Danielle Fear’s Voyages To Antiquity Diary

Voyages To Antiquity

2nd August 2018

My time aboard Aegean Odyssey has come to an end.

She made her maiden call to Port of Tyne this morning and sadly, that’s where I left her.

She will sail later today for Hull and then Tilbury before she begins her Iceland sailing.

I spent my final evening onboard listening to the delightful sounds of The Odyssey Trio.

I’m not a classical music fan, but for some reason I couldn’t stop finding myself in the Charleston Lounge whenever they were playing.

I had a wonderful time onboard and I’m sad to say goodbye.

Aegean Odyssey’s crew are outstanding and the overall experience has been a real pleasure.

I’ll have a full write up of my trip for you very soon, but until then, I’ll leave you with more images of this fabulous little ship.

1st August 2018

We’re at Stirling Castle today, as Aegean Odyssey is docked in Rosyth.

This 12th century castle is where Mary, Queen of Scots was crowned in 1542. Mary, the only surviving legitimate child of King James V, was just six days old when her father died and she acceded to the throne.

Stirling Castle was one of the most favoured homes of Scottish kings and queens and it stands high on a volcanic crag.

Its strategic importance meant that it became one of the most besieged castles in the land.

It was the focus of two of the most important battles in Scotland’s history – Stirling Bridge (1297) and Bannockburn (1314).

The heart of the castle is the Palace, commissioned by James V in the 1530s.

31st July 2018

Aegean Odyssey arrived in Scrabster last night, in the Scottish Highlands.

She was due to arrive early this morning, but the fantastic team onboard had us alongside at 7pm and passengers were teaming ashore shortly after.

The town of Thurso is quite a hike from the port, so last night I went ashore and found a little pub in Scrabster harbour and played numerous games of pool. I was in my element. Several other passengers also turned up at the same pub, so it was quite a fun evening.

I really like the port here. We’re docked right next to a lighthouse and from the aft decks you can see sheep grazing on the hill. I could hear the little lambs calling out to their mother this morning, it was very sweet.

Today, I jumped on the shuttle bus and explored Thurso. It’s a very small place and some parts of it are like stepping back in time.

I found a few quirky shops, the tourist info centre and a branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland that is housed in a stunning old building.

I really wish I knew what it had been many years ago.

The architecture was beautiful and for some reason (I think because of the many windows) when I first spotted it, it reminded me a little of the house from the most recent version of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

Maybe that’s just my imagination running wild, but I really did like it.

We will sail soon for our next port, Rosyth, and I am going to be visiting Stirling Castle – can’t wait!

30th July 2018

Our call to Portree today had to be cancelled due to bad weather.

Our Captain and his team tried incredibly hard to find us a shallow and sheltered point to drop anchor, but it wasn’t meant to be.

We’re back at sea now and sailing for our next port of call, Scrabster.

Within just a few minutes, we had an entirely new morning of onboard activities and entertainment – kudos to Richard, our Cruise Director, for once again making sure everyone had something to do. He really is amazing!

The morning quiz was at 10am and that was followed by a cocktail making demonstration in the Charleston Lounge, which was fun!

Everyone got a sample of the Aegean Cocktail and Hawaiian Punch Cocktail. They also made a Brandy Alexander and a Pink Squirrel.

This afternoon, I’m going to listen to the lecture and then admire more of the beautiful scenery we have on both the port and starboard sides.

29th July 2018

Aegean Odyssey was due to sail for Oban on Saturday afternoon but due to the storm system lurking in the Irish Sea, she was forced to remain in port.

I spent the afternoon exploring Dublin and walked right through the heart of the city, dodging trams as I went. I even passed Oscar Wilde’s house on Merrion Square – he lived there between 1855 and 1878 – before returning to the ship.

In the evening, I went back ashore and managed to find myself in the perfect place to spot the Red Arrows as they made their arrow formation directly above the ship. Not entirely sure why they were there, but I wasn’t complaining.

We’re at sea today and I’ve had a very productive morning. I went to the Ambassador Lounge to watch the presentation about whales and dolphins, by guest lecturer Andy Bunten. It was fascinating! I always enjoy learning about our marine life.

Some fast facts:

More than 30 species of whales can be found in UK waters.

One way to tell the age of some whales is by examining the mammal’s ear wax. The clumps can be up to one metre long!

A Blue Whale’s tongue weighs the same as a baby elephant.

Sperm whales can hold their breath for up to 90 minutes.

The black ring around the eye of an Orca is to help prevent glare from the sun – in the same way that American footballers put black paint underneath their eyes for matches.

An Orca is actually a species of dolphin.

27th July 2018

Aegean Odyssey is docked in Holyhead today, in Wales.

It’s much cooler than it was yesterday, and we’ll be leaving here this afternoon and heading for Dublin.

We weren’t due to arrive in Ireland until tomorrow morning, but the Captain is trying to stay ahead of the rocky weather that seems to be heading in our direction and I’ve not heard anyone complaining about that.

Who doesn’t love an overnight in Dublin? It’s a great place.

Most guests have gone off on tour, options offered included Caernarfon Castle and Bodnant Gardens, but I stayed onboard to have a chat with the Executive Chef about his delicious food – and then eat some of it!

Our chat ended just in time for lunch (I ordered the Cannelloni) and I had the entire restaurant to myself.

In fact, I have the entire ship to myself.

VTA passengers really do embrace the included tours, so for one day only, this is my ship!

26th July 2018

Aegean Odyssey is at anchor in the Scilly Isles today and what a wonderful day her guests are having.

One included tour option is a visit to Tresco, but many people opted to explore independently, me being one of them.

Tenders are running between Tresco and St Mary’s and these are some of the stunning views I snapped from St Mary’s – you’d think these were taken in the Caribbean, but no, this is the British Isles! UK cruising truly at its finest. I am speechless.

There are approx 2,000 people living in St Mary’s and around 500 dotted between some of the other islands.

Can you believe that you can take boat trips to some of the uninhabited islands and have the entire land and beaches to yourself?

I can’t say enough good things about this place! You MUST visit. You can fly here from Penzance or catch a ferry.

25th July 2018

Aegean Odyssey is docked in Falmouth today, in Cornwall.

It’s another hot and sunny day and I joined the included tour to St Michael’s Mount this morning. It was wonderful. Quite a hike to get to the top but it was worth it!

The views are spectacular. This living island community is home to thirty people and the island is linked to the town of Marazion by a man-made causeway of granite setts.

Historically, St Michael’s Mount was a Cornish counterpart of Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, France. It was given to the Benedictine religious order of Mont Saint-Michel by Edward the Confessor during the 11th century.

24th July 2018

Aegean Odyssey is at anchor in Guernsey today and the weather is perfect!

I even spotted several pods of dolphins off the starboard bow when I opened the curtains this morning.

I’m likely staying onboard today. I want to explore and take pictures of the ship while she’s all mine.

I love days onboard like this… I almost feel like I have a private yacht!

23rd July 2018

Aegean Odyssey is at sea today, but these are some of the images from her AMAZING sailaway last night.

Hundreds of people lined the banks of the Thames and waved her goodbye.

It’s a beautiful day today. We have the Captain’s Cocktail Party this evening, which I’m looking forward to attending, but for now, this is my view.

22nd July 2018

Voyages to Antiquity’s Aegean Odyssey has arrived in the heart of London this morning.

I’ll be boarding very soon and will spend the next twelve days onboard as she sails the British Isles.

I can’t wait to get back on this wonderful ship and experience everything that is destination-led cruising.