I remembered reading about his leaving in one of the passengers' comments that VTA used to carry on their own web page. In one of VTA's web page update, they have removed the link to those comments. Maybe Shar can comment on who the current Cruise Director is, because she is on the AO right now.

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Reports of

Passenger ship disabled in Aegean sea

Posted in Accidents by Mikhail Voytenko on Apr 22, 2019 at 04:31.

Passenger ship disabled in Aegean sea

 

Passenger ship AEGEAN ODYSSEY with 339 passengers on board suffered engine failure while approaching Chania, Crete island, Greece, in the afternoon Apr 21, en route from Malta. Two tugs were deployed, the ship was safely taken to Chaina and berthed. Reported detained until completing repairs and survey.

FleetMon Vessel Risk Rating: https://www.fleetmon.com/services/vessel-risk-rating/

acute engine failure and ship has had to be towed back to Crete.  336 pax onboard.

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14 minutes ago, Ontariotrekker said:

Reports of

Passenger ship disabled in Aegean sea

Posted in Accidents by Mikhail Voytenko on Apr 22, 2019 at 04:31.

Passenger ship disabled in Aegean sea

 

Passenger ship AEGEAN ODYSSEY with 339 passengers on board suffered engine failure while approaching Chania, Crete island, Greece, in the afternoon Apr 21, en route from Malta. Two tugs were deployed, the ship was safely taken to Chaina and berthed. Reported detained until completing repairs and survey.

FleetMon Vessel Risk Rating: https://www.fleetmon.com/services/vessel-risk-rating/

acute engine failure and ship has had to be towed back to Crete.  336 pax onboard.

This is a bit scary, particularly for the passengers on board. I assume it is a continuation of the engine trouble that you had on your trip.

 

I'm due to board in less than 3 months, and I hope that proper repairs will be completed before that time. 

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As per someone onboard, they will skip Santorini and go directly to Piraeus.  They were going 6.6 knts.

 

Shar

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XOn board right now.  We have been running on one engine for past 4 days.  We were 10 hours late getting into Chania, but still had some time to do a late afternoon tour. We were not towed there.  We did have a tug ready to help us dock.   Spent the night in Chania and we were bused to Heraklion for full day tours with included lunch.... a great day with nice vistas of Crete.   

 

Never once has had the captain admitted that we were having engine problems.  Chania was an administration problem so we did an overnight🤥.  Now we are missing Santorini because of alleged high winds.  🤔 Seas are pretty calm in the Aegean right now.  We are very slowly making our way back to Athens.  5.8 knots

 

Mary

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1 hour ago, marysb said:

XOn board right now.  We have been running on one engine for past 4 days.  We were 10 hours late getting into Chania, but still had some time to do a late afternoon tour. We were not towed there.  We did have a tug ready to help us dock.   Spent the night in Chania and we were bused to Heraklion for full day tours with included lunch.... a great day with nice vistas of Crete.   

 

Never once has had the captain admitted that we were having engine problems.  Chania was an administration problem so we did an overnight🤥.  Now we are missing Santorini because of alleged high winds.  🤔 Seas are pretty calm in the Aegean right now.  We are very slowly making our way back to Athens.  5.8 knots

 

Mary

Sorry to hear that. While I wish it were different, you seem to be only missing one stop, since you were almost at the end of your cruise. I wish you well.

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Glad things are not as bad as reported.  I spent a frustrating 33 days prior to you but we did see Namibia which was going to be a highlight for me.

 

Calm seas - Shar

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Yes, we are still being well looked after. 

Santorini was going to be a highlight for so many, so lots of disgruntled pax.  People are very fed up that no one was telling them the real story of the engines.

Also, a big surprise - we got a new captain a few days ago (we were wondering who that man was at the helm in Chania :-).  Anyway, tomorrow is Athens and the beautiful Grand Bretagne Hotel - a great way to end the cruise.

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Hello Marysb, I hope you enjoyed your stay at the Grand Bretagne.  

We’ve just had a call from Voyages to Antiquity’s UK office.  Our Black Sea cruise, due to depart from Piraeus on 4 May, has been cancelled.  Engine problems on the ship mean it is too risky to make the long voyage up to Ukraine. They don’t know how long it will take to fix.  They will issue a full refund.  We are so disappointed 😩.  I spent the whole weekend packing!! Currently searching the internet for alternatives.  Good luck to anyone who is booked on future cruises. Please post here if you have any more news. 

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45 minutes ago, LandC said:

Hello Marysb, I hope you enjoyed your stay at the Grand Bretagne.  

We’ve just had a call from Voyages to Antiquity’s UK office.  Our Black Sea cruise, due to depart from Piraeus on 4 May, has been cancelled.  Engine problems on the ship mean it is too risky to make the long voyage up to Ukraine. They don’t know how long it will take to fix.  They will issue a full refund.  We are so disappointed 😩.  I spent the whole weekend packing!! Currently searching the internet for alternatives.  Good luck to anyone who is booked on future cruises. Please post here if you have any more news. 

How disappointing for you!

 

I've been checking on marinetraffic.com and they seemed to be cruising at reasonable speed, so I hoped that things were better than they had been for Shar. However, if they really need to do repairs on a ship with no down time until the autumn, they had to cancel something. I've got 2 1/2 months until departure, but we also will be crossing the North Sea, as well as up the coast of Norway, not too far from (but somewhat south of) where the Viking Sky had difficulties. It is hard to get too excited until I know that repairs have been made.

