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11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
We travelled on this ship in Oct from Istanbul to Athens. Embarkation was a disaster with no one to meet us, no information about Port process and how to get on the ship and a walk of 500 metres with our luggage. The boat is not the ... Read More
We travelled on this ship in Oct from Istanbul to Athens. Embarkation was a disaster with no one to meet us, no information about Port process and how to get on the ship and a walk of 500 metres with our luggage. The boat is not the disappointing part- it is well laid out and the meals are above average. The cabins are fine though not all facilities were operating (safe) and some doors were difficult to close/open. I agree with previous commentators- virtually alcohol free cocktails/appalling wine upon arrival as a welcome aboard drink was an insult. The trip was disappointing because some of the advertised destinations were not reached due to weather and mooring difficulties- not the operators fault-but some people chose the cruise specifically for those ports/sights. It seemed too rushed with the organised tours very expensive and sometimes not seeing the best attributes of the sites visited anyway. A number of passengers complained about being pestered by hawkers/taken to carpet sellers enroute to the tours. In short I don't think they catered for the background of their clientele. This trip was expensive -over $1500(AUD) per day plus excursion costs. The passengers are largely successful professionals who are prepared to spend, expect value and don't like being shortchanged. The ship sails at night whereas other small ships stay in port at night (this is better) Part of the reason I am harsh here is I don't think this was the trip for us. This is trip for those that are not very active, want to be organised for most of the day. We didn't get to swim enough and some of the moorings in the day were adjacent to industrial wasteland so either go on an organised tour,spend the day in your cabin or somehow manage to get to the closest town. The advantage of a small boat was lost sometimes Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
I recently had the pleasure of touring the Greek Islands, with a dash of Turkey thrown in, on Panorama II. I have nothing but praise for the yacht and more importantly its crew. Ably led by George and Stella, who do a tremendous job, ... Read More
I recently had the pleasure of touring the Greek Islands, with a dash of Turkey thrown in, on Panorama II. I have nothing but praise for the yacht and more importantly its crew. Ably led by George and Stella, who do a tremendous job, all crew members from the guys serving us breakfast each morning through to the staff attending to the rooms are a credit to Variety Cruises. Their professionalism and pleasant disposition at all times makes for a relaxing and immensely enjoyable experience. The food, expertly prepared by Chris and his team, also needs mentioning as it was first rate at all times and supplied in abundance. Coupled with some great destinations, the on board experience amounts to a fantastic customer experience. I am a repeat Variety customer and following this cruise, fully intend to take another in the near future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
Thanks to the captain and Staff for another wonderful week cruise on the Pan Orama II..!!! It was wonderful...The staff is attentive and helpful, opening doors and serving with kindness and a heart for service. I especially loved the ... Read More
Thanks to the captain and Staff for another wonderful week cruise on the Pan Orama II..!!! It was wonderful...The staff is attentive and helpful, opening doors and serving with kindness and a heart for service. I especially loved the turn-down service and my chocolate awaiting me at night. The food was delicious, plentiful, and varied. The excursions were well-planned and exciting!!! This was my second cruise in as many years and I hope to go again next year. The excursions to Patmos and Ephesus were of special attraction to me...I love to be in the place where John and Paul walke! I love to return to familiar places and familiar faces.....it is like returning "home". The Pan Orama II is my throne for a week and I am Queen!! What more can I ask? Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Just finished a criise aboard MS Galileo.Had 40 passengers in total, a wondeful experience. It was very personal and the small vessel meant the ship tied up alongside the dock so it was easy to come and go whilst in port, no need for ... Read More
Just finished a criise aboard MS Galileo.Had 40 passengers in total, a wondeful experience. It was very personal and the small vessel meant the ship tied up alongside the dock so it was easy to come and go whilst in port, no need for tenders we just walked down the gangway.Swim stops were great, the crew lowered steps down into the water and kayaks were available.We stoped anywhere it was safe to swim in the beautiful Aegean waters Optional tours were available when in port. Meals were wonderful with enough choices for all.The small number of guests made the atmosphere very friendly. Only criticism was the smoking area was directly off the lounge dining area.The smoke went up the nearby spiral stairs to upper deck and occasionally back into the loung dining area.There were only 4 smokers out of 40 guests but they were constantly at the large outside dining table smoking so other guests avoided using the area which would been lovely to sit at if the smoking area was elsewhere The sevice was first class.The cruise was good value Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
My wife and I went on 7 night/ 8 day Greek Island cruise with friends in September 2015. For months we were looking forward to a trip of a life time, sharing websites links of Harmony V with friends and family. After a month long ... Read More
