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7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
The staff and our Itinerary made by our Travel host ( Expo Cruise)were outstanding. Rooms were clean, service was outstanding. Food was great. Everything was handled with great efficiently. I think it helped that the majority ... Read More
The staff and our Itinerary made by our Travel host ( Expo Cruise)were outstanding. Rooms were clean, service was outstanding. Food was great. Everything was handled with great efficiently. I think it helped that the majority of our fellow passengers were a happy, well travelled group. Entertainment on board is fine, but with our travel group we were able to dial it up. The Crew read the group well and adjusted to making fun loving , action pack trip . The food was fresh and good. I would not say a gourmet , but well presented. If you had a special request they did there best to accommodate. We found the all the staff eager to help and learned individual request quickly. The Captain was engaging and available at any time. You could see he was well respected, and his leadership skills were evident thru out. Would most definitely cruise with them again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We travelled with a group that filled the ship. The crew was terrific - every single one - with the most chatty captain we've ever had. Food was very good. The room was fine but the walls were a bit thin. The neighbour's ... Read More
We travelled with a group that filled the ship. The crew was terrific - every single one - with the most chatty captain we've ever had. Food was very good. The room was fine but the walls were a bit thin. The neighbour's TV sound came through loud and clear. When the sea is rough you really feel it...it's a small ship. We anchored more than I thought we would. No lectures. A real problem is the sound in the dining room when it's full. It becomes uncomfortably loud. One problem is that our expectations were perhaps higher than they should have been. If the itinerary suits you remember that you're on a small ship with limitations that come with a smaller ship. The shore excursions were very good to excellent. The itinerary was very jam packed and sometimes we just needed a rest. But that was our choice too. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
I wanted to return to Sicily. I have enjoyed cruising in the last several years. I had a wonderful experience on a yacht style ship earlier nether year and wanted to see how Variety Voyage stacked up. Also, the trip was sponsored by ... Read More
I wanted to return to Sicily. I have enjoyed cruising in the last several years. I had a wonderful experience on a yacht style ship earlier nether year and wanted to see how Variety Voyage stacked up. Also, the trip was sponsored by Smithsonian which usually uses class accommodations. This time they missed the boat. The officers on the ship were friendly and accommodating. The rest of the staff was invisible. The room was serviced but that was it. There was no service offered. One particularly annoying thing was that drinks were not included except at meal times. Even soft drinks were charged extra. For a ship with this price that seems unheard of (compared to Crystal, Seabourne, Regent, in hat price range). The room I was in, a category B, was okay for one person. I was traveling by myself and there was barely sufficient storage space in room proper and bathroom. If my husband had been traveling with me, w would have had a problem. The bed was okay but very, very hard. The food was okay but that's the best I can say for it. Some meals were quite bad. Breakfast buffet was identical every day and adequate before t boring after seven days. The couple times we had lunch on the boat was pretty good with a good selection on the buffet. In sum, I would say that Variety Voyage is certainly not worth the price. I expect better service and food for the cost, not to mention a more comfortable room. There were no amenities usually found even on a yacht style ship; no hot tub, no entertainment, outside bar not available. I heard there was a small gym but I never saw it. I would not recommend this ship at all. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2017
The "Classical Greece" cruise was an ideal way to see the highlights of the Greek Islands and the mainland. Apart from the well-known highlights such as Santorini and Mykonos, the cruise also took us to gems such as Monemvasia ... Read More
The "Classical Greece" cruise was an ideal way to see the highlights of the Greek Islands and the mainland. Apart from the well-known highlights such as Santorini and Mykonos, the cruise also took us to gems such as Monemvasia and Nafplio on the mainland, and less visited places such as Kythira. The service on the ship was always excellent and the food generally delicious. The cabins were also well-equipped. As it was a smaller ship, there were no more than 50 people travelling and therefore an ideal way to meet other passengers. One of the highlights was the 'Greek night' where we had Cretan dancers come on board and they were terrific. The excursions to the ancient sites such as Delos and Knossos were also a highlight and the guides were always excellent. I would highly recommend this cruise to anyone who is interested in experiencing both the beauty and classical history of Greece. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2017
An adventurous small cruise on a very comfortable and attractive catamaran. Lovely outdoor seating, or sunning, areas to view the stunning scenery of lush tropical islands . In the mornings we took the zodiac to bird sanctuaries and ... Read More
An adventurous small cruise on a very comfortable and attractive catamaran. Lovely outdoor seating, or sunning, areas to view the stunning scenery of lush tropical islands . In the mornings we took the zodiac to bird sanctuaries and incredible wildlife reserves to enjoy challenging and interesting hikes across these protected islands with highly informative and educated guides. We experienced amazing snorkelling in the afternoons with all sorts of shoals of colourful fish, coral and general sea life. None of this stuff was mandatory and there were certainly people of mixed physical ability. We had a very comfortable and clean cabin with big windows. We ate excellent really delicious fresh food, particularly the fish. We are mostly vegetarian and they went out of their way to make sure we were fully catered to. There were around 28 people on board and it never felt crowded. We were broken into smaller groups for hiking, snorkelling etc. The staff ratio was good and they were very attentive but not in your face. I may sound as if I'm going over the top but it really was an incredible experience that I cannot recommend more highly. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
