Page 1

Spring 2018

THE

JOURNAL T H E M A G A Z I N E O F V O YA G E S T O A N T I Q U I T Y ’ S O D Y S S E Y C L U B

SUBTROPICAL ENGLAND

ABOVE ALL PRAISE

The floral splendour of Tresco Abbey Garden

Appreciating Tintoretto at 500 in Venice

ADVENTURES IN STORYLAND

VOYAGES OF A LIFETIME

The epic tales and natural wonders of Iceland

A guide to our exotic winter 2018/19 programme


Welcome to The Journal

I’m delighted to introduce the first issue of a new Odyssey Club magazine, The Journal. This complimentary quarterly publication is one of the new benefits of Odyssey Club membership and, as you’ll see on pages 20-21 and in the accompanying letter, we are also introducing Sapphire and Emerald tier benefits for those regular Voyages to Antiquity travellers who have completed 50 and 100 days at sea.

IN THIS ISSUE

Read on for cruise inspiration – there are articles here on the glorious Venetian works of Tintoretto in the 500th anniversary year of his birth, the epic stories and natural wonders of Iceland and the stunning blooms of Tresco Abbey Garden, a vision of the Mediterranean on English shores. And please don’t miss out on our upcoming Odyssey Club reunion cruises – Mediterranean Odyssey, departing 1 September 2018, and Islands of the Indian Ocean & South Africa, departing 10 February 2019. Cabins are selling fast on these always-popular cruises. Happy travels in 2018!

Jos Dewing, Managing Director 2

3

NEWS

4-7

WINTER WONDERLANDS An introduction to our most exotic season ever

8-10

TINTORETTO AT 500 Celebrate the great artist’s anniversary in Venice

11

VENICE IN PERIL

12-15

ADVENTURES IN STORYLAND The epic tales and natural wonders of Iceland

16-17

SUBTROPICAL ENGLAND The glorious oddity of Tresco Abbey Garden

18-19

CITY GUIDE: CAPE TOWN

20-21

SAIL AND PROSPER Introducing Odyssey Club Sapphire and Emerald tiers

23

FROM THE CRUISE DIRECTOR

24

CALENDAR OF SAILINGS


NEWS

NEWS Brandenburg

An Odyssey Club event

Voyages to Antiquity – officially the best in small-ship cruising! Here at Voyages to Antiquity, we do what we do out of a love for travel, culture and history, not for awards – but it is still lovely when we win! So we were delighted to be named Best Small Ships Cruise Line at the 100% public-voted British Travel Awards, the so-called ‘Oscars of the travel industry’, on 29 November 2017. This wonderfully welcome endorsement of Aegean Odyssey and the rewarding nature of our cruises comes hot on the heels of a host of other accolades in 2017, including Best for Shore Excursions at the Cruise Critic ‘Cruisers’ Choice’ Awards, and Best for Enrichment at the cruise-dedicated Wave Awards.

Odyssey Club reunion cruises in 2018/19

Last autumn, we invited Odyssey Club members within easy travelling distance of the capital to request complimentary tickets to a Brandenburg Choral Festival of London event. More than 50 were able to join us for a concert in the ancient and spectacular surroundings of Temple Church, so renowned for its acoustics, on 7 November 2017. Conducted by David Maw, Oxford’s Oriel College Chapel Choir, organist Charles Andrews and sublime soprano Roselyne Martel-Bonnal performed a memorable programme of music, including Mozart’s Ave Verum, SaintSaens’ Prelude and Fugue in E-Flat Major Op. 99 No. 3 and Rachmaninov’s Zdes’ khorosho Op. 21 No. 7. This continued Voyages to Antiquity’s support and sponsorship of Brandenburg, which brings together amateur choirs and vocal ensembles of all sizes and musical themes. And Brandenburg will be joining us aboard Aegean Odyssey on the 6 May 2018 Ancient Greece & Dalmatian Coast itinerary, with daily singing workshops and a grand performance at the end of the voyage.

Odyssey Club reunion cruises present unmissable opportunities to catch up with old friends and enjoy a selection of exclusive events, as well as all of the superb ‘standard’ inclusions of a Voyages to Antiquity cruise. It’s our way of saying thank you for your custom and loyalty. The summer reunion cruise is Mediterranean Odyssey, departing 1 September 2018, sailing from Lisbon to Rome and taking in Cadiz, Malaga,Valencia, Barcelona, Carcassonne, Marseilles, Monte Carlo, Portofino, Florence, Pisa and Rome en route. A two-night pre-cruise Lisbon stay is also available. And the winter reunion cruise is Islands of the Indian Ocean & South Africa, departing 10 February 2019, sailing from Sri Lanka to Cape Town and including stops in the Maldives, the Seychelles, Mauritius and (appropriately enough) Reunion Island. But you’ll want to move quickly – reunion cruises are always very popular and these are no exception. Places are selling fast, particularly the September cruise, for which we only have around 15 cabins remaining. Call 01865 951320 for more details.

Have you seen the new Voyages to Antiquity website? In January 2018,Voyages to Antiquity launched a stylish new website, designed to resize for any device – perfect if you are looking for travel inspiration on your smartphone or tablet. All of our cruises are now directly accessible from the home page, and there is more day-by-day itinerary detail, including a handy ‘at a glance’ symbol guide to each port of call.You’ll also discover more blog features and interactive 360° films of Aegean Odyssey’s cabins and public spaces so you know exactly what to expect on your next cruise with us. Visit voyagestoantiquity.com to explore the new site. 3


Winter wonderlands

A look ahead to winter 2018/19 – quite possibly Voyages to Antiquity’s most spectacular season ever

4


WINTER 2018/19 Aegean Odyssey makes a welcome return to South Africa, India and Southeast Asia next winter with a programme of longer-duration cruises that promise ancient wonders, vibrant cities, captivating tropical islands, fascinating cultures and memorable wildlife encounters.

‘Wonderful things’ When he was asked if he could see anything upon opening the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922, an awestruck Howard Carter replied simply ‘yes, wonderful things’ – an apt expression, not just for the extraordinary treasures he uncovered that day, but for all the archaeological marvels of Egypt. We are delighted to be returning to this ever-inspiring country in December, visiting not just Luxor’s Valley of the Kings, where Carter made his discovery, and Cairo’s Egyptian Museum, where Tutankhamun’s funerary effects are now displayed, but also the breathtaking Pyramids and Sphinx of Giza, the impressive necropolis of Memphis, the distinctive Step Pyramid of Sakkara, the monumental temple complex at Karnak and the oldest Christian monasteries in the world – St Anthony and St Paul.

