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.

MTS Odysseus Epirotiki Royal Olympic Cruises  Michael Hipler
MTS Odysseus Epirotiki Royal Olympic Cruises  Michael Hipler 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.


MTS Odysseus Epirotiki Royal Olympic Cruises  Michael Hipler

MTS Odysseus Epirotiki Royal Olympic Cruises  Michael Hipler

MTS Odysseus Epirotiki Royal Olympic Cruises  Michael Hipler

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 was a small shop aboard, run by Louis Cruises staff, and they told me that the shops on the Festival ships are also run by Louis staff.

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 conditions.

The 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


MTS Odysseus Epirotiki Royal Olympic Cruises  Michael Hipler

MTS Odysseus Epirotiki Royal Olympic Cruises  Michael Hipler

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 
(The author of this homepage declines any responsibility for any of the content of the linked page whatsoever)