My wife and I went on 7 night/ 8 day Greek Island cruise with friends in September 2015. For months we were looking forward to a trip of a life time, sharing websites links of Harmony V with friends and family. After a month long European holiday we could not wait to board our " luxury cruising yacht." What a let down. Harmony V was nothing like the photos on the website. It is extremely tired and in a desperate need of a make over. The furnishing and fittings reminded us of a cheap motel. We were not informed that the majority of the passengers were part of a seperate tour group catering for American tourist. They had their own guide and as such did not mingle as they undertook their own excursions and had their seating arrangements for meals. It was really a case of us and them. The cabin and beverage staff were very good and tried their best. The food was average with little variety and the Greek wines on offer were very expensive and not very good. We saw very little of the captain and his executive team. We could however smell them from their constant smoking on the bridge. We paid what we believe was and extremely high price which obviously heightened our expectations. Please do you homework before making any bookings Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
This was our first cruise and after reading some negative comments prior to us boarding, I was a little concerned. However, after spending 8 wonderful days, sailing around the Mediterranean, stopping off at beautiful Greek Islands, eating ... Read More
This was our first cruise and after reading some negative comments prior to us boarding, I was a little concerned. However, after spending 8 wonderful days, sailing around the Mediterranean, stopping off at beautiful Greek Islands, eating the most fabulous food, being waited upon like we were Kings and Queens, I decided that the people that had written the negative comments must have been on the wrong cruise. We were on the A deck (no noise at all) and the cabin was excellent. The weather conditions outside were extremely hot and humid so the A/C worked overtime, which kept us cool all night and held up to the extreme temperatures. The towels were changed twice per day and we also had a turn down service at night with a chocolate to send us off to sleep. The bar staff and food service staff were above professional, they became our friends and knew what our requirements were every day. Variety Cruises should be very proud of them. The ships other staff, sailors etc, were also very friendly and helped us whenever we required assistance. I suppose if I had to mention anything negative, we both wanted to do some shore excursion, however there was a quota required which was never reached. We weren't to concerned, but some people might be disappointed. Perhaps Variety can link in with another company to ensure the quota is reached. We swam off the back of the Harmony V 3 times which was exciting swimming in the Mediterranean and the crew watched over us to make sure we were all ok, as sometimes the current was a little strong. Each days activities were posted on the notice board plenty of time in advance and a briefing for the next days activities were placed on out bed each night. Keep up the excellent work Harmony V, and we hope to see you soon. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
This was our first cruise and it was excellent from service to the comfort of the room. The wait staff were thorough and made sure we were looked after at all times. The room was services twice daily and turned down at night with ... Read More
This was our first cruise and it was excellent from service to the comfort of the room. The wait staff were thorough and made sure we were looked after at all times. The room was services twice daily and turned down at night with surprises on the pillows. The spa treatments on board with the massages were fantastic felt totally relaxed. The food was delectable with a great choice and fresh fruit available at all times. The dining area was set out with different colors and amazing napkin decorations couldn't wait to see what they had done with the serviette each time. Drink waiters very attentive and gained knowledge of what drinks you liked and how you took your coffee. A BIG THANK YOU to Ram and Asund I hope I have the names correct they were great. Yannis the manager was very helpful and attentive thru out the entire experience thank you to him as well. The captain was also available and friendly to all of us it was nice being able to stroll pass control room and pop head in each time to friendly faces. Will definitely cruise again looking forward to the new boat in 2017 that we heard about on board. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
I recently had the pleasure of sailing with Variety on the PanOrama II in July of this year with a group of friends 23 strong. We began our trip with an overnight stay, arranged through Variety, in Athens at the Herodian Hotel. The hotel ... Read More
I recently had the pleasure of sailing with Variety on the PanOrama II in July of this year with a group of friends 23 strong. We began our trip with an overnight stay, arranged through Variety, in Athens at the Herodian Hotel. The hotel is 5 stars: the staff was very accommodating in securing our luggage when we arrived at 11 AM and the rooms were not ready. Then onto the ship and we began our wonderful trip. The ship can accommodate 49, there were only 29 on board, our group of 23 and 6 others who quickly became part of our group. The ship was lovely, the cabins were very comfortable and the bathroom were quite spacious for a small cruise ship. The staff was wonderful and could not do enough for us. All requests were met with a smile and service. Sonny, the bartender, was the best. Joseph, the tour director, did a great job with the excursions, especially when the weather did not allow up to sail to Mykonos and we spent two nights docked in Syros. Joseph took us on a tour of the waterfront, explained the history of the island and pointed us in the right direction for a wonderful stay on the little known island. The food on board was great both in volume and quality. The daily home made butter cookies were a personal favorite. All in all, I would highly recommend Variety Cruises! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