We had a fantastic trip. It's a 49 passenger ship and we had only 15 aboard. The food and service were exceptional. It was a very friendly, casual atmosphere. The cruise director and guide were terrific. The ship is beautiful, ... Read More
We had a fantastic trip. It's a 49 passenger ship and we had only 15 aboard. The food and service were exceptional. It was a very friendly, casual atmosphere. The cruise director and guide were terrific. The ship is beautiful, comfortable and well maintained. We had some problems with rough seas but the captain did a great job of finding alternative ports. My only issue would be the size of the cabin. It was very small, but it is a small ship and we spent very little time in the cabin. We took the Antiquity to Byzantium cruise which I highly recommend. The cruise was focused on history and included visits to Delphi, Olympia and others. The guide had an in depth knowledge of all historical aspects both actual and mythological. Our trip was at the end of the tour season and most of the sites visited were almost empty. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
The best way to know Seychelles Islands. First class service, first class cabin, first class food, first class tours. Variety Cruises has excellent yatch options to cruise, this one was great. The personnel on board Pegasus is ... Read More
The best way to know Seychelles Islands. First class service, first class cabin, first class food, first class tours. Variety Cruises has excellent yatch options to cruise, this one was great. The personnel on board Pegasus is excellent, always trying to serve you at their best. The out shore excursions are very well planned and coordinated. The tour guides excellent. Hotel manager and activities coordinator very well prepared, they communicated in several languages. The food on board excellent and the barbecues at the beach were great. Snorkling perfect. The cleaness at the entire yatch was everyday attention. Small group of people that allows to know them. Time of cruise (7 nights / 8days) is the perfect time to know the islands. Time on each island was very well calculated, so you can know the islands and go around afterwards. On board activities and entertainment are great: bingo, dancing, karaoke, etc. Recommended 100%. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Returning to our favorite ship , "Panorama", with our favorite cruise company, "Variety", we were as delighted as ever , and so happy , to find many of the same wonderful staff on board. It felt as if we were ... Read More
Returning to our favorite ship , "Panorama", with our favorite cruise company, "Variety", we were as delighted as ever , and so happy , to find many of the same wonderful staff on board. It felt as if we were returning into a big family. From start to finish everything was excellent . The welcome aboard, the comfort and cleanliness were all very good....... Well done to all the smiling faces. Considering how small the galley is on this beautiful ship, the food was extremely good, we couldn't' believe the variety and standard produced. The excursions always well run and interesting. We were, as before, fortunate to have such a great group of like minded people sailing with us and there was a really happy atmosphere.... The Captain and all his crew were charming and competent. We never wanted for anything from the barman to the cleaning staff to the waiters and waitresses, the cruise coordinator , the manager ,all so very friendly and helpful. As you have probably guessed by now, we had a wonderful holiday. Thank you everyone ! We really look forward to the next time. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
It was a perfect week in every way, and we will surely be booking another trip with Variety Cruises. We loved the Galileo - our room was quite comfortable, and the public areas on the boat were spotlessly clean, offering a variety of ... Read More
It was a perfect week in every way, and we will surely be booking another trip with Variety Cruises. We loved the Galileo - our room was quite comfortable, and the public areas on the boat were spotlessly clean, offering a variety of places to sit both indoors and outside. The delicious meals exceeded our expectations, and our cruise director, Joseph, was knowledgable, experienced, friendly and fun to listen to when he addressed our group. Swim stops were well organized and much appreciated by everyone. We kayaked, snorkled, and simply floated in the refreshing and beautiful sea. We chose only one excursion -- Delos, and well worth it -- since the other islands were easy to explore on our own. But those who chose the excursions seemed very pleased. The professional crew made us feel safe and cared about. Valerie, the awesome bartender, knew everyone's name within an hour of boarding. Our favorite islands were Folegandros and Syros - the Galileo allows for small island visits, which is one of the best aspects of the trip. Our fellow passengers were friendly and fun to be with, and the configuration of the dining tables allowed us to get to know everyone by week's end. Passengers were from England, Australia, Spain, Switzerland and the US; the multitude of cultures greatly enhanced the trip. There are so many benefits to being on an intimate yacht as opposed to a giant cruise ship. In addition to jumping into the sea from the boat and visiting smaller islands, there's a sense of being part of the environment, an intimacy that can't be had on a floating city with thousands of inhabitants. I can't wait for our next Variety cruise. The only part of the trip we didn't enjoy was saying good-bye to our new friends! Huge thanks to everyone connected with Variety Cruises, for allowing us the privilege to sail with you on our perfect vacation. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Disgusting!!!!! We booked through Vantage Deluxe World Travel for an Aegean Cruise on the Harmony V and it was the worst vacation we have ever had. This ship needs to be taken out of commission or totally refurbished. The staterooms are ... Read More
