Voyages to Antiquity makes more room for solo travelers

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InsightIn a nod to its older clientele, many of whom travel alone, Voyages to Antiquity has increased the number of dedicated single-occupancy cabins onboard its Aegean Odyssey.

“Our demographic is older, from 60 to 80 years old, and although we do get some younger people, we tend to book a lot of single, older women,” said Mitch Schlesinger, the line’s vice president of sales and marketing. “We added eight dedicated, single-occupancy cabins, reconfigured from existing spaces, for a total of 24 singles.”

Nine new double cabins also were built, bringing the total number of cabins to 207, from 198. At full occupancy the ship now can accommodate 390, vs. 350 before the cabins were added or reconfigured, he said.

The upgrade was completed earlier this year at an Athens shipyard, he said.

The one-ship line, based in Oxford, England, specializes in "immersive education and enrichment programs," offering itineraries focusing on destinations with historical significance.

The line was launched in May 2010 by Gerry Herrod, the former owner of Orient Lines. His inspiration for the line and its excursions were drawn from the historical writings of British author John Julius Norwich.

Many of the line’s cruises are 14 to 16 days, allowing for “destination immersion,” Schlesinger said.

Double-occupancy fares for a sample 16-day cruise roundtrip from Athens range from $5,650 to $9,450, including most excursions, free air from the East Coast (reduced air from the Midwest and West Coast), wine and beer with dinner, all gratuities and post-hotel stays on certain voyages.

“Our passengers are very experienced travelers, and because most are retired, they also have the time to travel,” Schlesinger said.

Single supplements in single cabins are 10% to 15% above double fares; the single supplement in double cabins is higher, between 25% and 75%, he said.

The ship will operate in the Eastern and Western Mediterranean and in the Black Sea this summer before starting its first winter season in the Far East.

New for this summer are several itineraries between Venice, Rome and Cannes; Rome and Athens; and Athens and Safaga, said Schlesinger.

Black Sea cruises from Istanbul, he said, are proving popular with clients who wish to “get off the beaten path” and visit places such as Bulgaria and Russia.

Beginning in November, the ship will operate a series of Far East cruises to India and the Maldives; Burma and the Malay Peninsula; Singapore and Burma; Vietnam and Cambodia; and Bali, among other destinations.

Its foray into the Far East is going well so far. The ship’s first two India sailings already are about 80% booked, Schlesinger said, “and we’re just coming into the premium booking season now for next winter.”

Most of the line’s passengers, about 70%, hail from North America, he said.

Agents can review itineraries and pricing at www.voyagestoantiquity.com.

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