Days before I left for Greece I read some very negative reviews about this trip. Naturally I was a little nervous. Now that I am home again I can truthfully say there was nothing to worry about. We had a truly wonderful time and ... Read More
Days before I left for Greece I read some very negative reviews about this trip. Naturally I was a little nervous. Now that I am home again I can truthfully say there was nothing to worry about. We had a truly wonderful time and visited several amazing islands without dealing with the large ship crowds. We met so many friendly and warm international travelers. This made the cruise all the better! The cabins are small. However, we found a place for everything and tucked our bags under the beds. And in reality, we were hardly ever in the cabin. We docked every day and had lots of time ashore. And the upper deck space was perfect to appreciate the beautiful weather and scenery (and Greek beer and wine). The food was very good. I enjoyed the incredible buffets more than the sit down dinners. So many delicious choices! And there were only three sit downs which were fine. The fruits and vegetables were all in season and so good! What was nice with this cruise is that you eat one meal a day on shore. If you like Greek food or think you might, you will be in heaven! We also loved the swim stops! There is a large platform, a ladder, a shower, and even noodles so you can relax in the Aegean Sea. I have saved the best for last. What made this trip especially memorable was the people. Everyone on board was friendly, thoughtful, and helpful. They truly want you to be happy. I must make special mention of our cruise director Thea. She was unbelievable! I don't think I have ever met anyone in her position who worked so hard to ensure that everyone was well cared for. What a kind, positive, smart guide! And she could be very funny! At every port she helped us arrange activities and always helped orient us with a walking tour. And her suggestions were 100% successes!! This proved to be one of the best trips ever! If you want to experience the Greek Islands, don't hesitate to choose this vacation. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
We just returned from a Greek Island Cruise on the Galilleo and had an incredible time. We highly recommend it. It's a very small ship, there were only 30 passengers this week (it holds more but wasn't full) so a lot of our trip ... Read More
We just returned from a Greek Island Cruise on the Galilleo and had an incredible time. We highly recommend it. It's a very small ship, there were only 30 passengers this week (it holds more but wasn't full) so a lot of our trip was made wonderful by the other passengers. I don't know that we would have had such a great trip if we hadn't made so many new friends. The ship is very comfortable. Our cabin on the upper deck was large and the cleaning staff kept it spotless. The restaurant area is free seating, which we liked, and there was plenty of space to hang out in the sun or the shade while sailing (although most of the sailing is overnight). We did have one night of rough seas and the sun deck looked like a bit of an infirmary with sick patients, but the staff handled it really well, handing out dramamine instead of drinks, and we all just kind of sat up there until it was over. We didn't do any of the excursions and heard mixed reviews from people. The islands are very easy to get around on your own if you do a little research ahead of time. The cruise director was very anxious for us to walk around each town, but we didn't find that nearly as interesting as exploring all the amazing beaches. The one downside of the cruise was that she didn't really customize the experience for the interests of each guests, she really just tried to sell the excursions. The food on the ship was outstanding. Fresh, delicious, varied, well presented, just great. I could have kept eating like that for weeks on end. We also really enjoyed the swim stops off the side of the boat. If you are looking for a small cruise experience, where you get to know your fellow passengers, get to see islands that aren't overloaded with tourists, and maximize your time on land, this is for you. If you're looking for a cruise with a casino, formal nights, etc. . . . it's not for you. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
Hi everyone. I was just on the Variety Cruise through the Greek Isles on the Harmony V. It was awesome. We went to some islands most of the big cruise ships can't go to. So, you get a feel for a more local experience, and our guide ... Read More
Hi everyone. I was just on the Variety Cruise through the Greek Isles on the Harmony V. It was awesome. We went to some islands most of the big cruise ships can't go to. So, you get a feel for a more local experience, and our guide Joeseph was fantastic. We skipped much of the tours, opting to relax at a couple of beach clubs instead. The itinerary is packed full of adventures, so if you tire easily, see some highlights, then relax on one of the many gorgeous beaches. There were a couple of teenagers on the boat, they were bored on days at sea, so bring some activities for them, or a computer for them to play games with. There is no entertainment on board, except one night, they bring on some greek dancers for a fun cultural experience. I would have skipped this to spend more time in the beautiful town we docked at and had dinner off boat. Rooms were nice. We had a normal room without the extra space, and it was roomy. I would just ask for more hooks on the walls to hang things for extra storage. Book the front half of the boat. The back half, especially the rooms under the outside lounge area can hear things like chairs moving on the floor, and voices from passengers enjoying late evening cocktails. Food was good on the boat, the dining area has both booth seating and chairs and table seating for groups of four. Everyone from the crew to Spiros the accommodations host to the captain were super! We're booking Cuba with them next! Can't wait! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