Disgusting!!!!! We booked through Vantage Deluxe World Travel for an Aegean Cruise on the Harmony V and it was the worst vacation we have ever had. This ship needs to be taken out of commission or totally refurbished. The staterooms are old and run down as are the ship's common areas. Our stateroom "suite" was a sight to behold. The bathroom was covered in black mold and the entire stateroom reeked of mold. The shower door was covered in streaked soap scum for our entire stay - not cleaned. We were told not to flush used toilet paper down the toilet but to put it in the trash can - gross - and the bathroom sink water was not potable. When showering the stall filled ankle deep in water that didn't drain. We used towels to force the water down the drain and sop it up. Never felt clean after showering in a bathroom like this. After two days of complaining about the bathroom to the "hotel manager" a maintenance man was sent to rechaulk the bathroom. When we disembarked the black mold was leeching through again - disgusting and unhealthy. The bed linens were old, rough, tattered and yellowed and the bed and pillows were no better than sleeping on a cot. The carpet was old and stained and need to be replaced. After touring for the day we dreaded going back to this dump of a ship. We have been on many cruises, some better than others, but always a good experience. This $14,000 vacation was a disappointing, disgusting rip off and I have no idea how Vantage and Variety continue to get away with marketing it as a high end trip. STAY AWAY! Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We chose this cruise to visit the Greek Islands. A friend who we thought has high standards told us about Vantage/Variety Cruises. When we got onto the ship in Athens the Suite we booked smelled of BLACK MOLD. We entered the bathroom ... Read More
We chose this cruise to visit the Greek Islands. A friend who we thought has high standards told us about Vantage/Variety Cruises. When we got onto the ship in Athens the Suite we booked smelled of BLACK MOLD. We entered the bathroom and the tile in the shower was covered with BLACK MOLD.At the junction of the tile and shower stall there was mold on the caulking as well. I asked the Hotel Manager to clean with bleach n caulk. They did nothing the first day and I continued to complain until I had an argument with the Tour Guide. All she did was talk over me and when the co-captains overheard they stepped in and got the bathroom cleaned up. The bed linen was old and yellowed the rugs in the state room were stained and not vacuumed as well. The Captain failed to show the guests how to put on the life vests during the safety drill. I also went topside where there were two 16 ft launches that were rusty,the outboards looked rusted out as well and not functioning. Very scary. On Santorini there was no sign or location to meet to get the tender back to the ship. I went to other cruise line personnel who had a hand held radio to get in touch with the Harmony Crew to get us back to the ship. Worse service, questionable crew, took us to cheep retail stores to buy reproductions. We paid over $10,000 for a cruise that was a ripoff. Never use VANTAGE. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
This was our first ever cruise and followed us watching the Panorama sail into Santorini's caldera while we were on holiday there in 2015 - we did some research after we got home and the 2016 Adriatic Odyssey itinerary from Variety ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise and followed us watching the Panorama sail into Santorini's caldera while we were on holiday there in 2015 - we did some research after we got home and the 2016 Adriatic Odyssey itinerary from Variety Cruises looked very appealing - covering Croatia-Montenegro-Albania-Greece (calling at Dubrovnik, Korcula, Bar, Sarande, Paxos, Corfu, Kotor, before returning to Dubrovnik). We subsequently booked this 'cruise only' through Blue Water Holidays in Yorkshire, as this gave us a bigger discount than booking direct with Variety. We arranged pre and post cruise overnight stay and flights ourselves, as we are used to making our own bookings and wanted some leeway at the beginning or end of our cruise to avoid any problems caused by delayed flights or return into Dubrovnik. Blue Water provided some information prior to departure but we would have appreciated more. Points to note: * Although we rung the boat beforehand to check which dock it was in, neither Blue Water or the contact on the boat mentioned that we had to access the boat via the international terminal next to the bus station, (the boat was treated as an international departure so passport checks were required before we could get to the relevant part of the dock). This led to us being dropped off in the wrong part of the port by a taxi, having to ask another boat's crew how to find the Panorama and a hot walk with our luggage along the length of the dockside. * Shortly after embarkation we had a comprehensive briefing from the Captain and Variety representative, this explained most of what we'd been wondering about, specifically that no tips are to be made during the cruise, guests would instead be provided with envelopes on the last evening for a cash tip (in Euros) which would then be divided among all of the crew. * The briefing also explained that drinks would be on account for each cabin, with the accounts being settled on the last night of the cruise using either cash (in Euros) or a debit/credit card. * We were asked to book for excursions by lunchtime of the preceding day, to allow time for the necessary transport to be arranged. The cost per person increased for small groups and as there were only 17 passengers in our cruise the excursion groups were almost always in the smallest viable group size, which made them more expensive. We still booked for every excursion offered as we felt this was the best way to get the most out of our itinerary. All of the excursions were either good or excellent, with knowledgeable and personable guides, comfortable transport and some enjoyable tasting (and drinking) sessions included. * The onboard wifi cost 20 Euros for 500mb, I didn't bother as I had 3G coverage for almost all of the time onboard, even when sailing down apparently uninhabited areas of the coast. * We were very