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Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise as the ship was small and advertised that it would be docking in city centers around the Iberian peninsula so exploring on our own would be easy. We had been on the Harmony V before, so felt like we knew what we ... Read More
We chose this cruise as the ship was small and advertised that it would be docking in city centers around the Iberian peninsula so exploring on our own would be easy. We had been on the Harmony V before, so felt like we knew what we signed up for. Starting with the ship itself: The ship is a bit tired and wear can be seen throughout. as it is small, it feels cluttered in the dining room and the upper deck. Our cabin was on the middle deck in order to have a window and not just a port hole (which costs more than the lower deck) and we were assigned cabins near the bow of the ship. Our toilet was literally in the shower stall (you could shower while using the toilet if you really wanted...) and the room smaller than the less expensive rooms in the deck beneath us. The window was 18"x18" and foggy. There were problems with the toilet flushing throughout the cruise. The staff did however keep it clean. The cruise was not able to dock in Seville as described when we made arrangements. I understand that with cruises that changes to the itinerary may be necessary and was disappointed to find that our ship was quite a distance from the city center. We were given maps to give taxi drivers so we could return to the ship, but the maps were not helpful: a third of the people on the ship were in taxis that could not find the ship even with the map. The Cruise Director didn't seem to be concerned as, "that was the map they gave me." In fact, the Cruise Director didn't seem to be too concerned about much. Excursions were over-priced and led by tour guides who were not great. Two of the excursions on our trip were cancelled as not enough people signed up. Luckily, due to the proximity to the town centers, excursions were not really necessary other than to Granada and Ronda. Dining was fine The food was good, well prepared, and the wait staff was terrific. The dining room is cramped and there's really no good way to dine outside. Don't expect any entertainment or enrichment on board. That just did not happen at all. The second to last night the cruise director attempted to plan a mixer during dinner but it felt forced and, bluntly, the cruise was already over at that point. Overall, the rest of the ports were close to towns as promised, the food was fine, the staff was overall very good However, I personally would not choose Variety Cruises or the Harmony G again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this ship after very good experiences on Vantage Travel Cruises. The ship was represented as launched in 2012 with Marble bathrooms, minibars, individual thermostats, five star dining and the like. We chose it for its Baltic ... Read More
We chose this ship after very good experiences on Vantage Travel Cruises. The ship was represented as launched in 2012 with Marble bathrooms, minibars, individual thermostats, five star dining and the like. We chose it for its Baltic Destinations. From the start, the ship failed to meet pur experience tations. The cabin was in its original 1992 state, it’s actual launch date, all steel floors and walls in the bath with no marble in sight. No minibar, the individual thermostats did not work, leaving us overheated as a de ision was made to address those who were cold at our expense. The dining room and hotel staff were engaging young people with whom we enjoyed a gtpreat relationship. The daily tours were solid and led by competent guides, The food, billed as five star, was mediocre, heavy on lamb and eggplant. It was generally served both overlooked and I e cold. Leftovers from prior meals came to be featured components of meals and, despite the high cost of the trip, an all too often occurrence on this cruise. This was a unique cruise. The staff, cruise director and destinations great, the food and physical plant seriously lacking. I truly loved destinations including Rige, Talinn, St. Petersburg and Stockholm. Unfortunately, the aging physical plant and mediocre food made the cost of this trip excessive. After eight Vantage trips in just over four years, we are beginning the process of looking elsewhere. Not a bad cruise, just much less than was promised for the price. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We had a goal to visit the Greek Islands on a small ship, the Galileo was perfect. The staff was unbelievable, the food was sumptuous and plentiful. They were very accommodating for dietary restrictions. Our destinations were changed due ... Read More
