Road Scholar is sponsoring this look at what’s new in small ship cruising for boomer travelers.
Are you an inquisitive boomer traveler who enjoys small ship cruising that’s packed with learning and cultural experiences? Nightly shows and formal dress are fun, but approaching a cruise like a scholar has its benefits, especially when cruising to destinations with thousands of years of history to explore.
The Road Scholar Adventures Afloat program will quench your thirst for knowledge and more. It’s a value-packed approach to small ship cruising with an emphasis on learning. And, starting in 2020, Road Scholar will enjoy exclusive use of the small ship, Aegean Odyssey.
Aegean Odyssey is your floating classroom
One of the benefits of small ship cruising is access to smaller ports that big ships can’t visit. It’s one reason that Alan and I enjoy small ship cruising so much.
Aegean Odyssey definitely fits into the small ship category. And with overnights included in many ports, you’ll have more time to explore, getting to know the nooks and crannies of a destination.
Field trips that are a far cry from typical cruise excursions are included. Led by experts in their field, these in-depth experiences are segmented by activity-level (easy to hard) and are sized at 35 guests per excursion.
Life onboard Aegean Odyssey
Imagine a floating campus that hosts up to 350 guests, taking them on educational itineraries ranging from exploring Greece to a comprehensive British Isles experience that includes Stonehenge. When experts aren’t taking cruisers on field trips, they’ll be leading informative port talks, both before and at the conclusion of a destination visit to put the entire experience into perspective.
With comfortable cabins, multiple dining venues, a pool, fitness studio and laundry facilities, you’ll find all of the amenities one expects on a cruise—except for a casino. What you won’t find is lots of glitz, formal nights or fancy entertainment productions.
Two restaurants—an a-la-carte choice as well as a buffet venue focus on local cuisine and healthy dining options. Plenty of outside seating allows guest to enjoy a casual dinner under the stars. Onboard cooking classes are another cultural element available to cruisers.
What’s included in Adventures Afloat?
Alan and I aren’t a fan of surprises, which is why we appreciate a cruise that spells out what is and isn’t included. In the case of Aegean Odyssey, here’s what this floating campus provides:
- Cruise excursions/field trips
- Complimentary shuttles in most ports for those who like to explore on their own.
- All port taxes, fees, and ship staff tips
- Wine and soft drinks at all onboard dinners
- Alternate onboard restaurant dining at no extra charge
And I know how much solo travelers appreciate perks:
- Single accommodations for solo travelers with low supplemental charges
- Roommate matching in categories F and H
Boomer travel tip: Road Scholar is offering free airfare from select U.S. cities if you enroll by May 31, 2019.
An extraordinary odyssey for boomer cruisers
Although we’ve been traveling and writing about it for almost twelve years, Alan and I still have a number of want-to-do’s on our travel bucket list. After browsing upcoming Aegean Odyssey cruises, I see possibilities for checking a couple of dream destinations off our list. Here are several 11 to 22 day itineraries that caught my eye as being extraordinary journeys.
Odyssey at Sea: Greece, Lebanon, Cyprus, Israel and Egypt
This 17-day odyssey, beginning and ending in Athens, offers a heady mix of cultural experiences. How often do cruises include Beirut, Nazareth, Jerusalem, Cairo and Alexandria on the same itinerary?
I’m especially interested in the World Heritage Sites of Byblos, Lebanon, where history dates back 7,000 years. On a second day of Lebanese exploring, Road Scholar participants visit two more World Heritage Sites—the archaeological site of Baalbeck and the Umayyad ruins at Anjar. Port talks at the end of each day add to the understanding of what you’ve just seen.
Odyssey at Sea: The Coasts of Italy
If you love Italy as much as I do, this coastal journey will show you the best of the Italian coastline. The 12-day cruise begins in Venice, where an overnight on the ship is included. Along the way, visit a couple of my favorites that aren’t usually part of typical Italian cruise itineraries: Matera and Cinque Terre. Finally, the cruise ends with the opportunity to explore Genoa.
Odyssey at Sea: Holiday Voyage to the Acropolis, Pyramids and Petra
A 21-day holiday cruise that includes hotel stays in Luxor, Cairo, the Dead Sea and Petra—yes, please! Beginning in Athens and ending in Cairo, this is a fascinating mix of cruise and land exploration that covers all the bases.
This cruise hits so many highlights that I hardly know where to begin. A few of the important ones for me would be: Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens in Luxor, Monasteries of St. Paul and St. Anthony, Bethany Beyond the Jordan; and, of course, Petra.
Note that many of the excursions include long bus rides. While I’m usually not a big fan of them, I’d make an exception to see once-in-a-lifetime destinations.
If you’re a boomer traveler looking for value in a moderately-priced cruise, Aegean Odyssey is worth checking out. With such interesting itineraries, I can certainly see why the Road Scholar website claims: “It’s not a cruise, it’s an Odyssey.”