WINTER 2018/19

Yet more ancient wonders featured in the first winter cruise include the Acropolis of Athens, Bronze Age Mycenae and Petra’s unforgettable Treasury.

Jewel in the crown India is blessed with myriad spectacular attractions, but pre-eminent amongst them is the trio of mesmerising cities known as the ‘Golden Triangle’, an overland tour of which concludes our first winter cruise and begins the second. Visitors to Delhi can trace the various historical incarnations of a great city, culminating in the splendour of Edwin Lutyens’ New Delhi, the jewel in Britain’s imperial crown. Jaipur is the ‘pink city’ of India, with its fairy-tale forts, exquisite facades and majestic palaces. And Agra boasts history’s greatest monument to love and undoubted icon of world travel, the Taj Mahal. The first sight of this ethereally beautiful marble mausoleum, commissioned by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his favourite queen, quite literally takes the breath away. Other Voyages to Antiquity winter 2018/19 stops in India include the crazy, vibrant, thrilling city of Mumbai, Gandhi’s birthplace Porbandar (with sightseeing by tuk-tuk) and the tranquil provinces of Goa and Kerala, where the Chinese fishing nets are an engaging sight.

All that glitters Burma is truly the land of golden temples, and Aegean Odyssey will be sailing along the Yangon River to berth in the heart of its eponymous city, formerly Rangoon and the country’s capital. The standout highlight of this friendly city is the remarkable 100m-high Shwedagon Pagoda, entirely plated with gold.

WINTER 2018/19

Land of legend

Bagan temples, Burma

To visit Oman is to step into mythology. Fabled as the birthplace of Sinbad, hero of perhaps the most famous and evocative of the tales told by Sheherazade in the Arabian Nights, Oman is also noted as the centre of the millennia-old frankincense trade. Its colourful domes, mudbrick fortresses, bustling markets and unspoilt beaches and deserts make the country a perfect winter destination, and we see in the New Year in the capital, Muscat.

Temples are also the order of the day in Bagan (optional air excursion), where more than 2,000 sublime pagodas and stupas are dotted across a verdant plain in the bend of the Irrawaddy River. And Burma’s evocatively named second city, Mandalay (optional air excursion) is also renowned for its remarkable pagoda-studded hillsides. 5


WINTER 2018/19

Where east meets west, and ancient meets modern The cities of Southeast Asia present the most enticing contrasts. Centuriesold temples and colonial mansions sit cheek by jowl with soaring skyscrapers and ultra-modern hotels. Witness Kuala Lumpur (known to all as KL), where rattan baskets and intricate songkets are woven at an ornate craft complex in the shadow of the magnificent twin Petronas Towers. And Singapore, where the jaw-dropping 200m-high SkyPark looks down from atop the new Marina Sands Hotel upon Raffles Place and the traditional Nonya district of Katong.

Idyllic islands Like emeralds fringed with white gold and scattered across a vast, velvety azure expanse, the islands of the Indian Ocean enchant with their beauty. The Maldives, the Seychelles, Mauritius and Reunion may have different cultures and traditions,

The Maldives

6

but they all offer dreamily soft white sand beaches, instant relaxation and a cuisine based on delicious fresh fish and fruit. Three of our winter cruises make Indian Ocean stops, along with Sri Lanka, the ‘isle of serendipity’, bewitching with its serene temples, lush tea plantations and characterful residents of the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. But the Indian Ocean does not have a monopoly on idyllic isles – we also take in the lovely Andaman Islands and Thailand’s alluring Phi Phi Islands.

In search of the ‘big five’ Game hunters of yesteryear coined the term ‘big five’ to describe the most difficult animals to take down with a single shot. Thankfully (for the most part) these are more enlightened times and cameras do the only shooting, yet the cachet of the ‘big five’ for safarigoers endures – elephant, lion, leopard, rhino and buffalo are the most prized sightings.

But, of course, there are countless other creatures to look out for: zebra, giraffe, cheetah, hippo, baboon, warthog and literally hundreds of species of birds among them. There is something undeniably romantic and adventurous about a classic African safari, and the fourth Voyages to Antiquity winter cruise includes no fewer than three amazing wildlife-watching opportunities – at Hluhluwe Game Reserve (noted for its rare white rhinos), St Lucia Nature Reserve (a wetland paradise) and Port Elizabeth Private Game Reserve (home to all of the ‘big five’). In Cape Town, you can expect even more animal encounters, including the penguins of Boulders Beach (see pages 18-19 for more details).

A tale of two hemispheres The last of the epic winter cruises truly deserves that description, traversing the entire length of the African continent from Cape Town to the southern shores of Spain, with a


WINTER 2018/19 number of enthralling stops en route. Discover the German colonial heritage of Namibia and the country’s forbidding Skeleton Coast, cloaked in dense fog generated when the broiling desert dunes meet the cold Atlantic tides. The Angolan capital Luanda appears on few cruise maps, but has plenty to recommend it, not least Gustav Eiffel’s Palacio de Ferro. Then Aegean Odyssey crosses the Equator and calls on the sundrenched islands of Bom Bom (Sao Tome & Principe), Praia (Cape Verde) and Las Palmas (Canaries), before concluding its African adventure with an exploration of the great imperial cities of Morocco. Back in Mediterranean waters, the last cruise of the winter 2018/19 season then crosses eastwards from Malaga to Athens, by way of Sicily, Malta and the Greek Islands.

