Cruising on a mega yacht - what a concept!

blog250px Galileo Variety CruissOn the topic of cruising which has always been popular, I am reminded of Newton’s Law ‘For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction.'

Two years ago I took advantage of an invitation to sail on Royal Caribbean’s ‘Oasis of the Seas’. Many of you know about the Oasis, and now her twin the Allure and are aware of the fact that she carries a staggering 6000 plus passenger load. I must say she is a gorgeous ship and is truly built to handle 6000 plus passengers. Both ships are so popular that in fact we have clients already booked for September 2013 just to make sure they can get the same staterooms they had last year which illustrates how much in demand she is with new and repeat passengers.

 But this is where the “opposite reaction” comes in; at the same time we are receiving more and more requests for the very small and intimate style ship and there are some amazing choices out there, in every corner of the globe. 

We are delighted to work with Variety Cruises. Get this ! They are mega-yachts accommodating 50 to 75 passengers – Now this is the way to see such areas as the Greek islands. I am very excited (and oh so jealous) to feature Variety Cruises as we were given the invitation to try out a seven night cruise on one of the yachts. Unfortunately for me, due to two already big trips this Fall I couldn’t take this one.

However, Jeff Pychel from our office found a way to fit it in before his ‘Indonesia in Depth’ tour. The lucky guy is booked to sail on Variety’s ‘Galileo’.   They have free wi-fi on board so he has promised to give us a daily report of what it’s like to spend 8 days on a mega-yacht ! For more information about the ships I have excerpted an interview with Constantine Venetopoulos, Director of Sales................


"Constantine is part of the 3rd generation of the Venetopoulos family that founded Variety Cruises. He currently serves as the Director of Sales for the company’s North America operations and offers the following insight of the Variety cruising style:

“Variety Cruises offers life-enriching journeys for the inquisitive mind. We combine a private yacht/small ship type of on board experience with a complete immersion in the destinations where we cruise and mesmerizing ports of call to offer our guests an authentic and memorable travel experience and become part of the Variety Cruises family. When you visit a destination with Variety Cruises, you can expect a destination-focused journey that is enhanced by our Cruise Leaders, excursions in small numbers and our docking location right in the heart of the port visited. While we earned our reputation with our Greece and the Greek Islands programs, we have expanded our ships deployment to include the Eastern Mediterranean (Syria, Cyprus, Israel & Egypt), West Africa and the Black Sea from Odessa and Istanbul. Last but not least, we have created a collection of Theme Cruises which will certainly tempt our Variety Club Passengers as well as new friends looking to share their passion for History, Food and Wines and other activities with other guests of ours with the same interests. 

Harmony V Variety Cruises

The atmosphere is one of casual elegance, more similar to private yachting than cruising. The day-to-day experience revolves around the sundeck, the dining area and lounges of the yacht. Weather permitting, our yacht will drop anchor daily close to a beach or cove where our guests can enjoy some time to swim directly off our swimming platform. Exactly in the fashion guest of a private yacht would too. We visit sites of historical significance where our guests can enjoy an optional excursion or spend their time at leisure. We dock into the islands later in the afternoon where guests can explore the village ports and the islands. The smaller size of the ships presents opportunities that the larger cruise vessels can never achieve. What we basically try to do here is replicate private yachting in a more affordable way for individuals and small groups.

The common thread among all our destinations is to visit the more known ports of call combined with intimate, off-the-beaten-path destinations. For example, in Greece we will visit Santorini and Mykonos but also Monemvasia and Folegandros. Folegandros was voted by Conde Nast as the “Secret Santorini.” So it is these best kept secrets that we reveal on board our yacht cruises in addition to the famed gems. Our ships are small and dock right into the heart of the islands and village ports. Of course, that means we do not have to tender our guests in and out which saves time for the fun stuff! Our itineraries are all full board including breakfast lunch and dinner. The only exception are our Greek itineraries which are half board allowing for one meal ashore to mingle with the locals and experience their cuisine. This has been a policy since our cruise concept was first designed as it allows for an in-depth cultural experience and immersion with the local people, traditions and destination. We don’t offer on board Casino’s we offer the beating heart of the place you visit. This is also one of the reasons alumni such as Smithsonian and non profits such as National Geographic (Lindblad) are some of our major accounts chartering our vessels offering their clients the in-depth experience only small ships as ours can.

The demographic of our passengers consists of the sophisticated mature traveler. People who have been on the larger cruise ships but are interested in trying out something new and more intimate. It’s ideal for honeymoon travelers and extended family reunions. Grandparents with grandchildren are also a great demographic for us as our itineraries immerse guests into the culture and history or our destinations and it is a fun experience but also a very educational one. It is truly a niche cruise and yacht concept that is designed for the sea lover who understands the boating concept and wishes to explore a destination with style and comfort and is more destination driven in their vacation choice. 

Variety Cruises is a niche cruise product. It is designed for the sophisticated mature traveler seeking a destination-driven experience. The yachts are modern and upscale but still we are in the destination business. Not in the cruise business in the traditional sense. It is not the type of product for someone seeking 24/7 on board entertainment, casinos etc. We try to replicate private yachting in a more affordable fashion with our 8 day scheduled cruises. We offer a destination mix between the famous ports of call and less visited more authentic destinations, which the big cruise ships cannot approach. There are no long lines on board our yachts. Actually, no lines at all!

We currently own a fleet of 7 mega yachts and sail cruisers hosting between 50 and 72 guests with comfort, style and above all safety (with full SOLAS safety requirements).

Our concept in a nutshell is:

    • 25 staterooms (approximately) with a crew of 20
    • Upscale atmosphere & service yet casual and intimate
    • Smaller ships which means:
    1. We dock right in the village ports of our destinations (no tendering in and out)
    2. Swim-stops off secluded beaches and coves (weather permitting)
    3. Overnights in many ports of call (half board on our Greek cruises allowing for time to experience one meal ashore)
    4. Destination driven itineraries mixing famous ports of call such as Santorini and off the beaten track villages and islands such as Folegandros (voted by Conde Nast as the Secret Santorini)
    5. Yachting experiences geared towards the individual traveler in a more affordable and organized fashion
    6. Fresh continental cuisine with a local flavor served al fresco buffet style or sit down in dinning area or outside lounge areas.
    7. Optional excursions, locally themed nights, on board lectures and more are all an integral part of the Variety Cruises culturally enriching experiences.
    8. English speaking crew and Cruise Director with an International mix of clientele (60-70 % of the Variety Clientele tends to be from the US)"
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