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Adventures Afloat: Voyages to Antiquity: Splendors of Italy and Croatia

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Road Scholar
Program #19519RJ

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16 Days | 15 Nights
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. Minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding, and rewarding, programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
CONCEPCIO from Mexico City, Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 06/12/14 - 06/27/14
In general I enjoyed all the places included in the program. Wonderful variety if sites. Would liked optional extension in Rome, and also have preferred traveling on May. New friends and with whom hope to travel in the future. Conchita Munoz

Stanley from Columbia, SC Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 06/12/14 - 06/27/14
This was our first trip with Road Scholar and we felt the tour lived up to the program’s advertisement. The central feature of the trip is the cruise on the Aegean Odyssey and it was superb. The cuisine was excellent, with never a disappointing meal the entire cruise. You never quite stay long enough at each port visited and the dock site for the cruise ship can be some distance away from historical centers of cities, but that is a trait of cruise ship travel. Land tours were led by local guides. After visiting Pompeii, where you see just the shells of the homes and workplaces, it would have been ideal to then visit the National Archaeological Museum of Naples where all the Pompeii sculpture and art treasures taken by the Naples kings are housed. The mosaics in the interior of the Norman churches in Palermo are the most spectacular in all of Europe. The best on-shore tour was the visit to the stunning Palazzo Gangi in Palermo, offered as an optional trip. Road Scholar should add Palazzo Gangi as a special feature of its tour. The bookends of the trip, Rome and Venice, were disappointing. Too little time was spent in these spectacular cities with the standard program. Plan to come a couple of days early to see Rome, as we did, and the same at the end to see Venice. This tour is basically an Aegean Odyssey Voyages to Antiquity program, so what does Road Scholars provide? Two guides, Alex and Michela, who were on constant guard, front and rear, to ensure Road Scholar group members were cared for. I dearly wanted to walk along the top of the famous walls of Dubrovnik to photograph the city, but didn’t think I could manage the very steep stairs up to the wall top. Alex recognized this, grabbed me by the arm and up to the wall top we went! That’s what the Road Scholar program added to this tour, and for those special extras we were pleased that we signed up with Road Scholar rather than booking the ship itself.

Linda from Gold River, CA Number of programs attended: 23
Date attended: 06/12/14 - 06/27/14
As long time fans of the international RS experience, this trip was not what we hoped. It must be stressed, however, Michela and Alex worked very hard to enhance the experience, filling in gaps left by the core program and assisting where needed. In addition, the ship lecturers and crew were excellent and ship ambience good. Our brief times in Pompeii, Segesta, Taormina and Korcula were enjoyable. In summary, we found these trip limitations: 1. Agreeing with Portland Linda, this was more of a "Europe in 12 Days" experience at times rather than specializing in Greco-Roman history. 2. At a minimum, we recommend not taking this trip in June. While billed as a small ship voyage, we were often docked next to huge cruise liners. Their passengers then went at the same time to the same places as our small group making shore excursion a challenge in crowd management. 3. While not anything RS or ship crew could do we missed some major events/sites without an alternative. 4. Although not a big issue for us, many included land meals were sub-par. On other RS trips we've had excellent local meals. It is very unusual and frankly painful to be negative of a RS trip. However, we've found in the past that RS attends to feedback, positive and negative. We provide these comments to fellow travelers and RS with that in mind.

Linda from Portland, OR Number of programs attended: 7
Date attended: 06/12/14 - 06/27/14
This cruise should be re-named "Voyages to Catholic Churches." If you are interested in true antiquities (ie; Greco-Roman ruins), look elsewhere. If you are interested in historic Catholic churches and Medieval walled cities, this is the trip for you. I knew from the pre-trip information that this trip would be light on education, but even with low expectations, I was disappointed. We totally ignored many fascinating antiquities. Don't let the picture of the inside of the coliseum fool you- the tour only briefly walked by the outside of this important ruin. The guided tours were brief and superficial and we spent the majority of the touring time inside churches. By my count: 4 = number of antique ruins visited at least briefly 10 = number of churches/cloisters/cathedrals visited for looong tours. And in fairness, we visited a number of Medieval and Baroque sites, as well. The saving grace of this trip: several amazing new friends who made the copious free time enjoyable and with whom I will travel in the future.

Maria Elena from Tlalpan, D.F., Number of programs attended: 4
Date attended: 06/12/14 - 06/27/14
Simply loved all the places included in the program!!! Would recommend optional extensions in Rome and Venice as there is so much to see in those 2 cities and they cannot be seen in only a day and a half. Hotel in Rome is far from historic sites. It is not at walking distance. Alex is an exceptional group leader and contributed a lot to make our journey more cohesive. Made new friends and we all hope to travel together again in the future. Great program!!! Greatly recommend.