On safari in South Africa

Winter 2018/19 cruise-by-cruise Departure date

Cruise name

Days

From/to

Fares from

37

Athens to Delhi

£6,295

29

Delhi to Singapore

£5,895

20

Singapore to Colombo

£4,150

33

Colombo to Cape Town

£6,450

33

Cape Town to Malaga

£5,350

14

Malaga to Athens

£2,445

PASSAGE TO ANCIENT EGYPT & INDIA 6 December 2018

Athens • Cairo • Ain Sokhna • Petra • Luxor • Salalah • Muscat Porbandar • Mumbai • Jaipur • Agra • Delhi

THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE TO THE STRAIT OF MALACCA 1 January 2019

Delhi • Agra • Jaipur • Mumbai • Goa • Cochin • Maldives Colombo • Trincomalee • Port Blair • Phuket • Kuala Lumpur Singapore

BEYOND BURMA & THE MALAY PENINSULA 23 January 2019

Singapore • Malacca • Penang • Phuket • Yangon • Port Blair Colombo

ISLANDS OF THE INDIAN OCEAN & SOUTH AFRICA 10 February 2019

Colombo • Maldives • Seychelles • Mauritius • Reunion Island Richards Bay • Durban • Port Elizabeth • Cape Town

SOUTH AFRICA, NAMIBIA & THE SKELETON COAST 12 March 2019

13 April 2019

Cape Town • Luderitz • Walvis Bay • Luanda • Bom Bom Island Cape Verde • Las Palmas • Marrakesh • Tangier • Malaga

CLASSIC CIVILISATIONS OF THE SOUTHERN MEDITERRANEAN Malaga • Segesta/Erice • Palermo • Syracuse/Taormina • Valletta Chania • Heraklion • Santorini • Athens

7


TINTORETTO AT 500

Voyages to Antiquity guest lecturer Robin Cormack celebrates an artistic anniversary 2018 marks the 500th anniversary of the birth of an artist remarkable even by the exalted standards of 16th century Italy – Tintoretto (‘little dyer’, named in honour of his father’s profession); or, if you prefer, Jacopo Comin, his given name; or Jacopo Robusti, the name by which he was generally known; or even the nickname Il Furioso, bestowed in recognition of his sheer energy and the speed at which he worked. Tintoretto was born in Venice, the oldest of 21 children; and after he was established as a major artist, his own children followed him as painters – most notably his daughter, Marietta Robusti, one of the very few women artists of the Renaissance, renowned for her portrait paintings. Tintoretto’s whole career was based on commissions in Venice and, while several museums around the world have important canvases by him, it is only in Venice today (in my opinion) that his genius may best be appreciated. The first and most important stop on the Tintoretto trail is Scuola di San Rocco, which has been inspiring travellers since the days of El Greco, who visited San Rocco a twentysomething icon painter and changed his style of painting forever in homage to Tintoretto thereafter. But the most ardent admirer of all was Victorian art critic John Ruskin who, upon his visit to San Rocco in 1845, declared ‘I never was so utterly crushed to the earth before any human intellect as I was today before Tintoret’. At the time, the gilded roof was pocked with Austrian shell holes and dripping water threatened to destroy the frescoes, yet Ruskin 8

still advises Venetian travellers to make haste and give ‘unembarrassed attention and unbroken time’ to the artistic wonders within. In the third volume of The Stones of Venice, this usually voluble commentator was reduced to silence by The Crucifixion: ‘I must leave this picture to work its will on the spectator; for it is beyond all analysis and above all praise’. By placing him foremost in the hierarchy of Venetian painters, Ruskin rehabilitated the reputation of Tintoretto, which had languished somewhat since his contemporary Vasari, whilst according him ‘the most

extraordinary brain that the art of painting has ever produced’, decried his composition as ‘haphazard and without design, as if to prove that art is but a jest’. Perhaps it was Vasari’s Florentine bias that inspired this unfair assessment; perhaps the phenomenal scale on which Tintoretto worked – The Crucifixion is 706ft2, Paradise in the Ducal Palace 1,658ft2. A word about San Rocco, the building in which Tintoretto toiled between 1565 and 1567 and again between 1575 and 1588. Roch or Rocco was a 14th century Catholic


&

Beyond all analysis above all praise TINTORETTO AT 500

9


TINTORETTO AT 500 saint who survived the plague and went on to cure many subsequent victims. His body was supposedly carried to a Venetian church in 1485, and it resides there still, preserved within the high altar. The confraternity (or guild) of San Rocco built grand rooms nearby (the Scuola) in the 16th century, and these Tintoretto was commissioned to paint with scenes from the life of Christ and a depiction of the saint on the ceiling. The confraternity was not so much pious as a ‘club’ of wealthy Venetians, but the artist gave them of set of extraordinarily powerful religious images, which have today been restored and glow with colour. It takes time to absorb the nuances of the compositions. The focus on the ground floor is on the life of the Virgin Mary, while upstairs is the Old Testament cycle (on the ceiling), and on the walls the New Testament. The dramatic Crucifixion is in a room apart. Despite his most economical appreciation in The Stones of Venice, Ruskin writes more comprehensively

about The Crucifixion in the second volume of Modern Painters (1853). He describes heart-tearing contrasts and tensions; the agony of Christ crucified, the despair of the apostles, the rage of the people, the brutality of the soldier and the apathy of the centurion. It is a storytelling tour de force. Neatly recalling Christ entering Jerusalem five days before this scene, for example, is a man riding an ass – while he points with a rod towards the cross, the ass is feeding on the remnants of withered palm leaves, strewn in Christ’s path on that happier day. Ruskin was, of course, the great promoter of the architecture and art of Venice, and so much of the conservation and restoration of its buildings is thanks to him. When I was organising the Royal Academy exhibition Byzantium 330-1453, which opened in London in 2008, the only reason that it included major works of art from the Treasury of San Marco in Venice was because the architect of that church pleaded on our behalf that, though the pieces

Tintoretto

It is only in Venice today that Tintoretto’s genius may best be appreciated we requested were of the greatest fragility, ‘how can we deny these loans to the city of John Ruskin?’ Scuola San Rocco has not only preserved Tintoretto’s masterpieces, but today offers opportunities to attend concerts and enjoy both the paintings and great music in a truly splendid setting. Perhaps one of the visitors impressed by the experience was the Polish painter Jan Styka who, in 1897, completed his canvas of Golgotha or The Crucifixion. It would certainly explain the vast scale on which he was moved to paint – at 8,891ft2, it is now the largest permanently mounted religious picture in the world. But despite the comparisons that can (and should) be made with the Italian master, to see it requires a visit to the Forest Lawn Memorial Park at Glendale, Los Angeles. And however impressive, it still pales in comparison to the experience of Tintoretto in Venice. Professor Robin Cormack of the Courtauld Institute of Art will be accompanying Voyages to Antiquity’s 15-day Classical Italy & the Adriatic cruise, departing 18 May 2018 and visiting Venice, along with Urbino, Split, Dubrovnik, Lecce, Corfu, Butrint, Sicily, Sorrento and Rome. An optional excursion to San Rocco will be offered. Call 01865 951320 for full details and to book.