fortunate to have very benign weather during our cruise, except for one period of around 12 hours when we sailed through gale force 5/6 winds. Our response to this was to drink a little more that evening but 3 or 4 of the passengers skipped dinner and were a little unwell. It was a little unsettling at first when lying down but we slept ok without needing to take any seasickness / motion sickness medication. * Almost all of the cabins are twin single beds, and as we are used to a king size bed this layout was probably better than us sharing a small double bed. Cabins are cosy but well designed and the small ensuite shower room was perfectly adequate. * Some of our fellow passengers were unhappy with the wine selection offered onboard. We did think it was unfortunate that we were tasting excellent local wines on shore, yet the onboard winelist had some unappealing wines at rather full prices. Our response was to have the Mateus rose every time at 18 Euros a bottle, the most reliable, most palatable and cheapest wine on the menu. * We had 3 or so swim stops during the week, not as many as I had hoped for but generally at least 2 hours for a dip off the boat in warm (for us anyway) Adriatic water. * The sails were raised twice during our week onboard, they can only be used when the boat and wind follow a very specific range of direction but they are very attractive feature of the boat. * Our fellow passengers included two couples below 40 and the majority were between 55 and 65, plus one slightly older. Nationalities were British, American, Australian, New Zealand and Polish. For some reason there was a disproportionately large proportion of passengers who worked in the oil and gas industry. * Our lower deck level cabin (category B?) porthole didn't open (probably best on the windiest section of our trip) so fresh air was from a ceiling vent directly above my head, this was a bit noisy and draughty at times. * Service was excellent throughout - Captain George and Dietmar both deserve a very favourable mention - having just 17 passengers may have given us a much better service experience than if the boat had been closer to its 49 passenger capacity. * The onboard entertainment was limited to 'Greek night' while docked in Corfu, this was great fun and the Corfu Zorbas had us dancing enthusiastically. * The cruise includes breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. We were very happy with the quality of the food but it would have been nice to have eaten onshore a few times as there were so many appealing restaurants and bars - perhaps two days could be offered without lunch and dinner to allow this? Overall the Adriatic Odyssey itinerary was an excellent way to see this section of coast, I don't see how the itinerary could be replicated on land within a week and we got some fantastic views along the way. The Panorama may not be as luxurious, pampering or boutique style as some had expected (based on their previous big ship experiences) but it completely met our expectations and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience, so will be looking for similarly sized boats for cruises in future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2016
We chose this cruise because friends we went with had very little available time on their trip to the USA. We all enjoyed the two night cruise - a lot more than expected. Our friends had the top of the line cabin which was really lovely ... Read More
We chose this cruise because friends we went with had very little available time on their trip to the USA. We all enjoyed the two night cruise - a lot more than expected. Our friends had the top of the line cabin which was really lovely with a balcony - twice as big as ours (at nearly twice the price) with a fridge, large flat screen TV, drinks and toiletries and a bath as well as shower. Our cabin was fine - good size but no fridge. Nice window though and clean. Bed very comfy. We had our first meal (lunch) in the buffet restaurant which was awful. Food was fine but seating like a packed McDonalds. Most passengers seemed to prefer it to the dining room which I found strange. We ate in the Admiralty Club the first night - food and service (particularly Yurii) was amazing but we ate in the same restaurant the second night and had the normal (free) fare which was also amazing so don't know about the value of an extra $30 per person unless money is no object. We had breakfast in the main dining room - again very nice with linen tablecloths and napkins. Breakfast food not so great but adequate. We could order eggs from the kitchen which was perhaps advisable. The staff were great and very helpful although we did twice ask for directions from staff and were sent in the wrong direction! We didn't go to any of the shows - spent 2 hours eating and then went to bed at 11pm. The noises later from the passage were pretty loud. This cruise had far more young people than the only other cruise we have taken. One word - if you are a beer drinker, do not buy the liquor package. It's cheaper without the voucher. Voucher is fine for wine, cocktails etc. We were a little upset that foreigners were not allowed to disembark until Americans had done so - orders from Immigration. We would have waited hours had our friends not had royal treatment from the ship's staff. We tried to leave the ship at 8.30am and had to wait until 9.00am until the crew arranged for us to leave - by then the queue for US passport holders was huge. I think there were very few foreign passport holders so don't understand the logic. This had nothing to do with the ship but not enough Immigration officers maybe? Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We were looking for a small ship cruise tour in the Greek islands to celebrate my mothers birthday plus my wedding anniversary. We were referred to Variety Cruises by american friends who cruised in Costa Rica with the company two years ... Read More