My Husband and I, with another couple with whom we travel often, took the Odyssey Classic Greek Isle tour; our first tour with Odyssey, The four nights in Athens in the Electra Palace Hotel was top notch....no complaints. The ... Read More
My Husband and I, with another couple with whom we travel often, took the Odyssey Classic Greek Isle tour; our first tour with Odyssey, The four nights in Athens in the Electra Palace Hotel was top notch....no complaints. The Harmony V was another story. This was billed as a luxury mega yacht, which paints a picture of a really nice boat. The Harmony V, in our opinion needs a makeover. When we arrived on the ship, the cabin had a smaller bed than we paid for. Lucky for us, another couple switched with us .... we believe they were compensated. The first hour out from Athens, the steering joystick malfunctioned so we missed our first island stop. From dirty carpets, tired and worn linens (white towels that were stained and some that looked as if they were used to clean floors), toilets and showers with rusty brown water, the crews laundry hanging on lines on the forward part of the boat; and the worst experience, a swim stop in choppy waters that was totally unsafe (the only two young women on our tour, who were in the water, pulled many people out ("mainly seniors"') while the staff stood on the deck and watched as the water carried us further and further away. There were people in the group that were on their 3rd, 4th and 5th Odyssey tour. The general concensus was that Odyssey's reputation is being harmed by this tour. They did not deliver what was advertised. The tour guide was good and the islands were everything we expected, although they did not stick to the itinerary on many occasions. The boat is billed as a big part of the "Greek Isle" experience, as advertised in their brochure. It did not live up to the hype in their brochure at all. Is there no quality control on Odyssey's part to check conditions on the Harmony V? Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
45 minutes out of Athens the steering broke...we waited 4 hours to be repaired. The trip did not follow our written itinerary. The linens are very old and mismatched. The towels, especially face cloths were stained. The ... Read More
45 minutes out of Athens the steering broke...we waited 4 hours to be repaired. The trip did not follow our written itinerary. The linens are very old and mismatched. The towels, especially face cloths were stained. The carpeting throughout the boat is dirty. (This was mentioned to the person in charge). The toilet backed up first day, our friends needed a complete new commode during the first 3 days-who is in charge of operations? The shower regularly has rusty water. The crew are a very nice group of people who tried their best to meet our needs. The A/C in our cabin was very good. The food was fair to good. At the buffets the food was never hot. (This was mentioned to the person in charge). This tour is marketed by ODESSEYS UNLIMITED as a Luxury Yacht. It is by no means a luxury yacht. Very misrepresented. When you begin a cruise like we did it is very disappointing and disconcerting to think that you can break down because the 'joy stick steering broke'. Where's the quality control and inspections???? Where is the cleanliness of towels and linens- things don't last forever-it's time for new items. WHERE IS ODESSEYS UNLIMITED INSPECTION OF WHAT THEY SELL? This boat needs a new plumbing system, and a refurbishment throughout. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
This was my first cruise, and I can say it got me hooked. The welcome drinks, the staff were helpful and friendly, polite highly professional and dedicated and all gave exceptional service.. Mariza as our cruise and excursion director ... Read More
This was my first cruise, and I can say it got me hooked. The welcome drinks, the staff were helpful and friendly, polite highly professional and dedicated and all gave exceptional service.. Mariza as our cruise and excursion director was a ball of fire. Her energy was endless and infectious. Everyone we talked to had nothing but high praises for her. The food was of a high standard, the service was spotless, the cabin was comfortable, clean and used storage space most efficiently and generally the whole atmosphere was outstanding, everyone was all smiles on this cruise. The overall experience was fantastic I would recommend this cruise without hesitation! Thank you Variety Cruises I will definitely be taking another cruise on this ship! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
I am a great fan of the Galileo ship and unhesitatingly recommend it to anyone looking for truly fantastic experience in the Aegean Sea. I have just returned from one week cruising with Galileos which included various islands such as ... Read More