10


VENICE IN PERIL

FRAGILE BEAUTY

Chairman of the Venice in Peril Fund and Voyages to Antiquity guest lecturer Jonathan Keates introduces the organisation’s inspiration and initiatives Venice is a unique artefact, a tribute to human ingenuity and enterprise. Originally a refuge from barbarian invasions following the fall of Rome, it grew to become the central metropolis of a Mediterranean trading empire that included Cyprus, Crete, the Ionian Islands and the Dalmatian Coast. This city of marble palaces raised on wooden piles in Adriatic mud banks was a source of fascination to Renaissance and Baroque visitors, and indeed travellers ever since. Our shared culture owes a massive debt to Venice in everything from government, politics, architecture and music to the invention of the portable printed book and even the use of forks for eating. When a disastrous flood overwhelmed the Venetian lagoon in the autumn of 1966, a British diplomat, Sir Ashley Clarke, rallied friends and supporters to aid Venice’s citizens in the massive task of safeguarding their iconic city and its

cultural treasures for future generations. The Venice in Peril Fund was born – a pioneer in what has since become a shared initiative, with 22 international committees involved in the ongoing task of rescue and conservation.

century painter Ippolito Caffi. Each restoration is carried out by specialists and curators from Venice itself. Though we provide funding, we are careful never to interfere at any stage with the actual process of conservation.

Since it began,Venice in Peril has restored entire churches, such as the beautiful Gothic Madonna dell’Orto and the Renaissance chapel on the cemetery island of San Michele, as well as individual paintings, sculptures, ceramics and manuscripts. We continue to collaborate with galleries and museums, including the Accademia and Museo Correr, besides sponsoring internships in conservation workshops across the city.

Adoption of individual projects often comes from donors with interests in a particular artistic field and we sometimes pool our resources with those of other committees engaged in saving Venice’s artistic heritage. Thus we can continue repaying the ‘Queen of the Adriatic’ for her gifts to the world over the last 1,500 years.

Our newest projects embrace the grand neoclassical monument to the sculptor Antonio Canova in the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, a medieval well-head and its surrounding courtyard, an important Renaissance majolica collection and a set of sketchbooks by the 19th

Why not join Venice in Peril and help us?

veniceinperil.org Jonathan Keates will reveal some Venice secrets when he accompanies the 11 September 2018 Italian & Adriatic Highlights cruise.

11


12


ADVENTURES IN STORYLAND Richard Tarrant explores the myriad natural wonders and storytelling heritage of Iceland

13


ICELAND

Heimaey

It is said that Icelanders don’t talk; they tell each other stories. As they do so, they continue a grand tradition dating back to the extraordinary sagas of the 13th century and even beyond, to fireside gatherings in the roundhouses of the earliest Viking settlers. Such tales once lent a reassuring layer of meaning to the country’s bizarre, spectacular landscapes, and the most extreme natural forces. Authors, poets, travellers and other, nonnative storytellers have swelled their ranks in recent centuries and even today, whenever film and television directors seek to tell their own stories of the fantastical, the elemental and the other-worldly, they invariably come here – so, amongst myriad other star turns, Iceland has portrayed a snow planet in Star Wars:The Force Awakens, the world beyond the wall in Game of Thrones and the epitome of wish fulfilment in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. To visit this northern wonderland is to invite a recalibration of one’s own imagination. A circumnavigation by cruise ship is surely the most comfortable and cost-effective way to do so, for Iceland’s treasures are all accessible from its delightful ports. Only ever a short coach journey away is nature cloaked in its wildest majesty – conical volcanoes 14

ringed with tonsures of cloud, serene blacksand beaches with paddling sheep, mirrorstill lakes and fjords, vast fields of ice that charge thunderous waterfalls, and infernal sulphuric plains of searing steam vents and bubbling pools. It all plays a neat temporal trick – Iceland is Europe’s newest landmass in geological terms, yet it is so unspoilt it appears timeless and elemental, offering a privileged glimpse of how the world might have looked when young. Unforgettable experiences abound, even on the island’s most beaten path – the trinity of magnificent natural phenomena comprising the ‘Golden Circle’. A couple of hours’ drive from Reykjavík across glacier-flattened plains and through fairytale mountains is Gulfoss (Golden Falls), one Iceland’s mightiest cataracts, where the Hvítá River plummets 32m over two steps into the heart of a rugged canyon. Next up is UNESCO World Heritage Site Þingvellir (anglicised as Thingvellir), the only place on earth where the boundary of tectonic plates may be observed: North America and Eurasia, drifting apart some 2cm every year. In this auspicious place was built the 10th century Althing meeting hall of Viking chieftains, an institution which lives on today as the Icelandic Parliament, and Þingvellir is also renowned for its ‘hidden folk’, chiefly elves, whose

tiny wooden houses grace many a local garden. (A 2007 University of Iceland survey found that 62% of the country’s population consider the existence of such huldufólk a possibility). And at Geysir, the geothermal field whose name would come to define all of the world’s spouting springs, you would be extraordinarily lucky to witness one of Great Geysir’s infrequent 50m jets, but the smaller Strokkur geyser gaily spouts 10-20m every few minutes, enrapturing an ever-present circle of spectators. But leave the weekend breakers behind and you’ll have Iceland’s myriad other wonders almost to yourself. Heimaey, on the littlevisited Vestmannaejar (Westman) archipelago, for example – the ‘Pompeii of the north’ with russet hills formed by a tremendous volcanic eruption in 1973 that buried half the town but mercifully spared the evacuated population, offers opportunities to wander vertiginous paths amongst puffin colonies and even play golf in a volcano! Surely unique, the Vestmannaeyjar Golf Club is set entirely within an extinct caldera. With swirling wind, over-water tee shots and deep links rough, this course presents both a stern test of golf and the yet greater challenge of keeping your mind on the game when virtually every hole frames a different, yet always staggeringly beautiful vista of rugged cliffs and azure sea.