We had a goal to visit the Greek Islands on a small ship, the Galileo was perfect. The staff was unbelievable, the food was sumptuous and plentiful. They were very accommodating for dietary restrictions. Our destinations were changed due to high winds in the open sea, therefore we were unable to visit any of the islands. Our stops were all along the mainland, and included a swim stop on a spectacular day. All replacement stops were well thought out by the staff, and included The Lion Gate, Olympia, and Monemvassia. They involved many sites of historic significance, including destinations and museums we would never have seen otherwise. It was a great adventure, because we never knew where we were going! We would definitely take Variety Cruises again, on another small ship adventure. Passengers who began as strangers became friends. We felt completely safe as women traveling, and would recommend this to anyone traveling alone as well. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
The itinerary was exactly what we have wanted to do for years. The ship was a little tired but everything was clean and acceptable. Almost all of the meals were buffet style which normally isn't our thing but it must be said that ... Read More
The itinerary was exactly what we have wanted to do for years. The ship was a little tired but everything was clean and acceptable. Almost all of the meals were buffet style which normally isn't our thing but it must be said that there was plenty of food with a good variety for every meal, the food was extremely fresh and even if you were back of the queue there was plenty of every dish to go round. In all we were surprised by the quality of the food which was very good without exception. It was the norm for most people to drink the house wine and ordering anything else was a bit of an ordeal. However the house wine wasn't bad and by the end of the week we were certainly ok with it. The bar was scantily stocked and some nights wasn't even open beyond 10.30pm but even that didn't bother us as the sea air gave us very a very good sleep pattern, so good in fact that we only took one breakfast in the whole week. As for the islands, well once you've seen one you've probably seen most of what tomorrow brings. The people were very friendly and if you ate the local food and drank the local wine then meals out were very very cheap. 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: 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
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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
We previously sailed with Variety Galileo in Greece, had such a good time we repeated for Panama and Costa Rica. To start at the beginning, they used to embark at Shelter Island, a somewhat picturesque location but now its Colon which is ... Read More
We previously sailed with Variety Galileo in Greece, had such a good time we repeated for Panama and Costa Rica. To start at the beginning, they used to embark at Shelter Island, a somewhat picturesque location but now its Colon which is industrial and nothing to look at. Orientation and life boat drill took three hours which was a little tiring after traveling. Half the reason we took this trip was to see the San Blas Islands, with a beach barbecue and swimming. It was disappointing to learn that part of the trip would be cancelled due to high winds. Of course, safety of the passengers and ship is foremost but it should be considered, because this is a small ship, you may not be going where you think you will. Instead we went to Portobello for two nights instead of one. It was a ten mile trip instead of 64 miles but its safe to say not many had the ability to sleep and some were sea sick due to the rolling of the ship. This ship will roll considerably even at anchor. After the rough ride we had to listen to the anchor chain scraping on the deck above our heads all night due to the wind. Avoid a forward cabin at all costs. Portobello is a small town with history but can be done in a few hours. To compensate we were taken to an indigenous native village, the Embarra people, after a 1 1/2 hour bus ride and up a river and dugout canoes. It was very interesting but we felt that since the ship travelled 20 miles instead of 168 miles Variety could have done something extra for the passengers considering what they saved in fuel, but everything was priced the same. The first dinner I had something of an altercation with the dining room manager over seating, concerning a tour group. Usually on a small ship like this open seating is the rule, but he was insistent on grouping them together which was annoying because we were happily mixing at that point. When I mentioned it should be open seating he angrily threw up his hands and said"What can I do?" Later, even the tour group told him they were adults and were perfectly capable deciding where to sit. The food is good but nothing memorable. The dining room service was excellent. Twice complimentary drinks were served but contained so little alcohol you could have had them for breakfast. . We really enjoyed the swimming off the boat in Greece but only one opportunity on this cruise and all the stops involved donning life jackets and using Zodiacs, where in Greece the boat always docked. You could walk on and off at will and slept well. It has to be mentioned that when you don't sleep well the next day you are not up to par. We had one snorkeling opportunity at a small island also.The Panama canal was very interesting but traverse mainly at night, so you can see the locks which are lighted but none of the surrounding country. Bow thruster noise sounded like it was next to your head here. Another night