We were looking for a small ship cruise tour in the Greek islands to celebrate my mothers birthday plus my wedding anniversary. We were referred to Variety Cruises by american friends who cruised in Costa Rica with the company two years ago, so we knew where to look at. The number of our "group" counted almost 35 family members, friends, extended family, so we ended up looking at chartering a whole yacht owned by Variety Cruises, called Harmony G. It instantly seemed like a good fit, a boutique ship with 20 cabins, modern interiors, and great exterior areas including a large sundeck, and a swimming platform. We were proposed a classical greece route, a good combination of famous islands and of some tiny ones too. Crew onboard felt like family after day 2, and all of us enjoyed being treated like royalty, and we often visited the bridge during navigation hours and chatted with the captain and officers. Food was delicious, BBQ lunches and dinners were the highlight of the cruise. All meals were served outdoors as we like, some of us also enjoyed some meals at the indoor dining room which also provided great views of the islands we were docked at every day. I couldnt fault any area of the ship, cabins were spacious and had ample storage space. Would travel on this ship again and again. our home away from home for a whole week! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
This was my first cruise ever and I really loved it. It's amazing to be sailing with a small ship. There were only 17 guests on board so you had a feel of having the ship for yourself. We did the adriatic cruise and visited 4 ... Read More
This was my first cruise ever and I really loved it. It's amazing to be sailing with a small ship. There were only 17 guests on board so you had a feel of having the ship for yourself. We did the adriatic cruise and visited 4 countries in 1 week: croatia, montenegro, albania and greece. Unfortunately we weren't able to get a close spot in the harbor/port in every city so sometimes you need to walk or take a bus/cab to get to the nearest city center. The crew is extremely nice and helpfull! Every day (except for one) we were able to do an excursion on shore to see the sights. I could really recommend the excursion to Butrint in Albania, the palace of queen elizabeth of austria (sissy) in corfu town and the city of Budva in Montenegro. The other cruises were not really worthwhile. Due to the fact that the ship arrived early in the morning we were able to avoid the big cruise ship masses. That's another advantage of a small cruise ship. On the minus side: * The food is okay especially breakfast and lunch but for dinner we only had 2 buffet style dinners and the rest was a strict menu (you could choose between fish or meat). I prefer buffet type of dinners. * You can buy wifi access on board (€20 per 500Mb). The data limit is a problem because lots of people have their smartphone settings tuned to wifi (to transfer photos etc). I also use a travel app to inform family and friends which I was unfortunately not able to use due to the limit. * We had less guests on board which is great but on the other hand you pay the max price for the excursions which made it very expensive. * During dinner/breakfast time the servants grabbed your plate out of your hands and brought it to your table (even if you were one step away). This felt extremely awkward for all of the guests and although they must have felt it (guests were saying no) they kept on doing that. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2016
For the 3rd time we chose to make a cruise with Variety Cruises. This time we sailed the Adriatic and Ionic Seas. Again we had a great experience. A very friendly and helpful cruisedirector, captain, hotelmanager, crew, comfortable ship, ... Read More
For the 3rd time we chose to make a cruise with Variety Cruises. This time we sailed the Adriatic and Ionic Seas. Again we had a great experience. A very friendly and helpful cruisedirector, captain, hotelmanager, crew, comfortable ship, well-equiped cabins and delicious diners, buffets and drinks. We visited 4 countries: Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and Greece, where we did almost all the offered excursions, to get a closer look of each one of them. You also could go your own way if you wanted. The number of guests was 17 and during this week we had so much fun together! Being on a smaller cruiseship means: having a swimstop near a beautiful bay (they can bring you to the shore with the Zodiac if you want to), arriving before the big cruiseships so less crowded in places you're going to visit, getting to now the other guests (if you want to) is easy becouse of te small number, a very luxurious experience. As I said: this was the 3rd time, but it certainly won't be the last. Looking for a next destination... Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
The ports of call were amazing and the Harmony G. provided a wonderful experience to see the Greek isles. The smaller ship was more intimate and the crew was phenomenal! They were friendly, professional, and really made us feel we were ... Read More
The ports of call were amazing and the Harmony G. provided a wonderful experience to see the Greek isles. The smaller ship was more intimate and the crew was phenomenal! They were friendly, professional, and really made us feel we were a part of the Harmony G. family. It made us feel like we were yatching through the Greek isle rather than a conventional cruise on a larger vessel. The common areas were nice, clean, and adequate. There are several decks you so if wanted a little privacy there were always places you can go. The food was excellent and the traditional Greek dishes were wonderful. I can't say enough about the crew. Everyone from the captain on down to the stewards made us feel special and the personal service was exceptional! The ships manager Thanos was a excellent host and the service he provided was top rate. The Harmony G. is a wonderful experience and I would travel with them again. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
My husband has always wanted to go to Greece. Vantage offered the perfect trip. The Harmony G is operated by Variety staff and crew but charted by Vantage for this voyage. The Variety staff and crew are all very professional and ... Read More