I am a great fan of the Galileo ship and unhesitatingly recommend it to anyone looking for truly fantastic experience in the Aegean Sea. I have just returned from one week cruising with Galileos which included various islands such as Poros, Polyaigos,Folegandros,Santorini, Paros, Antiparos, Myconos, Kythnos and many more key sites that are expensive to visit independently. All crew were very helpful, friendly and went of there way to ensure we all enjoyed every single day of the trip. The meals were varied, very tasty and well presented. The chef was a surprise! Wine and soft drinks were included with dinner. The choice of a sit down dinner with up to six or more other people allows you to make the acquaintance of other interesting people from all over the world who are also on the cruise with you. All the excursions were included in the cost of the cruise. The guides telling you about the places you are going to visit were extremely knowledgeable and versed about the areas. I would highly recommend this boat trip that you get to see beautiful parts of the Aegean Sea and stop and swim in beautiful breathtaking locations. All were superb as was the organisation of everything on board and on shore while we were in those places. Very comfortable for a couple. I simply cannot wait to go back to Greece for my next boat trip again! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
If it wasn't for the fantastic people we met and the crews professionalism this cruise would of totally destroyed the Greek Islands for me. The people we met are the only reason I didn't disembark this cruise within the first ... Read More
If it wasn't for the fantastic people we met and the crews professionalism this cruise would of totally destroyed the Greek Islands for me. The people we met are the only reason I didn't disembark this cruise within the first two days. The only mega thing about the boat is that it's in need of mega maintenance. Toilets that block , brown water from showers. Uncomfortable beds, white towels that have turned brown and crusty, dirty outdoor furniture to name a few things. Now please don't get me wrong the staff were amazing given the poor equipment and environment they had to work within. I have been on small cruises before and this was a huge disappointment . Please don't waste your time or money I've had better experiences on larger boats. THIS CRIUSE IS NOT WHAT THEY ADVERTISE Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
My wife and I booked this cruise as we had always talked about visiting the Greek Islands and thought a Small Ship would be the ideal way to do it. The ship is really comfortable with a fantastic crew and excellent service. The meals ... Read More
My wife and I booked this cruise as we had always talked about visiting the Greek Islands and thought a Small Ship would be the ideal way to do it. The ship is really comfortable with a fantastic crew and excellent service. The meals on board were delicious and the service was always top notch. Special mention to Armand the bartender who kept us well supplied with drinks and great cocktails. I tend to find that the some of the best memories from travelling are not just the places you visit but the people you meet. There were around 35 passengers on our cruise and we made some great friendships with the other passengers. Unfortunately we didn't get to Crete as the sea was very rough when we left Santorini but it really didn't matter. The crew arranged for us to travel to other islands and we had a great time. We had a Captains Dinner and a Greek Night on board which was a lot of fun. The excursions arranged via the ship were well organised and the trip to Delios was certainly worth the ferry ride across to the Island. For all those considering visiting the Greek Islands this is definitely the way to go as the ship can get right into the ports with no tendering off required (except Santorini). Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We were very excited when we found out about the Variety Cruise line and thought this was the type of cruising that fit our travel style. We have been on the big ships, but while ok when we traveled with a large group of family members, ... Read More
We were very excited when we found out about the Variety Cruise line and thought this was the type of cruising that fit our travel style. We have been on the big ships, but while ok when we traveled with a large group of family members, that is not our taste for just the two of us. Our cruise on the Galileo lived up to our expectations! On ship - I can only give superlatives for everything about the Galileo. All the staff was extremely friendly and helpful, with very personal service on such a small ship. We only had 23 passengers, so it was even more intimate than might be with a full complement of 50. There was one other American couple on board, with other fellow passengers from England, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Ukraine and Australia. A wonderful mix of people! Most, but not all, spoke English. The staff primarily spoke English and French (and Greek). We loved the ship itself with the wooden trim and "pirate ship" look. It was a bit disappointing that the sails were never actually unfurled to see it at full sail. Dining - There were two sit-down dinners - the first night's Welcome dinner and the last Captain's dinner. These menus were very good, but just gave a choice between meat or fish, not multiple choices per course like a standard cruise ship may have. All other meals were buffet style with extensive choices. Breakfast each day included cooked-to-order eggs, as well as full American and European style buffet options, and lots of fresh fruit. Other buffet meals included Seafood and Greek themes. All were excellent and more food than we needed (but it was there, so we "had" to eat!). Ports - Santorini is very touristy for a reason - it is probably the most dramatically beautiful island. The volcanic caldera makes it truly unique, with cliff top towns and deep blue water. Docking right at the pier was very convenient instead of having to tender from the big ships. Other islands visited were Poros, Folegandros, Paros and Syros which were more traditional, less touristy and each had its own local style. They are all interesting to experience and explore. We loved all the whitewashed homes with bright trim (primarily blue, but there are a few rebels with purple and green) and beautiful flowers everywhere. They are definitely Jewels of the Cylades! Swim Stops - we had four days with morning swim stops. The first one at Poliegos was probably the prettiest, surrounded by rocky cliffs. The water was VERY cold in May, but a number of people swam and snorkeled each day, including my husband. I preferred staying on top of the water in the provided kayak. We enjoyed paddling around at each of the stops. We highly recommend the Galileo and look forward to another cruise someday with Variety Cruises. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
