The wonderful world of EPIROTIKI / Royal Olympic Cruises
MTS ODYSSEUS Cruise from 12 to 19 October 2002
Captain Ioannis Fountoukas
All pictures © Michael Hipler Klick on the pictures to enlarge
I have been on a Western Mediterranean Cruise on MTS
ODYSSEUS of Royal Olympic Cruises from 12 to 19 October 2002 and I
enjoyed every minute of it:
When I came to Genoa on 12 October, the first thing I was told was that
the ship was late, as was the FLAMENCO of Festival Cruises. Both ships
were said to have been in a heavy storm en route to Genoa from Spain.
The ODYSSEUS, scheduled for 2:30 arrived at about 6:00 PM, which gave me
the opportunity to film the arrival, being towed to her berth at Ponte
dei Mille. The ship still has a riveted hull which gleamed in the
evening sunlight. She looked spotless to me. I the harbour there was
good old Monterey, my first cruise ship, Mistral, Flamenco and Triton,
on which I had been just some months ago. Boarding was somewhat informal
to allow an earlier departure, which was essential because the delay in
the departure time of still 2 hours cost us precious time in Marseille.
One woman at my table, who made the cruise out of Majorca, told me the
storm which had caused the delay had force 9 on the bofors-scale, and at
least two cabins had been flooded. There had been additional lines
attached to the sides of the promenades to prevent passengers to go
overboard. Surely I have not experienced a storm of that force on a ship,
to judge by her story.
The cruise that lay ahead of us was a traditional port-intense Western Mediterranean cruise, in competition to much bigger units from Costa, Festival and MSC. But I learned that ODYSSEUS stood her ground remarkably well.
The afternoon I explored the ship and found that she had a generous
amount of teak-wood decking, which around the pool needed attention. The
pool itself was generous for the ships size. I had feared that the ship
would be too small for my taste, but was pleasantly surprised. The ship
can accommodate a maximum of 612 passengers, all berths filled. The more
often you ask, the more different answers you get about her passenger
capacity! The brochure states 480, the Marseilles cruise calls list
gives 550, the bridge visit, conducted by cruise director Mrs. Helen
Kitching in a very experienced and informative manner, showed the 612
berths displayed in a certificate at the wall. On that bridge visit I
learned that cruise ships never sail with full fuel tanks as this
increases the consumption. I have to express my high appreciation for
Helen, as she is not only really polyglot but despite her many duties
also eekes out the time to grant the passengers their special wishes.
|The evening show was quite good, with a Russian dance trio being the
best. The food was virtually the same as on Triton, as were the menues
handed to the passengers. The ship sports a small "Spa" on the
topmost deck, though I am not acquainted with the standard of equipment
needed to call it a Spa. This one had massage, Sauna and other body
treatment but no whirl-pool as far as I could see. Next to it was a gym
and the hair-dressers. There was a ROC magazine, called the
"Argonaut", which in the new issue features the story of the
company Epirotiki, which I have not seen during my cruise on TRITON in
May. There is a Greek show and a Greek dinner on one evening of a 7-day
cruise, and the cruise staff takes every effort to make the cruise a
distinctive Greek experience. This I find very amiable, compared to the
international and somewhat uninspired atmosphere with other cruise lines.
The dance floor of the small piano bar that transformed into a discothek at night was vibrant with action, a bit surprising for a traditional smaller ship, and the passengers were in great spirits.
There is virtually no space left in the original decor, not even in the
officers mess, I was told during the bridge visit. Still the ODYSSEUS is
the much more traditional ship in regard to the layout, compared to the TRITON.
The seemingly original picture windows of the lower promenade deck
feature hooks to fix protective shields to them in adverse weather
lower covered promenades transform towards the forward end into
traditional enclosed promenades with a lovely sheer. In front of the upper open promenades lies the main
show lounge called the Sirens Lounge. My favourite spot was the lower,
narrow promenade, which circles the ship, and to me is strongly
reminiscent of the one on MSC's SYMPHONY.
After the cruise the ODYSSEUS left Genoa only two hours after arrival and sailed empty to Piraeus where she did two weeks of Cycladic cruising, the business that started Royal Olympic Cruises, then still called Epirotiki
Sadly Royal Olympic Cruises ceased operation in 2004. But now another company has stepped in to continue the philosophy of destination filled itineraries on classic cruise ships:
Monarch Classic Cruises
which can be found under this Link
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