ICELAND

Iceland offers a privileged glimpse of how the world might have looked when young Then there is Isafjördur, gateway to the Westfjords. Less than 10% of the country’s visitors come here, yet it is perhaps Iceland’s most dramatic region; a peninsula in the shape of an open hand with immense mountains at its palm and mesmerising, tranquil channels flowing between narrow fingers of land that plunge sheer to the water. Nearby Vigur Island is one of Europe’s great birdwatching destinations, noted for terns, guillemots, eider ducks and, of course, those tiny, colourful, characterful puffins. Elsewhere, Akureyri, capital of the north, invites appreciation of the horseshoe Godafoss falls, picturesque Lake Myvatn, and the ‘dark castles’ of Dimmuborgir – peculiar lava formations reputedly marking the location where Satan landed after being cast out of Heaven. And, set on a bay fed with nutrient rich sediment from two glacial rivers, the delightful port of Húsavík is acclaimed the whale-watching capital of Europe, with some 15 species of marine giant known to frequent its waters. Excursions on RIB boats have a sightings success rate close to 100%. Every region, every wonder, has its story – the aforementioned Dimmuborgir, for example, is said to be home to all manner of supernatural beings including the 13 mischievous Yule Lads and their mother, the homicidal 800-year-old troll Grýla. Only in Iceland could so dark a Christmas tradition have arisen – an alternative Santa Claus who also monitors children’s behaviour, but eats the naughty ones. And Asbyrgi, a 4km-long semi-circular canyon in the basalt rock, was said to have been formed when Odin, king of the Norse gods, was riding his eight-legged stallion, Sleipnir, among the Northern Lights without care one evening and left the mighty imprint of one accidental hoof upon the land. To inquisitive, adventurous travellers – take any opportunity to immerse yourself in this storied world, and write your own memorable chapter.

Reykjavik

Voyages to Antiquity will be operating two no-fly Iceland, Faroes & Shetlands itineraries in 2018, departing 7 July and 5 August. Icelandic ports of call include Reykjavík, Heimaey, Isafjördur, Akureyri and Húsavík. Call 01865 951320 for full details and to book. Thingvellir National Park

15


Subtropical England TRESCO ABBEY GARDEN

16


TRESCO ABBEY GARDEN

Voyages to Antiquity guest lecturer Sandy Primrose reveals the history of one of the UK’s great gardens The sea around the Isles of Scilly is too shallow even for a ship as small as Aegean Odyssey to dock in Hugh Town. So we drop anchor and tender in to the jetty on Tresco. From here, it is a meandering half-mile walk on a path through the sand dunes to the entrance to the Tresco Abbey Garden. Either side of the path bloom blue Agapanthus – a colourful precursor to the exotic blooms that await us. For this garden is a glorious oddity; a vision of the Mediterranean on English soil. In the Scilly Isles, off the coast of Cornwall and warmed by the Gulf Stream, spring comes early, autumn stays late, and winter barely appears at all – perfect conditions for plants and flowers from Brazil to New Zealand, Burma to South Africa, which would have no hope of survival just 30 miles northeast, to survive and thrive. Mesmerised visitors wander the criss-crossing walkways in admiration of towering palms and flowering proteas, vivid red flame trees and blue spires of Echium, Furcraera leaf-bursts and brilliant pink Pelargonium. The gardens were created in the early Victorian era by Augustus Smith, who had taken a lease on the Isles of Scilly from the Duchy of Cornwall. He became a local benefactor, funded the construction of schools and made school attendance compulsory years before the mainland. Most of the male

alumni went to sea, some returning later with plants from far-flung countries. Smith chose to live on Tresco because it afforded him privacy and shelter from Atlantic gales by the other islands. Here, in the grounds of an old Benedictine Abbey, he designed and built his house and (by 1858) his garden, the latter sheltered from the wind by mass plantings of cypress and Monterey pine. The layout of the garden today is essentially unchanged. There are three walks that run east to west along the side of a small hill: the Top Terrace, the Middle Terrace and the Long Walk. These walks are connected by the Neptune Steps, so-called because at their head is a figurehead from the 1841 wreck of the SS Thames – part of a collection of figureheads, the majority of which are displayed in the garden’s Valhalla Museum. When Augustus Smith died, the house and gardens passed to his nephew Thomas Dorrien-Smith. Though he did little to change the gardens, he was responsible for initiating the cultivation of daffodils for the cut-flower trade, providing valuable employment after the decline of local shipbuilding. Thomas’ son, Major A A Dorrien-Smith, was a keen plantsman and sent back specimens from the Veldt whilst on military service in South Africa during the Second Boer War, and even whilst on honeymoon in Australia. His additions to the gardens earned him the Royal Horticultural Society’s Victoria Medal of Honour. Two of the major’s three sons were killed in the Second World War. The other, Commander Thomas Dorrien-Smith, was not a gardener when he inherited the property but became one over time. His main contribution was to put the estate on a firm financial footing. This he did by building

holiday cottages and a hotel so that visitors could spend more time on the island rather than coming just to see the gardens. However, his failure to recognise the need to replace the tree shelter around the garden almost had disastrous consequences. In 1987, with the gardens in the hands of the fifth generation of the family, Robert DorrienSmith, Tresco suffered an unparalleled cold snap, with temperatures plunging to -8°C (-25°C with wind chill). 80% of the plants perished. That summer, the gardeners visited botanic gardens and public gardens all over the UK to restock the gardens at Tresco. Then, in 1990, the garden was hit by hurricane-force winds that gusted up to 127mph. This brought down many of the original shelter trees which had long needed replacing. When we visited in July 2017, it was clear that the garden had been restored to its original glory. ‘Mr Robert’ (as he is known) and his family,have added a number of very attractive features to the garden in recent years – a statue of Gaia carved from a block of marble donated by George Harrison of Beatles fame, a sculpture of Robert’s children playing, a gazebo decorated with shell murals by his wife Lucy, and an agave fountain. It is still the place to go to enjoy spectacular plants and flowers from all over the world. I even spotted one from Robinson Crusoe Island, more than 400 miles off the coast of Chile!