My husband has always wanted to go to Greece. Vantage offered the perfect trip. The Harmony G is operated by Variety staff and crew but charted by Vantage for this voyage. The Variety staff and crew are all very professional and provided excellent service. The Cruise Director, Laura Giannola, was employed by Vantage - she made the trip so special with her love and passion for Greece and it's rich history. She really loves to travel on the Harmony G and that meant a lot to us (my husband is a boat captain). The ship was decorated nicely and appeared to have been recently renovated. The lounge was roomy and the bar was staffed at appropriate time. Drinks were reasonable and available upon request if no one was behind the bar. The dining area was a bit on the small side but Thanos made it work. Topside was my favorite place and had plenty of fresh air, beautiful views, lounge chairs and cushioned seating - it was never off limits. All meals onboard were excellent and the service was fast and courteous thanks to Thanos, the manager. The port of embarkation was Athens (Port of Pireaus). The first night was at a hotel with a beautiful rooftop pool and view of the Acropolis in the center of Athens (Divani Caravel); dinner at the hotel was included. The next morning we toured the Acropolis Museum and the Plaka district before boarding the Harmony G around 2pm. Vantage provided a lovely coach and luggage assistance. After time to unpack we had our safety briefing in the lounge followed by a port talk & history lecture by Laura. Afterward, we ate our first of many fabulous dinners by Thanos and staff in the "cozy" dinning room. Port-of-call #1 - Nafplion. The breakfast was lovely and ample. We visited the archaeological site of Mycenae (very interesting); stopped at a pottery shop and learned how to make clay men; then back to the town of Nafplion where we had lot's of time to explore. We rode the ship's bicycles to the beach for a swim in the crystal clear Aegean Sea. Later that afternoon, my husband rented a scooter and I climbed the 1,000 steps to the Palamidi Castle (I enter as I didn't have the 8 euro in cash) - spectacular views of the town just the same. We ate an elegant dinner then went back into town and strolled around. Port #2 - Monemvasia. The Gibraltar of Greece - or so they say. Right out of a fairy tale. The old city is one of the most picturesque places I have been. We took a trip to a family-owned olive orchard. We learned the process of making olive oil and had a traditional Greek lunch outside. We returned to ship and captain allowed us to swim from the back of the ship - it was perfect conditions. My husband and I took the bikes again and rode all over Monemvasia. Breakfast and dinner onboard - fabulous as usual. We left early because it was a long sail to Crete. Port #3 - Rethimnon, Crete. Early breakfast then we took a 90-minute coach ride to the town of Chania. I had been before so we walked out to the lighthouse instead of shopping. We had until 3am to return to the ship so we rented a scooter drove all over this charming beach town and finally chose to dine at a local restaurant. We ate at the restaurant Alana; recommended by the scooter rental agent - it was frequented by a lot of tourists but still very good. Back onboard around midnight. Port #4 - Heraklion, Crete. Breakfast then a trip to Knossoss Palace - this day it was very hot and there was little shade so my memories aren't as pleasant. This night was the Greek dance show onboard - it was a lot of fun but Heraklion itself was a larger city with large cruise ships. I wasn't thrilled because it didn't have the charm of the other ports. Port #5 - Santorini. We anchored here. Breakfast onboard then we all hopped on a tender to shore. It was a bit windy but nothing bad. We visited Fira then took the optional tour to Oia - Wow! This is not to be missed. The optional tour included a tour & lunch at a local winery in Fira before continuing on to Oia - oh for more time in Oia. I'm glad I opted into this - Oia is where all the famous photographs of Greece are taken. It was magical. We took the cable car back down to the landing and the tender back to the ship for another great dinner onboard. Port #6 - Mykonos. We were in Mykonos for only a few hours and the captain remained in port despite growing wind conditions. The town of Mykonos is a lively town with a lot of young tourists. We were there very early so there was little evidence of the night before party. The island is just as picturesque as Santorini but it is flatter and has it's own personality. The trip out of Mykonos (left at noon) and back to Athens was rough so we were rock'n & roll'n for several hours - passengers & crew were ill until it calmed down. Only of few of us were up and about - but still a bit lethargic. The Harmony G only makes about 10 knots so she can't outrun the weather very well. It didn't last too long and dinner was served on calm seas. Final port - Back in Athens (Pireaus). Last night onboard was in Athens. After breakfast we packed up and headed out to the Acropolis very early to beat the crowds & the heat (good idea). Laura gave the premium tour and then we headed back to the Plaka district for more shopping. We checked back into the Divani Caravel for the last night of the base cruise package. We opted for the Athens extension so we explored the city for two more nights. My experience was OUTSTANDING and a trip that will stand out as one of my favorites. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We chose this cruise because bus trips aren't my thing. We also wanted to see Cuba before the American economic invasion. The ship can hold 49 people but we were only 13 passengers - ideal! Since there were so few of us, they put ... Read More
We chose this cruise because bus trips aren't my thing. We also wanted to see Cuba before the American economic invasion. The ship can hold 49 people but we were only 13 passengers - ideal! Since there were so few of us, they put everyone in a main deck cabin, which had windows instead of port holes. Crew walked by, as I discovered to my surprise one afternoon lounging on my bed, but it was nice to have more of a view. The cabins were on the small side, which seems to be usual with small ships. It was impossible to put the luggage under the beds because they were on wooden platform although the crew could store luggage elsewhere if you wished. We ate breakfast & dinner on the ship, with lunches ashore in privately run restaurants. The breakfast was the usual: eggs, oatmeal, dry cereals, fresh fruit, yogurt, etc. Dinners always had a fish entrée & a meat entrée. There were courses for appetizers, soups, entrée, and dessert; often we just had the entrée because of having a large lunch ashore. The last night we had a buffet of Greek food that was great. We ate on a covered top deck, but many nights, when we were usually anchored, it was very warm. There was a bar on the main deck with cocktails, wine, or beer on offer, and drinks could be ordered with dinner as well. All the sightseeing, which was mandatory under the rules for visiting Cuba, was included, and we went to many art galleries, a choir, a Tabaco farm, etc. The towns of Trinidad and Cienfuegos were my favorites. The crew could not have been more helpful. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
