Cruise: Adriatic Odyssey: Croatia, Montenegro, Albania & Greece
Cruise Company: Variety Cruises
Cruise Ship: Callisto
Cruise Dates: August 26 – September 2nd.
1. The ship
Callisto is a very old boat and it shows its age. But it is clean and runs well. Few negatives: The sun deck has no shade. There were four loungers, and no chairs or umbrellas.
Category A cabins have no direct access to the deck. The beds are very hard.
2. The crew
The captain had no interaction with the passengers. Even on the last night that was themed” Meet the Captain” he showed up for five minutes said three sentences and disappeared. His decisions about the schedule did not take passengers’ interests into account. He was only concerned about making it from port to port without trying to make it a little more pleasant experience for his guests.
The housekeeping staff was very nice and accommodating. The servers and the bar attendant were also extremely nice if not very efficient.
Hotel director went out of his way to be helpful.
3. Cruise director
While he was very approachable, he lacked the knowledge of the places we visited and was unable to offer any suggestions on what there was to do, except for pushing the excursions offered by the ship. He was also not very forthcoming about the itinerary changes and was not really advocating on passengers’ behalf when his help was needed negotiating with the captain. Which in itself should never have been an issue.
No information was given of the location where the ship was docked or on the procedures for boarding. The phone numbers provided did not work. Most passengers spent close to two hours trying to find the ship. No assistance was offered with the luggage by either the cruise or by port officials. No luggage cards were available. The suitcases had to be manually dragged to the ship which was at least 15 minutes walk from the terminal building. Cannot even imagine how some of the older passengers were able to manage.
5. Departure time
There was conflicting information about the time of departure from Dubrovnik. Website mentioned the next morning departure with the swim stop before reaching Korcula. Some passengers were told that the ship would depart that afternoon. In reality, it left at night reaching Korcula early in the morning and skipping the promised swim stop.
The first night on the ship we were told that the big storm was coming. The ship had to leave early to get to Bar, Montenegro and then make a 20 hours journey to Paxos , part of which would be through the storm.
Bar is the destination that has nothing to offer. The ship spent the morning there with the short excursion to the archeological site that was neither interesting nor important. We also stopped to look at the old olive tree and at the Orthodox Church, and were back on the ship by lunch. At that time, the passengers were given pills for motion sickness and were told to expect a storm with strength of 11 on the scale of 1 to 10. Everyone went to sleep drugged. The storm never happened but apparently caused a delay in our schedule.
Originally, the ship was supposed to stop at Corfu first for an hour to go through customs, then have a 5 hours swim stop at some beautiful beach, then arrive at Paxos at around 7 pm and go back to Corfu the next morning.
None happened as planned. We were stuck on the boat for 30 hours. Instead of 5 hours on the beautiful beach we had 45 minutes swim off the boat and did not arrive to Paxos till 9 pm at which point it was already too dark to see anything at all.
We had to beg the captain who, by the way never introduced himself or talked to the passengers once, to add at least one more swim stop since we already missed two (in Korcula and in Paxos). At 7:30 am the next morning we were allowed to swim off the boat near Corfu. Most passengers were still asleep and were not able to take advantage of this opportunity.
In Saranda, Albania the ship docked right next to the beach that was fenced and impossible to get to directly unless we swam to it off the boat. Again, the passengers needed to beg to let us do it before it was finally allowed.
The itinerary made no sense. First, why instead of going to Bar not to stop at some place that has something to offer?
Secondly, why stop at Corfu for an hour, then go to Paxos, get there after dark and then go back to Corfu? Why not spend time in Corfu first and then go to Paxos, so we can see and enjoy both places?
Having passengers on the small boat for 30 hours without stopping is unacceptable. No Bloody Mary’s or fruit platters can compensate for the time wasted and for the discomfort it caused. We basically lost two out of seven days of the cruise for which we paid significant amount of money.
The captain should have made arrangements to avoid this from happening.
Good but boring, no real variety. Felt like we are the same things every day of the week.
Originally arrival time was given as of 9 am. Travel arrangements have been made based on that time. Since no afternoon flights were available on the day of arrival we had to spend one extra day traveling. However, on the last night we were told that the ship will be back in Dubrovnik at 3 am. If we have known that, we could have saved time and money and left that morning.
No assistance was offered with the luggage just like it was not on the day of departure. The ship was docked at the very back and everyone had to drag their suitcases to the terminal on their own.
Overall, I would rate our experience with Variety cruises as below average.
Small but has enough storage place. The beds are very hard. The bathroom is also very small.