Professor Sandy Primrose will be accompanying Voyages to Antiquity’s 13-day Ancient Greece & Dalmatian Coast cruise, departing 6 May 2018 and visiting Athens, along with Nauplia, Olympia, Delphi, Corfu, Kotor Bay, Dubrovnik, Split, Trieste and Venice. The 15-day British Isles circumnavigation, departing 22 July 2018, visits Tresco Abbey Garden in the company of Royal Horticultural Society judge John Hughes, as well many other attractions in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Call 01865 951320 for full details and to book.

17


CAPE TOWN

CITY GUIDE: CAPE TOWN Some cities inspire with iconic attractions, others are gateways to natural wonders; some attract with delicious local food and wine, others with colourful culture. Perhaps uniquely, Cape Town offers it all. Take at least three or four days to fully appreciate its extraordinary richness and magnetic appeal.

Block of flat Instantly recognisable and endlessly photogenic, Table Mountain is an undoubted icon of world travel – indeed, it was acclaimed one of the ‘New Seven Wonders of Nature’ in a global poll in 2012. Little wonder that it represented a beacon of hope for Nelson Mandela during his imprisonment on Robben Island; a spiritual link with the mainland. Or that it is the only geographical feature to have a constellation named after it (Mensa). What’s more, its slopes comprise a unique eco-system, with some animals, such as the splendidlynamed and presumably rarely-seen Table Mountain Ghost Frog, found nowhere else on earth. Take a cable car to the summit for sensational views of Cape Town and the surrounding area.

On the waterfront Cape Town has a vibrant cultural scene, with art galleries and live music venues galore, and a full calendar of festivals and fairs. Much of the city’s cultural life is centred on the V&A Waterfront, South

18

Africa’s most popular attraction (drawing an astonishing 24 million visitors each year). Picturesquely set between mountain and sea, its elegant buildings house shops and restaurants, markets and museums.

Good taste One of the principal pleasures of a stay in Cape Town is the outstanding food and drink. Regularly ranked amongst the world’s great cities in which to eat, expect quality everywhere from street food stalls to Michelin-standard restaurants. With the exchange rate as it is, this is also one of the most affordable places to enjoy a ‘blow-out’ meal – degustation menus at even the finest of fine dining establishments start at around £50 per person. Ingredients are as fresh as can be – sea-to-table or farm-to-table within a matter of hours; cooking styles reflect the cosmopolitan history and populace of the city; and stunning accompanying wines, produced just a few miles away in Stellenbosch, Paarl, Constantia and Franschhoek, now rival the very best old-world vintages.

Good to know Flying time from London

11.5 hours

Currency

Rand (ZAR) – approx. ZAR17 to £1

Time zone

GMT+2

Established

1652

Population

3.5 million

Official language(s)

11, including English, Afrikaans and Xhosa!

Climate

Think California or the Mediterranean, with seasons reversed

Best times to visit

September to November, March to May


CAPE TOWN

Flower power The Cape Floral Region is the smallest of the world’s six floral kingdoms and the only one to exist within a single country. Yet remarkably, it is by far the richest, with 9,600 plant species – three times as many as its nearest rival, the South American rainforest – 70% of which grow only here. The total global range of one of these endemic species might be as little as half a hectare on a hillside or in the outskirts of the city; a fragility that also makes the Cape Floral Region the world’s most endangered. UNESCO declared this collection of provinces, occupying less than 1% of Africa’s land mass but sustaining 20% of the continent’s flora, a World Heritage Site in 2004. Stays in Cape Town can encompass visits to several Cape Floral Region provinces, including Table Mountain, Boulders Beach, the Cape of Good Hope and breathtaking Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, the first botanical garden in the world established to protect local flora.

Creatures great and small Take a trip around the rugged, beautiful Cape Peninsula and wonderful wildlife awaits. At postcard-pretty Boulders

Beach, named for the giant granite stones that shelter it from wind and waves, lives a colony of 3,000 African penguins. Walkways take you to within feet of these charming, characterful birds, also known as Jackass penguins for their amusing braying call. You may be fortunate enough to spot some rather larger coastal visitors on your peninsula tour – Southern right, humpback and Bryde’s whales are all known to frequent Cape waters. Sightings of Cape denizens as diverse as zebra and wildebeest, clawless otters and wild ostriches, baboons and rock hyraxes, are also common.

Voyages to Antiquity’s 33-day South Africa, Namibia & the Skeleton Coast cruise, departing 12 March 2019, begins with four days in Cape Town, before Aegean Odyssey sails the length of Africa northwards to Malaga, with stops in Namibia, Angola, Sao Tome & Principe, Cape Verde, the Canary Islands and Morocco en route. Call 01865 951320 for full details and to book.

19


Sail and prosper 20

Introducing Odyssey Club SAPPHIRE and EMERALD membership tiers. Enjoy more exclusive rewards the more you travel with Voyages to Antiquity.


ODYSSEY CLUB Every one of you receiving and reading this magazine has already chosen to travel with us. Thank you! For some years now, we have sought to show our appreciation for your custom with membership of the Odyssey Club, to which you are automatically enrolled at the end of your first cruise. Membership comes with a host of benefits, including exclusive discounts on every future cruise you book with us, reunion cruises with special excursions and events for returning guests, and complimentary wine, bottled water, Molton Brown amenities, Wi-Fi and laundry on board. As we have grown as a cruise operator, guests have had the opportunity to travel with us time and again, and we wanted to recognise this loyalty with even more rewards. Some of our returning travellers have now reached a milestone of 50 days at sea, some 100 days at sea, and a few have even topped 200 days at sea! We are proud therefore to introduce new Sapphire and Emerald tiers to the Odyssey Club. You achieve Sapphire status upon completing 50 days at sea, and Emerald status upon completing 100 days at sea. Brand-new benefits include complimentary cruise credit and cabin upgrades. So, the more you travel with us, the more benefits you can enjoy. At the top of the letter accompanying this magazine, you’ll find your Odyssey Club number and your current days at sea total. Please note – this total applies to the lead name on your last cruise booking; it is possible that there may be two or more Odyssey Club members within a household, and that days at sea may vary. Special thanks then to our new Sapphire and Emerald Odyssey Club members – we hope you like these added extras. If you haven’t quite reached these tiers yet, consider our 2018/19 voyages. If you are within 10-14 days of the next tier, just one summer cruise will get you there. If you are a little further short, our winter cruises are up to 37 days in duration. You can even combine cruises for instant tier progress. Any two consecutive winter cruises are good for immediate Sapphire status; combine three or four and Emerald membership is yours. Then every future cruise you book with us is filled with rewards! We look forward to the pleasure of your company on many more voyages.

