3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
The itinerary from Malaga to Lisbon, Portugal appealed to me and my sister. Additionally, we hadn't cruised on a small ship before. The best things were the informality of it, the personal attention of crew, and the lively ... Read More
The itinerary from Malaga to Lisbon, Portugal appealed to me and my sister. Additionally, we hadn't cruised on a small ship before. The best things were the informality of it, the personal attention of crew, and the lively interactions with other cruisers, and of course, Spain and Portugal! Things work differently when there are less than fifty passengers on a cruise. When a port change was necessary due to weather, the captain gathered us in the lounge and explained wave height, etc. From our last port (in the Algarve) we were bussed a few hours into Lisbon instead of enduring a gruelling overnight trip around the coast. I am not sure that I would want to cruise out into the Atlantic on a ship that size. I didn't have any trouble with seasickness on the other legs of the journey, but I could feel the rocking. The crew was friendly and personable. My sister got an impromptu galley tour when she looked at the inside dining room. We chatted with the captain on several occasions. We were only 35 cruisers on that trip so the ratio between crew and cruiser was great! Dining was on a sheltered deck with several large shared tables. Seating was not assigned. The food was okay with a choice between two main courses (fish or meat). On a couple of evenings, there were self-serve buffets with a wide range of food choices. Desserts were not the chef's strong suit, but fruit was available. The ports were well chosen. I particularly liked Cadiz, a charming small city. We overnighted at most ports of call so evenings out was a possibility and no fear of missing the ship. We took the train into Seville on our first day in Cadiz and visited the royal palace. There was a ship's tour on offer but we opted for the lower cost do-it-yourself option. We only took one ship's tour - to Ronda. We enjoyed the international crowd on the ship. We had informal dancing on the deck a couple of times. The only other entertainment - some board games in the lounge, movies, and swimming (once) off the back of the ship. We didn't miss shows, etc. because many of our fellow cruisers were well-travelled and we enjoyed good conversations. The cruise would not work for people with more than minor mobility issues. One port required tendering - but in a Zodiac with PFD's on! The stairs to the lower deck was very steep. The ship would particularly appeal to groups of friends travelling together and to gregarious people. It works well for fine weather cruising since there is not a lot of indoor common space. And we had fine weather! It was disappointing though that the sails were only put up once, just as a demo / photo opp. 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
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
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
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
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: 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
Panorama II Ratings
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