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LandC - thanks so much for posting this info, as it's very timely! I'm also on the Black Sea cruise, with 2 nights hotel in Athens, and flying from Montreal in 2 day, May 1. No one has called me yet, but it's only 7 am. I'll follow-up with my TA this morning. Very disappointing, as I expected their 3 days in Athens would have addressed the ship engine issues. However, I'd rather have a cancelled cruise, than a 'sea days' cruise. 

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Thanks for the updates.     I'm encouraging my friend to cancel her August trip but Voyages may do it for her.

 

Meanwhile and with no little irony, I arrived home to find 2 really large brochures from Road Scholar.

 

Shar

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What is happening to Voyages to Antiquity with the Road Scholar long-term lease?  Will they operate the ship for Road Scholar?  Will they get another ship to operate as VtA or does their name disappear?

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42 minutes ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

What is happening to Voyages to Antiquity with the Road Scholar long-term lease?  Will they operate the ship for Road Scholar?  Will they get another ship to operate as VtA or does their name disappear?

I don't know who will be operating the Aegean Odyssey for Road Scholar.

 

VtA is not marketing anything for 2020, so I assume that they are taking at least a one year hiatus. There is absolutely NOTHING on the VtA website about the agreement that I could find. They are still advertising the 2019 sailings as if they were newly up on the website. I don't know whether they will get another ship for 2021 and 2022; I guess we will have to wait and see.

 

The agreement with Road Scholar is for 3 years, I understand.

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So, over the course of my 63 day cruise there were some Odyssey Club m&g and a few special events.  Some of the info shared -

 

 - VTA is a travel agent only so you can still book other things through them. ( This from the cruise director who did not answer when I asked then who owns the ship.)

 - currently no plans to purchase a second ship but they may be looking for one.

- the whole RD charter thing is purely a business decision since the owner is 90+ years of age.

 - RS is currently planning on using the same agency to hire wait staff etc.

 - VTA in Oxford is working on plans for trips etc that may include some of the Odyssey perks. ( This may not work out so watch the website I guess.)

 

Lack of communication has always been an issue with this company and I could site several examples but I don't think my blood pressure would take it.

 

Bottom line - I saw Namibia and had a long break on a floating hotel for free.    My only concern now is for the staff.  After all that time on board when you see pics of their kids, hear about their home life and listen to them want to do better for their families, a lot of the crew touched my heart.  

 

Shar

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VTA is not as such a Travel Agency -- It is a cruise line, and there is one sole owner for the vessel AO.

Here in the UK many VTA regulars feel rather let down, and very disappointed that the ship is not going to be marketed again to the UK for some time....
For this customer base - there is no similar small specialist/ small voyage company or a ship like this since last seen when Swan Hellenic were operating.
Worrying about the ship's engines on the AO, and they really need to get this fixed - if it is a big £££ technical problem then the owner may be wary to spend big money on it?

 

If VTA are looking at a second ship for the UK market then great (maybe the Minerva? - it is up for lease/sale)


For the UK pax it is very much watch this space...

 

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I agree roger747, there is no other cruise line similar to VTA for the UK market at the moment.  G Adventures bought the Swan Hellenic brand name but have done nothing with it so far.

 

I received the following letter this morning from Jos Dewing, Managing Director, dated 29 April 2019: 

"It is with deep regret and sincere apologies that we write to inform you that we must cancel your upcoming cruise aboard Aegean Odyssey.

 

Aegean Odyssey recently developed a fault with her starboard engine and, following a detailed inspection by maritime authorities in Athens, it has been confirmed that the ship will be out of operation for some time.

 

Following her recent cruise, AO will undergo the necessary repairs.  Sadly, we anticipate that this will affect a number of cruises, including the cruise you are booked to travel on.

 

Having considered all the alternative options, we are unfortunately unable to offer you any alternative travel arrangements with VtoA, at this time, and so will process a refund of all monies paid for your cruise to date.  You should receive said refund within the next 21 days along with a cancellation invoice.  If you have booked with a travel partner, the refund will be sent to them to process and they will forward it on to you as is standard practice with partner bookings.

 

We appreciate that this will be very disappointing, but sadly it is an issue beyond our control.

 

If you have any further expenses relating specifically to this booking, please discuss your options with your travel insurance provider."

 

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Posted (edited)
55 minutes ago, LandC said:

I received the following letter this morning from Jos Dewing, Managing Director, dated 29 April 2019: 

"It is with deep regret and sincere apologies that we write to inform you that we must cancel your upcoming cruise aboard Aegean Odyssey.

 

Aegean Odyssey recently developed a fault with her starboard engine and, following a detailed inspection by maritime authorities in Athens, it has been confirmed that the ship will be out of operation for some time.

 

Following her recent cruise, AO will undergo the necessary repairs.  Sadly, we anticipate that this will affect a number of cruises, including the cruise you are booked to travel on.   "

I wish that I had some sense of what "some time" means. My trip sails in 2 1/2 months. I can't cancel on my own because I looked after my airfare by myself, and insurance won't refund all of it if I choose to cancel. So I have to wait to see what happens.

Edited by gnome12

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