If you are looking for an intimate, immersive and authentic Greek experience based on the water look no further than Variety Cruises Jewels of the Cyclades trip aboard the charming and enchanting Galileo. Pulling into Piraeus port in ... Read More
If you are looking for an intimate, immersive and authentic Greek experience based on the water look no further than Variety Cruises Jewels of the Cyclades trip aboard the charming and enchanting Galileo. Pulling into Piraeus port in our taxi, prior to embarking the Galileo, we coasted by many proud vessels of varying size and description from mega yachts to small sailboats, to sun seeking gin palaces, all alluring and attractive to seafarers in their own way. But I have to say nothing in the Port that day caught the eye quite like the Galileo. A steel hulled, wooden, three masted motor sailer, reminiscent of a romantic sailing era now passed. The Galileo shines with charisma and filled us with a sense of adventure as we boarded to embark on our 7 night sailing taking in the Jewels of the Cyclades. We were part of a nearly capacity filling collection of 44 other guests of varying nationalities and ages, all interesting and like-minded travelers. My wife and I are younger than most people we get to sail with but on this trip there were also other young people and even some Honey Mooners! But regardless of age everybody on-board quickly made acquaintances and joined the atmosphere of familial hospitality set by the those who captain and crew this fine vessel. The welcome drinks, that followed the most brief and succinct safety drill I have ever witnessed, flowed with great generosity as we set sail into the late afternoon sun for our first port of call. The dinner that night was very enjoyable and the service and sense of fun and adventure set by the staff got everybody buzzing in the dining room on the first night. Really, the atmosphere was remarkable, not like anything we have experienced before. Relaxed, laid back and warm whilst still remaining highly professional and dedicated. That night we slept like babies in our wooden paneled cabin in the ancient Port of Epidaurus. The Weather had changed so we had to make a slight deviation to the itinerary, which for us made for a spontaneous and exciting alteration to the first night. We got to wander around this lovely port after dinner, late into the night and really immerse ourselves in the atmosphere of our chosen destination. We came to see and experience Greece and we were grateful to spend many nights in port, enjoying the destinations at our own pace and not having to rush back to set sail before we had experienced enough. I'll say it again, if you want to experience Greece authentically aboard a charming vessel, look no further than this trip aboard the Galileo. The week that followed was really made up of much of the same magic moments. The experience was so flexible and fluid and there was not one announcement made over the PA system after the first night, so we really felt like we were on-board a friends yacht, travelling with this small group who felt like family . The ambiance is relaxed and friendly and nothing is too much trouble. Getting on and off the ship could not be simpler and we never pulled into port with another sizable vessel, it was always just us and the locals save for Mykonos and Santorini but that is to be expected . We were taken right into the hearts of many ports, and stayed throughout the night tasting local specialties and talking to friendly local people. When it came to get off The Galileo a week later back in Piraeus we were slightly melancholic to be leaving the experience behind as both the crew and our fellow travelers all felt to be close friends. We have kept in touch with many of the people we met on this trip, we have only been back two weeks and have had various correspondence and communications and we have to say we miss it so much we are thinking of going back in July to do the whole thing over again with a new group of travelers but the same faces that we miss that became our friends: The crew of the Galileo! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We did the Jewels of the Cyclades cruise. We were only 28 passengers (out of about a 40 person capacity) and got to know everyone quite quickly. Just about everyone was a veteran traveller and it was fun sharing travelling stories. The ... Read More
We did the Jewels of the Cyclades cruise. We were only 28 passengers (out of about a 40 person capacity) and got to know everyone quite quickly. Just about everyone was a veteran traveller and it was fun sharing travelling stories. The islands that we visited were lovely, and apart from Mykonos and Santorini, were all islands that we had never heard of...where the big cruise ships never venture. We enjoyed seeing authentic island life, where the only other tourists were Greeks. Marita as our cruise and excursion director was amazing. So genuinely passionate about her country. She is a definite Jewel of the Cyclades! We had cabin 4 which was lovely (wood paneling on the wall, double bed, fairly large bathroom). (My only complaint was that the mattress was quite hard, which bothered my back). We did see a cabin with 2 single beds on the lowest level(obviously cheaper), and I'm very glad we did not have one of those cabins as they felt pretty claustrophobic to me, but the other passengers didn't seem to complain. The food was excellent, with lots of variety, more than I expected on such a small ship. It was a nice touch that there was fruit and cookies and cakes always available to nibble on during the day. Not all meals are provided, usually we found our own everyday either lunch or dinner very day, 2 meals a day were provided. It gave us a nice opportunity to eat locally! We thoroughly enjoyed our trip! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