There's a new chef this year and he is fantastic. I would recommend that anyone interested in this cruise absolutely book the tour through Odysseys Unlimited. Other passengers have to have a large enough number to go on the shore ... Read More
There's a new chef this year and he is fantastic. I would recommend that anyone interested in this cruise absolutely book the tour through Odysseys Unlimited. Other passengers have to have a large enough number to go on the shore excursions. The A rooms had plenty of space to walk around the bed and very decently-sized showers. Room safe, DVD player and a channel that constantly played a loop of english-language Greece-related movies. There's a library of novel discards from past passengers plus some other guidebooks. The crew were outstanding. They had tons of experience on cruise ships or extremely engaging personalities. Or both. Everyone was so friendly, even when they were concerned about weather or matters they never disclosed to us. I would caution that anyone unaccustomed to strenuous swimming avoid the swim stops. They will cancel if the seas are too rough, but the currents are unpredictable. A bunch of people went in and we all came out safely. A lot of the places we visited had places where it would be easy to trip and fall. Greece is a place for tourists with a dose of common sense about staying out of the street and not behaving recklessly on precarious trails. You must be at least moderately fit in order to reach the amazing places made available to you on this trip. One of the greatest things we saw was the cliff walk on Santorini. You have to pass on the optional excursion, but you can walk through three villages along the cliffs and stop anytime for a coffee or lunch. Probably about three miles roundtrip. You miss seeing Oia, which others say is fantastic, so... A warning: we saw no evidence that Greece is LGBT-friendly, except in parts of Athens and Mykonos. Tradition and religion were evident everywhere. It was a little heartbreaking to know that friends and family would not be greeted with the same enthusiasm. Read Less
32 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We choose this cruise as there was an interesting itinerary and good guest speakers on subjects that appealed. Things started to go wrong as soon as we got on board when the wardrobe door fell off and the problem was treated with ... Read More
We choose this cruise as there was an interesting itinerary and good guest speakers on subjects that appealed. Things started to go wrong as soon as we got on board when the wardrobe door fell off and the problem was treated with indifference by the person that attended to sort it out. The cabin was noisy and the beds very uncomfortable. Cabin towels were clearly very old and worn. The shampoo was obviously of poor quality. The food was terrible for a cruise of this expense with the meat virtually inedible. The salads every day came with the same processed meat. The sweets were unappetising and sickly sweet. The best feature was the bread and soup! There was no choice of wine and it was of poor quality. No maps were provided for the ports we visited as is usual with other cruise ships and boats. Altogether, this was a very bad experience. The ship is clearly run on the cheap giving a visual impression of opulence. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
We were lucky; we got a substantial discount, including all shore excursions free, our boat was only half capacity, and the folks we did sail with were some of the most congenial we've ever met. If not for all this, I fear we may ... Read More
We were lucky; we got a substantial discount, including all shore excursions free, our boat was only half capacity, and the folks we did sail with were some of the most congenial we've ever met. If not for all this, I fear we may have been disappointed. The Voyager is a very attractive boat, the crew uniformly friendly, helpful, and cheerful. (I suspect that was mainly due to we being such an easy crowd to deal with). Our cabin, 214, was small as expected, but there were plenty of places to stow our gear and we never felt jammed in. The bathroom was surprisingly large. Our two portholes were too high up to look out without a stretch, but we spent as little time in our cabin as necessary anyway. Do be aware that all forward cabins get the noise from the bow thrusters and anchor chains, which can be quite loud. I can only recall one time they were used during sleeping hours, though, and my partner slept right through the noise. The food was good to very good, but never what I would call gourmet. Service in the dining room was excellent. All alcohol is extra, but prices were not unreasonable. The theme of this trip is the natural life of Costa Rica, but, as the excursion descriptions note, sightings cannot be guaranteed. Our first stop, Curu Reserve, had a very intimate feel. Our guide had grown up there and his affection for the place was evident. It was a very easy landing and walk that gave us close up views of many iguanas and monkeys. This was probably the best of the wildlife walks. After our morning visit, there was a short trip to another island for the first of two beach barbecues, easily the best meals of the week, then plenty of time for swimming. The next stop, Manuel Antonio Park is described as a guided walk on small trails through dense rain forest. Actually, you are walking along a very crowded road, the only way through the park as far as I know, and crowding around the guide's telescope hoping for a sight of something. Entry to the park is supposedly controlled; we were kept waiting at the gate for about 45 minutes, then the waiting crowd, probably about 200 strong, was let in all at once. The description also says the tour ends with time at the beach. The beach is indeed beautiful, but those choosing to stay and swim must make their own way back to the ship. The time and distance involved make that impractical. The next stop, Quepos, is made mainly for those wanting to try zip lining. The town itself has little to offer, and the beach is not recommended. We did try the zip lining, had