If you've ever dreamed of lounging on your own private yacht, welcome to the next best thing. Variety sails scheduled trips on eight small ships — five motor vessels and three motorized sailboats. Each is different, ranging from sleek megayachts (17 to 36 cabins) to classic sailing ships (24 to 25 cabins). You'll usually find these Greek-owned vessels cruising Greece, Turkey, and Africa, though the line has added Panama Canal and Cuba itineraries. Variety specializes in shorter trips for folks who (sigh) can't be away from work for too long. By the end of a cruise, you'll likely know all of your fellow passengers by name on these upscale but laid-back ships.
What We Love
Swim and Sports Decks: You can swim right off the sports deck on most ships; kayaks and snorkeling equipment are also available.
Interesting Lectures: Take in naturalist lectures or a special interest class — photography, for example.
Best Known For
Exuberant Greek Hospitality: The officers and crew make this line truly special. All are multilingual and take pleasure in getting to know the passengers. You might even learn a few Greek dance moves (no breaking plates, though!).
That Intimate Yacht Experience: Go ahead, imagine you're Beyoncé and Jay-Z as you relax in a stylish lounge or dine on deck.
Going Places Big Ships Can't Go: Variety's small ships can cruise up rivers and wedge into ports that big ships either skip or use tenders to reach.
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Who It's Best For
Honeymooners: The line offers discounts and perks to honeymooners, including Champagne, a candlelight dinner, and couples massages (on ships with spas).
Cruise-o-Phobes: Passengers who'd never set foot on a big ship seem to love these small vessels. Don't want to be part of the herd? This line is for you.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Onboard Charges Are in Euros: Make sure your credit card doesn't have a surcharge for foreign currency purchases.
Don't Expect Lavish Entertainment: Picture a DJ, karaoke, and quiz nights.
Gayle Keck is a San Francisco-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times.