Recently returned from a 7 day cruise on the Harmony V .....excellent experience. The staff was very helpful, professional and attentive. Our Bar keeper, Armand, has been in the cruise industry for many years and was personal, attentive ... Read More
Recently returned from a 7 day cruise on the Harmony V .....excellent experience. The staff was very helpful, professional and attentive. Our Bar keeper, Armand, has been in the cruise industry for many years and was personal, attentive and a wonderful addition to the cruise. Joseph, our director, was excellent; he was intelligent, knowledgeable of all aspects of Greece, humorous and extremely well-suited for his career. Stavos, our hotelier, was equally as proficient. When researching this trip there was limited information and the US representatives were not as knowledgeable and accommodating as one would expect....delay in receiving information, etc. However, the under representation in the US may be attributed to the mentioned short-fallings of the US reps. Once we were in Greece and aboard the Harmony ...all else was smooth sailing. The ONLY complaint I would have is there was a separate tour within our small cruise which made the flow disjointed in an otherwise seamless experience. Even with that said I would recommend this cruise without hesitation. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
We were "cruse virgins" until 2013 when we had our first experience of Variety Cruising on the sister ship Panorama (Adriatic Odyssey) We enjoyed that cruise so much, we decided to do the Aegean Odyssey on Panorama 2. From the ... Read More
We were "cruse virgins" until 2013 when we had our first experience of Variety Cruising on the sister ship Panorama (Adriatic Odyssey) We enjoyed that cruise so much, we decided to do the Aegean Odyssey on Panorama 2. From the moment of boarding, we were treated royally by all the friendly and attentive staff and cruise director Natalia. As our cruise was during shoulder season, there were only 24 passengers on a ship which can take up to 48 passengers. Exclusivity Indeed! Nothing was too much trouble for the staff. Our cabin was on the top deck, right next to the Captain's. It was quite roomy, with a double bed, sofa, bathroom etc. We really only used our cabin for sleeping, because we could relax in the lounge area or on deck chairs on the front deck. It was wonderful to lounge on the deck area when the ship was under sail. The sound of the wind in the sails was exhilarating. With so few passengers ( all of whom were friendly and interesting) it almost felt like we were on our own private yacht. We really loved the exclusivity of small ship cruising. We never felt like part of a herd ( something we certainly observed when huge passenger liners docked in larger ports) Ours was a round trip from Kusadasi (Turkey ) to Athens and some beautiful Greek Islands. While we did stop at the popular tourist islands of Mykonos and Santorini (both magnificent) we were also able to visit other ports where the huge passenger liners don't stop. For us, this was one of the major attractions of being on a small ship. As it was too windy to moor at Tinos, we visited the elegant island of Syros, capital of the Cyclades and joined the fascinating walking tour led by Natalia. We also loved Patmos and Samos because, unlike Santorini, they were not overrun by tourists. We enjoyed hiring a car and visiting the beaches and sites recommended by Natalia. Many other passengers enjoyed the shore excursion to the mediaeval town of Chora. I would also recommend the shore trip to Ephesus, the magnificent Greco-Roman city near Kusadasi. For me, one of the most simple pleasures was being able to enjoy swimming from the back of the boat on scheduled swim stops in magnificent coves. Swimming from the boat to the beach at Kythnos and also to beautiful Manganari Beach on Ios were highlights. ( certainly not something I could have experienced on a huge passenger liner.) We really enjoyed the meals onboard. I am coeliac (gluten-free) and my needs were catered for beautifully. The waiters and chef would ensure that everything I chose from the copious and delicious buffet was indeed gluten-free. The Captain's cocktail party and formal dinner ( we were seated next to the captain) and the Greek night ( with visiting performers who had us on our feet dancing) were most enjoyable. My husband and I would heartily recommend Variety's Aegean Odyssey on the Panorama 2 for travellers who prefer a more intimate, private and exclusive sailing cruise experience. We also recommend joining the Variety Club after the first cruise. This gives you access to special offers and discounts ( we received a discount on our second Variety Cruise when we booked directly with Malvinas Vonta, the co-ordinator) We are planning another Variety Cruise on the Caribbean in the future. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
This cruise line is 4 star and perfectly delivers to that standard. The great thing is that the ships are small , yacht like for those of us who cannot afford a yacht, and comfortable rather than luxurious. The real plus is the fact that ... Read More
