Voyages to Antiquity
If you want to really dig into the history and culture of a destination, Voyages to Antiquity is your cruise line. As you may have guessed from its name, the line started with itineraries in Greece, Italy, and Turkey but has since branched out into Asia and Africa. Its single ship, Aegean Odyssey, carries a cozy 350 passengers and cruises two-week itineraries on average. Entertainment consists of small musical acts, which aren't nearly as popular as the many onboard lectures. There's a single dining room, plus an open-air buffet restaurant, both serving essentially the same offerings. Overall, the mood is low-key and casual.
What We Love
No Nickel-and-Diming: Aside from the rare major overland excursion (optional), all shore excursions are included in your fare. Hotel stays, tips, and dinner beverages (wine, beer, or soft drinks) are included, too.
Overnight Port Stays: The ship overnights in prime ports — ideal for cruisers who love to experience a locale's ambiance after dark.
Best Known For
A Great Lecture Program: Aegean Odyssey has more lecturers than you might find on a big ship. Typically, at least two are subject experts, and others might be authors, museum curators, or composers.
Focus on the Destinations: With minimal entertainment options, Voyages to Antiquity puts the focus clearly on the history and culture of its destinations. It's all about taking a deep dive, so you'll come home with great mental souvenirs in addition to those bargains you scored in the market.
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Who It's Best For
Intellectual Types: Passengers are the sort who'd rather read a book than play blackjack, and they're avid lecture attendees.
Singles: With 26 dedicated single cabins and a low supplement on double cabins for single occupancy, it's a boon for singles.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
There's No Casino: You won't lose your shirt on this line (unless you take it off at the pool).
It's an Older Crowd: Passengers tend to be up in years, yet intrepid. The line partners with Road Scholars on some cruises.
Gayle Keck is a San Francisco-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times.