a great time, but don't feel the need to try it again. The Osa Peninsula walk was disappointing - the wildlife just wasn't cooperatin - and the walk was a bit trickier than described; indeed, in wet weather, it must be almost impassible. The description mentions a visit to a turtle hatchery, but it didn't happen and was never mentioned. Casa Orquedas is a private tropical plant preserve, and is indeed a little Garden of Eden. The landing was tricky, on a beach of slippery stones, but the walk very easy. We had the chance to smell and taste many tropical plants and fruits. This was the best excursion for plant life. The next day may have been the best. The morning was spent on Granita del Oro, a speck of sand and palm trees that offered perfect snorkeling conditions, even for us beginners. We really felt like castaways. In the afternoon we sailed a short distance to Coiba for another great beach barbecue. Two nature walks were offered, neither of which anyone felt was worth the effort. There was plenty of beach time here, as well. The last excursion was to the town of La Palma, a small town of mostly African descendants that is trying to build a tourist trade. I did not go on this trip; those who did had mixed opinions. Some felt awkward, others that it was important and worthwhile. Finally, we reached Panama City. We started with a trip to the wonderful Miraflores Locks overlook and canal museum. We then drove to the Old Quarter, which will probably be a great place to visit in another five years or so. Right now, most of it seems to be a construction zone. Our stop here seemed a bit of a waste. The Canal transit is done at night (the cruise line has little say in this) and was quite a thrill. We officially disembarked at Shelter Bay, an attractive little marina, but a few folks got off at Colon when we made a refueling stop. Allow at least two hours for transfer from Shelter Bay to Panama City. All in all, we enjoyed ourselves very much, but I think that if we had paid full fare and for each excursion, we would have felt letdown. I do feel some of the excursions were a bit overhyped. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2015
This yacht/company was chosen basis very high standards and I could not be happier with my choice. Not only me and my friends had the opportunity to experience life onboard such a magnificent yacht but also explore and discover the natural ... Read More
This yacht/company was chosen basis very high standards and I could not be happier with my choice. Not only me and my friends had the opportunity to experience life onboard such a magnificent yacht but also explore and discover the natural beauty of the Canary Islands through wonderful excursions. The suites and generally all accommodating areas, of HARMONY V, are based on a combination of modern design and a luxurious - yet affordable - way of spending time to relax and explore the destination. The dining area was always filled with smiles of the crew, who were standing by for any of our complex requirements. Of course the Chef gave us a taste of the local cuisine and other delicious courses. I would consider myself very lucky if I was able someday to travel again with the same or a sister yacht of the company to experience such kind of vacations. Needless to say we were all feeling completely safe thanks to the Captain and the crew, during our passages through the islands. What a great adventure. Thank you for making us feel like home :) Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
My wife and me spent our honeymoon on board the MY Pegasos cruisung the Seychelles. It was our second cruise with Variety Cruises so we already had an idea of the concept of small ship cruises. Vessel The MY Pegasus is a catamaran ... Read More
My wife and me spent our honeymoon on board the MY Pegasos cruisung the Seychelles. It was our second cruise with Variety Cruises so we already had an idea of the concept of small ship cruises. Vessel The MY Pegasus is a catamaran vessel with 4 decks and 21 cabins for a maximum of about 40 people. The several public areas (restaurant, lounge & bar, after deck and sun deck) offer individiual space for all guests. The cozy cabins are furnished with a bed, wardrobe, seating, television and a commode. Bathroom is equiped with a hair dryer. A nice feature are the 2 SIGG bottles that get refilled with water fort the excursions by the crew daily. Service The atmosphere on board of the Variety cruises is very familar due to the heartly crew. You fell at home on the vessel since embarkation. The crew members behave more like friends that want you to have a good time then servants waiting for your order. If food, questions or any excursions – any individual concern is very welcome and beeing solved. The crew members seem to like their work as they laugh a lot and have fun with guests withour losing a profesional distance and not forgeting safety. Food The food was excellent. Breakfast offers egg, bread, sausage & cheese, cereals and fruits. Lunch is in Buffet form with a selection of 4 different main dishes, several side dishes, salad and dessert. The dinner is alternately 5 course menu or buffet. The menu offers the choice between meat and fish for main dish. The selection of food always included regional creol kitchen and a lot of fish and seafood as well as international kitchen (Lasagne ie). The kitchen even created a vegetarian main dish in short term when announced at the starter. Shore excursion All excursions except 2 (Praslin and La Digue) are included in the cruise rate. The excursions vary between small hikes over the islands with visits of e.g. protected areas, tender shuttles to beaches and swim & snorkel stops. Every evening there is a briefing for the visited spots and activities of the following day. Almost all excursions are made by tender zodiacs and are well organized. Several times there are bbq´s at the shore that are very nice. If you dont join the excursion you can go on your own by tender shuttles leaving several times. Overall A highly recommendable cruise if you prefer casual and familiar atmosphere on a yacht instead of amenities as casino, gym, theatre etc. that are offered by big ship cruises with some 3.000 to 5.000 guests. I like the combination of a small ship that is able to bring you to smaller places & villages with a hearty service in a casual environment. Read Less
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