This cruise line is 4 star and perfectly delivers to that standard. The great thing is that the ships are small , yacht like for those of us who cannot afford a yacht, and comfortable rather than luxurious. The real plus is the fact that they can tie up quayside and get into small places and coves well away from the big cruise vessels . On this Cyclades cruise we loved all the off beat small islands and could have easily given the big names. .....Santorini and Mykonos a miss in favour of more small islands. That said Delos was not to missed... And we caught a great time of year with many wild flowers across the islands. One thing we didn't expect was the fabulous warmth of the Greeks. They are a delight. The ship had character , the cabins were perfectly comfortable although opening portholes would have been good. Deck space was fantastic and the main lounge and restaurant also good. In a small group environment food can always be criticised , but overall they did a good job producing wholesome and varied dinners....albeit the served dinners of 4 courses being mammoth in portion sizes. Key thing however on such an small ship cruise is the crew and they were a delight. Praise would go to all of them but particularly to the great deck crew for ensuring passenger safety at all times and also to Valerie the amazing Ukrainian bar host who was quite a character and quite made tea cruise for us . Cruising with Variety is deifintley a great value option to explore islands. After all who wants to land on santorini with 3000 fellow passengers off a colossal cruise ship when u can do its with max 48 from Galileo. Finally another plus was the kayaks , nothing nicer than pottering around coves and bays when anchored in peace on an azure sea! Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
Panorama (48 passenger maximum) may be the first small ship in Cuba; this was its first season and rumor has it that it will return next year. Avalon Cruises contracted with Group IST in New York to provide U.S. approved People to People ... Read More
Panorama (48 passenger maximum) may be the first small ship in Cuba; this was its first season and rumor has it that it will return next year. Avalon Cruises contracted with Group IST in New York to provide U.S. approved People to People trips to Cuba for American Citizens who have not previously been able to travel there. Off-ship activities were arranged by Group IST. Most People to People tours are land-based, so this one was unique, and since it was on a small ship, activities included beach time, snorkeling, and beach barbeques. Ship provided masks, fins, and snorkels, but receiving the stuff was not handled efficiently with everybody grabbing for equipment at once as we were about to leave the ship. Equipment to be loaned could have been assigned leisurely earlier in the week to avoid the chaos. On board, the service was excellent, even elegant at dinner. Unfortunately, the food did not match. The chef managed to cook fish, chicken, and beef to cardboard consistency. Best meals we had were at restaurants off ship. The ship was a bit careless in not keeping track of its passengers; it was the ship's responsibility to provide a list of passengers to the Havana port officials who checked each passenger's passport against the list provided. Names were there for three people who canceled the trip at the last minute, but the names of three passengers who were actually there were not on the list, which caused a 40-minute delay when we tried to leave the ship in Havana. We were assured that the ship would accept credit cards, but when it came time to pay, the hotel manager would not accept cards without raised numbers. The newest cards don't have raised numbers, and passengers who tried to use them had not been made aware that theirs would not be accepted, which caused grief for some people who were low on cash. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
We were really looking forward to our cruise on this sailing motor cruiser. However, the sails and hull shape limited the weather we could sail in, which prevented us sailing right around the Peloppanese and the sails seemed to be really ... Read More
We were really looking forward to our cruise on this sailing motor cruiser. However, the sails and hull shape limited the weather we could sail in, which prevented us sailing right around the Peloppanese and the sails seemed to be really just for token aesthetic purposes, as one sail was only used once for a short time on one occasion. The double bedrooms were disappointing as the bed, in reality was only what I would describe as a three-quarters bed with the feet end quite narrow. Fortunately, the ship had only 14 passengers and we were readily moved to a twin cabin. The beds in the twin cabin ranged from extremely hard to very hard, but I solved this problem by getting extra pillows and lying on these! Our itinerary was very good, but due to poor weather forecasts, we were unable to sail right around the Peloppanese, but the planned shore excursions to Delphi and ancient Olympia were brilliant. The buses and mini buses used were of excellent quality. As our planned route was changed it meant that we sailed through the Corinth Canal again during daylight which all the passengers enjoyed. Two other unplanned excursions were made which were very good and the ships director made the most of the change of route. Unfortunately the food did not live up to expectations. In brief, there were large quantities, of mainly cool, poor quality food. In view of the large amount of food wasted, surely it would have been better to serve smaller quantities of better quality food! The plus side was that I did not put on weight during this holiday! The waiters were very attentive, but I felt it unnecessary and slightly irritating for them to fill up the water glasses every few minutes, perhaps this was because the ship was not full. The wine waiter was very good and found us an excellent choice of wine. Another thing I found disappointing was that 2 people were left to dine alone during the Captains dinner and the Captain sat at the staff table during the cruise. One suggestion I would make is that another handrail on the stairs would make it easier for older or infirm passengers to move up and done the stairs. All in all, we are disappointed that Variety cruises did not fully live up to our expectations as we would have loved to have sampled some of their other cruises further afield, but based mainly on the poor quality food, we would not book another Variety cruise. Read Less
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