of little sleep. Why the thruster was necessary I can't figure out since four locomotives kept the ship centered in the canal. The Osa peninsula trip is described as incredible and spectacular wildlife, but all we saw was some monkeys and large numbers of ants. We did the zip line in Quepos and found it adventurous but challenging remembering the rules and staying safe. The descriptions of the excursions are really florid and overboard. Manuel Antonio was better for wildlife. Orientations and instruction take up a lot of time and some days you have to rise pretty early to eat breakfast, get orientated and zodiaced. Passengers were generally between 60 and 70 years of age and sociable. Service personnel from the captain on down to the maids did everything they could to be friendly and helpful, except for the mentioned dining room manager. I was interested in taking the Seychelles trip with Variety but won't now because i don't want to travel halfway around the world to find out we may be going to some african village instead because of the weather. That's the name of the game with small ships, Variety cannot control the weather, I know, but choices have to be made for value. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2010
Unfortunately we were very disappointed with the cruise for the following reasons. When we booked the cruise we were told that Seafarers did not have the 2010 brochure but would send us the 2009. We were told that everything was the ... Read More
Unfortunately we were very disappointed with the cruise for the following reasons. When we booked the cruise we were told that Seafarers did not have the 2010 brochure but would send us the 2009. We were told that everything was the same except the prices. However once on board we were told that we had to pay for our drinks at meal times. Whereas the brochure stated that these were free with our meals. At best with a cruise costing £3700 this is extremely mean - secondly contravenes the Trade Description Act. As a 'Mega Yacht' we expected some level of luxury. The cabins are no bigger or better appointed than a standard cabin on a larger cruise ship. Our shower to say the least needed some tender loving care. There was only 11 sun beds for 44 people! It was impossible to use the lounge as the TV was on all the time with the volume very high! The 'Full American Breakfast' consisted of some cereals and fruit was very nice, however, the hot breakfast comprised to two hot trays. Not exactly a full breakfast! The main meals of the day provided very good food but the only choice was for the main meal - there was never a choice even for desert! Besides all this as we ended up spending over half the 'cruise' in Patmos Harbour due to high winds in the Aegean SEA . We fully accept that the Captain was correct in protecting our safety and comfort. But From our point of view it is not much of a cruise sitting in a harbour. While we understand we could not keep to the itinerary we do not understand why we could not have at least cruised to islands in the area where the weather was fine. There were many much smaller vessels coming in and out of the harbour all the time. Obviously the actually cruising is a large part of the enjoyment on going on a cruise. We may have just as well stayed in a Hotel in Patmos, where we would have had much more room and a swimming pool - for a lot less money!!! A concern is that one of the passengers had done this cruise twice before and has never been to Mykonos??!!! So three cruise and he still has not seen the island. I have since spoken to someone else who did this cruise and they also did not get to Mykonos!! Because of the 'bad weather' we had to return to Athens by a massive Ferry along with cars and trucks. The Captains meal was brought forward a day and therefore made the end of the holiday. So the next day was just hanging around waiting to go home. Even that day the lunch and dinner were a buffet - surely one does not pay all this money to queue up for your food!! The evening meal was brought forward to 7.00pm although we could not get on the ferry until 11.00pm!!! Again, much hanging around. In effect it took us 22 hours to get home - excluding the whole day of Thursday in effect waiting to get on the ferry. Had to pack in the afternoon and put the cases out before 7.00pm. But they where still there at 10.00 pm!!! This was to us going to be a 'once in a lifetime' cruise. So we had hoped you can understand our disappointment. The whole idea was a luxury cruise with more room and meal choice as opposed to the large ships, but in fact it was the opposite. On the positive side we would have to say the crew at all times were very helpful, efficient and smiling. In particular Christian was very knowledgeable and helpful. Especially with the change of itinerary and with the ferry. We have emailed no end of times to Seafarers although the lady in the office always answers these - her manager took 2 months to even acknowledge our disappointment.Had numerous excuses that he was on holiday the top man of Variety Cruises was on a trip etc etc. Over 3 weeks ago he promised to come back to me at the end of that week and guess what - !! Read Less
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