NEW Odyssey Club benefits by tier ODYSSEY CLUB

ODYSSEY CLUB SAPPHIRE

ODYSSEY CLUB EMERALD

One cruise, any duration

50+ days at sea (total)

100+ days at sea (total)

5-10% discount on future cruises

All Odyssey Club benefits PLUS

All Odyssey Club Sapphire benefits PLUS

NEW quarterly magazine

$50 on-board cruise credit

Cabin upgrade***

Molton Brown amenities in cabin

Dinner at the Captain’s Table**

Luxury travel wallet

Complimentary Wi-Fi

Special cocktail party on board

Extra $50 on-board cruise credit

Complimentary laundry*

50 days at sea decorative pin

100 days at sea decorative pin

Complimentary bottle of wine

Advanced notice of cruises/ events

Leather luggage tags and tote bag Exclusive welcome party onboard Friend referral cruise credit Reunion cruises with special events *One bag per cabin per cruise **When the itinerary allows ***Single category upgrade, excluding E-to-D, subject to availability

21


OUR GREATEST EVER CRUISE ADVENTURE! SPECIAL SAVER FARE • COMPLIMENTARY $750 ONBOARD CREDIT • CALL FOR YOUR ODYSSEY CLUB DISCOUNT Five back-to-back winter sailings seamlessly combined into one great unforgettable journey of a lifetime, the epic, 129-day GRAND ODYSSEY is Voyages to Antiquity’s most spectacular cruise ever! Aegean Odyssey is your home away from home for four extraordinary months of discovery, encompassing the ancient treasures of Athens, Egypt and Jordan, legendary Oman, the Taj Mahal and vibrant Mumbai, the teardrop isle of Sri Lanka, scenic Thailand, the supercities of Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Burma’s glittering temples, the idyllic islands of the Indian Ocean, classic South African safaris, the Skeleton Coast of Namibia and imperial Morocco, amongst a host of other attractions and Christmas and New Year celebrations on board. An adventure not to be missed!

Petra YOUR ITINERARY

AEG181209D

Fly to ATHENS Greece Transfer to hotel

H

7 DEC

ATHENS Greece

H

8 DEC

ATHENS Greece

H

9 DEC

ATHENS Greece Embark Aegean Odyssey in Piraeus

6 DEC 18

12 DEC

SUEZ Egypt Daytime transit of the Suez Canal

13 DEC

SUEZ/CAIRO Egypt Disembark and transfer to Cairo hotel

H

14 DEC

CAIRO Egypt

H

15 DEC

CAIRO/AIN SOKHNA Egypt Rejoin Aegean Odyssey in Ain Sokhna

16 DEC

AIN SOKHNA Egypt

18 DEC

AQABA Jordan

19 DEC

AQABA Jordan

20 DEC

SAFAGA/LUXOR Egypt Disembark and transfer to Luxor hotel

H

21 DEC

LUXOR Egypt

H

22 DEC

LUXOR/SAFAGA Egypt Rejoin Aegean Odyssey in Safaga

O

MALACCA Malaysia

29 JAN

PENANG Malaysia

30 JAN

PHUKET Thailand

2 FEB

YANGON Burma

BOM BOM ISLAND Sao Tome & Principe

O

4 APR

PRAIA Cape Verde Islands

O

8 APR

LAS PALMAS Canary Islands, Spain

YANGON Burma

10 APR

AGADIR/MARRAKESH Morocco

6 FEB

PORT BLAIR Andaman Islands

11 APR

MARRAKESH/CASABLANCA Morocco

10 FEB

COLOMBO/NUWARA ELIYA Sri Lanka H

12 APR

TANGIER Morocco

11 FEB

NUWARA ELIYA/KANDY Sri Lanka

13 APR

12 FEB

KANDY/COLOMBO Sri Lanka

MALAGA Spain Disembark Aegean Odyssey and transfer to Malaga Airport for flight home

14 FEB

MALDIVES

19 FEB

MAHE Seychelles

20 FEB

MAHE Seychelles

24 FEB

PORT LOUIS Mauritius

25 FEB

PORT LOUIS Mauritius

26 FEB

ST DENIS Reunion

3 MAR

RICHARDS BAY South Africa

4 MAR

RICHARDS BAY South Africa

5 MAR

DURBAN South Africa

7 MAR

PORT ELIZABETH South Africa

8 MAR

PORT ELIZABETH South Africa

MUSCAT Oman New Year’s Eve celebrations on board

3 JAN 19

PORBANDAR India

18 MAR

LUDERITZ (Kolmanskop) Namibia

5 JAN

MUMBAI/DELHI India

20 MAR

WALVIS BAY Namibia

6 JAN

DELHI/AGRA/DELHI India

21 MAR

WALVIS BAY Namibia

7 JAN

DELHI/MUMBAI India

9 JAN

MARMAGAO (Goa) India

11 JAN

COCHIN (Kerala) India

13 JAN

MALDIVES

15 JAN

COLOMBO Sri Lanka

16 JAN

COLOMBO Sri Lanka

18 JAN

TRINCOMALEE Sri Lanka

21 JAN

PORT BLAIR Andaman Islands

23 JAN

PHUKET Thailand

25 JAN

KUALA LUMPUR Malaysia

26 JAN

SINGAPORE

Call us on 01865 951320 for full details.

27 MAR

4 FEB

31 DEC

10-16 MAR CAPE TOWN South Africa

O

LUANDA Angola

YANGON Burma

SALALAH Oman

H

24 MAR

3 FEB

28 DEC

Prices start at £21,150 per person (saving £4,800 per person) and Odyssey Club members save even more!

22

O

27 JAN

H

H Hotel stay ashore O Overnight stay in port

O

Dates not mentioned on this itinerary are days at sea.