Kim from Cookeville, TN Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 06/12/14 - 06/27/14
Wonderful variety of sites. Great new experiences, like Venice and walled cities. Exceptional group leader in Alex. Would have preferred optional extensions in both Rome and Venice. Would also have preferred traveling at a time of year other than summer. I do love cruises, and was glad our ship was small! I think few would be disappointed in this adventure!

Karen from Ellsworth, ME Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 10/03/13 - 10/18/13
In general, we enjoyed our recent Road Scholar trip, & we were glad we went. There were many lively & interesting people in our group, & we are glad to have had the opportunity to get to know them.

The Aegean Odyssey was a very nice ship. The crew & Staff were friendly, the meals were good and the nightly entertainment was enjoyable.

That being said, the Road Scholar part of the trip could use some tweaking. First of all, our group was too large (37)! On our Road Scholar trip to Ecuador & Peru last spring, we had 20 in our group, which is about perfect. I would recommend no more than 25 in a group.

The 2 days in Rome felt rushed & superficial. Because our hotel was far removed from the antiquities, we couldn't explore them on our own. If Road Scholar can't do a better job with the Rome part of the trip, I would suggest eliminiating it.

Also, we never understood the rationale of busing us way out to Monreale for lunch on our 1st day in Palermo, when on day 2 in Palermo we actually WENT to Monreale! Wouldn't it have made more sense to have the group lunch on the 2nd day, after our visit to the Monreale Cathedral?

Also, it was never clearly explained that the tour to Segesta was INCLUDED in the Road Scholar schedule. The fliers all said it was an added expense Optional Tour. If we had known it was included, we would have signed up to take the Palazzo Gangi optional extension as well. But, by the time we figured this out, that tour was fully booked.

One last comment - I was very disappointed that our group leader never pursued an opportunity for a group photo shot. There were several times we could have done this: in front of the Greek temple at Segesta or at the amphitheatre in Syracuse. We have great group photos from an OAT trip & our previous Road Scholar trip, & I'm sorry we don't have one from this trip. The "group photo" should be on every tour leader's list!

Karen, Ellsworth, ME

James from Rochester, NY Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 10/03/13 - 10/18/13
This was our second Aegean Odyssey trip, and the ship and its crew were again , a wonderful experience. The Road Scholar portion of the trip was not. We booked the trip expecting to tour Pompeii and Herculaneum; Hercula neum was dropped by Road Scholar, with no adequate compensation. The guide at Pompeii was the self admitted, "laziest guide in Pompeii"; and his tour reflected it. The meals in Venice, and Rome, that were provided by Road Scholar were "filling" ,at best. Our tours were very short, and superficial. We probably will not book with Road Scholar again.

Road Scholar's response:
Thanks for your review, James. We are addressing meal quality issues on the land portions of this program having getting lots of feedback from participants. Regarding the planned excursions to Herculaneum and Pompeii, it is true that in the Information Packet both of these sites were listed. However, in the Final Information Packet, due to a change by VTA, we made clear that participants on the program would only be able to choose one site. And, as we do not hire guides for these locations, VTA has been notified regarding the poor quality of the guide.
Bruce from Grapevine, TX Number of programs attended: 6
Date attended: 10/03/13 - 10/18/13
The ports of call and small ship experience were great. However this trip did not meet my expectations for a Road Scholar trip. Our group was regularly one of the last groups off the ship and yet one of the first to finish our tours. We had the shortest visit to Pompeii and several other key destinations. The group meals off the ship were horrible. I would absolutely travel on the Aegean Odyssey, but would not book through Road Scholar.

Lawrence from Portland, OR Number of programs attended: 7
Date attended: 10/03/13 - 10/18/13
The program "Splendors of Italy and Croatia" was generally of high quality. The Aegean Odyssey is a high quality vessel with comfortable cabins, very good food, attentive staff, a wonderful library, and comfortable meeting rooms. The onboard lectures were well presented albeit a bit superficial.The onboard entertainment was very good. I thought the trip was marred by by a somewhat hectic and superficial two days in Rome. The hotel for the last two days was in an out of the way location, far from places of interest. The farewell diner was awful. Larry Portland OR

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at no additional cost on this date ...
14 nights of accommodations
38 meals: 14 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 13 dinners
10 Expert-led lectures
14 Field trips
1 Performances


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