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.
Our category A double room was very nice, small as expected, but adequate. The space around the bed was limited, but there was a night stand on each side of the bed with drawers and electrical outlets. The inside wall is covered by mirrors, behind which are two closets with a vanity area between. The vanity has a small stool with one drawer and shelves behind the mirror. The only critical thing I might say was that the mattress was too firm for me, although it was fine for my husband who likes a firm mattress. That being said, I still slept well overall.
The bathroom was surprising large, with a long vanity with shelves and rectangular shower. Good hot water pressure at all times. Good modern hair dryer supplied. No outlet in bathroom, so had to use the hair dryer in the bedroom but lots of mirrors so no problem there.
We peeked into a lower level cabin (category B/C) on the last day and they did seem much smaller overall. Not as much storage space and a smaller bathroom area. Small porthole right at the water line.
We were glad we chose to upgrade to the upper level category A cabin, but many of our fellow passengers on the lower level commented that it was not worth the cost difference for them.