O

O

O O O Phuket

H


FROM YOUR CRUISE DIRECTOR

RICHARD SYKES

After another record-breaking and award-winning year for Voyages to Antiquity in 2017, I’m very proud to be your Cruise Director again in 2018. Particularly in view of the direction the product is taking – with a host of exciting new itineraries encompassing the likes of Burma, India, the islands of the Indian Ocean and South Africa. However, one of my personal highlights will be a cruise that has been a firm favourite and a fixture in the Aegean Odyssey programme for many years: Ancient Greece & the Dalmatian Coast. I would urge the few Odyssey Club members who haven’t yet undertaken this extraordinary voyage to consider it in 2018. The little-known scenic splendour of Kotor Bay; an overnight stay in Dubrovnik, inviting exploration when the crowds have departed; and, of course, the iconic ‘bookends’ of the cruise, Venice and Athens – all make this an essential holiday packed with wonders, whether you choose the May or late September departure. Summer 2018 will see Aegean Odyssey cruise the breathtaking fjords of Norway for the first time. Not the first time for me though – this has been one of my stamping grounds for many years. I first visited with my family 30 years ago and I have been traversing the fjords as a Cruise Director for 12 years aboard various ships. The anticipation never diminishes; I’m as excited to see them now as I was in my teens – enjoying postcardworthy views at every turn, and tasting the freshest mackerel imaginable. On my many returns to Norway, I’ve witnessed the Northern Lights, Sami culture and the Midnight Sun – and, in turn, I’ve been able to share my experiences and enthusiasm with more than 25,000 passengers on 46 Norwegian cruises. If you want to see the fjords with Voyages to Antiquity in 2018, you’ll need to move fast – there is just a handful of cabins left on the 23 June sailing.

Kotor Bay

In terms of preparation, my key focus is now the late 2018/early 2019 winter programme. Though I’m familiar with a lot of the ports, the in-depth nature of the Voyages to Antiquity product and the expectations of its passengers require detailed research and intensive planning. Interestingly, I spoke with many guests in 2017 who requested more time at sea – a chance to relax and reflect between those stunning and relaxing ports of call, absorbing wheat they have seen and making the most of the guest lecture programme. By virtue of the longer durations and greater distances covered, the winter cruises do offer more days at sea than ever before. One of my goals is to ensure that passengers are as excited about the time they spend aboard Aegean Odyssey as their time in port. The stage is set for a superb year and a fresh batch of memories. I hope to see you crossing the gangway again soon, boarding Aegean Odyssey for your best adventure yet. Bergen, Norway

23


VOYAGES TO ANTIQUITY - FULL CRUISE PROGRAMME 2018/19 Aegean Odyssey hosts a full season of culturally-enriching, expert-led voyages in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe from April to November 2018. Then, from December 2018, she sails for even more exotic waters on a programme of six exceptional cruises to South Africa, the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia – longer in duration for even greater value for money. Departure date

Cruise name

Days

From/to

Fares from (pp)

SUMMER 2018 26 April 2018

THE AEGEAN EXPERIENCE I

13

Athens to Athens

£2,650

6 May 2018

ANCIENT GREECE & DALMATIAN COAST

13

Athens to Venice

£2,395

18 May 2018

CLASSICAL ITALY & THE ADRIATIC

15

Venice to Rome

£2,695

28 May 2018

RENAISSANCE ITALY & HISTORIC ISLANDS

17

Rome to Seville

£3,250

9 June 2018

EUROPEAN CONNOISSEUR

15

Seville to London

£2,350

23 June 2018

THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS (no-fly cruise)

15

London to London

£2,995

7 July 2018

ICELAND, FAROES & SHETLANDS (no-fly cruise)

16

London to London

£3,195

22 July 2018

THE BRITISH ISLES (no-fly cruise)

15

London to London

£2,550

5 August 2018

ICELAND, FAROES & SHETLANDS (no-fly cruise)

16

London to London

£3,195

20 August 2018

THE THREE RIVERS (Trois-Rivières de France)

15

London to Lisbon

£2,695

1 September 2018

MEDITERRANEAN ODYSSEY Odyssey Club Reunion Cruise

15

Lisbon to Rome

£2,995

11 September 2018

ITALIAN & ADRIATIC HIGHLIGHTS

15

Rome to Venice

£2,795

25 September 2018

DALMATIA & ANCIENT GREECE

13

Venice to Athens

£2,545

1 October 2018

THE AEGEAN EXPERIENCE I

13

Athens to Athens

£2,745

10 October 2018

THE AEGEAN EXPERIENCE II

13

Athens to Athens

£2,595

18 October 2018

THE AEGEAN EXPERIENCE & CAIRO

13

Athens to Athens

£2,800

28 October 2018

A VOYAGE THROUGH THE MIDDLE SEA

14

Athens to Malaga

£2,495

10 November 2018

MOORISH ODYSSEY

12

Malaga to Tenerife

£2,345

6 December 2018

PASSAGE TO ANCIENT EGYPT & INDIA

37

Athens to Delhi

£6,295

1 January 2019

THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE TO THE STRAIT OF MALACCA

29

Delhi to Singapore

£5,895

23 January 2019

BEYOND BURMA & THE MALAY PENINSULA

20

Singapore to Colombo

£4,150

10 February 2019

ISLANDS OF THE INDIAN OCEAN & SOUTH AFRICA Odyssey Club Reunion Cruise

33

Colombo to Cape Town

£6,450

12 March 2019

SOUTH AFRICA, NAMIBIA & THE SKELETON COAST

33

Cape Town to Malaga

£5,350

13 April 2019

CLASSIC CIVILISATIONS OF THE SOUTHERN MEDITERRANEAN

14

Malaga to Athens

£2,445

WINTER 2018/19

Prices quoted are per person sharing a Standard Inside cabin, correct at time of printing, but subject to change. *Not including Odyssey Club discount – apply a further 5% saving.

For more details or to book any cruise featured in this magazine, call 01865 951320

@Voyagestoantiquity

@voyageantiquity

voyagestoantiquity.com

Profile for Voyages to Antiquity

The Journal - the magazine of Voyages to Antiquity's Odyssey Club  

We are delighted to introduce the first issues of the new Odyssey Club magazine, The Journal.

The Journal - the magazine of Voyages to Antiquity's Odyssey Club  

We are delighted to introduce the first issues of the new Odyssey Club magazine, The Journal.